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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Entertaining fisking of sorts

From Pop Matters, Cynthia Fuchs fisks a pathetic attempt to make a controversy out of Madonna. Not that Madonna has shied away from controversy in her past, not at all. But it is extremely silly of the media to cover her latest controversial act in awed and outraged tones, as if they didn't need her to be controversial as much as, if not more than, she needed them. But Madonna is touring again, presumably because she wants to, and her fan base is built up enough that it's likely she doesn't need to shock people to attract more fans. This interview sounds pretty mundane.
The funniest part is the desperate attempt to reignite a slut panic:

If Maddy's current activities aren't so exciting, what about her past, all that salacious and promiscuous sex? She did, after all, go through what McFadden calls a "conga line" of men, including the usually trotted out picture assembly: Sean Penn, Dennis Rodman, and Warren Beatty, all, incidentally, apparently healthy and settled into their own current lives, much as she is. "I just ripped through relationships, in a willy-nilly, completely selfish, what's in it for me?" says Madonna. Nowadays, she's all about compromise. "Step number one to a successful marriage," Madonna smiles, "is learn to apologize, right?" Plus, she's on friendly terms with Lola's dad, Carlos Leon. Not much drama there either.

A conga line? Jeez, that's not a mean thing to say, is it? Madonna sounds like she practically apologized for doing what a majority of men in her position do. If I were her, this is exactly what I would say. "Oh, I'm sorry. Was I not supposed to use my fame to get a stream of hot guys into bed? Do you ask Mick Jagger to apologize for going through a 'conga line' of women?" Nah, she was nice about it, very professional.
I don't mean to disappoint anyone who wants me to hate on Madonna. I don't have a problem with her. I'm a little puzzled that she's so famous; if our society wasn't so puritanical, her pedestrian sexual displays wouldn't have much power. I guess there's a brillance to what she's done. By talent alone, she's nothing more than an exceptional dance pop singer. She doesn't deserve to be compared to consumate musicians like Prince or Bowie, like this article does. And by that I don't mean to put her down--it's not fair in general, and it's not fair to her because it's a way of deliberately ignoring what she does do. She's managed to position herself perfectly to be shocking enough to get press but not be so shocking that she couldn't get airplay, which is a target that is actually pretty hard to hit as it's constantly moving. But she's lost her touch, which is fine. We all have to get our gray hairs.


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