March 11, 2016

Madonna's sad, drunk clown performance expressing her woe over losing her son Rocco to Rocco's father Guy Ritchie.

The Sun reports:
The 57-year-old singer stunned fans by riding on stage on a child’s tricycle dressed as a clown — four hours late. Then, while downing vodka cocktails, she told the crowd that... “Everybody knows the saga of me and my son Rocco. It’s not a fun story to tell or think about.”... She explained she was dressed as a clown because “to me they symbolise heartbreak”.

The star added: “There is something tragic about clowns because they try so hard to make you laugh and smile. They are obviously covering up something, there is something going on inside. What do you think is going on inside of me?”
Was she drunk and missing cues? I would assume the answer is no. Madonna always survives, always performs, and — most famously — always transforms. Crying clown is another Madonna persona. She was drinking vodka on stage, the report says? How do you know that isn't water? Madonna is very dramatic, but she's controlled and performing. This drunken performance included special costumes — for herself and her fellow performers — and coordinated video projections. She had a tricycle to ride and fall off of. An accident, you think? I don't. She even had a line — I say prepared — for when she fell of the tricycle: “Somebody thought I was pregnant. Nope. Nobody wants to fuck a clown.” She sang a song while sprawled on the floor. A sign of drunkenness? She sang while sprawling on the floor 30 years ago.



I remember watching that in 1984 and talking about how she was losing control, had terrible judgment, and was turning into a mess. Ha! How wrong can you be?! I recovered from that misassessment long ago. My presumption is that Madonna is a pop-art media genius. And I bet her boy Rocco turns out just fine.

38 comments:

Caroline Walker said...

No one so epitomized the "sex with no limits" mentality as Madonna, no one had greater effect than she at retailing the concept. I remember my horror at seeing her sex coffee table book in the nineties, and trying to protect MY children from her pernicious cultural influence. Once again we are permitted to see laid bare the wreckage of the sexual revolution, the shattered hearts and families. Contra the cultural elite, human beings flourish best when striving to live virtues like chastity, fidelity and temperance. She was at the forefront of the movement to smash those values, and succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. I think of her still every time I see women wearing sports bras in public. To me, she has been a sad clown for some time.

sydney said...

Well said, Caroline Walker, well said.

Laslo Spatula said...

My first thought about this is that she is consciously referencing another famous female troubled clown,Judy Garland.

Latter-years Judy Garland = Icon of Heartbreak, and latter-years Madonna is casting herself in that role -- putting on Garland's make-up, as it were.

Both Garland and Madonna are Gay Icons: people will get her reference.

I'm not sure where Liza Minelli fits into this.

I am Laslo.

CatherineM said...

I don't know why people go to her concerts when she makes them wait past midnight to get on stage. People have jobs and trains stop at some point. When fans complain she insults them. She is a jerk.

Yes this was all planned.

Bay Area Guy said...

Who's more of a clown - the clown or the dude/gal who pays $100 bucks to see the clown?

Laslo Spatula said...

RE: my 8"23 Judy Garland comment fits Althouse's take of Madonna in control.

Judy Garland was seen as someone who had Life fall down on her; Madonna wants people to see her in that light, but is consciously creating -- and controlling -- that imagery.

I am Laslo.

jaydub said...

Apparently Rocco was not as impressed with his Mother's pop-art media genius. Which is probably why he might turn out fine.

MadisonMan said...

My presumption is that Madonna is a pop-art media genius. And I bet her boy Rocco turns out just fine.

Agreed. Madonna is certainly expert playing off the assumptions and ideals of people like, oh, Caroline Walker to name one. (FWIW -- when I see a woman wearing a sportsbra in public, I think Brandi Chastain -- and if men soccer players can remove their shirts, why can't women soccer players?)

Is there evidence, for example, that Madonna, the private person, doesn't strive towards chastity, fidelity, temperance? (Has she ever, for example, been through rehab?).

I think it easy to see an artist and think "Oh, they must be just like that in their private life". Madonna has adopted, famously, so many different looks -- which one is the real Madonna? No one really knows (maybe even Madonna doesn't).

rhhardin said...

I bailed out early from a Madonna-lead-female DVD just the other day.

John Henry said...

Rocco is 16 or 17, isn't he? That seems to be old enough for him, not Madonna, not Ritchie, to decide who he wants to live with.

I agree that Maddonna was probably feigning drunkenness. She seems like too much of a pro and has been at it too long to actually screw up her act. It does get her lots of free publicity and that's really the point, isn't it?

Keeping fans waiting 4 hours for her performance? That is inexcusable.

I've never understood the appeal of Madonna's music. Lots of people like it, I've just never understood why. Is it the music itself or her personna that keeps people buying her music and seeing her shows?

John Henry

Mrs. Bear said...

Madonna is and always has been artistically inconsequential, though one probably could assemble a decent "Best Of" single CD from her career. Unfortunately, she has turned out to be culturally significant........The news item above suggests that age has not taught her dignity.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Nobody wants to fuck a clown.”

She obviously didn't check with Google first.

I am Laslo.

Jay Vogt said...

Althouse, brilliant analysts here. In many ways, she's like Trump. She (and he) are so deeply in their audience/customers/critic's OODA loop that they can be confusing to watch. Each of them always knows exactly what they're doing and they are constantly monitoring our reaction to it/them (same thing).

