The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Geriatric Halftime Show

Posted on | February 6, 2012 | 38 Comments

‘Gaze upon my cosmic crotch in awe, earthlings!’

Let me be clear: I never cared much for Madonna’s épater le bourgeois act when she was still considered the hottest thing in show business, dating Sean Penn and making headlines with her various “what-will-she-do-next” stunts. Judged strictly as a musical act, I thought she peaked with her first album — “Lucky Star” had a nice dance beat and a catchy chorus — and after that, she became obsessed with the idea that she was a daring avant-garde figure, a historic personality pushing the envelope with each new MTV video.

There was a vast publicity machine dedicated to promoting Madonna’s delusions of artistic grandeur, but I never bought into the hype.

Music should be about music. Madonna became all about image, and her image-mongering finally jumped the shark in 1992 when she published Sex, a book featuring “artsy” nude photos of her, timed to coincide with the release of her Erotica album.

The album sucked, and the book . . . meh.

She just wasn’t that hot. So if most American were already bored with Madonna 20 years ago, why would we want to watch her prancing around and lip-synching her old songs at age 53? Were the producers of the Super Bowl just trying to prove that the NFL — which has previously featured other geezer acts like the Rolling Stones in their halftime shows — isn’t guilty of sexist age discrimination?

What next for the Super Bowl? Irene Cara singing “Flashdance”? A halftime reunion show for Kajagoogoo or Culture Club, with maybe a guest appearance by Adam Ant singing a duet with Boy George?

The ridiculous pageantry of Madonna’s show Sunday, with a cast of thousands and a budget bigger than any Cecil B. DeMille spectacular from the Golden Age of Hollywood, inspired me to scoff on Twitter, “Madonna needs to be careful. At her age, if she falls down, she could break a hip.” What I didn’t realize when I made that wisecrack was that she nearly did exactly that:

It’s one thing to bring back Golden Oldies acts for a nostalgia trip. But Madonna the Menopausal Sex Goddess, writhing around as if she were still the same 24-year-old whose bellybutton-baring midriff tops inspired a teenage fashion fad? The precedent is disturbing.

Fifteen or 20 years from now, my grandkids might be watching the Super Bowl halftime show and asking, “Grandpa, who’s that fat blonde lady in the funny-looking costume?”

Her name is Britney Spears.

“Grandpa, why is she wearing a plaid schoolgirl skirt and knee socks?”

Uh, well, you see, back in the day . . .

“Oh, gross! Did you see that, Grandpa? She flashed her panties!”

Yup. Same old Britney . . .

P.S.: Just in case you were tempted to feel sorry for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who lost a 21-17 heartbreaker to the Giants, remember that he went home with supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Loser? I don’t think so.


38 Responses to “Geriatric Halftime Show”

  1. rosalie
    February 6th, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    I’m sure she’s quite beautiful, but she didn’t seem to be very gracious in defeat.

  2. Anonymous
    February 6th, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    It’s the nature of the beast. The NFL has to book very well-known “artists” that have a high likelihood of being seen by a whole generation. Trying to break out of that template with a relatively new artist risks an audience saying, “Who? Never heard of ’em. I think I’ll switch to The Puppy Bowl.” Big names are big because of their longevity in the industry. IOW they’ve been marketable for enough years to have appealed to the largest possible audience compared to their peers.

    Besides, people sort of want, if not expect, a spectacle. Only a limited few have the reputation for bringing it. For better or for worse, Madonna was a good choice. Personally, I thought the production was very well done – about as good as could be expected – except for the desperate for attention no-name M.I.A. Hopefully that stunt backfires.

  3. Anonymous
    February 6th, 2012 @ 1:05 pm


    Hard to be gracious when opposing team fans behave obnoxiously and berate your significant other. Besides, she’s kinda right on this one. Brady’s receivers dropped a few gimmes even as they caught most everything else.

  4. Bob Belvedere
    February 6th, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    Thank God she kept those man arms covered!

    Like a virgin???  Not at all.  In fact, she’s looking more like Pontius  Pilate these days than like the Madonna.

  5. ThePaganTemple
    February 6th, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    Bring back the god damn marching bands, screw these two-bit celebrities. Who the hell do they think they are anyway? The real class act of the night was the gracious, humble Eli Manning, “Peyton’s little brother” who won his second Super-Bowl, this time in the house that Peyton built and seemed almost embarrassed by the accolades, making sure he made it clear it was a whole team effort. Just contrast him with Madonna, who probably secretly thinks she was the star of the whole damn night. Then there was the sickening Elton Faggot John commercial, and Clint Eastwood, who put out bar none the best Toyota commercial in history.

