Anyone who knows me personally knows I’m not a fan of Madonna. That’s putting it mildly. I can’t stand her–the pop star, not the person, although I’m sure she’s as gross in person as she appears in interviews. Does anyone remember how rudely she treated her childhood friend in her 90’s “film verité” Truth or Dare? I do. Not to mention in the same film, when Madonna’s brother (his book is fun, by the way) informs her that a female crew member suspected she’d been drugged and raped the previous night, the pop star’s first instinct is to burst out laughing. When someone shows you who they are…
In a word, she’s ghastly and always has been. And yet she remains the most successful pop star of all time, a fact I must acknowledge.
Even though I blame her for destroying my generation’s pop music and pounding another nail into rock and roll’s coffin, I will concede that Madonna produced some interesting, even ground-breaking, videos back in the day. She had a knack for appropriating the avant-garde and underground New York art scene and repackaging it for mainstream consumption. She deserves credit for that and her tireless work ethic. I also wouldn’t mind borrowing a few items from her Take a Bow era closet. But that’s it! That’s all the charity I can muster for the lady. And yet, when I saw her face–what had become of it–plastered all over the media the day after the Grammys, after an initial flush of schadenfreude, all I felt for her was intense pity. She finally passed the point of no return with the–ahem–surgical “enhancements” she’d indulged in throughout her career, erasing her fresh-faced beauty into something else, something creepy, inhuman even. She had become the shape-shifting lizard and it honestly made me sad.
About a decade ago, I wrote a screenplay that I then turned into a novel called UNMASKED. It wasn’t based on Madonna–wouldn’t want the material girl to sue me–but I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t an inspiration. UNMASKED is about an aging pop star who will stop at nothing to enhance her fading looks. At that time, I predicted in my prose that said pop star would so destroy herself with bad plastic surgery that she’d lose her mind and go murderously berserk in an attempt to regain what was lost forever. I had great fun writing those scenes of Grand-Guignol mayhem. I confess I’d sometimes pump Madonna’s most monotoned songs through my headphones to fuel my writing sessions. What came out of it was a story that’s won many screenwriting awards and continues to garner good reviews. It’s my first novel, showing some flaws, but I’m still proud of that story. It certainly was inspired.
When Elton John famously ripped on Madonna and her “disastrous” career, bitchily claiming that “it couldn’t happen to a bigger c***,” I howled with laughter. But after this most recent revelation, I’m shedding a few tears. And it’s not because I’m buying Madonna’s feel sorry for me statement about ageism and misogyny. Other stars have played that routine to a packed house and played it better. It’s because I realize, with a knife twist to my gut, that the reason Madonna looks the way she currently does is not about trying and miserably failing to stay young and beautiful. It’s because the devouring beast inside her- some demon that long ago took hold of her soul- will do ANYTHING to get noticed, stay “relevant,” and keep people talking about her. When youth, beauty, and giving water bottles blow jobs no longer work, try self-destruction in real-time. Ah! What a glorious spectacle. When she quotes Beyonce (giggle), declaring, “You won’t break my soul,” I honestly believe it’s the demon inside her talking. It’s taken over, and no amount of crucifixes around her neck will save her.
Eureka! I found the plot for the sequel to UNMASKED. Madonna, I appreciate you after all. Here’s praying that stuff in your cheeks “settles” and you deliver a stunning and glorious third act. If you pull that one off, even I may be a bitch and bow down.
You can find UNMASKED on Amazon for only 99 cents or download if for FREE on Smashwords.