Gall-vanized: How Miley Cyrus brought us together

Eric Thayer/REUTERS

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There were many “moments” at last Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, but one stood out. Let’s call it the tipping point.

Miley Cyrus, the 20-year-old pop star, ex-Disney Channel princess, and aspiring Gene Simmons impersonator, was doing what so many VMA performers had done before her: floating an absent half-performance atop a confounding clamor of backup dancers, backing tracks, and pulsing lights.

To the tune of “We Can’t Stop,” Cyrus paraded down the catwalk flanked by a gaggle of black female backup dancers, some dressed in burdensome teddy bear costumes. At one point, she excitedly slapped one of their rear ends as though she were selecting a frozen turkey. It was weird and discomforting. Rihanna sat stonily in her seat, unimpressed.

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