Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Baring your soul's enough, Madge

Madonna
Madonna

I accept Madonna means well. She maybe doesn't always think things through properly. Her default position on stage seems to be to make any argument via undress.

Anything annoys her, she's down to the fishnets in a flash. All great grist to the publicity machine, of course.

And at first glance (and indeed second glance) her decision to disrobe at a concert in Los Angeles as she dedicated a song to the 14-year-old Pakistani girl Malala, shot by the Taliban for championing female access to education, would seem as tacky as critics (especially some in Pakistan) have signalled.

She's been accused of aiming for cheap publicity and of disrespecting the young girl.

In the deeply conservative region of Pakistan where Malala and others like her have been arguing that allowing girls to be educated does not equate with opening the floodgates to decadence, you can imagine how the Taliban will capitalise on this display of Western lingerie solidarity. What was the woman thinking? But maybe (and this is where I start to have a wee bit of sympathy for her), maybe she was just thinking of her own little girl.

Madonna's daughter Lourdes is around the same age as Malala but, like our own children, is able to avail of all those educational privileges we all take for granted in the West. The singer says she cried when she read about what the Taliban did to that young girl in Pakistan. I don't doubt that bit.

"The Taliban stopped her bus and shot her. Do you understand the sickness and absurdity of this?" she asked the LA audience.

Despite the undoubted tackiness of her show of support-wear, despite her naked publicity-seeking, she does have a point.

The absurdity of Madonna's posturing is laid bare on stage.But it's nothing compared to the savage, sickening absurdity of the Taliban's war on women.

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