Dear People who write open letters,
Hope you’re well and happily working on your next personal-yet-public response to something you think will give you a slice of the spotlight currently shining on whatever it is you’ve decided is worth writing about, in such a particular manner. (Take a breath)
Being a two-year-old, I’m usually inclined to make it pretty clear what I think about things - and require absolutely no prompting to do so. Let’s take morning time as an example.
Within two minutes of my arrival downstairs, no-one at Telfer Towers II is under any illusion about how I want breakfast to play out. My food, entertainment and table companion preferences are all laid out before anyone else has time to stretch.
It’s the same in the car. Whether we’re talking playlist, snack or destination choices, everyone knows exactly how I want things to go. (I might add that I don’t always get my own way... or at least I think I can recall one occasion that happened).
And I would imagine, as I become older and - this column aside - develop my ability to articulate opinions on more complicated matters than which tights I’ll tolerate on any given day, my urge to tell people what I think will not rely on someone else saying or doing something first.
Which is kind of why I’m writing this letter to you peeps.
In recent weeks, I have become aware of your work, due to what seems to be an increasing trend to dress up opinions in the form of publicly played out correspondence.
When pop star Miley Cyrus decided it might be a good idea to see what a sledge hammer tasted like, while sitting on a wrecking ball, in the clothes IgglePiggle gave her (aka the nude... not a big blue suit and a red blanket), fellow singer Sinead O’Connor felt the need to join your ranks and pen an open letter, spelling out where Miley was going wrong.
Miley then responded in the same format... and Sinead replied to that. Surely a phone call would have made more sense - I’m sure Ms O’Connor still has enough pull to get a mobile number when she needs one. As long as it’s not for the Pope.
(I may also add that national treasure Annie Lennox managed to put similar concerns about the general state of the female image in pop music across, without starting her argument ‘Dear’).
More recently, Mr Steve Coogan, who always strikes me as very serious for someone who has made a career out of laughter, wrote an open letter to another comedian, David Mitchell who had written something about newspapers.
The latter of the two then wrote a (much more succinct) reply.
Another example features Mr Mitchell’s friend, Robert Webb who felt the need to pen (and get published) a lengthy note detailing his thoughts on the controversial voting strategy of a comic Russell Brand.
Now I have no problem in people - you included - having their say on things. I make a living out of it for crying out loud (or at least a steady supply of bananas and Cadbury’s buttons, as per my verbal contract).
But it strikes me that you people who write open letters could be accused of chasing a bit of attention for yourselves. It has been noted that the only open letters which get any coverage are by the kinds written by those types already renowned for their deep need of regular ego polishing.
They’re always infused with language designed to get written about by others... and more often than not are heavily dunked in nasty sarcasm, disguised as friendly banter.
So, in the style of a friend, can I just say that if you have something to say on a subject... just say it. It doesn’t need to finish with ‘Yours Sincerely’. And if you truly care about someone else’s wellbeing... get your agent to get a personal email to them. We really don’t need to see it.
Curious Georgie x
P.S. Feel free to write an open letter to me, if you disagree. #JOKING