While Sinead O'Connor's open letters to Miley Cyrus focused on the pop star's willingness to "prostitute" herself, Sufjan Stevens has tackled the real issues in his own open letter to the 20-year-old—specifically, the bad grammar that turns up on her new album, Bangerz.
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.
Dear Sufjan Stevens, Please consider this our own open letter to you, requesting that you please come over to our office and perform #GetItRight with the correct grammar in place. (#ForReal) Love, Gothamist