Tag Archives: Popular Media

Get It Right – Popular Media and Fact Checking: On Sufjan Stevens’ Open Letter to Miley Cyrus

15 Oct

Lately, all the cool kids have been writing Miley Cyrus open letters. This past weekend Sufjan Stevens’ hopped on the bandwagon and penned a quick note to Miley on his tumblr regarding her song “#GetItRight”.

Sufjan makes a compelling argument regarding grammar usage in the song.

“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.”

He continues (garnering a LOL from me):

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.

Sufjan is (gently?) poking some fun at Miley’s grammar and songwriting skills. However, there is a major flaw in his argument. Miley didn’t write the song. Pharrell has sole writing credit for #GetItRight.

I have been perusing a lot of articles covering Sufjan’s open letter. Not a single one has commented on the fact she didn’t write it. So not only did Sufjan not factcheck, neither did many major news publications. Including Pitchfork.com, EOnline.Com, Us Weekly, NME.Com, and even the Huffington Post.

Miley is a hot topic right now, for a myriad of reasons. But before you go ahead and write an open letter, take a moment to check a few facts first before you send it out into the world of the internet.

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