“Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.”


Reading Sinead O’ Connor’s phenomenal open letter to Miley Cyrus the other day reminded me that as a teenager, Sinead O’ Connor was a hero of mine: I was fan of her music, inspired by her attitude and slightly in love with her. Watching her perform with such passion and lash out with such fearless anger I was blown away that this petite, softly spoken Irish girl could have such an impressive set of cojones. To her, it wasn’t enough to just be a singer; she was intent on using her voice to fight injustice and get some serious shit off her chest.

The church, the media and other musicians didn’t like her confrontational style. But she never backed down and never stopped to worry about what other people thought of her. John Cleese famously said, “It’s the goal of every Englishman to make it safely to his grave without ever having been embarrassed.” This resonates with me because I’m quite a self-conscious person and embarrassment is often my greatest fear. And, for some reason, as I get older that fear gets bigger. Another quote that resonates is the John Lennon lyric, “But now these days are gone/I’m not so self-assured/Now I find I’ve changed my mind/I’ve opened up the doors.”

But sod the fear of embarrassment. I’m inspired by the footage of this beautiful young girl armed with nothing but a voice and an intense sense of indignation, taking on the world. In my own small way, every time I’ve managed to conquer the fear of looking stupid, it’s worked out just fine. The worst that can happen is that you’re met with indifference, ridicule or both. So what? How bad can that momentary embarrassment be? Sinead O’ Connor was almost universally condemned and attacked for the incident above. She had the balls to risk all that disapproval to make a point she passionately believed in. And decades later, as we begin to uncover just a fraction of the horrible shit that’s taken place under cover of the Catholic church, her anger and bravery have been utterly vindicated.


About antmelder
Executive Creative Director at Host/Havas Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

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