Super Bowl XLVI is history. The gladiators have left the arena and the Monday morning quarterbackers are having a field day with what was, and what could have or should have been.
I’ve never watched a football game. I tuned in to watch the half-time show because I wanted to see Madonna. Though I am not really a fan, I’ve liked some of her music over the years and I admire her staying power in a business that eats its young. I knew she’d bring her A game and I didn’t want to miss a middle-aged woman turn the world upside down.
In recent years her pretentiousness has become as amusing as it is annoying. I keep waiting for her to start snapping her gum and talking like The Nanny. Her metamorphosis from the pop star who rolled around on the stage in a wedding gown with her knickers hanging out to an affected English noblewoman has given her an acid wash and it isn’t always believable or appealing. It softens the edge she is constantly sharpening and her credibility, the way she craves it, stays just beyond her reach.
In interviews, her confidence seems calculated and forced and she appears needy to me, even though she has nothing to prove. She seems to lack humility and that hardens her. She desires recognition for being an artist, but I have to wonder if the rewards and awards are what drive her forward.
Imagine my surprise when a kinder and gentler Madonna brought down a velvet hammer and trotted across the stage in five inch heels in a show of exuberance and enthusiasm, hitting a grand slam out of the football stadium.
She came to have fun and it showed. The Material Girl’s almost understated costumes didn’t take away from the sensationalism of her music. That M.I.A. chose to show her lack of class by flipping the world the bird is inconsequential. I don’t really care what her reasoning was. It was one of those cringe moments that will come back to haunt her in about ten or twenty years. If she thinks it won’t, she should have a conversation with Jane Fonda.
Madonna is in her fifties and continues to recreate herself. She simply is not done yet. The show was exciting and energetic and fun and her message for World Peace was effective and fit in exactly as it should. She should take a cue from herself. She is an entertainer and that was entertainment.
I’ve been thinking about the differences between an “entertainer” and a “leader”. I’m not denying that entertainers can become leaders…look at Ronald Reagan.
But is it necessary for a leader to be an entertainer? Entertainers are dream weavers…they take us away from our everyday by making us laugh and cry and wish and hope and believe…and we pay them to do it.
Oh wait…that’s a politician…my bad.
I am always amused at the weight we give to actors when they make social and political commentaries. While they are entitled to voice their beliefs, they are paid to play make-believe and need to bear in mind that it is as difficult for some of their fans to separate their actual lives from their fictional characters, as it is for some of them…and yes, I’m talking about you, Alec Baldwin.
Before you start throwing cyber-tomatoes at my pyramid…hear me out. I respect the passion that someone has for a cause…and there are many performers who do a lot of charity and philanthropic work who use their public recognition in a powerful way…without expecting any personal return.
I think we should be suspect when an actor or a performer steps into the political arena. Entertainers are magicians…they use smoke and mirrors to dazzle us and keep us coming back…
Oh wait…that’s a politician…my bad again….
The world is coming at us at warp speed. The giant internet umbilical cord has connected us all…feeding our minds with a glut of information. We are addicted and our appetite for instant gratification doesn’t ever get satisfied and it has deadened our pallets.
We chew on what’s important and spit it out…we only want the sweet and the hot…the meat and the potatoes are too bland.
Our leaders have become entertainers…making it almost impossible to separate fact from fiction. Let’s hope we don’t follow the Pied Piper with the loudest flute…that story didn’t end so well.
It would be grand to have a leader step forward and say: “I don’t know how we’re going to fix this. I’m going to listen to you and we will try to figure this out together and make decisions that will benefit us all. The strong need to stay strong so that they can show the weak the way to find strength of their own. I’m not going to waste any time trying to place the blame…instead I’m going to turn the finger and point to myself and say…I am still standing…I will not kneel…and I won’t let you either. If you fall, I fall too…and that is not an option.”
It happens in the movies…and it has happened in history. Some of our finest moments have been defined by choices we made in the most impossible of situations.
A lion can’t roar when its gasping for breath…
and an eagle needs a right wing and a left wing working together in order to soar.
Day Three Hundred and Twenty…props to the Material Girl…you brought down the house.