Tag Archives: Sinéad O’Conner

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be right

Sinéad O’Conner died today at the age of 56.

O’Conner first became famous in 1990 for her cover of Prince’s song Nothing Compares 2 U

But that’s not why she’s remembered.

Two years later in 1992, she became infamous when she ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live and said “fight the real enemy.” The intention was to protest the Catholic Church’s abuse of children, but honestly — and I saw it live — the message didn’t really come across. It came off more like a generic act of adolescent rebellion, which I, being very young at the time, approved of.

The backlash, even in “liberal” New York City, was intense. She quickly became a hated laughing stock. Just about the only famous person who really stood up for her was Kris Kristofferson, an actor and a song writer who starred in Michael Cimino’s bomb Heaven’s Gate and wrote the song Me and Bobby Magee for Janis Joplin. Kristofferson consciously acts like a mountain man from the old west, but don’t let that fool you. He was actually a Rhodes Scholar.

I’m not quite as anti-Catholic as I used to be. In fact, ever since the American left turned pro-war during the dirty war in Syria and now fully supports the proxy war in Ukraine, I’ve started thinking of myself as a conservative, or at least as an apolitical moderate. But in 1992, Sinéad O’Conner was right. The Catholic Church was covering up sexual abuse of boys by priests. What’s more, John Paul II was a terrible Pope, one of the most destructive figures of the late 20th Century. He was the “real enemy.”

I’m quite sure, if there’s a God, Sinéad O’Conner is in heaven, and John Paul II is rotting in hell along with his buddies Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Augusto Pinochet.