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Thanks so much for your post – it expresses a lot of what I have been thinking about on this topic this week, as we've all been – like it or not - swept away in Madonna's media blitz. I cannot think of any other entertainer today who'd be able to get, in the space of one week: the cover of People, huge features in the New York Times and USA Today, Today show, Regis & Kelly, Will & Grace, countless hours on MTV and VH1 (even recycled interviews that are years-old), Dateline special next week, not to mention 900 pages in W. She has commodified herself. But as she famously said on the cover of the New York Post in the 80s, when nude photos of her surfaced in Penthouse, "So what?"

In a way, it is sad that people who are much better singers and performers – like Cyndi Lauper and even Cher – could never hope to achieve such mass exposure. Maybe they wouldn't want to... Nevertheless, Madonna does SOMETHING for an awful lot of people.

Yes, she steals others' ideas and pawns them off as her own, yes she fucked over many kind-hearted folks who paved her way to success, yes she used her bellybutton and tits to sell records for years, yes she's now resorted to world politics to create a stir, yes her voice ain't that great, yes she's a megalomaniac, yes she cannot act, yes she's a hypocrite and does seem unaware of how contradictory it is to sing about "American Life" while carrying the new rainbow-hued very-limited-edition Louis Vuitton bag. But so what? I can't believe that a lot of folks, if they knew how to do it, wouldn't also be as exploitive to achieve untold fortune and fame. Doesn't make it right, per se, but...

The people who keep her in business, her fans, aren't stupid. (Though some may argue otherwise: since the Burning Up 12" I bought in 1984, I've snapped up every remix, every magazine cover, every concert program. I'm sure that does sound rather stupid!) But she's a guilty pleasure. There's something about the fantasy of who she is, who she thinks she is, and what she relates through her art that keeps my inner drag queen coming back for more. Her music, no matter how critically panned or acclaimed, is a fun escape for me. Might be off key, and her lyrics are not Shakespeare -- they're not even Sheryl Crow -- but she's entertainment. I really don't believe that with each new album, video, or magazine cover that she thinks she's fooled the masses. The point is, everyone knows that her real shtick is marketing, but that didn't keep me, and thousands like me, from lining up to purchase her new product, several songs from which, I really like.

You're right that her very apparent uneasiness onstage on MTV this week was unsettling to watch. It's the same whether she's in concert or in a theatre or on film. She does not "give it up" the way a lot of performers do, and Cher is a good example. Cyndi Lauper and Siouxsie Sioux, too. They really allow their audiences to connect with them. She does have this perverse need to continue putting herself out there, without ever really putting herself out there.

It's so fascinating how divisive she is, even now, 20 years on.
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Michael remind me to slap you when i see ya...
How can you be "yeah she's a cunt with limited talent... but so what shes fab" that kind of blinkered view an apathy is why crap happens..
I really think that you can't praise "shite" you can't lionize "arrogance with ignorance" you can't support someone who is totally as self serving as her.... Sure she has done SOME good stuff and SURE she has had some fab images... but its all to the detriment of those she walked on, stole from and fucked to get it.... can't support that one, sorry. I just find her so transparent it grates on me.... but superficiality sells...
and ignorance is bliss...
Shes old, its tired, NEXT
There you are Anna Nicole. Good girl. Does this mean our date is off? Wink

Her relevancy has always been debatable. All's I'm talking about is that in spite of all of her many shortcomings, Madonna still entertains me. Doesn't mean that I would want to be friends with her (though I did babysit Lourdes in a dream once...stopped by Madge's place once a day to feed little Lola, as I would to take care of a cat...) And I don't mean to say that I exactly respect and approve of the way she's gotten to where she is. But when she puts out a song that I can dance to, or shows up in a magazine in an amazing couture gown as if in a dream, I say, Sign Me Up.

[This message was edited by Michael Madison on 04-25-03 at 05:57 PM.]
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Madonna thinks...
"Americans are too obsessed with money and too obsessed with the way they look".

I can't believe she actually said this though. She's not that stupid. (Is she?)

