When I heard about Sinead O'Connor's open letter to Miley Cyrus, I expected a skewering. What I saw was something much more poignant, and ultimately, much better. Here it is on the Guardian website. O'Connor raises some excellent points. While I never really considered Cyrus "talented", there is something to be said for the worth inherent in any human being. I do object to her behavior on principle, and I really hope no one considers her a role model. It sells though, and that's a problem in itself. Lastly, I'll give fair warning of foul language in O'Connor's letter. It didn't really bother me, but it might some of you. I just hope that doesn't obscure the message.
On the same page I saw a link to another article: This is about as disgusting, if in a slightly different way. Jennifer Lawrence is "fat"? Really? Really? You've got to be kidding me. Like I've said, every time I think that evil anorexia fad is finally as dead as it should be, it comes back like a bad horror movie monster. If that's what you're worried about I think Lawrence actually has a rather nice figure. She has a simple, natural, real beauty that a lot of people really respond to. That's also something getting more and more rare in this fake plastic age. No she's not a supermodel. Few are. As for talent, she won an Oscar at age 23. Say what you want about the mess the Academy's voting has become, that's still quite a feat, especially since Silver Lining Playbook wasn't truly Oscar Bait.
And have you seen that movie? ALL of the acting was top-notch. Even Chris Tucker turned in the best performance of his career. DeNiro damn near made me cry. For Lawrence to hold her own in that cast, let alone take on the lead and shine is extraordinary. Also, mental illness is not easy to portray, let alone well. As a writer I also have to acknowledge the writing. Mathew Quick will be one to watch. He has a new novel coming out next year and I'll probably buy it.
If you want something still quirky and stylish but in better taste and more positive than Miley Cyrus, try Kimbra (How many pop artists casually mention Shakespeare and the Psalms in their lyrics?) One of her songs in particular, "Posse" is about choosing dignity over popularity. Or, if it's just pure massive talent you want do us all a big favor and check out Annie Reese who is seriously one of the best singers of her generation and one of music's best secrets. The good stuff is out there, you just have to dig for it.
What does all this have to do with Violet Skies? It's the question of what messages we're sending to girls. Much of the respective fan bases of Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Lawrence are pretty young. Of course Lawrence is doing a much better job- the problem there wasn't hers at all. I'm trying to keep that in mind in the way I write Taya, who can hopefully serve as a better role model than much of what's out there these days. I think we in the media should be more careful and thoughtful about this.