I’m always amazed at just how stupid and gullible the rarefied within our culture think the rest of us are. I’m talking specifically about those we’ve inexplicably elevated to the rank of “celebrity” — although the definition could easily be broadened to include a good portion of the so-called 1%.
I know there are more important and personally detrimental examples of somebody standing far more than an arm’s reach away from the masses and lying to their collective face, expecting nobody to notice, but believe it or
not I haven’t seen one as egregious in quite a while as the case of, well, Madonna-gate. Yeah, I know it’s kind of trifling in the big picture, but bear with me.
Over the weekend, Madonna made a “surprise appearance” at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. For the uninitiated, Ultra is America’s largest showcase of electronic dance music, a three-day party featuring some of the best DJs and electronic acts in the world. And always eager for any opportunity to wrap her Crypt Keeping hands firmly around the brass ring of cultural relevance, Madonna was there — because nothing excites a crowd of late teens and 20-somethings like the sight of a perimenopausal woman in fishnets pandering to its tastes. To wit, during her introduction of Swedish DJ Aviici just before his close-out set on Saturday night, Madonna shouted to the audience, “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?” Again for the unfamiliar, “Molly” is street slang for MDMA, or ecstasy. Translation: Madonna asked how many people were on drugs.
Granted the audience reaction was, shall we say, positive. But not everyone appreciated Madonna’s hackneyed attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator among the dance music fan base through a staggeringly obvious applause line — among them, one of electronic’s biggest stars. Not long after the appearance, Deadmau5 — AKA Canadian DJ Joel Zimmerman — took to Facebook to write: “That’s your big contribution to EDM? Thats your big message to ultra attendies? hipsterspeak for looking for drugs? fuck off you fucking IDIOT.” He followed it up with, “very classy there madonna. ‘HUR DUR HAS ANYONE SEEN MOLLY???’ such a great message for the young music lovers at ultra. quite the f’n philanthropist. but hey, at least yer HIP AND TRENDY! fucking cant smack my head hard enough right now,” as well as a few choice tweets aimed in Madonna’s direction. Mau5’s main contention throughout his social media fusillade was that the electronic dance scene had seen enough casualties from drugs and, while there’s no denying that they remain a major part of the lifestyle for many, it was irresponsible for Madonna to indirectly promote the use of them — particularly not in a somewhat pathetic attempt to endear herself to “the kids” at a time when she’s also promoting an album.
But here’s where things get interesting. Rather than simply taking her online beating like a very grown woman and ignoring Deadmau5’s insults, Madonna, attuned to any attempt to generate publicity for herself, responded via Twitter — posting a quarter-century-old picture of herself in mouse ears with a thought bubble over her head that read, “From one mouse to another, I don’t support drug use and never have. I was referring to the song called ‘Have You Seen Molly’ written by my friend Cedric Gervais who I almost worked with on my album.”
See? She wasn’t asking people if they were doing ecstasy. She was referring to a friend’s as-yet-unreleased song.
Well, that settles that then.
Except that it doesn’t — because of course Madonna is lying her ass off. What’s more, she’s doing it with the expectation either that everyone will believe her or that no one will bother questioning it because we’ve all become so to used to being lied to from on-high like we we’re fucking idiots anyway. To recap, Madonna, whose new album — the one she was presumably going to be working with Cedric Gervais on — is called MDNA, again an obvious reference to MDMA, but she wasn’t talking about drugs and doesn’t support drug use. Actually, on that last point she’s probably right — I don’t think Madonna supports the use of ecstasy as much as has no problem exploiting the youth culture’s fascination with it in an attempt to sell records; doing ecstasy would probably kill a 53-year-old. Throw into the mix — if you’ll pardon the DJ metaphor — the fact that Cedric Gervais is stepping up to defend his friend Madge by claiming that, indeed, his song Have You Seen Molly? isn’t about drugs but is about a girl named Molly who “makes me want to dance” and you’ve got an almost astonishing amount of bullshit coming from one general direction — and a more-than-insulting expectation that no one will bother to call it out.
Earlier this week, Lindsay Lohan once again claimed she was an unfairly put-upon, angelic homebody and was merely escaping paparazzi when she hit a guy with her car — even though surveillance cameras showed no paparazzi anywhere near where the collision happened. Years ago, Bill Clinton looked America in the face and said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Mitt Romney does it in TV ads. Jon Kyl famously did it when talking about Planned Parenthood. In the immortal words of TV’s Dr. House — everybody lies.
And we simply take it. Because we’ve apparently been trained to. Because these people think we’re too stupid to notice or too lazy to care.
Although I suppose an argument can be made that we made someone like Madonna a star. We gave her the authority to bullshit us. Maybe when you’re capable of that, you get what you deserve.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.