It’s Official: Madonna Is Still Annoying All The Right People

She probably couldn't care less about the Right Wing social media discourse...

It’s never been easy to be Madonna. The immense fame, the continual scrutiny, the weight of expectation that her own success brings. Somehow, though, she manages it. The icon’s current Celebration Tour is one of her most potent live moments, a chapter-by-chapter dissection of her life. At times moving, at others euphoric, it more than lives up to its title. It’s a celebration, after all.

Yet it’s not without controversy. Continually out there pushing the boundaries, Madonna isn’t playing it safe. The show is huge – more than two hours, multiple outfit changes, a colossal array of dancers, and members of her own family onstage. It is, to put it lightly, a lot.

Overnight, an out-of-context video went viral on conservative social media. Clipped from her performance of 90s mega-smash ‘Ray Of Light’, it showed Madonna in a silver outfit, holding on to a support bar.

Somehow, this has triggered a huge range of people. Hard Right pundits. Trump supporters. Bizarre religious types. The comments are scarcely worthy of trolls, a cavalcade of sexism, puerile misanthropy, tawdry chauvinism, and tedious masculinity. We’re not going to link to them – you can find it yourself.

The conversation – if it can even be called that – is devoid of context. Having seen the show, Clash can affirm that Madonna is performing ‘Ray Of Light’ in a moving box that zips around the arena – it’s a high-energy, high-octane, breathlessly entertaining perform. Of course she needs some form of safety rail – she’s about to be thrown sixty feet into the air.

Except the pundits, the online nay-sayers have no time for that. Curiously, one voice in defence of Madonna is Chuck D, who writes: “Ageism sometimes gets like racism both ways if you let it. For anyone over 50 the rule is either you do the songs or the songs do you.”

At the time of writing, Madonna is trending globally, and it shows no sign of stopping. Except… isn’t that what she’s always done? Madonna has always pushed back against the pricks, and only four days into the New Year she’s already found a way to irritate all the right people. For the closed minded, the joyless, the sexless, Madonna is a never-ending trigger point, an infinite source of annoyance and controversy.

From her earliest interviews to her MTV peak, from the global furore surrounding her ‘Like A Prayer’ video to the Sex book, on through her tabloid-baiting 90s era to the ground-breaking run of music in the 21st century, Madonna has never held back from baiting the haters, and living life exactly as she wishes. This social media row is simply one more notch, one more point of discussion. As those who have seen the Celebration tour can attest, her narrative is simple: she’s a survivor.

Sure, much of the social media comments are toxic, but does she care? Not in the slightest. The Celebration tour smashed box office records in 2023, and it will continue to do so in the coming 12 months. Clash ranked it as one of the essential live experiences of 2023, and we see no reason to back down from that. As her celeb-studded 2015 single put it: “Bitch, I’m Madonna”.

Words: Robin Murray

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