I was talking to a mutual friend of ours at "Magique" who had just been with her. I asked her why Madge was doing all this stupid promo stuff? (kind of unlike her) She said she was nervous about all the bad press the new record was getting.
(I said whatever you do, DON'T tell her about "Magique"! -sorry Michael, I know you like her.)
Last edited {1} the end of the day she is a brillaint entertainer, period. What more do you want or expect from her? She is no Mother Theresa and probably will not be nominated for a Nobel Peace prize but so what, she looks good and makes great songs and I don't know about you but thats all I require from a "POP" singer.
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Alright then our Jimmy.... think of it this way... a clever dick steals your ideas and designs and presents a collection .... that collection (which is all YOUR ideas) is being hailed as 'wonderful' et al... yet you are not getting the $ nor the credit... then i go to you and say.."wow did you see Clever dick, his stuff is brilliant"... and then i say, "well its only friggin fashion"... She's in a business - abeit being a 'pop star' its a business and shes a crook. A clever one... who gets more credit than she should.
clump clump - will step off me soap box now... tar!
PS Michael we can still date!
I missed all the Will & Grace/Dateline/MTV/VH1 rah rah rah...sometimes I like my bubble. But it sounds like she's done a good job of distracting people from the atrocities of the American occupation of Iraq, and the upcoming U.S. takeover of the entire Middle East. No one else has done such a good job since the war started; I'm certain she'll be brunching with Bush soon, as he thanks her for doing her patriotic duty. Those two were made for each other. Look out, Laura!

I was supposed to work the STEAM party in Brooklyn last night where they were giving away, you guessed it, American Life! Unfortunately, I had a bug and wasn't able to shovel that shite to the people (how many showers would I have had to take to clean that off my conscience?). I've heard there are a few good songs on it, and from people whose taste I I'll get to it, I'm sure. I'd just rather spend my money on The Dixie Chicks. I don't know if their music is any better, but from what I've heard and all I've read about them this past month, that's an act that could sweep me away.

By the way, Anna Nicole, you got a date for Wed. night? Big Grin
I always wanted to be a self-sucker. Then I could take a Holiday and bring back all of those happy days. Instantly.

I've had my ups and downs with her, but I fully admit there was a time in my life when I absolutely LIVED for her. (during the Blonde Ambition era) That's not the case anymore, but hey she's popped my cherry over the years.

As a teenager back in Denver, Madonna's first album, released when I was in highschool, conjured up all my life-long fantasies of being a New Yorker with its whole underground club scene filled with fascinating, freaky people straight off the pages of Interview magazine (at the time a much better read). While "Holiday" and "Burning Up" and "Physical Attraction" were first happening, friends would come back from trips to New York with citings of Madonna, Grace Jones and others ... I so badly wanted to be a part of it all. I later turned against her for a while when her second, more pop/commercial album came out because -- although I loved "Like A Virgin" -- I thought she'd gone too mainstream and teeny bopper and so her whole cool New York club credibility was shot in my mind. Likewise I pretty much hated the True Blue/Barbara Mandrell hair period, though I appreciate it more now. But then the release of Desperately Seeking Susan and "Get Into the Groove" brought me straight back to her again, all those weird New York locales in the movie etc and I even took courage from her Susan character when I came to New York with nothing but a couple of suit cases and $90 in my pocket (okay, I had one close friend who had moved here first).

After that I forgot about her for a while, then came Blonde Ambition which completely blew me away. The stagewear, the songs, the production numbers, the "Vogue" video -- it was all too much. I was obsessed. At the time I thought it was hot that she took those vogueing queens off the piers and threw them in the face of middle America, though of course in retrospect it meant the death of that subculture more or less. Throughout the 90s there were ups and downs, but if for nothing else other than teen nostalgia (but there are other reasons) Madonna even now still qualifies for a place on my pin-up wall, alongside my other treasured icons like Grace Jones, Annie Lennox, Boy George, Bowie, the Stones, the Beatles, Tina Turner, Stevie, James Bond, the Supremes and all the rest.

