Jewish World Review May 19, 2003 / 17 Iyar, 5763
Get back home, Madonna
"Be true to your school." -- The Beach Boys
Madonna has a lesson for all of us, and we should listen up. The
fabulously wealthy diva's career is on the skids, and she is probably as
shocked as anyone. Her new album opened at No. 1 but was heavily discounted,
selling in many places for less than $10. Since that first week, her sales
have slipped badly, and radio play is down 40 percent according to Billboard
Madonna left her current home in the United Kingdom to come back
to her original home, the USA, to promote the recording. There she was with
Regis and Kelly, on MTV and on "Dateline." But the 44-year-old singer really
didn't have much to say other than please buy my album. This was a far cry
from the controversial town crier of years past, when Madonna warbled about
being "like a virgin" and waxed poetic over enjoying Material Girl status.
Now, Madonna seemingly stands for nothing and lives abroad with
her husband who directed her in perhaps the worst film ever made, a remake
of the classic Lena Wertmuller movie "Swept Away." Madonna spent a lot of
time on the beach in that flick and, at times, the tide actually refused to
In real life, the working-class lass from Michigan often affects
a British accent, and is sometimes portrayed in the media as a person
seeking membership in the aristocracy.
This is not the Madonna we used to know, the bouncy lady who
rose up from the school of hard knocks. Sadly, it is now quite obvious that
the singer is not being true to her school.
You may remember that before she hit it big with catchy pop
tunes, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone modeled nude for artists and checked
hats in a restaurant. She became a true American success story, coming out
of nowhere to command millions as a performer. During those days I liked
Madonna and understood her populist appeal. Then, as the cliche goes,
Madonna began to take herself seriously. Yikes!
So now we have an aging icon who, on her last concert tour,
refused to sing most of her classic hits. A pretentious performer whose last
big video featured a political "statement" where she threw a hand grenade at
a President Bush lookalike. That ridiculous video was so inane that Madonna,
herself, pulled it from airplay. What is this woman thinking?
I cannot possibly say, but I can say this. Madonna has abandoned
her older fan base, and the younger folks, who buy most of the CDs, don't
have much interest in her. Kids today like music without instruments and
melodies. Go figure.
So here's the Madonna lesson: Always dance with the ones who
brung ya. Stay true to your school and to your roots. I know everybody's
into "evolving these days," but resist that temptation. If you are a
working-class person, retain that sensibility, even though your earned
income might elevate you above your original economic circumstance.
Madonna used to be fun to watch and listen to. Her success
demonstrated the fact that in America you can make it to the top by starting
at the bottom.
Today, however, Madonna is no longer fun and is no longer
symbolically accessible to the fans who made her a star. She is living over
there in England and talking trash about the president of the USA, while
using a funny accent that would get you shoved in Detroit.
Get back home, Madonna. Get back where you belong.
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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the
Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author
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© 2001 Creators Syndicate