Niamh wrote something of a polemic on this site last week about that god-awful “celebrities singing Imagine by John Lennon” video, declaring that “the level of self-awareness (in the video) is between zero and minus infinity”.
Well Niamh, I have some bad news. Just take a look.
— Madonna (@Madonna) March 22, 2020
Where’s it all going to end? If this isolation keeps up, by the end of the week Barbra Streisand will be posting a video of her singing “Memory” from Cats while doing a handstand and balancing two actual cats on her feet. (Actually, come to think of it, that might be good).
Now, a few weeks ago, I wrote on this very website about how brutal and devastating a media pile-on can be, even to famous celebrities, so we’ll try to practice what we preach and be as fair as we can here.
And to be fair, as messages go, it’s not a bad one. But here’s a solemn promise to you, dear readers:
If ever any writer on this website wishes to send a poignant personal message about a global crisis, we shall do it wearing clothes.
The thing is, she didn’t have to do it, and not just for the obvious reason that nobody needs to record themselves being all thoughtful and melancholy in the bath. No, she didn’t need to do it because if she wanted attention, there are like a million other, better ways.
Here’s Kirsten Bell, for example, giving $150,000 to help feed hungry children, and getting loads of attention and praise without taking off any items of clothing whatsoever. Well done, Kirsten:
View this post on Instagram
NKH has always been there for kids who need them. They work tirelessly to provide food for the hungry bellys all over this country. I encourage anyone with the means to share to donate as well, any amount helps, so we can get through this together. (The reason the number is odd, is because when my kids overheard me making the donation, they asked if they could also donate the money from thier piggy bank. I couldnt have been prouder to add that extra, and important 7 dollars and 96 cents.😍😍😍) #Repost @nokidhungry with @make_repost ・・・ We’re BEYOND grateful to our friend and #HungerHero @kristenanniebell for her gift of $150,007.96! Thank you for helping us send out even more grants to schools and community groups working to feed kids during the #COVID19 outbreak.
Or, here’s ex Man United right back Gary Neville, being a good guy to his staff and his local health service, again, thankfully, with all his clothes on:
— GG Hospitality (@GG_Hospitality) March 18, 2020
It’s not a matter of being a prude, either. It’s hardly the first time that Madonna has stripped off. There was a period of time there about twenty years ago when it was more shocking to see her actually wearing clothes than it was to see the rest of her.
The reason it’s getting so much criticism online is, I think, that it looks and feels like a way for Madonna to get attention, rather than any genuine effort to help anybody. She could probably have sat in her bath in the nip and gotten less criticism by reaming off a list of helpful facts and information. Appealed to her fans to social distance, for example, or provided a helpline number for those with symptoms.
In fact, in those circumstances, the nudity and general weirdness might not have been a bad thing at all, because it would draw attention to actually important information. There are millions and millions of young and not so young people out there who point blank refuse to watch the news, or pay any attention to anything important, but the sight of Madonna naked in the bath would at least get them to go “click” (After all, you clicked this article, didn’t you?).
Madonna could have actually used her minute there to deliver important information. What did she actually do? To tell the truth, it’s been five minutes since I watched and I can’t remember. Something about equality, wasn’t it?
Oh well. We’re talking about Madonna, and in that respect, the video probably did exactly what it was intended to do. She’s always had a genius for that. But she could have done something useful with it, and she didn’t.