Our columnist Cristian is back on Tribe with a new piece.
This one is titled "Cause You Got the Best of Me " and analyzes howMadonna has changed over the years, and especially how the messages she sends have changed.
Click on the image below to read the column or simply click HERE
Madonna was my hero at a time when I had none. Being a scared adolescent gay boy who’s father beat him up, I needed a hero, and I couldn’t find it in my parental figures. Although my teachers were terrific and I found some support through them, I don’t think any of them really understood what I was going through. But Madonna ---well, she was a different story. I felt as if through her, I could do anything I set my mind to. The woman was fearless. She would flip off the Vatican, dance with the gay boys when it wasn’t trendy to do so, talk about AIDS, show her vagina for the world to see in a 128 page “coffee table” book---the list goes on and on. She wasn’t scared of anything and it helped inspire me to break out of my shell and find my own path in life.
As I got older, she was still there. Even when I didn’t like what she was doing (that dreadful “Nothing Really Matters” performance on the Grammy’s for one), she still had a way of fascinating and inspiring me. It was as if through her, I was reminded that the world was endless with possibilities, creativity, and goals to accomplish. Even when I thought I had done everything I wanted, Madonna was there to remind me there was still more to learn, conquer, and be curious about. I guess in some ways, she was my muse. She inspired me to dream, even when I thought there was nothing left to dream about.
These past couple of years though, something’s changed. I feel like Madonna doesn’t care all that much anymore. It’s as if she has finally gotten to a point where she feels like everything she’s wanted to do, has basically been done, so she doesn’t put much effort into her products anymore. Sure, the Sticky & Sweet Tour was fun---but where was the message? Yes, Hard Candy was a decent album---but where was the progressiveness? All right, you’re still making videos, but where is the excitement or innovation? It seems like the things that made Madonna projects special have been lacking these past couple of years.
And then, there’s the face. Now, we can all speculate about whether she’s had cosmetic surgery or not till the sun comes down, but let’s go on the premise that she’s had cosmetic surgery done. The changes have been quite dramatic in recent years, and there’s a disappointment on my end that she can’t seem to stop with the surgical modifications. Her recent appearance on “The Marriage Ref” was a bit scary for me, as it seems like the dynamics of her face are changing to the point where she no longer looks like herself. For me, it’s a reminder that Madonna is no longer the girl who was once trying to defy ageism. Instead, she seems to have caved into it.
But I’ve come to a point where I ask myself---so what? Madonna has a right to do with herself as she damn well pleases. Whatever music she wants to put out, whatever tour she wants to launch, whatever physical changes she wants to make, at the end of the day she has a right to do all of them. I don’t have to be there for the ride if I don’t want to. She’s in her 50’s and I need to cut her a break. She has been working her ass off for almost three decades, and has been giving the world pretty incredible material for some time now. Just as I would want others to respect me for my decisions, I need to respect her for hers, whatever they may be.
I’m no longer an adolescent, and she’s no longer in her 20’s. She’s changed, and so have I. The world has changed and at times I feel exhausted, so why shouldn’t she have the right to feel the same way? She was there for me when I thought no one else was. And, in a sense, I feel like I should be there for her, even when I may not necessarily like what she’s doing. Is it a sense of loyalty? Possibly, but I think it’s more that I respect her even more now than I did growing up. She’s grown up, she has a family, her priorities have changed, and her outlook on life is different. These are all things I can relate to as my perspective and lifestyle choices have changed as I’ve gotten older.
I guess at the end of the day, I connect with her on a different level. Maybe she’s not my superhero anymore, but it doesn’t mean she’s still not my hero. My hero is at a different place in her life now and her work is going to reflect that. That’s perfectly fine by me. She’s still Madonna---a girl who was special then, and is still special now. No matter what, she will always have a piece of my heart, and I think I’m a better person because of it. She helped inspire me to do many things in my life I thought weren’t possible. And now, it’s time for me to let go of what she once meant to me, and simply let her live her life and enjoy her for who she is. She’s earned that right.