I'm gonna post the actual Madonna essay I wrote for The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review in a day or two (once I find a copy of the dead trees version), but in the meantime here's the quote disingenuous dickhead Michael Medved used in his wingnut screed Hollywood Vs America:
The sweaty and slimy single-mindedness of so much contemporary pop has begun to trouble even some veteran observers inside the industry. Rock critic Steve Simels of Stereo Review writes of Madonna’s retrospective assemblage of music videos: “'The Immaculate Collection' still makes me want to shower when it’s over, and I think I know why—it’s so nakedly, so honestly scummy…. I’m hardly advocating some sort of ethical litmus test for pop music. But we shouldn’t pretend this stuff is value-neutral, either.”
Yeah, I actually wrote that, but it's what he left out that really pisses me off. Short version: I specifically criticized Madonna for being anti-abortion ("Papa Don't Preach") and appropriating the iconography of the Civil Rights movement ("Like a Prayer") in a way that reduced it to just another pop culture image/signifier of cool.
In other words, my Madonna critique was FROM THE FUCKING LEFT.
Medved can bite me.
Update: Here's my review of the Madonna videos for Entertainment Weekly. As I recall it was having to sit through the damn thing that inspired me to write the column that Medved deliberately misrepresented.
MADONNA: THE IMMACULATE COLLECTION (1990, Warner Reprise, $19.98)
Here's a new video anthology that provokes an interesting question: Why Madonna? Why did a woman whose singing style is Early Munchkin, whose dancing is generally mechanical, whose sex appeal recalls that of a dominatrix, and whose only other notable asset is a David Bowie-style mastery of image-mongering, become a pop-culture icon? The answer, as this tape shows, is that we seem to get the pop stars we deserve. "The Immaculate Collection" -- 13 video clips ranging from 1984's ''Lucky Star'' to 1990's ''Vogue'' -- is a depressingly revelatory artifact, a sort of time- capsule peek into the pop unconscious of the Reagan years. Clip after clip vibrates with themes ranging from the appalling to the nearly evil -- porn palace peep shows as harmless rite of passage (''Open Your Heart''), heartfelt paeans to unwanted pregnancy (''Papa Don't Preach''), narcissism as liberation (''Vogue''), and on and on. Although the clips could be defended as intentionally ambiguous examples of postmodern irony, watching them back to back makes it clear that Madonna has not one ambiguous or ironic bone in her well-displayed body. D+