I feel like it’s come-to-Jesus time. We don’t like talking about it, we don’t like saying it, but at a certain point, we all must face this one, single, tragic truth.
Madonna might be just kind of pathetic now.
That was hard to say, and it’s not just because it’s Esther. Discussing this kind of pathetic opens up a lot of really uncomfortable and unintended conversations about age. Aging out of relevancy. Aging “with grace.” Aging as a woman in the industry. And I honestly can’t decide what role, if any, age plays in this or should play.
All I know is Madonna just makes me sad.
Not sad like, aw, I feel bad for her getting picked on, buck up, Madgie-pie. But sad like, biiiiiiiiitch, you are trying way too hard and it’s giving me an uncomfortable lower clenching I don’t much care for. Her level of try is off the charts, and it has been for years. And rather than take a step back and recalculate, she just keeps at it. And I don’t know if it’s commendable or a word I hate using to describe a woman in the entertainment industry—desperate.
It seems to have hit a high (low?) recently with her Instagrammed “term of endearment” to her white son, referring to him as “#disnigga.” “Haters” were asked to “get off [her] dick” prior to her “sorry you got offended” apology, which is basically the only kind of apology people give anymore. She wears grills to the Grammys, she has arms made of veins and terror, she photographs her 13 year old with a bottle of gin, she calls Obama a “black Muslim,” she texts during 12 Years a Slave, she battles with Elton John, she gets mad at MIA for flipping the bird at the Super Bowl (she thought it was juvenile and irrelevant which is Esther code for “it’s only OK when I do it.)
And that’s been her whole career. Causing controversy is her thing. But the industry has changed. Moves are more transparent. These attention grabs used to be about something, or at least that’s what it felt like. Now, it’s not about showing that a woman can own her body or standing up to the Church. It’s just… “look at me.” And a legend should be above that.
I resent the idea that anyone should be forced to “act their age” or to “age gracefully.” But maybe there’s something to be said for remaining true to yourself and choosing art over attention.