But that new song American Life does suck. And of course I still think she's a cunt.
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whats gross to me is that M seems to "go through" things. She has often seemed very "locust-like" - devouring a cool image or an idea and then on to the next. She might as well leave shells of her old selves littered all over the landscape. Wait a minute - she has! While I dont doubt that she's "evolved" as she says, the image switches she displayed which first had great meaning to me (like when "dress you up" became, well, yes - barbara mandrell!) seemed to become like a casting off of something cheap and meaningless. One gets the impression that not only does she go through styles, but also stylists! Not only does she go through haircuts, but also hairdressers and maybe even friends. She's been a huge part of my "american life", but at some point (shorty after "Sex" - imagine that hahaha!), her "evolution" became something cold and horrible to me. The songs were still good (love secret and beautiful stranger!) but even after Ray of Light (which I felt was a big artistic breakthrough for her)she seemed to move on so quickly. I think she's extraordinarily self-critical, and admittedly so - but I dont think she understands the true toll that takes on a person.

Well, Im here to tell her! Again, it seems like she never truely "gives it up", never truely reveals all that she pretends too - because she cannot accept it! I think she gets in her own way - all the time. The focus is never really on the music, which is where you find her revealing so much of herself - She's always in a the position of trying to explain her work, which is possibly a consequence of her somewhat artless handling of most interviews, stage banter, and all the other junk that goes along with the music. After a while you have to wonder if she hasnt purposely put in herself in this situation. What annoys me is that she tries so hard to give everyone the impression that she is this totally open, soulful artist. I have no doubt that she wants to be, but - if the work is the music, it seems to me like she gets in the way of it. If the work of art is "her", then I think self-acceptance would have to happen before she could really bring that all together.

I think on some important levels she doesn't have much of an understanding of her own fabulousness.

[This message was edited by Jade on 04-26-03 at 02:48 AM.]
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Those rotten "American Life"/'Che' posters are all over town, and hardly anyone can even be bothered to deface them--that's just how apathetic people's feelings are running toward her these days. But one person did put those funny 'anime' sticker-eyes over hers, and at -- I think -- 2nd av & 2nd St., someone wrote across her face YOU ARE NOT A REVOLUTION.

The revolutionary imagry on the cover & ad campaign for "American Life" is creepy, funny (in a laugh-at way), and sad. But if she had posed in such a way in 1986 or so, it wouldn't have been so hard to take seriously. She has this delusion of herself as a radical artist, but she's more like Debbie Reynolds than she is Cindy Sherman. At this point, at least.

And now that she's had kids and can't show her tits anymore, she's lost her two biggest selling points. Though I could also see her doing some here-I-am, droops-and-all nudie pix.
I don't get all this Madonna bashing, yes, she can be annoying but so can most pop stars, hell, Alanis Morrisette gets on my last nerve and let's not talk about Britney. The fact is Madonna was the first straight, white "Pop" star to openly embrace gays and blacks, whether she did it for the controversy or to cross over to that crowd (which I highly doubt since the crossover is usually vice versa) who cares. She did break new ground...granted she may sound tired now, though I think her new CD is not that bad, whatever, it's all starting to sound like a bunch of sour grapes to me.
I actually love the record. Its light years more fun (and focussed!) than "Music". I especially love the track 'Hollywood'. In one of the songs she even says something like "I need to learn to give it up" hahahah. maybe she's on to something there.

As a fan from the beginning, I have a love/hate relationship with her. You cant love everything a person does. I sure admire that she keeps putting her point of view out there. I was telling Lex and MM the other night that she should put on a free show for all her die-hard followers who've bought every blinking thing three times over from the beginning. then she could do a q & a and take us all out for cocktails.

I could talk all night about her. but I wont Smile
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Madonna Signs To Promote Gap

Pop superstar Madonna has agreed to a deal to become the new face of clothing giants The Gap. The Material Girl will join rapper Missy Elliott in a series of TV commercials for the American store. Although Gap have refused to confirm how much money Madonna will be paid for the ads, she picked up a staggering $6 million to promote cosmetic company Max Factor. She follows in the footsteps of a host of other stars including Dennis Hopper, Willie Nelson and Juliette Lewis - who have all appeared in Gap ads.

--World Entertainment News Ntwk

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