How Madonna Made Everyone A Little Bit Gay At The Super Bowl

She had come to Indianapolis to feminize, kitsch, and queer the Super Bowl, and by that measure her 12 minutes were a success. Madonna’s genius as an artist has been to remove subtext and eliminate the underground, to put everything out in the open. (I mean, she published a sex book called Sex.) This doesn’t mean she is free of mystery (do you understand “Like a Prayer”?), but, for decades, her entire point is that everything good and important should be mainstream. No one should hide or be hidden. There is no shame in whoever you are.

It’s true that this message was more exciting coming from a 33-year-old Madonna than from the current 53-year-old version. But I’d rather get it from her than from, say, the importantly self-important Lady Gaga, Madonna’s most aggressive acolyte. With Gaga, every anthem is a hashtag. With Madonna, the anthems have actually lasted. At the height of her powers, Madonna wouldn’t have been asked to go near the Super Bowl (as Gaga today would never be), but last night was a reminder that she’s far from irrelevant.

She knows that she and football have nothing to do with each other, but her show managed to embrace womanliness and flamboyance in a way that didn’t affront masculinity. Nothing homosexually gay happened on that stage. But it seemed to liberate people who watch sports both casually and obsessively to observe, with what sounded like a degree of amused catharsis, how gay Madonna’s show felt. For a moment, we got a break from “no homo.” Still, you wonder whether Elton John, George Michael, or Adam Lambert performing the same show would have produced the same sense of relief — or just panic. That’s not Madonna’s barrier to break. That’s the NFL’s.”

Writer Wesley Morris, deciphering Madonna’s halftime show, in Grantland.com

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  • Jake

    Very well said, especially contrasting GaGa (who I still love) with Her Madgesty (who still has the biggest balls in music). Haters like Jason will spew bs in the comments section but Madonna has been one of the most significant allies to the gay community and I love her. 30 years later and still pissing off red state, douchebag, conservative males.

  • Shmeerty

    I already read this (in its entirety) on Grantland. Why do you exist, Queerty?

  • JayKay

    Oh my god, that’s the funniest satire I’ve read in months. I mean it sounds like he actually thinks Madonna was ever good and is still relevant.

    Wait he’s serious?

    Well then let me laugh even harder.

  • divkid

    oh dear! that picture she looks like she’s had a stroke.

    fair play to her though, the girl done good. she managed to wring a few more drops of relevancy outta the old flannel. after all these years that’s a kick ass achievement.

  • William

    “Nothing homosexually gay happened”


    As long as nothing “Homosexually gay” happened.

  • steve sydney

    @JayKay: Just curious… if you don’t think Madonna was/is good and relevant then who do you think is?? hmmmmmmmmm?

  • jason

    The only thing Madonna does well is to produce scenery and to master the stage as a visual performer. Vocally, she’s no great shakes.

    As for her performance, I didn’t see anything gay about it. You’d have to be a desperately sad gay guy who sees gay in a bleacher if you think that Madonna’s show had homosexual elements in it.

  • jason

    I think Wesley Morris is selling us short if he wants us to believe that Madonna’s half-time show was gay. Why does Gay Inc always do this? For some reason, Gay Inc wants us to believe that Madonna is gay-friendly.

  • BubbasBack

    As we say down here in the bayou, “Much a-doo-doo about nuttin’.” Burp.

  • Matt

    Madonna and Lady Gaga and every other overrated pop singer are totally irrelevant to LGBT.

  • Franco

    wow there’s a lot of mean-spirited comments about madonna. i mean, i’m pretty neutral when it comes to her, but i think people are being a bit unfair. i mean, if you don’t have anything nice to day, why bother? it’s not even constructive criticism, just cruelty. when you say such hurtful things about people it’s more a reflection on your own unhappiness and lack of self-worth.

  • Zeus

    I can’t believe he distinctly contrasted how Madonna is to how Lady Gaga is “self-important”…I’m pretty sure both of those women are extremely self-important, and Madonna comes off more obnoxious about it.

  • Spencer

    WTF? Why are you all acting like this? Who cares what you think of lady gaga or Madonna? They are great people in our community and disrespecting them is just being horrible and counter productive.
    If you want to insult someone, go over to the article about Newt Gingrich.

  • Bryan

    Sounds like one of the usual, bitter, older Madonna fans.

Comments are closed.