Chin up, oppressed peoples of the world!
You’ve got a new champion riding into battle, or at least slinking into battle in fishnets and a bustier. Madonna is here, and she is bringing the revolution.
The YouTube movie “secretprojectrevolution,” co-directed by Madonna and fashion photographer Steven Klein, debuted Tuesday. It’s an interminable 17-minute music video minus the music (unless you count Madonna singing an off-key, sarcastic “My Country, ’Tis of Thee”).
She plays a film-noir temptress thrown in a jail cell, and a stone-cold assassin in a bustier who prowls through a tableau of what looks like an extremely dull S&M dungeon while shooting buff shirtless guys and making an urgent plea for tolerance. End titles tell us the film is dedicated to those who have been persecuted for who they are or what they believe.
Until then, it’s torture scenes, eerie piano tinkling, quotations from Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean-Luc Godard — and Madge delivering a hectoring monologue about the dire state of the world. “Economic markets are collapsing,” she intones. “People all over the world are suffering.” But the real enemy is intolerance. “I keep telling everyone I want to start a revolution, but no one is taking me seriously,” she complains, and it’s all because, “I’m a woman. I’m blond. I have t - - s, an ass and an insatiable desire to be noticed.”
Thanks, we figured that out by the time you did your naked coffee-table book two decades ago. Hey, Madonna, Sophomore Syndrome (“You guys, I’m seriously thinking about majoring in social justice this term”) can be hilarious at 19. But it’s just tragic when you’re 55. When gay men were dying of AIDS by the thousands and the nuclear clock was at 11:57, you were singing “La Isla Bonita.” It’s a little late in the day to be taken seriously, especially when you’re writhing around in skintight black leather tied to a bed. “I know what you’re thinking,” she says in her monologue. “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” No, we’re thinking: “Poor Lourdes.”
Madonna was a big star and a cultural icon back in the mid-eighties. Since then her career should serve as a warning lesson to performing artists who take themselves too seriously.