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The “Material Girl”

February 6, 2012

I have to confess I’ve never been a fan of Madonna. She and I never connected. It could be that while she was delivering “Material Girl” I was delivering babies. Whatever the reason, last night’s performance was no different. She and I were out of step and it left me flat. I also felt very uncomfortable with what I heard coming from the mouths of the younger generation after the fact.

The Super Bowl Committee’s choice of half-time performers always seems to be lacking in common sense. I can’t help but wonder if they chose her for her sponsorship connections. Was she not giving Vogue and Pepsi a plug? Did they pay her so she could perform for free? Whatever the reason, what bothered me, at least as much as the music, was the hollow, me-centeredness of the show. She did not and does not represent the fifty something women that I know!

Those immersed in our culture are probably jumping up and down and yelling “you go girl!” (an expression I’ve come to despise). But, because nothing else grabbed me, I became fixated on worrying about whether or not she was going to losing her balance or turn her ankle (which she almost did!). I applaud her physical condition, (although I wonder what her feet felt like today!). I don’t understand why it is necessary for a seasoned performer to sacrifice her wisdom in favor of the latest, greatest fad.

Some say Lady Gaga is a Madonna knock off. Last night, it appeared to be the other way around. The comments that ran like wildfire on social media from the younger set were painful and embarrassing but not without merit. Do Mick Jagger and Madonna represent our generation?  Are they the best of what we have to offer both in music and human beings? I don’t think so. Give me Bruce Springsteen and Tina Turner any day.

I watched with deep admiration as sixty year old Tina strutted her stuff across a massive stage, in high heels and mini-skirt with grace, agility and style. I have seen her perform a half-dozen times and every time she moved me to tears, lifted me up and made me want to be a better person. She has always had something to say to women and it came from the depth of her soul. I have been equally inspired and changed by Bruce’s artistry. I watched him slide across the stage on his knees while singing his brains out, just a few minutes after he had brought me to tears with “My City of Ruins”. Those two performers make me proud of our generation. They have made a difference. They have and continue to make the world a better place.


Last night’s performance was, for me, hollow and empty, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” Maybe it spoke to you, but regardless of Madonna’s youthful looking shell, she doesn’t reach my heart, nor do I want to be like her.

Tina performed at the Super Bowl in 2000. Without the benefit of modern technology she was able to fill up and power up the stadium.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2012 11:49 am

    I’m so glad you wrote about this, Dorothy. I felt exactly the same way. Hollow and actually boring was my description to my husband. But as you, I have never been a Madonna fan and her performance at halftime did nothing to change my mind! It was like all of the mechanical music of today without any soul! Thanks! Keep up the good work! 😉

    • February 6, 2012 12:19 pm

      I’m so glad I”m not alone, mardron! Sometimes I feel like I’m out in left field, or should I say back field!

  2. February 6, 2012 2:16 pm

    I was not able to watch the Superbowl so cannot comment on Madonna. All I can say is I have never cared for her. She like so many performers are not in it for the music or a message, only for the status, fame and money.
    Tina Turner has lived it, probably more than any other performer I know of…she went through hell and back numerous times, not only with her mother but her horrible husband..She made it, has a message for all women and even girls if they would only listen.
    Bruce Springsteen will never be forgotten for all of the good music he has and will perform.
    We have been blessed with Tina and Bruce and all the other performers who have class, knowledge and “been there, done that.” Thank you for posting. This was very much appreciated…

  3. February 6, 2012 2:26 pm

    The word my sister and I kept using when discussing Madonna’s “performance” was uninspired. I would say that I, for one, was bored (and disgusted) but given your (wonderful) post, my sister’s agreement and even the (very vocalized) opinions of my teens, I am not alone.

    Putting in my vote for Michael Buble for next year–but not holding my breath. I don’t like passing out.

  4. Marsha permalink
    February 6, 2012 2:35 pm

    I’m not a Madonna fan either, but I do have to say, she started out as “a material girl” .. and she has continued as advertised. Why the surprise?

  5. jon permalink
    February 6, 2012 5:11 pm

    I would rather see a marching band. Football in general has moved on–oh well could’nt afford the price of a ticket anyway.

  6. February 6, 2012 8:32 pm

    The lights, the music, the hugeness of the whole half time show was so over the top. I was more impressed with the lighting system than the performers. What technology and organization to coordinate that 12 minute segment. I was in awe of the dazzle, not the music or the performers. Give me a singer with a guitar and heart anytimel

  7. February 7, 2012 1:10 pm

    I didn’t watch the superbowl so I was not able to catch the performance, however, I have to say that I heartily agree with you that I have never felt that she is a good representation of our generation. She was hollow when she was younger and relevant.

  8. March 2, 2012 4:15 am

    What a performance
    Thanks for posting it and your writing is wonderful and thought-provoking!

    Keep up your good work!

  9. March 9, 2012 12:50 pm

    You are never too old for anything!

  10. March 27, 2012 10:18 am

    I am totally in your corner when it comes to choice of performers who speak for me! I saw Tuna Turner perform at St. Cloud State College (University now) in Minnesota in about 1971 — Wow!! What infectious energy!! And I’ve been a huge fan of Bruce for years; my husband and I first saw him perform during the Born in the USA tour. His live preformances transform me. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Petra permalink
    November 8, 2012 2:48 am

    In my teens, Madonna was the one you danced to and her music was very catchy. However quickly over time, she started to become crass and extremely vulgar so I tuned out. And in my 40’s I am still tuned out to her (and loads of women at middle-age have fabulous fit bodies – she’s not the only one!) – I feel the same as you, and feel she has no “substance”. There are many more artists out there far worthy of our hard-earned money to be spent on.

    • November 8, 2012 9:50 am

      Yours is a growing sentiment among women, Petra. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Perhaps in time we will have an impact on our greater culture, until then it’s nice to be among friends!

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