Here's the thing. It's hard to talk about this Celebrity Open Letter Problem currently in the news without invoking She Who Is a Wrecking Ball But Must Not Be Named. A certain young performer who has taken to foam fingers and naked pica snacking while hanging out on construction sites is seeking news coverage every day, it seems, and I don't want to add to that.
But Sinéad O'Connor fed the news cycle, and now it's an awake Gremlin again. Worse, the most wretched celebrity writing prompt since Match Game '74 is spreading across the land. This string of Open Letters is an Ouroborus, that dragon-eating-her-own-tail thing, or maybe a bad tattoo of an Ouroborus.
Image: © Justin Ng/Retna Pictures/UPPA/ZUMAPRESS.com
Here's the daisy chain of the worst Reply-All Open Letter trainwreck in recent history:
1. Performer is interviewed in big magazine and states that Sinéad O'Connor is a major influence. To which the whole world had said "duh" and "you wish."
2. However, Sinéad O'Connor felt inspired to throw up an Open Letter to Performer faster than you can rip up these papery things we bought in the 1990's called "photos." It's a complicated piece, but basically she says Nothing Compares to U not being pimped out.
3. Oh snap, Amanda Palmer hadn't written an Open Letter in a day or so, so she writes an Open Letter to Sinéad RE: O'Connor's Open Letter to Performer. I KNOW. It's like when your aunt hits Reply All. Palmer sits back and waits for comments to get kickstarted.
4. Wait, but Performer didn't dig Sinéad's letter, so she hits REPLY ALL Y'ALL on Twitter because what she wants to talk about is something altogether different. But she says she's too busy to write Sinead an Open Letter because she's rehearsing for her upcoming SNL appearance, and then (dragon eating tail yum!) reminded O'Connor of her own iconic SNL performance from 1992. The Performer by the way, was born in 1992. All of which makes me think Lorne Michaels is behind all of these Open Letters.
5. Sinéad took offense at the jabs at her previous mental instability. She fired back via Facebook. Open Threats of Legal Action.
6. Other media sources and bloggers (see also, oh, this very post!) reply to everyone about the whole thing. At core, some of the threads are needed and pretty interesting. Celebrities and fans alike could end up examining sexuality in music, and by extension examining female performance of sexuality in general, and that's a story that transcends the drama of it all. Drafts entitled Open Letters to the Death of Open Letters languish in Wordpress boxes north and south.
6. But fantastic! Because this is discourse between women, it's called a Girl Fight. Well, that's just nice and predictable.
7. How will it all end? The Droste effect could iterate forever. We have A LOT of celebrities with daybooks as open as a Certain Performer's Mouth.
Bottom line, I predict we'll see more Open Letters before the last note is sung, and most won't be on point, but some will. Margaret Cho won't be able to resist. It's been a while since Madonna's last book and this might be the writing prompt she's looking for. After that, I bet we'll see at a minimum Barbra Streisand, a Cher impersonator and then Jonathan Franzen.
Our only hope is that Elaine Stritch puts her foot down to stop the madness. Someone get her an Open Letter Stenographer, stat.
So if youd like to meet up and talk lemme know in your next letter. :)
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