Fresh on the heels of the wildly successful Glee "Madonna" episode, Joni Mitchell smacks us down by declaring in a recent interview that "Americans have decided to be stupid and shallow since 1980. Madonna is like Nero; she marks the turning point." Ouch. Like most Glee fans, I thought the Madonna episode was pretty cool shit. Then Joni made me feel bad. 'Cause she's probably right.
Madonna's "Like a Virgin" album was one of the first cassette tapes I ever bought, back in the days when stirrup pants and Miami Vice were hot shit. I remember watching the video for the title track, mesmerized by this gutsy gal singing about sex.
Since then, I've bought many more of Madonna's CDs. I have yet to own a Joni Mitchell CD but my boyfriend has some of her music so that must count for something. There is definitely more depth to Joni's music than to Madonna's.
I think Joni's right because when I look around, I see the effects of 30 years of being stupid and shallow, i.e. the American economic meltdown, reality TV, our obsession with celebrities (ahem). So where do we go from here? The bulk of pop culture is completely vacuous. I think we can all agree on that.
However, with the rise of specialty cable TV channels, we have witnessed the birth of searingly hot TV. This shit is GOOD. Only people generously endowed with intelligence, wit and depth could write these shows. It's a ray of hope in a superficial era.
And if we weren't so stupid and shallow, we wouldn't have Family Guy or South Park making fun of us. What kind of life would that be? We need a dose of communal idiocy to keep things interesting, you know? Keep us on our toes. Like an addict who must hit rock bottom before seeing the light, and getting help, we, as a collective, must sink to the lowest depths of depravity before realizing we may need to change courses.
Yep, startin' to see rock bottom.