Friday, March 27, 2009
Literally, very interesting.
Forgive me, but I had become just a little bored of Madonna in the last few years, I honestly wondered if she would ever do anything interesting ever again. Et voila, W magazine's "Blame it on Rio". Part homage to herself, part Hitchcokian voyeurism, part showbiz memoir, we have a series of photographs that give us Madonna as Madonna. And after half a decade of Madonna as Kylie and Madonna as Mother Superior that is frankly something of a relief. Don't you love it that she's at it with Latino toy boys in hotel rooms again? The styling is even a little rough around the edges, no? It's as though she's no longer interested in being fashionable (sartorially, musically, culturally) but rather she's back to making things (fashion, iconography) happen. Literally no more Mrs nice Ritchie.
It's a kind of behind the scenes in the playboy mansion thrown through a very Neil Gaiman mirror, though one can't help but read it as a post-divorce fuck you either. This is what W specializes in, celebrities playing out their fantasies of themselves. Be in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as Mr and Mrs or conversely David and Victoria Beckham as smouldering sex symbols, W is a sort of Hollywood Hills version of myspace, wherein the world's overprivileged get to erect a tenuous, occasionally ironized, ideal version of themselves.
It's a mechanism for the overexposed to take back control over their private lives by displaying their intimacies for hundreds of thousands of well-heeled readers, and millions more casual 'net surfing peeping toms. In constructing a very public private life for our perusal, these cover stars get to both indulge themselves in some wildly glamorous role-play and simultaneously cloak their real (and one expects, very mundane) existences. In short, Madonna on the cover of a magazine, in a penthouse full of Brazilian boys is both more interesting to we cultural cannibals, and also allows her to keep her life of health food and comfortable underwear to herself.