I bring this news to you as some one who formed a Madonna lip synch club in the 4th grade (personal solo: "Fever"). I believe Madonna is indeed an icon. I also believe that in a sincere but ultimately desperate quest for relevancy, Madonna is now throwing every pseudo-provocative soundbite she can in a drive to hype her new album, Rebel Heart.
We have entered a new epoch of Madonna, rang into existence by her dirty-beat-driven declaration: "Bitch, get off my pole."
In the parlance of gay culture, which has served Madonna so well for these past three decades, this current incarnation of Madge is "Messy" Madonna.
In the Ray of Light era, it looked as though Madonna would accomplish the seemingly impossible: aging gracefully in a youth-obsessed market while maintaining some authentic sexual persona. She was like a randy Sheryl Crow, all hard nipples and acoustic guitar, and that was nice. Madonna could have called it a career 10 years ago and lived lavishly on royalties and greatest hit tours. But be it greed, vanity, or, as Vice editor Mitchell Sunderland suggested, as we sat dumbfounded listening to Madge's new album, "that working-class Catholic girl from Michigan work ethic," she has pressed on.
Before the Messy Madonna epoch, Madge controlled her PR machine with a puritanical strictness. Nothing would ever come out, no sordid detail or secret tryst, unless Madonna had calculated it to be deployed.
Now, it's a mess.
It's similar to that scene in Dark Knight Rises, before our superhero undergoes a final bout of humiliation:
Catwoman: Come with me. Save yourself. You don't owe these people any more. You've given them everything.
Madonna: Not everything. Not yet.
This week, as I've forced myself to sit through multiple listens of Rebel Heart, I've noticed the accompanying insanity that is her press tour. Specifically, I've noticed the headlines. So here is a Children's treasury of Madonna's brand saying #bae during her 13th album walkabout:
Spoiler: she has never met President Obama because "he probably thinks I'm too shocking."
Madonna is bae.
Photo via Getty.