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The Cleansing of Madonna

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The Cleansing of Madonna.

I have made it clear before, I’ve never been a big fan of Madonna’s music. She doesn’t have a nice voice. She can’t act. And I have always had a little grudge against her because I always thought that she stole a bit of Cyndi Lauper’s thunder. Still, she was a staple when I used to DJ. I also have to admit that I always did like her as a person because I thought she had spot on marketing sense and I loved how she was always pushing the envelope. She was naughty, saucy, ever evolving, and pure entertainment. You may not have liked Madonna, but you were always interested in what thing she was going to do next, or what might slip from her lips. I mean come on, this was the like-a-virgin-cross-buring-kissing-black-jesus-in-a-church-making-books-called-sex-and-being-naked-while-peppering-her-speeches-with-the-word-f**k-and-having-a-child-outside-marriage-just-because-she-wanted-to, woman.

Madonna in one word= Modern.

But now, this virgin/whore is prancing around in the commercials for the more wholesome than whole, the more American than American, the most boring of dull commercials of a company called the Gap. The Gap, trying to appeal to all of America with its jeans and chinos and repetitive clothing. Ironic isn’t it then that the poster child of hedonistic, naughty, excess has become its representative.

Or is it?

I have to admit, when I first saw those Gap ads here in Scotland, I was sickened. The Missy Elliot/ Madonna combo prancing about to sell jeans is much like drinking washing your teeth after drinking orange juice. It’s a cringe-worthy romp, suitable for playing for children at Halloween if you really want to scare them. Still, for anyone growing up with Madonna, it’s amazing to see her there, telling you to get into the Gap. Then again, Gap=boring, Madonna=boring.

Madonna stared to get really boring when she married Guy Ritchie. She got boring when she started to take up and actually spout how much she enjoyed modern domesticity. She got even more boring when she took up with the fad that it seems that every Hollywood celebrity seems to get caught up in: strange religious cults… in this case, Kabala. Her record sales have been steadily declining, and save for her strong fan base in a few key communities; she obviously isn’t attracting any new fans. There was a time she would not have pulled a video just because she thought it would not get played or because it may have offended some people.

But then again, perhaps we need to look at this from another angle= did Madonna get boring, or did she just get old. For a 45 year old woman, she looks great for her age – but the manner she was carrying on in her late twenties and thirties would probably seem quite uncomfortable to her (as well as us) today. Still, I don’t think she needed to sell herself out at the last moment with these Gap ads. Madonna who once was someone who hyper controlled her music and image has ended up a dancing marionette for the monotony of corporate, mainstream, America. Sure, she may be laughing all the way to the bank, but there was a time when she could have done so anyway, without wearing a pair of Gap kakis.

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  • Madonna and Sean Penn, remember those days?

    Haven’t heard Madonna’s new CD yet but like you, Victoria, I’m not all that psyched about her as an artist or as a controversial figure any more.

    Was at a casino last night and they were doing a tribute to artists and Madonna was one of them. Only heard the early stuff. It’s like when Loverboy went on tour last year and they only played the old stuff, never even acknowledging their newest CD (Loverboy VI, for those who care).

  • Eric Olsen

    It is almost always the case – even for artists with long and successful careers – that the early material is most indelible. This was when the public formed its conception of the artist and that is very difficult to shake.