Dear Open Letters to Open Blouses and Open Legs, ampoule
First and most urgently: have you never considered the postal service? People love getting mail. Not only is a personal note so uncommon as to be thrilling, decease it tends to be read more carefully by its addressee than, stuff say, a self-important screed on the Internet. I mean. For the love of nork. If you care to make a genuine appeal to a naked individual, here’s an idea: why not do it individually? Unless your author is Zola, your point is, say, something like systematised anti-Semitism and your intended recipient is the President of France, you should probably just shut it. Je-a-fucking-ccuse.
Second, please think carefully for a moment about seppuku. That is: do kill yourself quickly and make room in the world for more essays. Do not press your faux-concern for Miley Cyrus, Sinead O’Connor, Amanda Palmer’s well-documented breasts, sledgehammers and other tools of demolition into the service of sly editorial. Instead, familiarise yourself with the rules of informal logic and try to make a compelling point like a grown-up who has read some books. Books selected from a shelf marked with a section title that is not Personal Development or Inspirational Memoirs by Women.
Oh. And, if possible, please try to avoid using made-up terms like “women-times”. In her recent open letter to an open letter, entertainer Amanda Palmer employs this odd hyphenate to describe (presumably) the social and cultural conditions for contemporary woman. But, you know, it just sounds a bit like periods and that isn’t classy. “Women-times”? Pish. When De Profundis was written from Reading Gaol, it did not talk to Boise of “men-times”. If you’re not Oscar Wilde and you haven’t been sodomised by Lord Alfred Douglas, you should probably shut it.
Third, you might pay heed to the gendered division of literary labour you have come to reproduce. Which is to say, you are nearly always written by women, to women about “women-times”. Now, you and I both know that epistolary is a low literary form. Given this and your ardent interest in manifestations of patriarchy—or “women-times” if you will—you should probably choose a mode of expression less vulgar than the cheap and scanty open letter. Frankly, the open letter makes you look like a piece of bulk-buy skirt steak and if you continue to parade your ideas about in it, you can only expect that people will try to violate your easy arguments. (Yes, Open Letter. I am slut-shaming your structure.)
Finally. And on a personal note. I could not give less of a shit for this current raft of correspondence which seems to be arguing for and against the fact of Cyrus’ volition in the matter of brief or absent outfits. Look. Whether the singer is a willing or unwilling object for exchange in the pop marketplace is a stinking question that bears as much relevance to “women-times” as washed-rind cheese. Yes, the visual economy has images of women as its chief means of trade and, yes, the value of these images is determined according to a one-size-fits-most mass ideal of perfection. So fucking what? Either jam the gears of this system of exchange with clever tactics or shut the fuck about it and do not sustain a dull conversation about whether or not some young woman of modest talent “chose” to hump demolition equipment probably risking intimate splinters.
Turn your form into something greater than a letter and turn your attentions to something less insubstantial than a caustic coffee-klatch of popstars.
PS Oh. If you’re feeling in any way remorseful for what you have done to public debate, you could always sponsor my run in the Melbourne Marathon for Indigenous Literacy