Hey Madonna: Girls Already Knew How to Commit Violence, Thanks
I have to take exception to Madonna's ridiculous and thoughtless statements regarding her video "What It Feels Like for a Girl." I saw the video on Tuesday night during its one-time-only play on VH-1.
It features the tired, 43-year-old singer shooting cops, driving a hotrod fast and torturing an old woman in the front of the car. It was just gratuitous nonsense, sort of another rehash of husband Guy Ritchie's one idea — already mined pretty thoroughly in his twin films Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.
MTV Networks deemed "What It Feels Like" as too violent for regular play. Instead, they showed it once with a lot of fanfare and presumably got a huge rating. Madonna, who's only interested in publicity, got her attention for the week — Oscar week, of course. Madonna has not had a great film career, but she is clever in her timing.
In a statement she released — before anyone could even ask her — she said: "The video shows my character acting out a fantasy and doing things girls are not allowed to do."
Well, hey, Madonna: In 1989, two girls who were high on crack shot a friend of mine in the face and then robbed her in front of her lovely home in Park Slope, Brooklyn. By the grace of god, my friend has survived and gone on to live a good life — after having a bullet lodged in her neck. But I don't recall any reticence on the part of the perpetrators. When they were captured by the Brooklyn police and brought into the hospital emergency room, the girls laughed when they were identified by my half-conscious friend.
So, you know, Madonna, the violence you depict in this video — it's something girls do as capably, and maybe as often, as boys. It's a poor excuse for hyping yourself.
And here's the reason Madonna needs to hype herself: Her latest album, Music, has sold just over two million copies in this country. It's sliding off the charts now. Madonna does not make her money from album sales, but from concerts. And you'll notice that with two kids and her life as the faux princess in London, there's no time for world tours. Madonna has a lifestyle that would make normal people faint. It's expensive — and two million albums, minus the costs to her collaborators, isn't enough to justify her expenses.
Our story on Monday about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation has resonated in the music industry. FOXNews.com reported that foundation director Suzan Evans is paid $300,000 a year, has a huge expense account and that the foundation itself seems only to exist to throw a huge private party every year at the Waldorf. They do virtually nothing to help musicians in need. Why they have non-profit charitable status with the IRS seems to be an unresolved question.
The response to the story was overwhelming. A former board member, speaking only with the promise of anonymity, told me: "It's a club, and she's their groupie. It's all about power and hanging around with rock stars. Record companies have been getting a bill every year from the foundation of $8,000 or $10,000 apiece. They're starting to question what it's for — just for giving the dinner. Record companies are having massive layoffs this year. The money could go elsewhere. These were handshake deals made long ago, and now there is resentment building up."
This year's Waldorf dinner didn't win many allies over to the Rock Hall's side, anyway. One observer noted that two former power players in the business who used to be favored by Evans — Bob Krasnow and Michael Leone — "were seated as far and out of the way as could be possible. It's all about who's in power now. And that's the Sony guys. They were front and center."
Evans was cited for taking unnecessary trips on the foundation's dime, particularly to places like the Midem conference in Cannes. "Think of the cost of first-class accommodations. The Carlton hotel, first-class air tickets. And to do what? There's nothing in Cannes that has to do with the Hall of Fame."
We received this letter from a former board member. Here it is:
"Thank you for your insightful article on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I am a veteran music journalist who spent two years on the Hall's nominating committee and saw from the inside some of the politics at work.
"I saw how artists were sometimes chosen for nomination because of their affiliations with the directors of the Hall and others were shot down without so much as a moment of consideration simply because some people in that room didn't like them personally or because an artist had bad blood with someone calling the shots.
"At one point Suzan Evans lamented the choices being made because there weren't enough big names that would sell tickets to the dinner. That was quickly remedied by dropping one of the doo-wop groups being considered in favor of a 'name' artist.
"During my second year on the committee, I received a petition signed by 5000 fans of the Moody Blues requesting that the group be considered for nomination. Personally I am not much of a fan, and neither, apparently, was anyone else on the committee (at least no one who would admit it). Still, I felt they were a legitimate contender for the nomination and that it was my duty to present the petition since so many people had taken a lot of time to put it together. I plunked it down on the conference table to a great roar of laughter from the assembled bigshots.
"Jon Landau, Springsteen's manager, asked me if I personally was a fan of theirs. 'Not really,' I said. 'End of discussion,' he said.
"On the other hand, I saw how Atlantic Records artists were routinely placed into nomination with no discussion at all, due to the large concentration of Atlantic executives on the committee. I saw how so-called critical favorites were placed into nomination while artists that were massively popular in their time were brushed off. I saw how certain pioneering artists of the 50s and early 60s were shunned because there needed to be more name power on the list, resulting in 70s superstars getting in before the people who made it possible for them. Some of those pioneers still aren't in today — but Queen is.
"I was finally kicked off the committee after writing a guest editorial for Billboard in which I criticized the Hall for its insider ways.
"Almost ten years later nothing has changed."