An Open Letter to Open Letters


I know you are a passing fad, along with those internet memes of drawings of turn of the century women espousing contemporary knowledge, kittens with Hitler mustaches, or profile pictures of your doppelganger (FYI many of you are severely overshooting your doppelganger choices, no you do not bear much resemblance to a Rooney sister or that annoying kid in One Direction). But you, Open Letter, you are going too far. I blame Pinterest or Oprah or The View or Taylor Swift, or I don't know who, but mark my words something sinister is behind this and we are all in danger of being psychologically pinned if we don’t stop it.

You were cute when you started, oh look, someone cares enough about whatever that he or she feels the need to write and publish a letter on the interweb. Then we started getting open letters to EVERYTHING. Open letters to Paula Dean, Wax Museums, Miley Cyrus, Johnny Football, Facebook, Skype, Google, Teenage Girls, Teenage Boys, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Kris Humphries, Reggie Bush, Khloe, Lamar, and yes, even cheese. Even open letters to open letters have been written, a lot. At the risk of adding to the din, let me offer some healthy alternatives to publishing a self-serving letter on the internet after you’ve been worked up into a temporary emotional state about something and thereby seeking approval of people you don’t know or haven’t seen since high school, college, or prom about a topic that will be gone in the next news cycle if not sooner.

How about an actual letter?

Know what’s weird, we have an alternative to the open letter and it’s called a letter. Miley has a publicist who can, should the letter strike the exact emotional chord you’re shooting for, track down Billy Ray or one of those back-up dancers with the giant bear backpacks or, heaven’s gift, Miley herself. This accomplishes two things. First, the rest of us who don’t give two craps about your heart-felt dissertation will be spared its impact and second, and maybe more importantly, Miley might actually read it. Sorry, my assumption is she can in fact read. Let me rephrase, Miley might actually have it read aloud to her.

How about an alternative to a letter?


You know what Johnny Football might like? He might like an edible arrangement. Yes, they make those. Yes, they are delicious.  The mango kiwi blossom looks particularly amazing. Johnny might even sign a pineapple daisy and get it back to you. Or check this, you can send them a build-a-bear! Not a bear person? No worries, they have monkeys, cats, my little ponies, and others. It’s a freaking Noah’s Arc of cuddle. This will again limit others and my access to your thoughts on why a 20 year old should give a rip about your 11 year old. Plus, you’ll have comforting thoughts knowing that Johnny has a little stuffed buddy that isn’t Uncle Nate or Drake.

Maybe don’t write a letter at all.

This may be your best bet in most situations. If you’re pondering why teenage girls don’t wear bras or dress slutty or why teenage boys don’t pull their pants up or say yes mam and no mam just remember they probably aren’t ever going to know the letter was to them. Most braless high school girls are totally going to agree with you because they know that one girl who’s like totally not their friend but they act like they’re friends, and “she is such an evil witch and yes I totally get it why YOU don’t like her because last year at the party at that one guy’s house she totally gave me a look and I’m like totally not going to deal with that so I gave her a look back and she was like whatever so ya she needs to wear a bra because she’s a skank.” High school boys aren’t going to pull their pants up because most of the time they don’t care about their pants or anything for that matter. Plus somewhere there are high school girls who think that sporting a sag is so gangster.

Bottom line, you’re epic missive won’t hit its target, especially if it’s directed at a group or class of people who’s brains haven’t developed the requisite social or cognitive skills to react properly. But more than that, maybe you shouldn’t be so worried about what your pre-teen child is going to do when he or she see Miley twerking or Johnny Football taunting. We did/do a lot of dumb stuff, some might argue open letter worthy dumb stuff, but still if someone wrote me an open letter I’d probably just dismiss it as pointless and keep doing whatever it was the letter aimed to modify. Maybe write your kid a letter and tell 'em you love 'em or that they're great or that they're a huge disappointment to you. I don't know your kid so you can fill in the blank.

Your kids will probably be fine and if they turn out like Miley then take advantage of their money and by a rocket car or an island and enjoy. Kids don’t watch MTV anymore; they watch stuff way worse most days.

Just buy them a bra, a belt, or both and tell them not taunt a Rice player for crying out loud, especially when they’re leading by 20 points on National TV.

Posted on September 5, 2013 .