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The Ballad of Miley and Sinead

The Ballad of Miley and Sinead


In case you fell into a mall fountain last week, whisking you away to a world of infinitely looping waterfalls and mystical nymphs, only to emerge again this morning covered in seaweed and glitter, you've been missing a classic battle of words between current pop icon Miley Cyrus and Irish folk/pop singer/songwriter/activist Sinead O’Connor. O’Connor achieved fame in the 90s covering Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U, and is best known for tearing up a picture of Pope John Paul II during an appearance on Saturday Night Live. Also making a cameo in this Twitter-enabled war is former Dresden Dolls star, street performer, and outspoken feminist Amanda Palmer. Let’s get to the bottom of the issue and see if we can declare a this hot mess can go away already.

Order of events:

1. Miley Cyrus cited Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares To You video as a source of inspiration for her latest controversial vid, Wrecking Ball.

Translation: “Thank you Sinead, for being a source of inspiration.”

2. Sinead seized the opportunity to step into the controversy spotlight once again, penning a motherly open letter to Miley warning her of the evils of the music industry and the poor example she's setting for young women.


3. Cyrus answered via Twitter, in a not-so-couth fashion, exhuming Ms. O’Connor’s past SNL pope-hating statement and her not-so-distant past Twitter meltdown, oddly comparing her to Amanda Bynes, and including a humblebrag mentioning her upcoming SNL-hosting gig.

Translation: “You so crazy Sinead. No, like verifiably crazy. Amanda Bynes crazy. I’m going to be on SNL this weekend, what are you up to these days?”

4. Around the time Miley picked up her phone to blast back at Sinead in 140 characters or less, Amanda Palmer posted her own open letter response to Sinead. Echoing Cyrus’s original comment (see #1), Palmer made her immense respect for O'Connor evident in a long, intelligent letter politely disagreeing with her epistolary parenting attempt.

Translation: “You were once young, I was once young, Miley is currently young...but still old enough to make her own decisions. You are an amazing human being, I respect and have been inspired by all that you've done for women and humanity, but you might not make the greatest mother ever? Sorry, please don’t be mad at me, I LOVE YOU!”

 5. Sinead writes a SECOND open letter, containing enough F bombs to destroy any maternal credibility she may have had thus far.

Translation: “AAAAHHHHHH, googly moogly, SINEAD MAD! I was famous tooooooo. You’re crazy, I’M NOT CRAZY”

6. Hold up. Sinead jumps the line, penning YET ANOTHER open letter. This time, she threatens to sue Miley if she doesn’t remove her tweets and publicly apologize. She expresses a fear that her now tarnished image and implied mental instability will prevent her from winning future employment. It can be assumed her case would be for libel, which can be won only if the published material in question is FALSE and damaging.

Translation: “It's not cool to make fun of people with a mental disability, and how dare you bring poor, innocent Amanda Bynes into this. I’m suing you, but I don’t have a leg to stand on.”

The verdict:

Amanda Palmer: She is once again proving to be a goddess sent to guide us starving artists.

Miley Cyrus: She's in charge of her own life, and you know what? I think she’s doing an incredible job. She's created immense buzz, and now it's her responsibility to follow up with a show of the talent O’Connor spoke of in her first letter. In response to Sinead’s accusations, that her behavior is a thorn in the side of feminism, I disagree. We're living in an era of enlightened, intellectual pop stars who, because of outspoken musical veterans like O’Connor and Palmer, know exactly what they’re getting into. Regarding Miley’s initial response, however, it is so not cool to make fun of people with medical issues—if that's what she was trying to do.

Sinead O'Connnor: Well played, O'Connor: you've made yourself a household name once again. I can’t wait to hear the next album. The whole world will be listening.

What do you think? Team Miley? Sinead? Why can’t we all just get along? 

Topics: Celebs & Stuff
Tags: miley cyrus, fights, pop music, controversies, pop stars, open letters, amanda palmer

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About the Author
Bo Larkin

Based out of Chicago, Bo Larkin, aka Bryan Albert, makes a living as a writer and musician. Bryan comprises half of the cabaret/art song duo "Lovers' Quarrel" and is a guitar teacher and ensemble coach at Sherwood at Columbia College and Southport Performing Arts Conservatory. Check him out at and @bogitano

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