BREAD AND CIRCUSES

Well , what to say of Madonna’s halftime performance? Is it un-sisterly, sexist and certainly un-feminist of me to say she somehow seems too old for this sort of thing? I read that in The New York Times this morning and had a frisson of distaste. And yet, it was my first thought last night.
Time was when Lady Gaga appeared to be copying Madonna. Now Madonna appears to be mimicking Lady G. Perhaps it would simply be better to say that Madonna, who seemed rather mechanical in her dancing, has simply passed all this by.

Having said that, I must add that I can’t help but admire a woman who knows how to turn a man into a sex object. Her entrance as a kind of cheerleading Cleopatra seated on a monument pulled by hunky Roman slaves was reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor’s entrance as Cleopatra in the scandal-ridden 1963 epic of the same title. The real Romans, of course, would’ve liked nothing better than to see Cleopatra dragged through the streets of Rome, but she denied them that spectacle. And now Madonna has given us the conquerors as conquered. Bread and circuses, my dears, bread and circuses.

Nevertheless, Madonna was at her best performing “Like A Prayer” with Cee Lo Green in a starry, gospel setting that had an Olympic feel. Sometimes, the quieter moments have the more spectacular effect.

And sometimes, only spectacle will do. Acura’s swooping, sweeping cinematic commercial starring Jerry Seinfeld – with its “Seinfeld” references and Leno punch line – was my favorite pre-Super Bowl Super Bowl ad, followed closely by the chorus of dogs “singing” Darth Vadar’s theme.

Now if they could just get those pooches to do Beethoven’s Ninth.

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