Saturday, September 25, 2004
Dublin, Ireland One-time pop sensation Sinead O'Connor was back in the news Friday -- by taking out a full-page ad pleading for people to stop making fun of her.
O'Connor, who shot to international fame in 1990 with her biggest hit, "Nothing Compares 2 U," claimed she'd been "consistently ridiculed, lashed and called mad" for decades, particularly in her native Ireland.
"I don't think there can be any person male or female from this country who has been as consistently lashed as I have been and always am no matter what I set out to do," she complained during her 2,000-word essay, published in the Irish Examiner newspaper.
"If ye all think I am such a crazy person why do ye use me to sell your papers?" she wrote, adding, "Please, I just want to be a little old lady now, and not be all controversial and not be bashed and called crazy and laughed at when I open my mouth to sing or speak."
During her early career, O'Connor was known for her skinhead-style haircut and attention-seeking stunts. She refused to let "The Star-Spangled Banner" be played before a concert in New Jersey and ripped apart a picture of Pope John Paul II on live television in a protest against the Catholic Church.
In recent years, she's clashed with her own siblings -- particularly her brother Joe, an internationally regarded author -- about her allegations of an abusive childhood at the hands of her mother. Her siblings insist she's exaggerating claims of abuse.
She returned to that theme Friday. "Before God let me swear to you that if I or any of us were to tell you what we went through this country would cry for a month. To know that my brothers and sister survived, makes me proud of us all," she wrote.
O'Connor has continued to court headlines with unusual decisions and occasional essays published in local newspapers.
She was ordained a priest in a breakaway Catholic sect in 1999, but subsequently stopped referring to herself as Mother Bernadette Mary and said she'd found the celibacy rule impossible to follow.
Last year, she declared she was retiring from the music business, was interested in a movement called the Death Midwives that counsels chronically ill people, and planned to train as a religion teacher for elementary schoolchildren.
The 37-year-old singer, who has two children, resurfaced on Ireland's airwaves Wednesday when she told the national RTE radio network about her campaign to stamp out head lice in children.
The spread of head lice is a chronic problem in Irish schools, but some commentators sarcastically noted her group's e-mail address, "nittwit," and poked fun at her appeal for Ireland to stage a "national delousing day."