Madonna explained the allegedly deep meaning behind the grenade sequence: "The one who catches it takes something that could be violent and destructive and takes the destruction out of it by turning it into something else. That's my hope for an alternative, not only to this war but all wars."
With all the usual love-bead looniness of Hollywood "spirituality," Madonna also declared, "War is a manifestation of everybody. We have our personal karma, and we have a global karma. So for me, it's about trying to get a message out that if we want peace and love in our life, then we have to make it happen in the world."
The video wasn’t always so meaningful. Madonna told MTV the original version was almost 10 minutes long, with breaks in the song for conversations and car chases, but "we had to edit it for time. Then, we had to get rid of all the f-words."
So why did Madonna pull the video? She did it out of "respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for." She also wants us to know she thinks Saddam Hussein’s a bad man. Balderdash. If the video is disrespectful to the armed forces last week, it was equally disrespectful when she was filming it in February.
But what’s silliest about this war video/PR stunt is that the "American Life" song has absolutely nothing to do with war and peace. The song is about the Material Girl’s old pose of rejecting the plastic promises of materialism. So all the bombs and Iraqi children’s faces are just there to draw attention not to Iraq but to the new Madonna album. How Iraqi kids will be helped by consumers giving Madonna another gold record is a mystery.
Madonna is no pundit and is well advised to steer clear of anything requiring the use of limited brainpower. Just as President Bush isn’t trying to moonlight from his day job by auditioning to be a country singer on "Nashville Star," so too should shock-musicians like Madonna realize how ridiculous they sound when they touch on subjects about which they obviously know nothing.