Okay, so this happened: Madonna had a show in Scotland on Saturday (part of her world tour, going on since late May) in which she and her dancers "waved" a bunch of fake machine guns and pistols, despite what happened in Aurora, Colorado a day before involving actual machine guns and pistols. She was warned against using such questionable props (which are actually banned in Scotland), but ignored the warnings and used them anyway, her staff claiming that nothing should stand in the way of "art." I'm sure the only thing we're missing here is context. Comforting, sense-making context... Oh, that was it? Madonna is just going out of her way to be an asshole and claim "art"? Okay then! Let's bolt all possible projectiles to the ground and handle this together.
I kinda think Madonna is pushing her luck here. Just a little. As in: Hey, Madonna -- you are just one of the people that history will forever refer to as one of the horrible people in the story about the Aurora movie theater shooting. While obviously not nearly as horrible as the person who committed the crime, nor as horrible as the people who believe that the massacre would have been prevented if the people in the audience either had more guns/religion, or even more courage. (Really.) But as an American musical and pop culture icon with many fans, when you are told that after a mass shooting that injured almost 60 people and killed 12 that using fake firearms in your show for fun is a bad idea, you should get your head out of your ass and listen to them. No one cares if this has been part of your tour since before the incident took place. The incident happened, and you have to do something different for a little while (not forever!), so as to avoid looking like an insensitive dick.
This is not about censorship, this is about being a person with a soul and a brain when your are doing something in public mere hours after a national tragedy occurs.
Unless she's making a statement on how upsettingly commonplace it is for children to play with guns as toys, for older humans to play with guns in movies, and for middle-aged women to play with guns onstage, and she's truly upset about what happened in Aurora, and on one level, her pain and anger over what has happened in her home country has put her on the same level as the psychopath that committed the mass murder, and this is all meant to be ironic.
But that's not what it sounds like so far. So far it sounds like she has no blessèd idea what's been happening in the news lately, and all the people working around her are 100 percent oblivious to everything unless it's about the person responsible for their paychecks:
"Madonna would rather cancel her show than censor her art," a member of her tour staff told HuffPost's Rob Shuter. "Her entire career, she has fought against people telling her what she can and cannot do. She’s not about to start listening to them now."
Oh, Madonna, you go, girl! A guy -- who has rigged his apartment to kill all who enter and surround the place -- walks into a midnight showing of a highly-anticipated movie, heavily armed with guns and gas canisters, body armor and a mask, sprays an unsuspecting audience of moviegoers with bullets, and commits horrific mass murder. It's a national tragedy. But hey, if you prance around the stage in a high school band uniform flashing fake guns in front of a different audience of people, less than two days after all that happens, it's art.
Guess what? I'm done with Madonna. You guys don't have to be. But unless she says something about this to let us all know that something was going on besides her own narcissistic display of self-righteousness -- and if that happens, I take all of this back and stand corrected (and that staffer who provided that quote should be fired in a humiliating fashion) -- this is just nasty, bad taste to a level that I am just not cool with. There has been worse "art" in response to tragedy, but I simply expected better from someone who has been wildly successful and popular for decades. A lot better.
It's just so... tacky.
When she isn't nerding out that the holidays are coming, Jamie is a reader at Monday Night Fan Fiction at Fontana's in Chinatown, NYC (next date: TBA, 7:00 PM). All work is original, written by the readers, so if you have a brilliant fanfic idea stuck in your head, send it via Twitter: @jamielikesthis