I can’t believe I’m actually writing an entry about this when there’s a whole mess of other more important things out there, like, for example, every dodgy thing the current British government is saying and doing. But in the same way that a week of emails at work marked ‘urgent’, ‘urgent URGENT’, ‘URGENT URGENT URGENTIST’ has completely numbed me to the concept of urgency, so my sense of outrage has been completely ground down by current happenings on the political front. So where I used to get angry, now I just shrug wearily and think Of course they said/did that. Of course. And fret about who the hell I’m supposed to vote for in the next election. I’m seriously thinking anarchy might be the way to go.
Anyway. Because of that sense of resignation and inevitable fucked-upedness on the Important Things front, today, instead, I am getting my tuppence in on the Sinead O’Connor/Miley Cyrus shitstorm. No, I’m not linking to the letters, facebook posts or tweets – google away. It’s all out there.
I’m not sure why I actually feel quite strongly about this. I know two O’Connor songs and I couldn’t name any of Cyrus’s (though, yes, I probably have heard some of her stuff at the gym or something). So this isn’t a case of favourites. I’m a fan of neither.
Here’s the thing, though. I think that O’Connor, in writing that open letter at all, starts out in the wrong and then stays there. It’s concern trolling of the worst kind. I think that Cyrus’s twitter response was classless as well, but Sinead got in there first, so. To the bullet points!
– In its most basic form, what’s happened here is that a young, hardworking woman professed admiration and made a bit of a tribute to an older woman, only to have that older woman take to a public forum and tell her that she’s doin’ it wrong and compare her to a prostitute (the word pimp is thrown around a lot). It’s a presumptuous, patronising letter that implies she is being fucked metaphorically and literally by everyone and that she has no self respect. That sort of response from someone you admire would be bad enough, but sent out as an open letter? What a kick to the gut. It was harsh and irresponsible.
– If O’Connor were really that concerned about Cyrus that she couldn’t just shrug and take the intended tribute as a compliment, she could have skipped the ‘open’ aspect of the letter and contacted Cyrus privately. She didn’t. And I don’t believe that she wasn’t aware that posting a presumptuous and critical missive to the current pop culture scape goat under the guise of ‘advice’ would stir up a massive media shitstorm.
– Did O’Connor really think Cyrus would or could ignore that letter? Or read it and proclaim that, My God, she’s right! And abruptly change her ways? Of course she wasn’t going to do that. Cyrus is 20 and on top of the world and was just humiliated, in public, by someone she (previously, I’m guessing at this point) admired. I’m not defending (or condemning) Cyrus and her music or her style with the ‘Ah, but she’s just a kid’ argument. She’s 20, she’s a woman. But I will point out that I have known very few people who had their shit together and a solid sense of self at 20. Of those people, a couple had had their wild years by the time they were 17, and the others had various experimental meltdowns in later years. No one escapes a period where the world is judging them for their suddenly, apparently extreme, life choices. Everyone has a period of figuring themselves out.
– I am condemning Cyrus’s twitter response though. It was as low and graceless as O’Connor’s initial ‘reaching out’. And O’Connor responded straight back with the good old ‘you’re nothing but an ignorant prostitute’ argument. Neither of them are coming up shiny in this particular situation. It’s bloody ridiculous but could have been avoided if…
– O’Connor had just paid attention to her own 2012 album title and applied those wise words accordingly…
God knows you can’t expect other people to listen to you if you don’t follow your own advice.