“Who’s that tourist?” …Madonna joins the ranks of celebrities investing an afternoon to save Detroit

A terrifying relic from the ’80s was spotted making its way through Detroit today, and I’m not talking about RoboCop, who threw out the first pitch at tonight’s Tigers game in celebration of the recently proclaimed RoboCop Day. No, I’m talking about former pop star turned irrelevant fairground stripper Madonna Ciccone. (Those are Elton John’s words, not mine.)

I got word from a catty friend in Detroit who shall remain nameless. “She went to Ponyride to meet this Phil Cooley she’s read so much about,” this friend said. “And she’s now waiting 45 minutes for a table at Slows.” I’m not sure whether or not she actually made it to Slows, but, according to the social media trail she left in her wake while here, she really did visit our friends at Ponyride. And I have it on good authority that Phil was in her entourage.

I’m not sure what it all means. If I had to guess, though, I’d say that she probably wasn’t in town to spend time with the homeless brother she cut-off and disowned. Who knows, maybe her daughter decided to follow in her footsteps and enroll at the University of Michigan after all. Or, maybe, having been turned away from Malawi, she’s decided that her next adopted child should be from inner-city Detroit.

Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 10.01.28 PM

Sorry for the venom. I suppose it’s a good thing whenever a celebrity, even one I dislike as much as Madonna, comes to Detroit and helps shine a light on the positive things that people are doing here. Madonna still has tons of fans, and today they’re all hearing good things about people struggling to make positive change in a city that most people wrote off a long time ago, and that’s an awesome thing. I know that. I just can’t get beyond my deep dislike for Madonna, who I see as an opportunistic narcissist of the worst sort. And I can’t help but think that this afternoon spent in Detroit was likely more about her than it was about us. Still, though, I suppose it’s a good thing that she was here.

update: Sorry for the unfortunate image placement. I didn’t mean to follow my comment about Madonna possibly coming to Detroit to select a new child, with a photo of her interacting with children earlier today at the Detroit Achievement Academy. In retrospect, I realize that you could infer that she was child shopping in the photo, and that wasn’t my intention. Of the images she took in Detroit, it was just my favorite… As far as I know, all the kids in the image made it safely home to their parents.

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  1. anonymous
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Was she in town for the RoboCop statue unveiling which was promised yesterday?

  2. Eel
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The RoboCop analogy is a fitting one for Madonna. Like her or hate her, she’s a survivor. She’s single-minded, almost pathological, in her quest to stay on top. I know it rubs some people the wrong way, but there’s something to be admired about it.

  3. Margaret S
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Why so much hostility toward her? I’m not a fan, but jeez – this piece seethes. I really like your blog and your writing. But this reads like lazy tabloid nastiness

  4. Jules
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Admired? Or pitied. Seriously, at what point in her life does she just finally relax a little.

  5. K2
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I long to see her in crotchless panties at 80, desperately trying to convince the new pop stars of the day to tongue kiss her.

  6. 734
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I still dislike her for being mean to David Letterman.


  7. Flux
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    She’s a vampire. She moves from person to person sucking the life from them.

  8. idea man
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Next time she’s here I’d like to suggest a Borderline 8-Mile mashup with Eminem.

  9. Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    “I’m not sure what it all means. If I had to guess, though, I’d say that she probably wasn’t in town to spend time with the homeless brother she cut-off and disowned. Who knows, maybe her daughter decided to follow in her footsteps and enroll at the University of Michigan after all. Or, maybe, having been turned away from Malawi, she’s decided that her next adopted child should be from inner-city Detroit.”

    As a guy who also cut off and disowned his own brother, I find this line completely unnecessary. You have no clue what goes on in Madonna’s family or anyone else, and have no right to judge. I’m old enough to know not to make any assumptions about anyone else’s family politics.

    Second, the Malawi issue is much more complicated than you think and has more to do with internal Malawian politics than anything Madonna ever did. Malawi is a complicated place and its hard to get shit done there.

    Third, she adopted some kids. How many did you adopt? ZERO.

    Mark, I love you, but this post was horribly unnecessary.

  10. ppp
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s OK to vent on occasion. It’s probably even healthy. And at least he didn’t make fun of her face and arms. That would be cruel.

  11. Kristin
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I *am* curious as to why you dislike her so much.

  12. Meta
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    There are worse celebrities in the world.


  13. anonymous
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Misogyny much?

  14. Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t hate Madonna. I don’t know her. I have, however, heard things over the years that lead me to believe she’s fairly unscrupulous when it comes to moving her career forward. Of course, I’ve heard the same thing of others, like David Byrne, who’s a notorious stealer of ideas. In his case, I guess I can accept it, though, as I actually like his music. I also think that, with Madonna, it’s more central to who she is… I should note that I realize that a good number of people who reach the top in their field, especially those who stay there for any length of time, have sharp elbows. They move themselves forward my pulling others down and climbing over them. Sure, some genuinely nice, talented people make it to the top, but most, if we’re begin honest with ourselves, share a certain degree of pathological narcissism. And I guess I see Madonna as the personification of this unrelenting drive for fame, always looking to push a boundary for the purposes of garnering press, always looking for the next wave to glom onto. I don’t get the sense that she believes in anything but fame, and I find that an incredibly ugly trait.

    With all of that said, I didn’t mean this to necessarily be a hit piece on Madonna. Like I said, I think that, all things considered, her visit here was probably a good thing. I just wanted to note her visit to Detroit in a non-boring way, and, in hopes of doing that, I decided to weave in every Madonna factoid that I had a my disposal, among those being the fact that she probably wasn’t in Michigan to visit with her brother. I know that a few of you took offense at that comment especially, and I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong idea. I wasn’t saying that, as a rich person, she has an obligation to take care of her homeless brother. I wouldn’t presume to understand their relationship, or what she might have done in the past to help him. And that wasn’t what I was trying to say. I was merely saying that her family likely isn’t what brought her here. So, yes, I agree with those of you who have written in to say that sometimes people need to be disowned. I get that. And I wasn’t trying to say otherwise. And, of all the things I dislike about Madonna, the fact that she disowned her brother doesn’t even rank.

    As for misogyny, is it really impossible to be critical of a female artist without being accused of sexism? Does that really help the feminist cause to accuse someone of misogyny for not liking a female artist?

  15. Dan
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    lol, yeah, sure. The sentence I’d say that she probably wasn’t in town to spend time with the homeless brother she cut-off and disowned. was clearly not meant to point out that he was homeless, and she “cut” him off. /s

    dude, you have your opinions. we all do. own them. stop acting like a slimy creep trying to rationalize/PC-ize your posts. You’re not a politician, stop acting like one. jesus

  16. Posted June 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to disappoint you, Dan. Your adoration is incredibly important to me, and I intend to do everything in my power to win you back.

    With that said, though, I wasn’t trying to “PC-ize” my post. I was merely trying to explain my thought process. I added the link in question because I thought that it made the post more dense, interesting, etc, not because I’m angered that Madonna stopped giving her brother money. You don’t have to believe me, but, like I said, that’s probably one of the things that bothers me the least about Madonna.

  17. Meta
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    “Madonna’s mystery tour to Detroit”


  18. Anonymous
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    It looks like her daughter is coming to UM.


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