Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Morning Quarterbacks of the 80s, Strike a Pose

Phipps Conservatory
and Botanical Gardens
Pittsburgh, PA
August 2011
Taken by me
Judging from my Facebook Newsfeed, you're either in one camp or the other this post-Super Bowl Monday morning.

You either loved Madonna's halftime performance show during last night's Patriots-Giants game, or you're among those expressing yourself that she of Like a Virgin fame would be better off endorsing Geritol than gymnastics. Personally, I kind of liked seeing Madonna last night, and her show. It was downright refreshing to actually a) know the performer and b) understand the lyrics of the songs he/she/they were singing. Can't say that has always been the case.

That being said, I did spend the majority of the halftime performance explaining to my 10 year old kids that the woman on the stage was, in fact, NOT Lady Gaga.  Betty and Boo refused to believe me, and they were even more bewildered at the notion that said woman was quite popular back in the ancient times when The Husband and I were teenagers.  (They don't believe that the woman they watched cavort with gladiators is really 53; Betty believes Madonna is "around 30," a statement which instantly aged me about 30 years.)

Still, I'm finding these Madonna-naysayers fascinating this morning.  (And, I gotta admit, the naysayers are mostly female.) Yeah, she seemed to be moving a little slower than she did back in 1985, but as I'm eating my daily heart-healthy, fiber-laden breakfast of oatmeal and yet again procrastinating on calling my doctor about the insurance snafu with my cholesterol-lowering statin medication, I'm thinking ... aren't all of us children of the '80s moving a little bit slower these days?

I mean, I'm wearing trifocals as I type this post. A friend my age (42) has already had a hip replacement. A high school friend just finished a round of chemotherapy.  The other day, I went to a breakfast meeting and took the stairs to the conference room; after three very small flights, I was so out of breath I thought I would need to be resuscitated via the defibrillator hanging on the wall.

So is this "what a drag it is getting old" agita what's really behind all the backlash against Madonna this morning?  I think it might be. Because if Madonna's the icon of a Breakfast Club generation that now finds itself ordering Egg Beaters off the menu and adding statins to one's pharmacological lineup, then doesn't it make sense that we become grumpy as hell when we see our teenage years on display and it looks a little off-kilter than the image that we have of ourselves in our minds?

The Material Girl then becomes an easy target for us Children of the '80s Now in Our 40s. Rather than us collectively saying, hot damn, how awesome is it that Madonna has kept herself up and can actually keep up that pace during a halftime show at 53 years old, and would that we all had that kind of stamina and energy at her age (hell, at this age) ... instead we're chastising her for being too slow and robotic during her performance, saying she doesn't have it anymore, that she's washed up, a has-been, has hit the wall.

Isn't that what we're all afraid of becoming?  Isn't that what we're afraid we have become?

So whether you liked Madonna's performance last night or not,  I give Madonna credit for doing last night what she has always done, for decades now. Putting herself out there. Not giving a damn what anyone thinks. Expressing herself.

And showing us apprehensive Gen Xers that while we might be getting old, if we take care of ourselves, chances are the coffin's not going to be nailed shut at 53. (Although, sadly, we know that's not always the case.)

Quite the contrary. Sometimes, at 53, you can even still make a hell of a memorable entrance.

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Unfinished Person said...

Completely agree with you, Melissa. I loved almost all of it...the only parts I didn't like were when those other so-called performers joined her. The Queen of Pop can stand on her own, but it was still great to see her, especially on "Like A Prayer" at the end.

Lisa Weinstein said...

I totally agree with you! Well written, as are all of your posts! I loved the Madonna show, I was dancing in my living room and I only hope that I look and move that good at 53!

TIm said...

Madonna is amazing..and I think the only reason she is even a split second slower than in 1985 was because of the 5 inch heels she had on...I read the review, LA Times, NY Times, MTV, Billboard,USA today, Entertainment Weekly..all glowing reviews. They use words or phrases like "continues to dazzle", Steller, Phenominal, etc..and those that still continue the tired old boring argument against her staying power as a huge music Icon.."is Madonna still relevant"...I always smile...of course she is..or no one would be writing about her! Loved the song choice..loved the entrance..with the huge head tiara..who doesnt want a bunch of gladiators carrying their chariot onto the stage..its STILL Madonna world!! Oh AND ANOTHER reason she is not irrelevant..More people watched her halftime show that the superbowl itself!!

Alison said...

Ha! This was a great post! I didn't see Madonna, so I have no opinion about the show, but I thought your commentary was hilarious.

Sue Jackson said...

We all enjoyed the half-time show, even though my 14-yo started out saying Madonna was a lame nobody. I really liked the way they incorporated multiple performers - much more interesting than just a straight-up one-person/group performance. After all, it isn't a concert, it's a half-time show!

As for Madonna, she is in amazing shape. I'm 5 years younger than her and would love to be as fit as she is! Plus, she still has a very strong singing voice.

And isn't there a bit of a double-standard here? How come when Pete Townsend or Mick Jagger strut their even-older bodies across the stage everyone is impressed?

Anyway, what's the point of everyone sitting around complaining and pointing fingers? I'm sure very few people in the audience could do what any of those performers were doing!

I've never been a huge Madonna fan, but I enjoyed the show, just like I'm not much of a football fan but I enjoyed the game.


DemMom said...

I agree with you, of course! I loved Madonna at the Super Bowl, and I too had the Gaga conversation. Then it came up again on Monday and when I told my girls that Madonna was popular when I was a teenager, my 8 year old said, "But she's only 20 something, right?" Um. No. Yikes. BTW, my new fitness plan is taking the stairs from the parking garage to my office. 7 flights. When I get in and everyone's chatty and saying "Good morning," I can't even talk.