Monday, February 19, 2007

Madonna: clinging to the shoulders of giants

Madonna, have you thought through the role models you're choosing for yourself?

Pop star Madonna has said she "wants to be like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and John Lennon."

Let's just leave aside the whole question of how many babies those three removed from their families under dubious circumstances, and - pausing just a second or two to catch our breath - wonder why she chose three people who were shot to death.

Yes, Madonna is trying to again shift the gathering impression that she's an off-the-boil popstar, spokesperson for a nasty cash-hungry cult and happy to wave cash to short-circuit the rules the rest of us have to stick to, by trying to cast herself as a humanitarian.

Actually, she should have tried going for Mother Theresa, whose main interest in the poor she helped was converting them to her belief system.

Madge also turned her attention to the whole upsetting-orthodox-religions business with the mock crucifixion on her last tour (something she could share with Lennon, admittedly):
"Jesus's message was to love your neighbour as yourself and these are people in need," she added, claiming it had not been her intention to be controversial.

"I tried to take a powerful image and use it to draw attention to a situation that needs attention," she said.

"I'd like to think I am taking people on a journey... I am not just entertaining people, but giving them something to think about when they leave."

Perhaps that's really true - she clearly has started to believe that she's occupying some sort of humanitarian role, and the knock-on from that is she seems to think that everything she does is, instantly, imbued with extra levels of meaning.

But, come on, Mrs. Ritchie: you were lowered onto the stage strapped to a giant, spangly cross in a purple leotard. Did it never occur to you that - if there was a message in this - it would be obscured by the yelling "look at me! LOOK AT ME!"? That, if there was a serious message, choosing a way to deliver it would upset people with deep and sincere beliefs, and continuing to push ahead with that medium further made it seem less like "love your neighbour" and more "I am right, you are wrong"?

And, really, do you think that Gandhi would have owned two large London homes and a massive estate in Wiltshire - and, further, that he would have forced the UK government to redraw maps to steal people's right of access to their land?

Madonna, you're no Martin Luther King. You might, at a push, just about make a Jackie Kennedy.