Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Madonna vs. John McCain

So, I was wandering aimlessly around the internet today and came across a story with the following headline: "John McCain Slams Madonna for Comparing Him to Hitler." How could this not be intruiging?

Well, as it turns out,on Madonna's latest tour she has decided to open the show with a video montage of various world leaders...like Hitler, Robert Mugabe, and Republican presidential hopeful John McCain. At the end of the montage the audience is shown Al Gore, John Lennon, Ghandi, and Barak Obama.

"The comparisons are outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive all at the same time," McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said in a statement reported by Fox News.

I'm not entirely sure the comparision of John McCain to Hitler is necessarly the most apt comparison, but I given that the video montage plays during the song "Get Stupid" I certainly think that Madonna is getting the last laugh at this. I'm not a political operative, nor would I have the slightest idea at how to run a campaign for class president let alone President of the United States, but my intuition is to say that John McCain has bigger fish to fry. Are the comparisons "outrageous"? Yeah. "Unacceptable"? Not so much. I can certainly understand why someone would get a little bit miffed at being compared to Hitler, but the fact of the matter is that we live in a country that (kind of) values free speech, where we are able to say whatever we want and where we are able to compare our leaders to the Jesus, Hitler, or Hemingway. If you put yourself in the public eye then you should be able/willing to take whatever pop culture dishes out.

Are the comparisons "crudely divisive"? No. This might be the dumbest thing I've heard from a national campaign in at least 72 hours. The truth is that the comparisons aren't dividing anybody. The people who saw it were people who paid money to see Madonna. A fifty date tour, playing venues that have a fifty thousand maximum capacity, we are talking about two hundred thousand people who are seeing this video, and, although I recognize Madonna's great draw as a performer, selling out the tour seems like a tall order to me. This completely ignores the fact that only a little more than half of the dates are in the United States. What the fuck does the McCain campaign care if it is divisive elsewhere?

This is where the truth comes out. The decision by the McCain campaign to come out against Madonna only makes sense as a way to rally the base before convention time, and their decision to air their grievances on Fox News makes it even more clear that this message was intended for one audience: conservatives who will use this as additional evidence that pop culture at large is a simmering cesspool of liberal agenda. But in the end though, this seems to make John McCain look petty. And weak. And it makes his campaign look like their living up to the name of the song...stupid.

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