is the word 'diary' better than the word 'blog'? probably not.


Already too many words about this.

So, Miley Cyrus twerked on TV, then rode a wrecking ball and said her video was in part inspired by Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” video, so journalists started asking O’Connor what she thought, so O’Connor, instead of letting [male] journalists mediate it, wrote an open letter to Cyrus cautioning her about some perils of the music industry.

Then Cyrus tweeted a bunch of vicious references to O’Connor’s history of mental instability, and included a mention of O’Connor’s famous use of an appearance on SNL to rip up a picture of the pope.

Strangely, when the original hubbub about the twerkfest on MTV arose, my first response was to say, “well, whatever, but if Miley Cyrus needs to rebel she could have ripped up a photo of the pope on SNL or something.” What I meant was: she could have rebelled against something that matters to a world larger than her own career or pleasures.

For the record, I have no problem with people pursuing their own pleasures, or careers.

Amanda Palmer wrote a response to O’Connor that basically said “let women do whatever they want,” which it may or may have not been Palmer’s way of telling O’Connor what to do (kind of like the liar’s paradox). Palmer’s letter was interesting but seemed to assume that anyone in the situations being described here can exercise agency in some sort of simplified Kantian vein. I’m not sure that agency is all that helpful in figuring out what right and wrong mean in this mess.

And today would have been my father’s 68th birthday, and that actually fits in this post because, back in the day when O’Connor literally ripped into the pope, my dad, who knew that O’Connor was important to me, said something like, “well, I get it, but what did she think doing that would get her?” We had a conversation about fame and responsibility and also about acting like an asshole on TV, and I ended up saying something like, “well, if you or I had everything we did age 18-25 made public, we wouldn’t look so good either.” My dad said, “that is a very good point.” And we laughed.

I suspect it is a point that holds for all of us lucky enough to have made it through and past that age bracket.

I have no conclusions here other than that 1) I understand and respect what O’Connor did. She went out of her way to address directly rather than through Rolling Stone or Huffington Post someone whose career choices seem to be playing into a hot mess of cultural misogyny at the present moment. She pointed out that similarities Cyrus cited between herself and O’Connor are actually important differences (O’Connor shaved her head to protest being used as a sex symbol, etc.). And she offered motherly advice. But 2) she probably should have known (and perhaps she did) what kind of response she would get to that. I mean, having once been an 18-25 year old human being who ripped up a representation of the pope on American television, she can probably remember how she would have responded to motherly advice from a 40-something person at the time, even if that 40-something person had the kind of experience you’d be wise to listen to. I feel sorry for anyone who tried to tell me what to do at that age, oy! And 3) Miley Cyrus is such a dick. Her response to O’Connor is a paradigm example of someone who acts without thinking. Fuck that. And yet also: it just shows that she is not yet quite an adult, and that O’Connor is right to worry about her.

(PS: O’Connor’s responses to Cyrus' provocations so far have been fairly measured. I hope they stay that way.)

1:02 p.m. - October 04, 2013


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