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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
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 Like a Sturgeon, Madonna Swims into Super Bowl

Because of my vast experience in the fun-filled world of “pop” music -- going back to a time when music was distributed on “records” and played on “hi-fis” and was, unlike so much of what is being manufactured today, “listenable” – I was asked the other day for my thoughts on the selection of Madonna as the halftime entertainment for the upcoming Super Duper Bowl.

“I have none,” I said.

This, of course, was a lie. I actually have several. But the conversation was with a young person, and I try not to use that kind of language around kids.

At first blush, and second and third blush as well, it looks as though the National Fumble League is continuing its effort to choose Super Bowl halftime acts that are uninteresting, irrelevant or ridiculous. In fact, the 2012 game may go down in history as the one where NFL hit the trifecta.

(Note: There are exceptions, of course. Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones weren’t bad, and I recall the Grambling State University marching band being impressive back in the 1960s. But I’d have a hard time coming up with a list of acts so wonderful that it was worth putting off the customary halftime trips to the bathroom and refrigerator.)

Frankly, I never saw the appeal of Madonna to begin with. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for the early 1980s, where a certain wiseacre newspaper reporter – also known as me -- is bloviating to his co-workers that Madonna is just a weak-voiced pop confection doomed to a mercifully short career, whereas Cyndi Lauper has a real voice and real ability destined to rise to the heights and stay there.

Oh well. You can’t be right all the time. And then, as if to prove the point, the newspaper went ahead and made me the pop music critic.

Anyway, I’ve never been all that impressed with Madonna and I doubt her halftime performance will change that. I do not, however, harbor the outright animosity for her that I have seen on a few local chat boards.

I had to chuckle at the people who insisted that the Colts or Jim Irsay had something to do with the selection, or that the NFL should have chosen John Mellencamp instead, because he’s local. That ain’t how it works, folks. The game is happening in Indiana, but that doesn’t make it an Indiana event. Here’s how you can tell: No tractors.

This is an NFL show all the way and it is about ratings. It all goes back to when Michael Jackson performed at Super Bowl XXVII (pronounced ex-ex-vee-eye-eye). The TV ratings climbed precipitously. Since then, the NFL’s halftime policy has been Star Policy. No more Grambling, no matter how much people like me may be Grumbling.

It speaks to the whole Super Bowl mishegoss in which, by many measures, the game is of little importance. What do people talk about next day? I’d say for every conversation about football, there are at least five about the commercials. And four complaining about the halftime show.

Which gets us back to Madonna. I won’t be watching (see above under bathroom and refrigerator). But to those who do, I say enjoy it, but don’t expect too much. It’s just a Super Bowl halftime show, after all.

Cyndi Lauper would have been much better.




© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.