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Another pop star targets Miley Cyrus with an ‘open letter’ attacking her poor grammar skills

Miley Cyrus’s “open letter” feud with fellow singer Sinead O’Connor made international news earlier this month. But a lesser-known letter to the twerk-happy singer from another entertainer is probably much more important.

Breaking away from other musicians who’ve taken issue with Cyrus’s uncouth stage antics, singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens decided to train his sights on her questionable grammar.

Posting from his website, Stevens writes:

Dear Miley. I can’t stop listening to #GetItRight (great song, great message, great body), but maybe you need a quick grammar lesson. One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.” Whatever. I’m not the best lyricist, but you know what I mean. #Get It Right The Next Time. But don’t worry, even Faulkner messed it up. We all make mistakes, and surely this isn’t your worst misdemeanor. But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between. I feel that way all the time. It kind of sucks. But I have a feeling your “present perfect continuous” involves a lot more excitement than mine. Anyway, doesn’t that also sum up your career right now? Present. Perfect. Continuous. And Tense. Intense? Girl, you work it like Mike Tyson. Miley, I love you because you’re the Queen, grammatically and anatomically speaking. And you’re the hottest cake in the pan. Don’t ever grow old. Live brightly before your fire fades into total darkness. XXOO Sufjan

Adding a slightly deflating twist to this story, VICE unleashed one of their copy editors onto Stevens’ screed and found a few grammatical failings as well. Maybe the moral here is not to assign pop stars the job of advancing the English language.

H/t Gawker

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. skooterdog1

    October 15, 2013 at 5:49 am

    I wonder if Miley even graduated HS? Maybe she didn’t need to bother with such things when she hit the big time. My money is on the 27 club. I hope she gets her life in order before that time. Otherwise, she is going to burn out fast and be gone.

  2. michellemarsh

    October 15, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Did you read this before you wrote the headline? Its not really an attack. I think he might be hitting on her.

  3. Ben Sonenberg

    October 15, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Musicians aren’t grammarians as poets prosing stanza aren’t criticized for being sententially incorrect for grammar or logic. A lyric can be written in anacoluthic form and entire songs may appear as literary lacuna, though songs aren’t essays and songs are a far cry from a meretricious niggling blogger. “I am Sufjan Stevens and this is my ghetto blog” … reads as: “I am Mister Rogers and It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
    A beautiful day for a neighbor.
    Would you be mine?
    Could you be mine?…
    It’s a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
    A neighborly day for a beauty.
    Would you be mine?
    Could you be mine?…
    I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
    I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
    So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day.
    Since we’re together we might as well say:
    Would you be mine?
    Could you be mine?
    Won’t you be my neighbor?
    Won’t you please,
    Won’t you please?
    Please won’t you be my neighbor?
    Sufjan wrote numerous sentences in his bucolic spiel which are completely anacoluthic and in absolute scholarly fashion, vitiate his credibility in which he suggests is “fire”.
    Sufjan’s years of education doesn’t seem to pay off here, and if I took this crap to his college, his professors would agree as all sentences must be written, in repetitive tedium, sententially. Each sentence must carry logic and grammar, so to my reader, does this look like each sentence contains a verb or noun?
    Present.
    Perfect.
    Continuous.
    And Tense.
    Intense?
    [This is shit]
    Ali’s poem, “Me,We”, can pass the mark but Ali wasn’t writing an essay, Sufjan thinks he wrote something of the sort but his essay is crap.
    Technically speaking, Miley’s intellectual arrangement for any artistic prosaic is her personal colloquialism much like Faulkner’s and her reply to Sufjan shouldn’t be to the polite tune of “Thank you Gilligan, I enjoyed your show even though I thought you and the Skipper were plagiarized from Dogberry and Verges”, but to actual reply of “Fuck you, you pretentious ass white trust fund “payaso”; take your fantasist ass and jerk off to a rainbow while pretending you are a giant “lite-brite” 1970′s FAO Schwartz display”.

  4. kellyjdrummer

    October 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I’m sorry but, what does this Miley person do?

  5. rogerwolsey

    October 15, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    in fact she may have actually meant laying in bed rather than lying in bed all day. ; )
    (one is merely having one’s body in a reclined, horizontal position, the other is having physical relations with people)

  6. Rayanne Stemmler

    October 15, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    You actually used the word “anacoluthic.”

  7. kellyjdrummer

    November 21, 2013 at 5:21 am

    *Graduated FROM HS?”

  8. Kelly CurleeHorn

    November 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I just had to leave a big ol’ LOL at this entire non-issue. Miley, don’t bite off your tongue and you’ll be alright. Singer-songwriters, get off the Miley Tit and make your own fame. Open letters, my ass.

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