  6. Dustin
    February 6th, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

    Gotta admit, I like Gisele’s spirit in defending her husband from a heckler, basically sounding exactly like any other football fan.

    I don’t even care if she’s right about that (And she’s right).

    The Giants were the underdogs, so I guess I’m glad they won, but meh.  NFL <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< NCAA

  7. Finrod Felagund
    February 6th, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    I keep hoping they’ll book another real rock band.  The Who was good two years ago, but I am not a Rolling Stones fan.  (Though Jagger’s comment about “We could have sung this one for Super Bowl I” was nice.)

    Even though I’m not their biggest fan, I’d love to see Rush do the halftime show.  I’ve seen them twice in recent years and they were very good each time, and Tom Sawyer, The Spirit of Radio, and Limelight would be better than anything Madonna or any rapper could do.

  8. ThePaganTemple
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

     Working Man Blues is my favorite Rush song. Actually, its the only one by them I like at all.

  9. Drek
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

     Cut Pilate a break, he probably wouldn’t be caught dead in such a classless display as was that halftime show.

  10. Drek
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

     She seemed to be taking it in stride until that last quip that “Eli owns” her husband.

    THAT touched a nerve.

    What was with that sad sack posse she was with.  Not a good looking woman amongst ’em!

  11. Finrod Felagund
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    Just wait until two years from now, when they have to try to think up an act that will work outdoors in New Jersey in early February.

  12. Anonymous
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    Yeah, what the hell is up with that? Super Bowl *always* used to be in a warm-weather locale: Miami, L.A., San Diego, New Orleans, etc.

    Memo to NFL: Nobody wants to go to a Super Bowl in Indiana or New Jersey.  The game should always — ALWAYS — be some place with sunshine and palm trees, maybe a beach.

    Got that? OK. Don’t make me repeat this.

  13. Anonymous
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

    Can the NFL lease any stadiums in the 57th state of Vanuatu? Or would that be too risky given the chance it might tip over due to population influx and/or fedora-laden curiosity seekers?

  14. FenelonSpoke
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    I don’t think it’s really fair to call her geriatric when she’s about the same age as you are. But I never cared for Madonna and am not impressed by the botox and surgery to make her look likes she’s 20 years younger than she is. When she got on on a cross wearing a crown of thorns  as  a “stunt” she forfeited all respect forever.

  15. Finrod Felagund
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    There’s only so many times in a row they can hold the Super Bowl in one of Florida, New Orleans, Texas, Arizona and Southern California, though.

    Which makes me wonder: why have they never held the Super Bowl in Hawaii?  It’s good enough for the Pro Bowl, after all.

  16. FenelonSpoke
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    Plus what’s with the costume that looks like she’s a Valkyrie from the “Ring of the Nibelung”. Someone said it was supposed to be Roman; Whatever it is, it looks ridiculous!

  17. Andrew Patrick
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    The aging acts on the half-time show are all the fault of Janet Jackson. Up until ’04, recent artists usually appeared. Post-wardrobe malfunction, we only get singers that no one would ever want to see naked. The only exception to this rule is the Black Eyed Peas, who sucked like a vacuum in a black hole.
    Paul McCartney was boring. Springsteen looked tired. The Who was and is a shadow of its former self. The Stones were decent, because they haven’t stopped touring for fifty years.And now Madonna who, like herpes, refuses to go away. She’s been botoxing her face into oblivion and still thinks she can dance. She looked like a newborn fawn on a frozen pond, but is doubtless convinced that she owned it.

    Hubris is it’s own punishment.

  18. JeffS
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

    Too bad Lawrence Welk passed away.  That would really reach across generations……

  19. Anonymous
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    I think the venue in HI is too small. The NFL wants a grand venue and they’ll be able to sell as many SB seats as a venue can hold. Plus, it’s not the cold so much as it’s the logistics for all participants that matter. Ice/sleet/snow and the unpredictability of it all makes planning and execution a bear.

  20. In Honor of Madonna’s Splendidly Awful Show Last Night… « Andrew J. Patrick
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    […] of Stacy McCain’s judicious assessment of same, here is a re-post of me fisking a Madonna press conference back in […]

  21. richard mcenroe
    February 6th, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    “Skynnrd Nation!” WOOOOO! 

  22. richard mcenroe
    February 6th, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

    The press is covering up the fact that yesterday’s attempted flyover ended tragically.  

  23. richard mcenroe
    February 6th, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

    Mae West at least knew she was kidding.  Madonna, not so much.

  24. Pathfinder's wife
    February 6th, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

    I think she looks more like some weird damn butterfly, but that could be a matter of skewed perspective or something.

