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Madonna At The Superbowl

By Alyssa Rosenberg  

"Madonna At The Superbowl"

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Rumor has it that, after failed attempts, Madonna’s finally going to be the halftime show at the Super Bowl next year. This strikes me as terrific for a couple of reasons.

First, the accidental exposure of a black woman’s nipple by a white man at the 2004 Super Bowl — I’ve always thought Justin Timberlake, who pulled off the relevant bits of Janet Jackson’s clothes, should get more blame for the incident than her — so traumatized the nation that there hasn’t been a female solo artist on that stage in the seven games since. The last woman to perform in a group, Fergie, got on stage in an outfit that covered her so carefully it looked like she’d need a squire to remove it. Not that that kept sex off the program. Bruce Springsteen is wonderful, but America is now probably better-acquainted with his be-jeansed crotch that we strictly needed to be. So I have to say I really appreciate the idea that the next woman to get the opportunity is one whose whole career has been about exploring sexuality and sexual self-presentation. It may have taken forever, but at least when a woman comes back, the one who gets to lead the charge isn’t one who’s totally neutered.

Second, I just love that a gay icon’s going to get headline heterosexual masculinity’s national holiday. Madonna’s fanbase isn’t obviously gay, of course, but it’s a nice little pop culture reminder that just as large men crashing into each other is a symbol of the nation, so is an insanely driven woman who’s never forgotten her gay fanbase, and that those two things and impulses can coexist quite cheerfully over beer and wings.

All of that said, I’m trying to figure out what she’s going to perform that will not cause somebody, somewhere, to freak out. Maybe she can rewrite “4 Minutes” to be a reference to the two-minute warning? And to be Timberlakeless?

Though I sort of feel like if Michael Jackson gets to do “Billie Jean,” Madonna should be able to hit us up with “Like a Prayer.”

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