Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Over the Borderline

I think its time we had a chat about Madonna.

She’s been in the news a lot lately, due to her maybe, possibly impending divorce, and her maybe, possibly unholy alliance with Lenny Kravitz to destroy A-Rod’s marriage. She’s denied both, but let’s face it: she’s Madonna. It’s probably all true.

We’ve never really discussed Madge here on the Watchword. Probably because neither me nor Red are huge fans*. I don’t exactly dislike her; I used to, but then I learned to loosen up and embrace the occasional dance song. But we reached a point in our culture long ago where your opinion on Madonna’s music, or videos or latest accent doesn’t really matter; she is part of the social fabric. Like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and fluoride in the water, you can think whatever you want, but Madonna is here to stay.

Point being, Madonna bears discussing. First of all, the recent coverage has brought it to my attention that Madonna will be 50 this August. 50!!! This person is now 50 years old. This boggles my mind. It’s fascinating not only because she’s closer in age to my Mom than me but still looks better than I ever have or will, but because after a 25odd year career, she’s still relevant. Her new single is everywhere and actually pretty good. Ringo Starr can’t say that, and he was a f&*king Beatle! MBA students should study Madonna’s career. We should all study Madonna’s career.

And then there is the social impact. You can deny it all you want, but Madonna has had a social impact and I will fight you like a TechnoViking over this point. A lot of the impact has been bad: there’s a 75 percent chance we wouldn’t have little girls wearing belly shirts that say “SLUT” if it weren’t for Madonna. However, there is also a 30 percent chance we would never have had Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a 9 percent chance we wouldn’t have had two female Secretaries of State without the Material Girl**. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Hillary Clinton and Madonna Louise Ciccone share a thread of DNA.

I’ve actually started thinking lately that lasses my age don’t quite realize the impact Madonna has had on our lives. Madonna released her first single the year I was born (I’ll let you go to wikipedia and do the math), and while she didn’t hit it big until a few years later, that means I’ve kind of never lived in a world without her. She had a hand in the fact that I couldn’t get through a frat party in college without being asked to make out with my friends or dance on a table, but she has also influenced the fact that I’m expected to make something of myself and do it on my own terms. When you think about it, Madonna doesn’t have a great singing voice, and while she’s very pretty, you’ve met people in real life who are on her level of attractiveness. That’s sort of oddly inspirational: she was able to make it big based on smarts and cunning, rather than just being hot. While she used her sexuality (almost exclusively) to get ahead, you always got the impression she was in command of it, not being used for it.

Madonna’s is a mixed legacy to be sure (sort of like the Immaculate Collection, which is still one of the best album titles ever) but I honestly don’t know where we’d be without her. Do you?

(And come on, Like a Prayer is a really good song).

* After conducting some research (i.e., reading my own comments section) I've learned Red actually IS a huge Madonna fan. Sorry, kid. Vogue with your bad self.

**Figures were achieved through a scientific method you would never understand. No, seriously, don’t even ask. You can’t handle it!


Falwless said...

This was beautiful, Liz. Truly. You did, however, leave out Madonna's social impact of adopting babies from third-world countries.

pistols at dawn said...

And the fact that she's frequently naked, which I approve of.

Red said...

Actually, I am a big fan of Madonna. I owned almost all of her pre-moving-to-the-UK-and-becoming-kinda-euro
albums. I think she is amazing and we all owe her a debt of gratitude.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, she made baby farming popular before Angelina Jolie, didn't she?

She is still hot though, she looked fucking hot in that Vogue video though.

She had a huge impact on men in their 30's, as I am sure most men masturbated as a teen to most of her videos and "Truth or Dare" movie.

What? Was I the only one?

Anonymous said...

If I were Madonna, I would _______________. <-- if you want to know what goes in that space you'll have to get me really drunk as it is dirtier than i am normally and that means it's just plain discusting.

"Brittany S."