Dissecting the Politically Charged Subtext of Miley Cyrus's "We Can't Stop" Video
Few starlets have undergone as drastic and public a personal and musical transformation as Miley Cyrus. She chopped off her long brown locks for a styled blonde Mohawk-ish thing. She exchanged her trademark country twang for a sheepish auto-tuned "baaah!" She dropped off her guitar and popped up her ass. The one thing that hasn't changed about Miley Cyrus, however, is that her music is best experienced with the sound off. This is especially true of the music video for her latest song, "We Can't Stop."
But this muted-Miley is different from the one that made you cold-turkey-quit your favorite Top 40's radio station when that song about mountain CLIIIIIIIIIMBing was a thing. This muted-Miley has something incredibly important and provocative to say beneath her thick coat of white chalk, sex, and drugs. The music video for "We Can't Stop" is loaded with imagery critiquing the federal government and NSA for spying on United States citizens and the preventative actions we all can take to protect ourselves. Make sure you're reading this on an encrypted internet connection, because having access to the following information may put you at risk.
Text: "We Can't Stop" begins with Miley Cyrus cutting off an ankle-monitoring device with a giant pair of scissors, placing an appropriately-sized grill inside of her mouth, and ferociously combing her blonde Mohawk-ish thing backwards in the mirror.
Subtext: Right away, Miley makes it clear she's onto the government and is taking proper precautions. By freeing herself from the ankle-monitoring device, she is preparing to go off the grid for good. But until she can truly disappear, she must deflect the satellite signals sent by the NSA to eavesdrop on her personal phone calls and mirror pics by placing extreme amounts of gold, silver, and tinfoil in her mouth.
Text: Miley quickly transitions to dry humping and rolling around on a white bed with floral (aww!) pillows.
Subtext: This white room and white bed and white girl symbolize the state of solitary confinement that the federal government would prefer we all exist in. Miley jerks her body around uncontrollably and caresses the bed in an interpretive dance to express her dismay at the idea of such confinement. Her urgent body movements are a message to the NSA -- she can't be tamed.
Text: Because beds can get boring, Miley moves on to sit and twerk in an empty white Jacuzzi tub with black sunglasses on.
Subtext: Besides the friend of Miley who eats a white bread sandwich filled with money and her un-named twerking buds, Miley's sunglasses are the first non-white-thing to make an appearance in the "We Can't Stop" music video. This move is strategic. Miley guards her vision and mind by deflecting any radio-wave attempts to infiltrate her deepest thoughts. She sinks deeper and deeper into the empty Jacuzzi tub, directly challenging the feds to violate her rights as a citizen of the United States of America while viciously staring at them through her protective lenses and mockingly licking her red lips.
Text: A human skull is made of stale McDonald's french fries! It is promptly curb stomped on top of a roof and completely destroyed.
Subtext: Just like the United States, McDonalds rules the world. And it's long been rumored that McDonalds is keeping close watch on our everyday lives through bugs planted in the toys found in Happy Meals. Thus, the smashing of the McDonalds (probably extremely delicious) french fry skull is Miley's dire warning to not only distrust the government, but be careful of all things that are too good to be true.
Text: Miley hosts a raucous pool party for all of her white friends.
Subtext: 2012 was the year of the apocalypse bunker, but 2013 is the year of the apocalypse pool. Electronics don't work underwater, and it may soon be the only place that is safe from government surveillance.
Text: One o Miley's friends pretends to cut her hand off with a kitchen knife, but instead ends up squirting Pepto-Bismol from between her knuckles all over the counter.
Subtext: If cutting loose from ankle-monitoring devices and living in apocalypse pools fails, more drastic measures must be taken to go off the grid--chopping off your fingers. Taking a page from Nation of Ulysses' 13-Point Program to Destroy America, Miley knows that, without fingertips, there can be no fingerprints. A kid who tells on another kid's a dead kid.