Kathleen Parker

I had one of those weird dreams that makes you wonder whether you might need a weekend of primal scream therapy: Cruella De Vil was freedom-kissing two little Mouseketeers dressed as virginal brides. Ick.

Oh, wait, that wasn't a dream? Well, thank goodness. I was beginning to think it was me .

I realize I'm late commenting on The Kiss that failed to rock the nation, but I've been out for a while. Moving, if you must know. Which, all things considered, was more interesting than watching Madonna kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during MTV's Video Music Awards.

Has sex ever been more boring? But then it wasn't about sex, was it? It was about money, first and always. And probably about Madonna's need to put those competitive, star-struck little sex kittens in their place.

Madonna, aging dominatrix, power-tongues impudent strumpets and shows the world who's bossiest. What a woman. What a mom.

Speaking of which, Britney's mom "thought it was cool," reported Britney in an interview about the kiss. Even so, in deference to offended fans, Britney swears she'll never kiss another woman (except maybe Madonna). Christina, meanwhile, claims Britney didn't really wanna do it and that during rehearsals Madonna had to keep coaxing, "Kiss me, Britney, kiss me."

As they say, WHAT- ever.

What's more riveting than the kiss - which, admittedly, would include the rate of mold growth in my basement - has been reaction to this manufactured shock-o-rama. For the most part, there seemed to be an overriding ho-humness to the event. As one talking head put it: "What do you expect? It's Madonna."

As in, anything for shock value. It was just a kiss among consenting adult women, after all. And this has been, lest you forget, the gay summer. What little outrage registered seemed limited to "conservative" readers, as one story put it, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which ran a photo of the Madonna-Britney kiss on the newspaper's front page.

Surely some liberal readers found the photo inappropriate for placement on a front page. We have tabloids for that sort of thing. And the children, don't you know?

It is also true, as a poster noted on the Poynter Institute's Web page that the children have already witnessed the kiss online if not on TV. Newspapers are struggling to attract the next generation of readers and may be failing in part, he chided, for failing to report what interests today's young people. Oh, must we.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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