Madonna took to Twitter last night to condemn the terrorist attacks on the Parisian satirical publication Charlie Hedbo, saying “We must respect ALL religions! But we must also RESPECT human life!!! Killing in the name of G*D is man’s idea not G*D’s!!!!” All well and good. Nothing too controversial there. Of course, Madonna being Madonna, she had to muck it up somehow. “#livingforlove” she added. And: “#rebelheart” Yes. She USED THE CHARLIE HEDBO ATTACK TO PROMOTE HER NEW SINGLE AND SONG. *facepalm*
There was an interesting article in The Guardian last week, entitled; “Madonna: How the Control Queen Lost Her Touch When Media Went Social” saying she she really doesn’t have any idea how social media works. The article was written after her OTHER recent blunder – wrapping images of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela in ropes to promote her “Rebel Heart” meme.
Some Madonna fans are claiming this is nothing new, because Madonna has always been shocking. But once upon a time it was the people she shocked who looked stupid, and Madonna did what she did on purpose. She knew what she was doing with the lyrics of Papa Don’t Preach, with the video for Like a Prayer, with the Erotica era, with the Sex book. Accidentally blundering into cultural appropriation rows isn’t controlling the media, any more than accidentally shitting yourself in the queue at Tesco is displaying masterful bowel control.
Many of Madonna’s fans, who once had revelled in the star’s ability to make an older generation huff, tut and shake its collective head, have now turned into their own parents: they’re not angry with Madonna, just disappointed. And it is slightly heartbreaking that Madonna, an artist who made her name through an intuitive grasp of almost every major trend and zeitgeist fluctuation, is so crap at social media.