Madonna, 2005

Madonna, 2005

Madonna’s back in the news again. Surprise! She’s reinventing herself. Surprise! I used to look forward to that event. It added spark to my otherwise humdrum life. We are contemporaries, Miss Ciccone and I, and she was the secret life of my Walter Mitty. While I was changing sheets on a crib, she was changing lovers. While I was wearing sweatpants, she was wearing a flashy belt buckle that said “Boy Toy.” While I was taking my kids to catechism, she was raising the ire of Catholics everywhere by seducing a statue of our Lord and Savior, a black Lord and Savior, no less. How disappointing, then, to find that in her latest incarnation she’s become … a Republican?

The Material Girl has become a Maniacal Girl. She wants to be called “Esther.” Her parenting is reminiscent of Joan Crawford. And she’s gotten that old time religion, advising us sinners of our coming damnation.” The beast is the modern world that we live in! The material world. The physical world. The world of illusion, that we think is real. We live for it, we’re enslaved by it. And it will ultimately be our undoing,” the pop princess proclaims. Hmmmm.

Is this the same girl who writhed across a stage looking nothing “like a virgin,” cavorted across Manhattan’s coffee tables in a book of pornographic photos and canoodled across the tabloids with Dennis Rodman (Chapter 9 in my soon-to-be written book, “Girlfriend, What Were You Thinkin’?!”)?

What happened? Maturity? Marriage? A call from God? Or is it just good business? She’s older, yes. She’s married, yes. She’s embraced spirituality, yes. But is she that different? I’d vote “no” on that. She’s still the savvy marketer I’ve always admired. Transforms herself regularly and makes a mint with her new and improved product. Like “Tide with Bleach.”

Madonna has a new CD, due out in just a few weeks. The last one is being used as a coaster all over America. Time for our girl to shake it up. How outrageous can she be this time? Who can she be this time? The big M’s problem now, as I see it, is that she seems to have gone as far as she can with her image as a sex goddess. It might be her age, although Samantha from Sex and the City taught us that 40-somethings can still be pretty titillating. It’s probably more of a “been there, done that” thing. She’s yesterday’s news in the sexual arena. She’s done everything shy of bestiality (Rodman notwithstanding) and bestiality’s never been a big seller with the mass market. A couple of years ago, when the coaster was on shelves, Madge (her nickname with the horsy crowd) gave heir apparent Britney Spears an open-mouthed kiss on national television. If that didn’t sell records, what will? Maybe the old switcheroo will do the trick. So our blonde bombshell becomes a holy roller. I’m okay with that. It’s all for a good cause (British income taxes, I mean). What I’m not okay with is the self-righteousness. Esther takes herself so seriously now. She’s always used religion as a hot button, but she used to be winking while wiggling. She used to have a sense of humor. Now she’s Madonna, Madame of Morality and quite overbearing. She believes she’s changed (an English country estate will do that to a girl from Detroit) and insists that everyone come along into the light.

It’s self-indulgent. It’s obnoxious. It’s a bloody bore.

I do believe that people can change. In fact, I’m a testament to the brain-wave alteration brought on by 20 years, two kids and cellulite. I’m older. I’m wiser. I’m exhausted. I’ve found my spiritual home and the only thing wild in my life is rice. But I remember, vividly and with relish, dating the bad boy, shaking my booty in public and those Club Med photos at the bottom of my sock drawer. It was fun. And it was me. It still is. I’m not ashamed of it and I’m certainly not about to tell someone else they shouldn’t do it, just because my arthritic knee won’t tolerate anymore. Or because I need to sell my wares. That’s tacky. That’s rude. And it’s the crux of my beef with Mrs. Ritchie. We all change, old friend, but we never lose the person we were, good, bad or indifferent. Let’s celebrate our present without forgetting what it took to get us here.

And, for God’s sake, shut up!