sinéad o’connor’s letter to miley cyrus

“If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.”

Miley Cyrus recently claimed that her controversial video for Wrecking Ball was inspired by Sinéad O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U. Hounded by journalists for her opinion, O’Connor felt compelled to respond, posting a strongly worded yet compassionate public letter warning Cyrus against allowing herself to be exploited. This is the full text, published on www.sineadoconnor.com.

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Dear Miley,

I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares … So this is what I need to say … And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.

I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.

Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent. I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.

The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted … and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.

None of the men ogling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped … and that includes you yourself.

Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and it’s associated media.

You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever … Don’t be under any illusions … ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty … which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.

I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money… we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.

You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age … which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.

Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question … I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.

As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image … whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now … Not because you got naked but because you make great records.

Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted … its so not cool Miley … its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. We aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers … that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.

was salinger too pure for this world?

By JOYCE MAYNARD in the New York Times, September 14, 2013

“As the mother of a daughter myself, I would say that a man who treats those offering up their love and trust as expendable is lesser himself for having done so.”

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Image: Eleni Kalorkoti

In the 50 years since J.D. Salinger removed himself from the public eye and stopped publishing, he has been viewed — more accurately, worshiped — as the human embodiment of purity, a welcome antidote to phoniness. To many, he was a kind of god.

Now comes the word — though not really news, to some — that over the years when he was cherishing his privacy, Salinger was also carrying on relationships with young women 15, and in my case, 35 years younger than he.

“Salinger,” a new documentary film touches — though politely — on the story of just five of these young women (most under 20 when he sought them out), but the pattern was wider: letters I’ve received over the 15 years since I broke the unwritten rule and spoke of my own experiences with the man revealed to me that there were more than a dozen. In at least one case, Salinger was corresponding with one teenage girl while sharing his home with another: me.

Like many of the others involved, I was a young person in possession of particular vulnerabilities as well as strengths — a story that began with my family, not Salinger, and inspired me to seek out an Ivy League education with the dream of becoming a writer. Nine months after I arrived at Yale, having published a story that attracted Salinger’s attention, I received a letter from him. Then many more.

I was 18 when he wrote to me in the irresistible voice of Holden Caulfield, though he was 53 at the time. Within months I left school to live with Salinger; gave up my scholarship; severed relationships with friends; disconnected from my family; forswore all books, music, food and ideas not condoned by him. At the time, I believed I’d be with Jerry Salinger forever.

His was a seduction played out with words and ideas, not lovemaking, but to the young girl reading those words — as with a few million other readers — there could have been no more powerful allure.

Salinger wasn’t simply brilliant, funny, wise; he burrowed into one’s brain, seeming to understand things nobody else ever had. His expressions of admiration (“I couldn’t have created a character I love more than you”) were intoxicating. His dismissal and contempt, when they came, were devastating.

I was 19 when he put two $50 bills in my hand and sent me away. Years after he dismissed me, his voice stayed in my head, offering opinions on everything he loved and all that he condemned. This was true even though, on his list of the condemned, was my own self.

This was not made easier by Salinger’s unwritten edict on secrecy: if Salinger wrote you a letter, you must never say you received it. If he broke your heart you must never mention it happened. To do anything else constituted more than the violation of the privacy of a great writer; it was proof of one’s own reprobate soul, the exploitation (a word with which I’ve grown familiar over the years) of a man so much purer than the false and shallow world around him, an artist who wanted only to be left alone.

To a stunning degree, for a period of over half a century, Salinger managed to convince a significant portion of the reading population that his words and actions should be exempt from scrutiny for the simple reason that he wrote those nine stories, and “The Catcher in the Rye.” And because he said so.

Now the story well known to me is known to the world, though there are voices raised up still, decrying the violation of Salinger’s legendary privacy. But while this recent burst of disclosure might seem to demystify the man (or call his role as sage into question), a troubling phenomenon has surfaced along with the news.

It is the quiet acceptance, apparently alive and well in our culture, of the notion that genius justifies cruel or abusive treatment of those who serve the artist and his art. Richard Schickel, writing of Salinger’s activities, expresses the view that despite the disclosures about Salinger’s pursuit of young women he lived “a ‘normal’ life.”

“He liked pretty young girls. Stop the presses,” writes the film critic (and father of daughters) David Edelstein. The implication being, what’s the fuss?

One of these girls, 14 when Salinger first pursued her long ago, described him in terms usually reserved for deities, and spoke of feeling privileged to have served as inspiration and muse to a great writer — though she also reports that he severed their relationship the day after their one and only sexual encounter.

Some will argue that you can’t have it both ways: how can a woman say she is fully in charge of her body and her destiny, and then call herself a victim when, having given a man her heart of her own volition, he crushes it? How can a consensual relationship, as Salinger’s unquestionably were, constitute a form of abuse?

But we are talking about what happens when people in positions of power — mentors, priests, employers or simply those assigned an elevated status — use their power to lure much younger people into sexual and (in the case of Salinger) emotional relationships. Most typically, those who do this are men. And when they are done with the person they’ve drawn toward them, it can take that person years or decades to recover.

Continue reading this New York Times article HERE.

girl on the bridge (1999)

Vanessa Paradis’ opening monologue (with English subtitles)

Review by Michael Dequina at filmthreat.com, 11/21/00:
“Very few actors, let alone young ones, can pull off what 20-something chanteuse-turned-actress Vanessa Paradis does in the opening minutes of Patrice Leconte’s romantic drama. In a single take broken only by an occasional white-on-black credit card, Paradis’ Adele confides to an unseen interrogator the reasons for her depression. It is never explained exactly to whom she is speaking and in what type of situation, but that is of little consequence—in these scant minutes, the audience instantly is given a vivid portrait of what the character is all about: her youthful recklessness and naïveté, her sexual abandon and her romantic soul. While kudos go to writer Serge Frydman, it is Paradis who brings the scene and Adele to robust life.

“However, in Adele’s eyes, her life isn’t quite so healthy, and as such she becomes the titular girl on the bridge, ready to jump when she meets Gabor (Daniel Auteuil), a knife thrower in need of a new target. Since she clearly has no fear of danger, Adele is a perfect match—though it comes as a surprise to both of them just how well they complement each other, for these two historically down-on-their-luck characters find themselves on an incredible streak of good fortune as they wow crowds throughout Europe. But as with all things, what goes up must come down.

“La Fille sur le Pont is a magical film in all senses. On a literal level, the surreal psychic bond that develops between Adele and Gabor pushes the film into the realm of magical realism, and their knife throwing scenes bear a not-so-subtle, otherworldly erotic charge. But the real magic comes in watching the warm sparks between Paradis and Auteuil and following their eccentric characters’ beautiful, unconventional relationship. Jean-Marie Dreujou’s stunning black-and-white cinematography and Leconte’s smart choices in music (there is no original composed score) add to the film’s whimsical, timeless spell.”