Another Open Letter to Open Letters

Dear Open Letter, tuberculosis

imagesFor the love of savoury fuck could you possibly give me a break? What will it take for you, rubella perhaps an even lower, erectile more self-serving and saccharine form of protest than a Boko Haram selfie, to shove yourself back up into the numb back-end from which you were shat and join all the other unwanted waste from a world grown giddy and obese on the conviction that Every Voice Matters?

Real Men Don't Compromise Lives With Dangerous Grandstanding!!!!!

Real Men Don’t Compromise Lives With Dangerous Grandstanding!!!!!

Do I need to buy you a fucking stamp to seal this orgy of meaninglessness? I will. I’ll buy you three thousand if it means I never have to read another word to Miley Cyrus, the prime minister’s daughter or some egregious beast of whom I would never have heard had she not enjoyed one-too-many cocktails at a We-Ho hotspot whose membership requires a key and a breast augmentation and used the word ‘retard’ last Tueaday on Twitter.

In fact, I will buy you some personalised stationery. I will spring for high stock and an embossed address which will, of course, read “The Rectum of Epistolary” because that, as I believe I have already mentioned, is your birthplace. You reeking turd.


I will also buy you some books, if you think it might help. There have been a fair few written and not only do these suggest ways in which one may shift the gears of a world that we agree is unjust by means more effective than an open letter BUT you may learn how to write outside of a predictable framework whose meter and outrage we anticipate in the way we anticipate plot points in a terrible romantic comedy thereby obviating the possibility of any real jolt. I mean. For the sake of clean underpants. How can you not understand that your form is so hackneyed and your outrage so reasonably unsurprising that it can do nothing but appease those who already approve of your Central Message–which, as far as I can tell is pretty much always “why can’t we all get along?”, “why can’t people be nicer?” and/or “sometimes, I feel sad”.


I understand that you feel entitled to your current prominence.  I do understand that you have convinced yourself that the easy emotion that buoys your bloated form will speak as directly to your readers as you appear to be addressing your recipient.  But. Seriously. This mania for the personal reaction, the real-life experience and the ‘narrative’ can only end in disaster.  The marketplace of contention cannot sustain this emotional bubble.  Your first-person currency is about to crash.

You are to the world of informal logic as the cupcake is to the midlife woman. Which is to say, you are high in energy, low in nutritive substance and age-inappropriate. You are apposite only in the hands of six-year-olds and have no place in the world of adults.


We permit the child to see herself as the centre of all activity; we excuse small people their delusion that all injustice in the world is something of which they are the object and/or potential saviour.  It’s okay for little dudes to sensationalise the trivial and personalise complaint. But. It is shocking when adults do the same.

Your letter to Miley is the work of a child—as much as you tell yourself, without a scintilla of proof, that her behaviour is a “negative influence”, it can not be half so much as you are.  Permit her to be stupid while you do your very best not to be.  Every time you appear, you say “it’s okay to be petty. It’s perfectly legitimate to pretend I can reform the world one twit at a time”.

You are impotent. And, you are dangerously boring. To call your formulaic is a bit like calling Kanye confident. No. Scratch that. I like Kanye. He is compelling and dangerous and so often possessed of his flow that he is able to rhyme the word “oesophagus” with “sarcophagus”. You, however, eschew style in favour of method and the possibility of real and surprising emotion in favour of cold sick. If the well-written op-ed is Kanye, then you are Snow.

Real Men Just Don't

Real Men Just Don’t

A licky boom boom down.

Speaking of licky. Here’s that promised envelope. Pop yourself in there and hide your shame and your sucrose nothings from a world so eager to gorge on the perfume of your imitative anger. You are impotent. You are disingenuous. You are a parody of dissent and if you appear in my Facebook feed one more fucking time this week, I will spend the remainder of my life campaigning to have you legally withheld as a scheduled narcotic, you soporific bag of violated promise.

I hope we can still be friends,


10 comments for “Another Open Letter to Open Letters

  1. Olivia
    May 24, 2014 at 12:52 am

    You’ve written several open letters over the years, Helen?

    • May 24, 2014 at 12:55 am

      I wrote one in 2010 to Sex and the City for a Women of Letters charitable event where I was obliged to write a letter. Think that’s it.
      Also. Mine was HILARIOUS
      See, HILARIOUS?
      My point is that the time for open letters, of which I have written one more than four years ago, is passed.

  2. Olivia
    May 24, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Yes – that is very funny.

    And another in 2012:

    It’s not “several” like I thought, but a couple at least.

    • May 24, 2014 at 1:08 am

      I love that you are Googling “Helen+Razer+Open+Letter”!
      That one was funny, too.

  3. Kev Martin
    May 24, 2014 at 3:51 am

    I am utterly disturbed to find that SATC2 piece was four (4) years ago. *disturbed face*

    • May 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Because you just have waited too long for the next glorious installment, Kev?

  4. May 24, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Okeydoke I understand the first part of your critique but not the second. This is intended to be a humorous stab at a very specific literary form. So while it may be “elitist”, it can’t actually be indiscriminate. Nice to hear from you again, Mr M. You haven’t chided me angrily at 4 in the morning for a while!

  5. Tobias Lerone
    May 24, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Helen, you yourself are an open letter, may I suckle of your sweet delights.



  6. CAP
    May 25, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Does anyone else suddenly feel compelled to write an open letter?

  7. May 26, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I guess I would say that the first volume of Capital is pretty important. It doesn’t have the answers—nobody does. I think that this is part because answers are difficult but chiefly because so many people feel that they naturally have them. So why bother thinking?
    I guess the books that exist that explain why we are here are the ones that will lead us to get out. So Capital. This is a good history of capitalism. Civilization and Its Discontents. This is a good account of why the individual is always at odds with the world. The Dialectic of Enlightenment. This is a good account of what we believe and why we think, mistakenly, that we are enlightened. Ditto for One Dimensional Man.
    I guess I think we need to problematise things and really see why they are wrong before we try to fix them. The solutions only come when we understand the problems. We can’t jam the machine if we can’t see it.

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