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The Revolution Does Not Start With Madonna

23/01/2017 16:01

"The Revolution Starts Here."

Never has this seminal phrase been so drained of significance than when uttered by Madonna at last weekend's Women's March/ Anti-Trump demonstration in Washington. Shouting "Fuck you!" from her prepared script, she expressed her "outrage" at a democratically elected President.
"Fuck you." Really? It's hardly the new "I have a dream" is it?

Leading her followers in a chant of "We choose love," this totem of peace and compassion then proceeded to tell the world, "I have thought an awful lot about blowing up The White House."

My oh my, and I thought Trump was confusing.

Fair enough, everyone has a right to protest - celebrities included - but surely this star-sprinkled nonsense is counter-productive? If I want to see Madonna spout expletives, I'll fork out a ticket to a concert. Plus, I don't want my political hopes in any way connected to someone who has been as ruthless in her pursuit of fame and wealth as Donald Trump himself.

Madonna let loose with more than just words though, treating us to a performance of her 80's hit song 'Express Yourself,' while thousands of apparently angry protesters held up their i-Phones to record their own personal moment of conversion to the revolution.

As energy sailed away from the nation's capital, Madonna then introduced another hit tune from way back when: "I can't even say his name...This next song is dedicated to the new DT in The White House. Boo! 'D' could stand for 'Dick', I dunno." Wow, my 6 year old niece demonstrates greater wit and verbal dexterity.

"Are we ready to shake up the world?" she asked, and then promptly shook her ass to the beat. Ah, so this is how the revolution starts - with light entertainment. Silly me, I should've known. This, let's remember, is Madonna, the pop star who now marches for women, but who for decades has greedily exploited and proudly promoted her own sexual objectification. S & M 'Sex' book, circa 1992; anyone?

Trump is cast as a sexual predator and is demonized, yet Madonna promises blow-jobs to anyone who voted for Hilary Clinton and is positively branded as emancipated. The whiff of hypocrisy is overwhelming.

Was it not already proven by Hillary's cozying up to Katy Perry, Jay Z et al, that celebrity endorsement in the political arena isn't credible? Politics is serious, fame is not, and intelligent voters know this. We want to reduce inequality and attack privilege, and yet organisers present us with the most privileged as our spokesmen and women. Weird, no?

I want these protests to succeed, I want them to gain support and to be the catalyst for change. I think the core values of the majority of Trump objectors are the right principles to live by. But I also think it's ridiculous to parade celebrities as a counter to this Apprentice President; why fight fire with fire? As a political strategy, it's both alienating and stupid.

I believe there is a role for celebrities to bring awareness to certain issues - George Clooney and Angelina Jolie's work at the United Nations, Leonardo Di Caprio on climate change, Russell Brand on drug addiction, Emma Watson on gender equality...all these efforts are entirely selfless and admirable. But to inspire us at a political rally? At the moment it seems we are either choosing the wrong role-models or they need to hire better script-writers and directors.

During the election, even Robert De Niro's passionate tirade against Trump fell flat the moment he plumbed the depths of his opponent to aggressively rail "I'd like to punch him in the face." Likewise, on the eve of Trump's inauguration, Alec Baldwin's appearance at a protest in New York lacked the class and humour of his Saturday Night Live appearances. There's a time and a place, and it's called TV.

But back to the Washington demo and step forward Ashley Judd, a multi-millionaire actress who used the stage to complain about wages for Hollywood actresses, which, in her mind, had been "cut with blades sharpened by testosterone."

Not content with dissing half the population, she went on to highlight the vulgarity of "white privilege," a tad tricky to stomach, coming as it did from the white daughter of one of the highest grossing musical acts in history, and who lives on a 1000-acre family farm in Tennessee.

Referencing Trump, she mused, "I didn't know devils could be resurrected but I feel Hitler in these streets; a moustache traded for a toupee..."
I'm no fan of The President myself - far from it - but this statement is so outrageously farfetched that it drowns out any legitimate concerns the rest of us may have for a Trump administration.

Last but not least was fellow actress America Ferrera, who stamped her feet and roused the masses to proclaim "The President is not America! Congress is not America! We are America!"

That's a no then, to 62 million votes and a substantial Electoral College majority.

Really, is this the best opposition we can muster? Do we have no political stars? Even accounting for a fame-obsessed media, surely we shouldn't have to resort to celebs lecturing us at a rally before they zip off to perform a more lucrative puff-piece in front of a different set of cameras. How can We The People possibly identify with such figures, imbued with the very sense of entitlement against which we are fighting?

Yes, wheeling out a face off the telly will get you a headline or three, but what kind of headlines do we actually want - Madonna saying "Fuck You," or something more coherent and meaningful? Serious activists must be rolling their eyes and wondering when their voices will ever be heard. And there were some impressive, authentic figures who spoke out at the march; but they can't possibly compete for coverage when the Madonnas of the world are also there to steal the limelight.

Once again, celebrities are hogging the stage, and Donald Trump must be loving the entertainment.

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