Jonah Goldberg

From an ABC News exclusive: "She was in the pages of Playboy, published her own book on sex and kissed Britney Spears in a live stage performance, but Madonna tells ABC News' '20/20' she may be through with propelling her celebrity with sex."

What courage! What daring! A 45-year-old mother of two has decided to stop using sex as a publicity tool. Isn't this a little like Saddam Hussein declaring now that he will abide by all U.N. sanctions?

Full disclosure: Every columnist has a few topics that serve as a bottomless well to draw from. For some it's church-state issues, for others it's the gas tax. For me, it seems to be Madonna's penchant for "reinvention." Actually, that's not fair, because the last three or four times I've written about Madonna she's been "reinventing" herself into the same thing: a more responsible working mom.

In 2001, People magazine ran a breathlessly sycophantic article titled "Balancing Act," which portrayed Madonna as the Rosie the Riveter of working moms. "Like many working mothers - even those who have an assistant and at least one nanny on hand, as she does - her life is 'exhausting.'" She told People: "There isn't a second in my day that isn't taken up looking after my family or thinking (about work)." And the Atlanta Journal-Constitution declared that her tour should've been called "Material Mom Puts Family First This Tour."

Of course, that "reinvention" stood on the shoulders of another, more or less identical reinvention from a year earlier. In 2000, Madonna explained in another People magazine article: "I've gone through all my sexual rebellion and don't need to do it anymore. I worked it out of my system, it's pretty safe to say."

So, imagine my surprise when ABC broke the "exclusive" that the Material Girl was prepared to admit that she was ready to put her rebellious life behind her. The exciting news now, other than her embrace of a bogus pseudo Jewish mysticism, is that she's now so "traditional" that she actually - gasp - insists her kids pick up after themselves. In terms of news value this ranks only slightly above "This Just In: Abraham Lincoln is Still Dead. Story at 11."

So why should anyone care?

Excellent question. I'm glad I asked it for you. First of all, it never hurts to be reminded that "news" outfits are not above repackaging the same old shinola in new wrappers.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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