Madonna, Motherhood & Radishes
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Here’s this week’s Observer column, about Madonna’s adoption stuff. I was a bit worried that I’d written it too seriously, no jokes, bit grumpy in Madonna’s defence. But then I read what our old friend Amanda Platell had to say about the adoption attempt in yesterday’s Mail and wished I could write it again EVEN GRUMPIER. Here’s Platell:
“Was anybody taken in by Madonna’s cynical attempts at manipulation this week when her PRs issued an airbrushed picture of her looking angelic while holding the girl orphan she has been refused permission to adopt? I trust the photo won’t sway the Malawian authorities who, instead, I hope, have other images of the singer in mind, such as the pictures of her performing on her current Sticky & Sweet tour, scantily clad, rubbing her crotch and simulating sex while surrounded by nubile young dancers.”
I think it’s the words “I hope” that really bother me. I completely understand that some people are squeamish when they imagine Madonna using her celebrity clout to bypass red tape (though I don’t, because I think the sooner the child can be out of an orphanage and in a family household the better; red tape delays too many adoptions and, although it might be unfair on those other prospective parents if Madonna didn’t suffer as many delays as they do, it’s still better for the baby), or they might worry that she is doing it for “fashionable reasons” (though I think that’s surely ridiculous, she knows that this is a lifetime commitment and really wouldn’t do it just because African babies are cool. She just wouldn’t.)
Anyway, so, I can imagine why people might have problems with the idea of the adoption, though I might disagree, but (a) to object on the grounds that Madonna dresses raunchily on stage is PREPOSTEROUS. She’s a performer, for God’s sake! My dad once dressed as George III and sailed down the Thames on a barge. He quite literally looked like a lunatic. But I can promise quite fervently that it didn’t affect his parenting ability. And (b) there’s something about the word “hope”, as Platell sides with the “Malawian authorities” and “hopes” they will think nastily of the singer… “hopes” they will realize that Madonna is surrounded by “nubile young dancers” which must surely render her an unfit mother… I don’t know, it’s so bitchy, it just puts my teeth on edge.
So anyway, here’s my own rant on the subject.