MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski had some choice words for 20-year-old Miley Cyrus on Monday's Morning Joe. The show opened, naturally, with Miley's twerk-filled VMA performance from Sunday night, a performance that some thought was overly sexed-up and others argued was modern-day minstrelsy. But Brzezinski chose not to criticize Cyrus' performance — deciding instead to suggest that the singer is suffering from an eating disorder.
After Morning Joe ran a clip of Cyrus shaking it, Brzezinski continued the segment by putting on her best serious face and launching into the following monologue:
I wouldn't make a joke of it, actually. That was really, really disturbing. That young lady, who is 20, is obviously deeply troubled, deeply disturbed, clearly has confidence issues, probably an eating disorder, and I don't think anybody should have put her onstage. That was disgusting and embarrassing.
Brzezinski is somewhat of a self-proclaimed expert on food and eating disorder issues. She's chronicled her own issues with food in her book Obsessed, which was released in May. In early August, she started a mini campaign to "tweet your weight," the point of which seems to be feeling better about weighing more than you'd like. And although she's well within her rights to posit that the performance was embarrassing and disgusting — many agree with her — her armchair diagnosis of Cyrus' psychiatric health is patently ridiculous. ("And if I can just be very honest, after having studied this for a lot of reasons, she doesn't look healthy," Brzezinski added at the end of the segment.)
Joe Coscarelli at the Daily Intelligencer argues Brzezinski has less of a problem with the shape of Cyrus' body than the sexual way in which Cyrus decided to portray it. He writes that Brzezinski "turned the concern-trolling up to eleven, masking her contempt and slut-shaming in faux worry." He has a point — Brzezinski seems less concerned with Cyrus's health and more concerned with getting her own name out there as an eating disorder expert. The thing is, any body issues expert would know that you can't tell whether someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them.
Photo of Cyrus dancing with Robin Thicke at the VMAs by Lucas Jackson for Reuters.