You may have noticed that Madonna has been in fine form lately – at least when it comes to acting like an insufferable, disrespectful asshole. The pop singer has somehow shifted from years of creating and releasing genre-bending, though-provoking music that empowered a generation of young girls to searching for the best way to aimlessly push everyone’s buttons. And to what end? What can Madonna possibly have to gain from purposeful nip slips and slapping swastika’s on people’s foreheads? Her recent actions while on tour supporting MDNA have raised questions about whether there’s a difference between being cutting edge and just throwing tantrums just to get attention.
The latest Madonna news involves Lady Gaga, a musician with whom the Queen of Pop clearly takes issue. Madonna told a Brazilian talk show, “I’m a really big fan of [Born This Way]. I’m glad that I helped Gaga write it.” Zing! To be fair, there are a lot of sonic similarities between Gaga’s latest effort and some of Madonna’s formative pop songs. But why does Madonna feel the need to make quips instead of acknowledging the fact that imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery? We imagine that perhaps Madonna is threatened by this youngest, edgier pop star who apes her blond hair and sexually charged image. Maybe Madonna is feeling old and washed up. Or maybe she’s just inherently a jerk.
But making public jabs at your peers is something best left for politics. Music fans – especially pop music fans – are looking for an escape, an entry point into a short-lived alternate reality. We listen to music because it magnifies our own emotions and experiences, because it’s fun to dance to and because it has the potential to take us somewhere new. The last thing we need – and want – is the musicians we admire to be acting like total dickheads, to us or to each other.
Over the weekend, despite a ban set by local authorities and despite a horrifically tragic mass shooting in
Aurora, CO, Madonna pulled out her prop guns onstage in . She may have done it to push buttons and make some kind of social or political statement, but her actions read to the public as disrespectful and crass. We all feel a collective sadness about the gun violence that occurred in Scotland . We are mourning together. The last thing we want to see is some pop star who thinks she has still has something relevant to say brandishing fake guns onstage at a show. While celebrities like Christian Bale and President Obama are visiting Colorado Colorado and offering their sympathies to the victims and their families, Madonna is off in Europe acting like her actions are no big deal.
Every day there is another headline, another bout of news regarding Madonna and her latest “shocker” on tour. But we don’t need musicians who think baring their nipple changes anything about the world. We need musicians who push the boundaries of pop culture in new directions, who pursue social and political change through innovative methods (i.e. not swastikas), and, most of all, we need musicians who know when to step back, bow their heads and keep the guns offstage. Say what you will about Lady Gaga, but we’d argue she knows all these things (and is raising money for her own foundation that helps gay, lesbian and transgender youth).
We’d love to see Madonna do or say something positive, especially this week. Just one headline that isn’t about a dick move she pulled onstage would suffice. Otherwise when her next album arrives there will be no fans left to buy it.
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