Miley Cyrus Says She's Never Tripped On Psychedelics, Eyes Roll

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Miley Cyrus is appropriating another subculture she doesn't get.

For a pop artist whose defining gimmick of the past several years has been one big riff on the cliché aesthetic commonly associated with tripping on psychedelics, Miley Cyrus is surprisingly straight.

“I've never tried any psychedelics, but I'm not against it. LOL," Cyrus told PAPER.

Wait: What?!

The pop star’s choice of looks and theatrics has been called out ad nauseum for appropriating cultures and subcultures that are not her own. Posing as a free-loving bliss-tripping manic pixie nightmare is just the latest. In her patently psychedelic-inspired video for “Lighter,” artist Jen Stark’s multicolored mandala-inspired animations look like something out of the Animal Collective canon (when Panda Bear sings “trip a lot, drop a lot,” he means it, and it means something). The point isn’t that it’s uncool if Miley Cyrus hasn’t experimented with drugs, it’s that she’s glorifying, glamorizing, and selling the image as if she really has. As a “metaphor,” if that’s what she’s going for, it’s weak. It cheapens the real spiritual and cultural connections that psychoactive substances have with people all over the world and throughout history. Not to mention it’s misleading her fans.

First, a bit of education: Miley, MDMA (a.k.a. molly), which you are all about, is a psychoactive substance that can be taken in tandem with psychedelics like acid, mushrooms, and ketamine; some psychonauts consider it to be a similar trip, if not the one in the same.

Second, psychedelics aren’t all about the Lisa Frank throwback that is Miley’s put-on. The experience can be exceptionally profound and complex. Psychedelics are used therapeutically for sufferers of PTSD as well as terminally ill patients as well as to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental maladies.

The implications of psychedelics and youth culture go way back: Literary legend Joan Didion embedded herself with drug-addled runaways in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury to research what became the groundbreaking essay “Slouching Toward Bethlehem.” In the 1960s and ‘70s, the lives of countless young people were sidelined by a generational malaise from which drugs was their escape of choice. For spiritual as well as cultural reasons, the social movement associated with psychedelics isn’t a fan of consumerism.

As if we could take seriously any claim Cyrus might have to authenticity (whatever that means), her flippant attitude toward appropriating psychedelics in such a clichéd fashion sort of undermines her whole gimmick. And what does it say about her as an artist who’s worked with the likes of Wayne Coyne? Musicians trip, well and often; psychedelics can make incredible creative tools.

If, on the other hand, Miley is ready to try taking psychedelics, just have her people call my people.

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