Following in the footsteps of Sinead O’Connor, Sufjan Stevens posted an open letter to Miley Cyrus on his Tumblr account (“The World is Death”) this morning, alternately praising the pop star and chiding her for poor grammar. His issue stems from the song ”#GetItRight,” which he otherwise loves (“Great song, great message, great body,” he writes). But one line in particular brought out the grammar nazi in him: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Take it away, Sufjan:
“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.”
You should read the full letter, an odd mix of funny and sad, here
. In under 300 words, he manages to praise her body, compare her favorably to Mike Tyson and call her a “Queen” (for anatomical and
grammatical reasons, he’s quick to point out).
What more could you ask for? Besides, perhaps, a new album…