Eighteen years ago I remember sitting in front of my television screen watching Saturday Night Live. That was back when the show was still funnier than terminal cancer patients and was even known to cause actual laughter.
Anyway, I was watching SNL. That night they were featuring a young musical guest named Sinéad O’Connor. During her performance of the song War she included lines about child abuse. And as the song came to a close, without warning, she pulled out a picture of the Pope, declared “Fight the real enemy,” and then proceeded to rip up the picture. This was followed by perhaps the quickest, most jarring cut to commercial in television history.
Eighteen years later I still remember that night. I didn’t understand the full meaning back then but even then I loved seeing the breaking of taboos and I understood enough to applaud Sinéad O’Connor when so many were quick to condemn her.
But perhaps I didn’t truly understand Sinéad’s message until now. This week, more than ever before in my lifetime, it seems that almost everyone else is beginning to understand what she was saying all those years ago too. Suddenly it seems like the world has finally caught up to her and people are actually interested in hearing this once despised musician’s take on the scandal she warned us about eighteen years ago. If only the people had listened then instead of cheering idiot celebrities threatening physical violence against her.
If only we’d listened.
But we didn’t.
And now, eighteen years later, The Washington Post has given Sinéad O’Connor a real platform to tell us exactly what she tried to tell us then. If only we’d listened the first time.
But there’s hope. Let us not make the same mistakes we made then. As I tried to convey in my most recent Examiner article, now is the time to act.
Now it’s time to stop looking the other way and pretending these problems don’t exist.
Now it’s time to fight the real enemy.Vodpod videos no longer available.