July 05, 2006

Low Tidings

Crucifying Madonna

Yes, Michael Jackson is as weird as they come, and Tom Cruise's mind and body have obviously been taken over by an alien, but for sheer insanity my money is on Madonna.

She gets my vote after seeing pictures of her "nailed" to the cross. Crucified. It's part of her act. I'm surprised the image hasn't offended Christians, who, after being fed to the lions for years, made an incredible comeback and actually took over the world.

Nowadays, Christians run many of the world's most powerful countries, although we still have Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Australians in charge of some countries.

We also have Chinese, but we are not sure what god they worship, because there are no Chinese-looking gods. In Taiwan, they worship a giant Nike sneaker, but that's another story.

Getting back to Madonna, she wears numerous hats during the course of the show, though frequently little else. During one number she "rides" a black man who is on all fours, the reins in her hands attached to the bit in his mouth. Both are wearing leather. Thirty years ago this image would have led to riots in the ghettos, but there are no ghettos left because all the black people moved out when the yuppies came.

This reminded me of the guy who tried to crucify himself up in New England a few years back. He called the police in despair because, after having nailed his two feet and right hand to the cross on the floor of his living room, he couldn't nail the other hand because he had nothing to hold the hammer and nail with. So he dragged himself and the crucifix all the way over to the other side of the room where the phone was.

When doing my research for this column (yes, it requires endless hours of intensive research) I came across another recent article:

"Ecologist Crucifies Self In Vera Cruz"

I read it with interest, not to find out why, but to find out how. I figured I could call up that other guy and give him the secret, but alas, the article never mentioned how he got that last nail in, cementing my belief that crucifixion is indeed a group sport.

But, I digress. Getting back to Madonna, her current show features seven costume changes. Besides dressing up like Jesus and riding a black man, at one point she also dons a complete suit of armor. She also, continuing along with the Jesus theme, wears a crown of thorns, which the nuns used to make me do if the bubble gum fell off my nose.

I like Liz Smith, but her recent interview with Madonna in the Post wasn't what I would call probing.

"I don't think Jesus would be mad at me," she told Liz. She also said, "I may have been one of Henry VIII's knights in another life, riding through the green forest." Somehow, though, I believe they would have been riding horses instead of black men.

Women are very proud of Madonna, and defensive. If you make a simple observation, like "that slut has a brain the size of a salamander egg," women become upset.

"She's constantly reinventing herself," Karen pointed out to me, as if that's some sort of an accomplishment. Michael Jackson reinvented himself, too — from a child singer to a child molester with a removable nose. Tom Cruise went from a young hot stud actor to a freakazoid from the planet Werblik.

A co-worker pointed out that all of Madonna's shows at Madison Square Garden were sold out, as if that meant something.

People flocked to the coliseum to watch the lions eat the Christians, but that doesn't mean it was a fun night out, at least for the Christians.

Smith asked Madonna, "Why do you continue to provoke controversy?"

Madonna had the nerve to reply, "because I want my audience to think." I would be careful what to wish for, because if I see a near-50 off-key singer hanging on a crucifix I might think she needs a few nails.

Madonna told Liz New York City was "the center of the world," just as Cleveland, no doubt will be when her tour rolls in there, and Los Angeles after that. "I consider New York my home," Madonna said.

Hmmm. Why then, inquiring minds want to know, does she live in England?

And so it went. Liz asked Madonna if she had given up acting. "Actually, I want to direct," the Material Girl replied. No, actually, since you have the presence of a wooden cow on the screen, you probably haven't been offered many roles other than Debbie Does Dallas Part Six: The Enema since the Swept Away debacle.

Liz asked, do you have any beauty secrets and Madonna replied, "I get great facials" (of this we have no doubt).

The bottom line is, Madonna said to Liz, "I'll retire when you retire." And now an anxious world waits for Liz Smith to call it a career.

The crucifixion used to be sacred. Wars have been fought over what it signifies. I guess these days there is nothing else shocking Michael Jackson or Tom Cruise or Madonna can do.

Jesus died for our sins. The magnitude of that act cannot be overstated — the crucifixion is the most sacred event in history.

Then again, Jesus came back three days later to get his Easter basket.

Rick Murphy won four New York Press Association writing awards at the NYPA convention in April. "Low Tidings" is a three-time winner of the Best Column award.

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