Let’s All Write Open Letters To Miley Cyrus And Also Your Mom Forever And Ever

It’s begun. With Sinead O’Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus, and Amanda Palmer’s open letter to Sinead O’Connor, a chain of events has been put into motion which no force in heaven or earth can stop until it’s run its course and we are left with the smoking, burnt-out ruins of a culture.

Caitlin Moran has already started her open letter to Amanda Palmer about how everything a woman does is okay, because she’s a woman and that’s what feminism means. Elizabeth Wurtzel will write an open letter to Moran on The Daily Beast, suggesting that she lose weight and consider some light cosmetic surgery, and Wurtzel’s letter will then devolve into a 900-word rant that seems to either be about how impressed she is by Miley’s lack of cellulite or how millennials have turned rock ‘n roll into a “meth lab of the heart.” Jessica Valenti will write to Wurtzel about everything that’s wrong with everything that she’s said for the past five years. Taylor Swift will write to Valenti about how The Purity Myth hurt her feelings, and later also write a song about it. Roxane Gay will express mild disappointment at how much time and energy we are all apparently willing to expend over a twenty-year-old girl riding a wrecking ball naked, and go on to curate a really amazing and heartwarming series for The Rumpus about seminal sexual experiences with construction equipment. xojane will publish “It Also Happened To Me: I Was Torn To Pieces By Sinead O’Connor.” Later, it will be revealed to have been written by Pope Francis.

Brad Paisley has already begun his open letter to Billy Ray Cyrus to express solidarity, knowing that Miley is just being accidentally slutty and also accidentally racist, and Billy Ray Cyrus will respond to the open letter with a tweet reading only “#mileythemovement.” Annie Liebovitz’s personal assistant’s personal assistant will be tasked with looking through seventy hard drives to determine whether or not Annie wrote but did not publish an open letter five years ago in which she unapologetically, and correctly, predicted that it will be Liebovitz’s own early vision of a slutty Miley Cyrus that sent her down a blustery path of sluttery. Kanye West will write 17 all-caps twitter updates promoting the release of a one-off single called “Open Letter” that samples “Can’t Be Tamed” and features vocals that are just Miley howling into the microphone. His seventeenth tweet will include links to Miley’s video for “Party In The USA” and, inexplicably, his own video for “Runaway.”

Apropos of nothing, Tyler Perry will write an open letter for OWN about how his movies are the most honest depiction of black people in America and if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? No one will read it. Marina Abramovic will lay her naked body over a wrecking ball in an abandoned construction site and stay there, motionless, for six days. No one is sure whether this is a statement about Miley, or just a way to repurpose abandoned industrial space in the wake of the government shutdown, because both seem plausible.

Ann Friedman is sort of above open letters as a concept, but will make a really good piechart managing to sum up the emotional motivations of everybody who has ever written an open letter, ever. Tracie Morrissey will write a brief piece for Jezebel called “Come On Who Isn’t a Slut and What’s Wrong With Being a Prostitute” and it will be amazing but the commenters will hate it. Meanwhile, Gawker will publish a post titled “Everyone Needs to Read Sinead O’Connor’s Open Letter to Miley Cyrus” and no one at Autostraddle will have the time or the energy to explain why O’Conner’s letter was actually problematic as fuck, because we’re too stressed out doing last-minute prep for A-Camp.

Buzzfeed will post “22 Things Only Girls Who Have Received Open Letters From Sinead O’Connor Will Understand;” your great-aunt will post it on Facebook with the caption “haven’t seen the videos but omg IT’S SO TRUE,” and then you’ll have to unfollow your great-aunt on Facebook. This will happen the same day that your great-aunt reads a terrifying story about the impact of social media on young women in Vanity Fair and it will inspire her to write an Open Letter to Miley Cyrus about her present estrangement from all of her nieces and she will put it in an envelope and seal it with actual saliva and then she will put it in a mailbox and sit at home, waiting to see what happens next.