The real and main risk to this is if you push too deeply into the loop, you end up reacting to your own reactions. I think they are both on the edge of this most of the time, but so far each of them seems to be right where they want to be.

Patrick said...

I've never particularly cared for her music or entertainment, but I do admire her business and marketing sense. She knows what she's doing, all the time.

But then, her willingness to play out her son's life in this manner leads me to believe her son chose the right parent.

Robert Cook said...

Seeing the video of a young Madonna singing live really brings back the reality of how thin and tenuous her voice is. She is a pop-art media genius. She knew enough to exploit herself the way the younger and less savvy (but equally thin-voiced) Britney Spears was exploited by her own management.

That said, I've enjoyed a fair number of Madonna's song--as songs--independent of her (at best) barely adequate voice. Britney Spears has a far slimmer songbook of memorable tunes to recall and enjoy...in fact, it's next to non-existent!

Fernandinande said...

Everybody knows the saga of me and my son Rocco.

Well, no, but it sounds like a nice song title.

AprilApple said...

Madonna: "me me me me me look at me."

Sad, indeed.

Titus said...

I love her and went to her recent concert in Boston-her concerts are amazing. Her last album was the best she made in over 10 years and every one of her albums reaches number 1.

She was definitely not drunk-she is way too disciplined to drink. Yea she is a fag hag like Garland, but she isn't a mess like Garland.

FullMoon said...

"I am afraid of clowns. My Dad took me to a circus once, and a clown murdered him".

Some movie.

Ann Althouse said...

"Latter-years Judy Garland = Icon of Heartbreak, and latter-years Madonna is casting herself in that role -- putting on Garland's make-up, as it were."

Excellent point.

Ann Althouse said...

"Judy Garland was seen as someone who had Life fall down on her; Madonna wants people to see her in that light, but is consciously creating -- and controlling -- that imagery."

Right and that's what she did early in her career with Marilyn Monroe. Madonna was like and simultaneously completely unlike Marilyn. She was Marilyn resurrected as a super-hero, turning all that Marilyn stuff back on the audience that consumed Marilyn and left Marilyn dead. Madonna was the repurposing of Marilyn's pathos. And she's absorbed various other old stars along the way. The idea that she'd reprocess Garland is immaculately conceived.

Ann Althouse said...

"Apparently Rocco was not as impressed with his Mother's pop-art media genius. Which is probably why he might turn out fine."

He didn't want to be on a world tour with her. The father is grounded in London, with a solid family, and the boy can go to school. Why wouldn't Madonna just agree to that? I suspect she did, but wanted the losing-my-son drama to titillate the audience.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's my favorite Madonna video, so if you don't like Madonna, just check this one out and you can see how far you are from being on the same page with me: "Human Nature."

Bill said...

"Americans have decided to be stupid and shallow since 1980. Madonna is like Nero; she marks the turning point."

- Joni Mitchell

FullMoon said...

AA says:
The idea that she'd reprocess Garland is immaculately conceived.
Good one!

Caroline Walker said...

@madisonman, I wear your accusations of fuddy-duddy prudery as a badge of honor. I, too am a survivor of the sexual revolution. The "progressive" worldview is bound to crumble because it rests on a disordered idea of equality: to wit, that men and women are indistinguishable and interchangeable. "Only as children of God are we equal; all other claims to equality -- social, economic, racial, intellectual, sexual -- only serve in practice to intensify inequality." -- Malcolm Muggeridge, British journalist and former leftist.

Roughcoat said...

Joni Mitchell's quote is stupid and shallow.

Roughcoat said...

The way people choose to present themselves in and to the public reveals a great deal about them. The notion that their private persona is more genuine than their public persona and therefore constitutes the only valid criteria for forming an opinion about them just doesn't fly. A great deal of who you are is what you do in both public and private. E.g., if you choose to present yourself as an asshole in public you're an asshole for doing so. And etc.

JAORE said...

Everybody knows the saga of me and my son Rocco.

Everybody has something to hide, but me and my monkey.

JAORE said...

Sorry "but" should be "except".....

Same, sad tale.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

The inebriated art imitates the chaos of life, wandering to and fro, launching unto unpredictable paths, and then we die...

William said...

She never had much success in movies. Doris Day and Julie Andrews remain the box office champs among female vocalists. Sex sells but it sells better with upscale packaging. Madonna was kind of tacky, but maybe that was the point.........She's reached that level of stardom where her fans will follow her to the grave. Some singers became better as they got older--Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Cook. I don't think Madonna will be in that company, but it won't matter, her fans will remain loyal.

coupe said...

I feel sad for people who actually convert their hard labor into tickets for seeing someone that is old enough to be their grandmother, yet still shows off her hairy vulva, as if you might be interested.

JaimeRoberto said...

My wife now refers to her as Effing Madonna after she took the stage 2 hours late and only had a DJ as the opening act. There's fashionably late and then there's just rude.

dustbunny said...

I've never seen that Joni Mitchell quote before but it is in keeping with her slagging off of other performers. She often appears bitter that others are more famous or acclaimed than her. It has lessened my interest in her work.

Laslo Spatula said...

dustbunny said...
"... she often appears bitter ..."

That's what happens when you play Jazz Chords.

I am Laslo.

walter said...

Rocco Ritchie.. That's a weird name to saddle a kid with.