Brent Bozell

When Americans are at war, fighting and dying halfway around the world for an idealistic end to a vicious and dangerous regime, the last thing we need is a silly pop-music star exploiting the drama for commercial gain.

But then, nobody ever accused Madonna of having any class, either.

There’s something almost pathetic about Madonna. She’s an accomplished actress. She has real musical talent. Her fame has brought her fortune beyond measure. But it’s not enough. It’s never enough. She must be controversial. She must live up to her mantra: I shock, therefore I am.

But it looks like this time she went too far. This time, Madonna’s planned outrage backfired.

Last Monday, Madonna announced that she would not be premiering her new video in America for the single "American Life." Many Americans were relieved, and I suspect many of her fans were grateful. Yet no one should be buying Madonna’s schtick. Smell the publicity ploy, the damage control to prevent what otherwise would have been Madonna’s greatest miscalculation ever.

The "American Life" video was filmed in February, when everyone knew we were headed toward war in Iraq, and the goofball anti-war Hollywood left was mobilizing. Ah, the opportunity for controversy! It’s safe to assume Madonna was calculating that by April the anti-war movement would be in high gear and taking its toll on American public opinion of President Bush.

But something went wrong, terribly wrong. In the face of the radical left’s opposition, the president’s ratings have soared. And what of the Hollywood left? Just note how the Dixie Chicks laid a big fat publicity egg after lead singer Natalie Maines said they were "ashamed" that President Bush hailed from Texas.

So what was Madonna planning to unveil last Monday before chickening out?

The Drudge Report and others who have looked at the video say it included scenes of stealth bombers and missile launches edited with flashes of the American flag, while Madonna is shown urinating on a toilet. (She may be getting older, but she’s not getting any classier.) It featured a fashion show with models in skimpy clothing decorated in camouflage patterns, with one model wearing a thong and a gas mask, and another donning a camouflage chador, all against a video backdrop of war planes.

Later, images of mushroom clouds are mixed with innocent faces of Iraqi children. Moments after she drops an F-bomb in the song ("F--- it!"), Madonna pulls the pin on a grenade and throws it at a George W. Bush look-alike. The look-alike picks up the grenade -- and lights his cigar with it.

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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