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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books and news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

Rachel has written 762 articles for us.

60 Comments

  1. Thumb up 5

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    ‘Wurtzel’s letter will then devolve into a 900-word rant that seems to either be about how impressed she is by Miley’s lack of cellulite or how millennials have turned rock ‘n roll into a “meth lab of the heart.”‘

    okay I *considered* copying and pasting about five other subsequent lines but I think ultimately this is still my favorite

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    The real question here is what makes a letter open

    What IS an open letter? An op-ed? A blog post with a salutation?? I feel like if you post something on the internet it’s generally assumed to be public and not a sealed private letter. I’m just so confused.

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    Sinead O’Connor’s letter was certainly problematic, but Miley’s response to the letter – mocking O’Connor’s mental health problems – is frankly disgusting.

    At least Sinead was (probably) well-meaning, if misguided. Miley’s response was intentionally cruel, and contributes to the already great stigma surrounding mental illness.

    http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/pop-shop/5747942/miley-cyrus-mocks-sinead-oconnor-before-there-was-amanda-bynes

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    Being inspired by Rachel’s words, I’m now going to write an open letter to all open letters. Not an open letter to the open letter writers mind you, but an open letter to the open letters themselves. My open letter will consist of the following:

    Dear Open Letters,

    Thank you for being so Open and Honest with us all. We appreciate your Vulnerability, and your Sincerity.

    sincerely,
    Savannah

    Note that while the above does consist verbatim of the exact text of my open letter, this comment does not actually constitute my open letter itself. On the contrary, this is merely an offhand comment on what happens to be a public forum. My actual open letter will be appearing in the upcoming issue of Astrophysical Letters.

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    I’m in Ireland. There is a major referendum happening today about whether or not we abolish the senate. Trending highest for Ireland today? Miley Cyrus.

    As a nation, we are collectively taking offence at Miley’s response. It would be funny if it wasn’t for the whole “WAKE UP EVERYONE, OUR GOVERNMENT IS LITERALLY BEING DISMANTLED AND ANYWAY MOST OF YOU DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TWERKING WAS UNTIL YESTERDAY”

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    Is anyone else starting to get that feeling with Miley? Y’know the one that creeps up just a few minutes before Britney shaves her head, or while Charlie tweets about tigerblood? I feel like I’m watching a car crash.

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    I feel like there just isn’t enough love in the comments for this: “Marina Abramovic will lay her naked body over a wrecking ball in an abandoned construction site and stay there, motionless, for six days. No one is sure whether this is a statement about Miley, or just a way to repurpose abandoned industrial space in the wake of the government shutdown, because both seem plausible.”

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    Very witty and a great indication of why Autostraddle is such a lively, conscious place that seems to ‘get it’ in a way that many of the commentariat cabal does not.

    No doubt, there’s a peculiar anatomy to these maternalistic confession/advice epistles. What a strange genre: “I’m famous. I’m wise. Let me tell you how it is. The nitty gritty.”

    I generally liked Sinéad O’Connor’s letter, while of course recognising a few aspects of it that rehash some unfortunately restrictive viewpoints. Still, I’d take it over Amanda Palmer’s less … circumspective … kind of faux optimism about ‘being free’ and ‘doing your thing’ as somehow automatically liberating.

    This was fun, with some nifty satire. Still, I look forward to a serious breakdown of how both O’Connor and Palmer both offer rather limited judgements on what’s at stake here. That neither of them mentioned the race aspects of Cyrus’s performance are rather telling. And when a stage is involved there is no simple way to simply “rip a page out of stripper culture” to incite the public gaze.

    That Cyrus and O’Connor are now engaged in a public blog battle, with talk of legal action, says a lot more to what actually motivated this discussion: public perceptions and reputations within an industry.

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    As a dude named Hart Crane once said (per Tumblr): “One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment.” Rachel, you are drenched in the Internet, and this pure poetry is the result.

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