Madonna has decided, what with the news and all, that the time may not be right for her new video, "American Life." Maybe it's that troupe of video actors costumed as transvestite American soldiers that now gives the pop diva a case of cold feet. Or maybe it's her own star turn on the video as an assassin targeting a President Bush look-alike with a hand grenade. "I do not wish to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video," the singer explained by way of announcing that the "shock video" would not be making its U.S. debut. Which is probably a good thing, since cross-dressing GIs and exploding presidents are so easily misinterpreted.
Of course, what probably saved Madonna from being commercially fried a la Dixie Chick was a panicky read of the U.S. population: her likely hunch that most Americans would be repulsed by the video's cartoonishly vicious, anti-military, anti-Bush animus at a time when most of us are intensely concerned about the safety and success of our real-life troops and president. This, of course, shouldn't stop Madonna from making it grand in France, where a recent poll tells us that one-in-three French citizens is actually pulling for Saddam. And she's a cinch in the Arab world, where anti-American animus is all the rage. Literally.
Odd how we deal with that rage, tiptoeing around it, holding our breath. We will it away with a portfolio full of diplomatic and strategic plans to win Muslim hearts and minds poisoned against us by a seemingly unstaunchable flow of disinformation -- extreme, and extremely toxic, to the point of lunacy. And I mean "lunacy." Many of these people believe 9/11 was a Zionist-Mossad-CIA plot to twist world opinion against the Arab world. And what word better describes the weird, even grotesque political analysis coming out of that core Arab institution, the government mosque?
Take the mosques of the Saddam Hussein-supporting Palestinian Authority, whose "road map" to statehood has again been green-lighted by British and American leaders -- even as coalition forces are still finding their positions to dislodge the Iraqi dictator who is an inspiration and paymaster to Palestinian homicide bombers.
"The aggression against Iraq is an assault on Islam, the Koran and the message of Muhammad," said Sheikh Muhammad Abu Al-Hunud during a recent sermon on Palestinian Authority television (translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, www.memri.org), sounding a favorite theme of the Arab world.