Open letters are, like, a thing right now. Sinead O'Connor specifically is really into them, having just penned five (five!) of them to poor old Miley Cyrus, who just can't seem to catch a break these days. The open letter is a powerful tool, and Sinead (and most recently Sufjan) wields it with skill, speaking her mind in an eloquent and inciting way. But there is most certainly Miley, and by proxy Sinead, fatigue going on; even the uber-great Gloria Steinem herself was like, "cool it guys, with the Miley." So maybe everyone needs to do just that.

But the beauty of the open letter is this: nobody asked Sinead what her opinion was, she just shouted it out and got loads of attention for it. What about us? Why can't we do what she did and get the same (read: middling) effect? In this flat age of internet stardom and more flashes in the pan than a boy band open casting call, it is our right, nay, our self-aggrandizing responsibility to speak truth to power, even if all that power did was shake her little booty on television. Or less! We could write open letters about a lot less, you guys. So let's fire up those typing fingers and reach out to our local representatives and let our voices be heard!

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I wrote the following as an example of the endless and cathartic possibilities before you. This letter is annotated where practical to guide you in your own writing process. My victim: Kiwi teen sensation Lorde.


Dear Lorde,

Who the f*** do you think you are? [A strong opening is very important. Use an expletive; that usually helps show people that you mean business.] Sixteen years old, all coy and quiet, and BAM, you drop the most infectious record anyone has heard in a long time. I'm not even just talking about your chart-topping single "Royals". The whole goddamn album! Musicians toil for years to earn the kind of success you've been handed. I'm not even a musician, and I'm MAD AS HELL. [You've got to connect it up to something bigger than yourself. This isn't some petty vendetta, this is a Problem.] I haven't been this mad since Adele gave us 19, and let me tell you, I was pissed at how much I liked that record.

Anyway, Lorde, look, I'm going to need you to cool it a minute. I've had Pure Heroine playing on repeat for weeks now, and it's causing major disruptions in my life; [Now that you've hooked them, here's where it gets personal. Make them rue the day...rue it!] I've become anti-social, singing along and ignoring everyone around me when it's on, and I'm moody when it's not. "Seriously guys, why aren't we listening to Lorde right now?" I plead, usually to no avail because my friends are grown-ass people. [Real-life examples of the damage being done is helpful. Colour is good. Which brings me to the thesis of my letter. Watch as I air my grievances.] I hold you personally responsible for my deteriorating social skills. And I am downright offended that you do not seem to care, as evidenced by your presence on all talk shows, music sites, and in every, every bar at happy hour. In short, shame on you for being so...good.

Lots of love, [A warm fuzzy closing really seals the deal here. You are really a gentle soul under all that anger.]

Stephanie Vance


Now go forth! But choose your words and your unsuspecting (and probably undeserving) victim carefully because if they're a really big star, they probably have a PR team who can and will give you a swift kick in the proverbial nuts if such a letter gains traction. Unless that's the kind of thing you're into. In which case, let the ink flow freely!

You can find Stephanie on Twitter: @MusicaholicAnon