Thursday, July 10, 2003

Just posting because I haven't posted for a while, and I feel I should 'keep the home fires burning', in a manner of speaking. I don't seem to have much to say, and I'm assuming this is because I've been "letting myself slip" again. By that, I mean that my sleeping patterns are reversing, that the most productive thing I've done today is have a shower, that I'm not being what you might call active in any way. Which doesn't make for very exciting reading. If I have an analytic thought, I might post it. But I seem to be terminally blobbish at the moment, in a largely inarticulate way. Though I did hear Madonna saying something rather amusing this evening, on SBS's Dateline. The show was running a piece on Che Guevara's daughter, who has recently been in Australia promoting a collection of her father's speeches and writings that is being published. She has taken issue with the appropriation of Che's imagine for commercial use - selling beer, t-shirts, and so on. The piece noted that even Madonna herself has employed the infamous image of Che on the cover of her latest album, American Life. They then ran a snippet of an interview with Madge, in which she states that she used the image of Che as she believes her music is "revolutionary". Quoth Madonna: "[Talks about her music being revolutionary] ... Because I really believe that something has to be done to change the world. Seriously." Ah, Madge, you crack me up. Everyone knows and loves your split personality, the way in which your comments from one stylistic period will directly contradict those of the next, while no one bats an eyelid at your apparent amnesia. But the earnestness with which you stressed how 'serious' you are about revolution... what a hoot. How impertinent that journalist must be, to crack a smile as you layed out your position on such serious matters!

In fact (thinking about Madonna always gets the ball rolling - she must be my muse), I've been having second thoughts about "American Life" the single. It seemed, at first - well, somehow misguided or disappointing, as Madonna pulled the plug on her own video clip, whereas back in the day she could get the Pope hot under the collar. The song itself seemed somehow unfocussed - just at the point at which the rap starts building some momentum, the whole thing subsides without climaxing, trailing off with the unsensational observation that "nothing is what it seems". And I think I might hold to these observations - both lyrically and structurally, the song does seem to lack focus. However, I was thinking about it in context with J Lo's "I'm Real"/"Jenny From The Block", and I think I get it now: "American Life" as some kind of piss-take on the "I'm real" phenomenon - even Delta Goodrem is taking off her high-heels before playing piano, as Guy (of Symposiasts fame) has pointed out. Madonna wants to make clear that she is definitely not still Madge from the Block, despite the rocks that she got. However. It's kind of obscure, isn't it? The joke, I mean. Guy Ritchie probably got it, but what about the rest of us? Has she forgotten the fans? Of course not - like Evita, she's never left us. She can't leave us - like The Simpsons, Madonna is one of the pure, unadulterated sources of absolute joy in modern culture. The Anglican church is torn by controversy, Michael Jackson is uncontestably nuts, our political leaders are sending us to war on substandard intelligence and those twins from Iran didn't survive the operation. Madge and The Simpsons are all we have left...

(Why is it that those warnings my mum gave me throughout semester, about how sleep deprivation makes you psychotic, are suddenly echoing in my mind? Perhaps I should sit in the bath and read strange, paranoid Japanese fiction until it all clears - yes, I think I'll do that. It's only 1:33am, after all. Cheerio then.)


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