I am the most indifferent observer of Miley Cyrus ever: I've never seen her kiddie show or watched the "grown up" performances, which, mercifully, includes the VMA awards. I have seen some of the coverage and the terrific gif-responses to yesterday's madness. But the thing that stands out for me when I see pictures, is what seems to be a signature thick lizardy tongue move.
And it brought to mind a useless factoid from school, which was that King James 1 of England (VI of Scotland) in addition to being known for his fear of witches, for bringing together scholars to create the King James Bible and bringing together boys for sexytimes, was also known for his really large tongue:
(His tongue) was too large for his mouth, which ever made him speak full of mouth, and made him drink very uncomely, as if eating his drink, which came out into the cup of each side of his mouth.
Since monarchs had almost total image control, there is no way of knowing whether comments like these are canards from snotty English courtiers making fun of their new Scottish king. So no portraits of him giving audiences the full benefit of this possibly magnificent tongue. But the phrase "full of mouth" has stuck with me all of these years (it usually comes up with overly talkative co-workers). Occasionally, King James and his Queen also liked to accessorize black people and other outsiders, so he and Miley definitely have that in common.
I know I should be thinking about Miley Cyrus and race; about exploitation/appropriation; what it means that the only way that childhood stars can prove they are all grown up seems to be nude or highly sexualized performances, or why the hell she thinks she can twerk. But today is a pretty shitty: it's the anniversary of one my best friends' death and my other friend's surgery may have revealed deeper and permanent problems with his vision. I am doing everything I can not to freak out in front of the people I'm supposed to be helping and I do that in part by pondering improbable connections between past and present.