By Jackie Mori
It’s been a month since Sinéad insulted Miley insulted Sinéad insulted Miley, and without a peep from either party on the subject for two weeks, the whole thing seems to have receded into the blackhole created by today’s 24-hour news cycle. In case you blinked and missed it, see the recap HERE.
Celebrifeuds are nothing new, and in many cases, stem from simple one-liners exaggerated by the scandal-hungry media. Celebs have been accused of manufacturing “feuds” for marketing purposes for years, keeping their names in the news to remind the audience that their favorite singer/actor/brand is still relevant. Yet for two ladies who have plenty to promote right now (Cyrus recently dropped her newest album, Bangerz, and O’Connor is currently on tour), the circus created around O’Connor’s series of open letters has spoiled her opportunity to share a real woman-to-woman message with one of today’s ruling pop role models – and given the media a new chance to turn talented ladies into feuding cats.
O’Connor is no stranger to the “open letter.” Twenty years ago, when she was enraging/inspiring audiences by tearing up photos of the Pope, O’Connor turned to The Irish Times several times vent her frustrations and elaborate on the issues she and her family faced.
This time around, O’Connor may certainly have had Cyrus’s best interests in mind when she penned her initial letter on getting naked for profit. If anyone knows about the pressures on women in the music industry, it’s Sinéad. Unfortunately, she tried to use old news tactics on one of the pop princesses of new media, and ended up looking like that old lady who bats a stick at all the neighbors who walk on her lawn or play music too loud.
For as much as Cyrus has been criticized for doing whatever she can (while wearing as little as possible) to garner recent media attention, the pop star was surprisingly unwilling to get involved with the Sinead v. Cyrus sideshow. In what was likely a quick and careless decision behind the security of her smartphone, she brushed off O’Connor’s remarks from the get-go with a simple screengrab comparing the 90s songstress to another easy digital punching bag, Amanda Bynes (an embroiled former child star who happens to have recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). While her lighthearted mockery of mental illness was clearly immature, careless, and callous, it really brings us right back to the point O’Connor was initially trying to make:
MILEY’s PROBABLY NOT MAKING THE BEST DECISIONS RIGHT NOW.
Miley’s ridicule of mental illness is no laughing matter, and it’s clear that’s where O’Connor’s fury with Cyrus resides. But should O’Connor really be surprised by the immature response of a person she’s writing a letter to because they’re behaving so immaturely?
Although it was unsolicited and arguably condescending in its “spirit of motherliness,” O’Connor’s letter actually had a few good nuggets of advice. Yet if she really wanted Cyrus to hear the message, she might have tried delivering it to her herself. Instead, the person ‘in need’ of advising ended up being the one who took the proverbial high road, choosing to distance herself from the onslaught of letters telling her how awful she is rather than engage with the sender.
There’s a time and a place where long-winded, compassionate pleas can make an impact; but wherever that is is probably behind closed doors. The open letter has no traction in a 104-character-driven media, and what used to be an effective method to get the media to ‘hear you out’ has become a quick way to get your message whittled down to a few quotes which, as we saw in this case, are easily dismissed by any snarky 20-year-old with a smartphone. Interestingly, as of Thursday evening, all of O’Connor’s open letters were removed from her website, leaving us pondering one simple question: was it all worth it?
Jackie Mori is a vagabond who hails from the great state of New Jersey. She is a writer, yoga instructor, and the owner of a small apparel business called Karma Warrior Clothes. She is also a big eater, drinker, and traveler. Her best days are when all three of those activities coincide. You can see what she’s up to by checking on the blog she doesn’t post to often enough. Feel free to harass her if you’d like to read more.