    This has to do with that football game everyone was talking about yesterday, isn’t it? 

  25. Anonymous
    February 6th, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    I thought the show with The Who was terrible.  I like the band, but the sound was atrocious.  You practically couldn’t hear the guitar at all.

  26. K-Bob
    February 6th, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    Everybody loves to hate the Superbowl Halftime show.  It’s almost required.  I wouldn’t expect much from it anyway.

    Look, it’s a rotten gig.  Even Olympic opening ceremonies usually suck.  What’s the point of having 200 people spread all over a 100 yard-wide “stage” and then having one tiny little person be the focus of everything?  It just doesn’t scale.  A plain, vanilla marching band beats it every time.

    Not that anyone would notice.

    But even taking all of that into account, you still have to give it your best.  This year was not a good effort. For some reason, the vocals are always far too quiet in these things, so you can’t really hear  the performers that well.  This year’s show was typical.  I wasn’t about to turn it up, either. Madonna sung in a vocal range that Billy Idol would approve of.  About six whole steps, tops, all on the lower end of her vocal range. So it was her quietest range, sung quietly, and held below the music by the engineer. That’s just bad organization. And the music had no hook, and definitely no soul.  Bring on Zombie James Brown!

    I think America’s Game ought to showcase something positive about America.  Bring on a musical family like the Carter Family used to be, or for today, L’Angelus.  Something positive, uplifting, and inspiring.

  27. ThePaganTemple
    February 6th, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

     You had it right the first time. Bring on the marching bands. Either a top notch college band, or a prize-winning high school band. If they absolutely must have a celebrity, bring one on to sing the Star-Bangled Banner at the opening and let that be it. The Super-Bowl is for America, not for a bunch of spoiled, self-indulgent fucking celebrities to showcase their god damn alleged talents. Fuck the Rolling Stones and The Who too for being there before, and any other suckass star trying to promote their egos.

  28. Adjoran
    February 6th, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

     Pete’s nearly stone deaf, so how could he adjust the sound?  The monitor is useless to him.

  29. Anonymous
    February 6th, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

    So, you’re saying he’s not a Guitar Wizard?

  30. Adjoran
    February 6th, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

    Madonna is good dancer/choreographer and always put on a show.  I never thought she was any kind of singer, and was never particularly fond of her music, and her antics repulsed me.

    But there is no accounting for personal taste, or lack thereof.  At least it gave me the chance for kitchen time, as I was hoping to be entertained by the commercials.  Those too were the most disappointing crop since it became the fashion to roll out the innovative ads for the SB.

    But at least Belichick the cheat didn’t win.  Good for Eli.

  31. K-Bob
    February 6th, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

    Oh, I don’t blame the stars. They are just accepting a paying gig. No, that’s fine with me. It’s the planners and the committee folks that screw it up every time.

  32. chewydog
    February 6th, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

     Townshend wouldn’t adjust the sound anyway. Every act has a sound man/engineer who runs the board and everything, including amps, drums, etc is miced through the PA.

  33. AngelaTC
    February 6th, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

    I got free tickets to a Madonna show in the early ’80’s and ended up walking out because she sounded so bad.  I am not a fan. But I thought this half time show was brilliant.  Football metaphors and sports symbolism proliferated the entire show. 

  34. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    February 7th, 2012 @ 3:08 am

    Oh wait you are talking about Gisele.  

    What about Lady Gaga’s Grandmother?

    And that Rubberband Man?

  35. Bob Belvedere
    February 7th, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    She was defending her man.  Most guys would kill to have a wife like that considering that a good number of wives would have agreed with the heckler.

    Michael Graham:
    But am I the only guy who heard that story and went—“Yeah! Now that’s a wife! She’s getting her husband’s back, even when he did kind of suck!”

    you watch much TV or pop culture, the default position for women whose
    men are being criticized is “You only know the half of it!”  It’s like
    the old joke about the guy getting pulled over for speeding and the wife
    leaning over from the passenger seat and saying “Officer, he always
    drives like that when he’s been drinking.”

    I was genuinely taken
    aback by Gisele standing by her man. Weren’t you?  Is it because Gisele
    committed a faux pas, or is it because women defending their husbands
    so rarely happens?

    Mrs. B. is like Miss Bundchen and I love it.

  36. Bob Belvedere
    February 7th, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    Perfect choice.

    Besides their hits, they could sing God And Guns

    Last night I heard this politician
    Talking ’bout his brand new mission
    Liked his plans, but they came undone when he got around with God and guns

    I don’t know how he grew up
    But it sure wasn’t down at the hunting club
    Cause if it was he’d understand a little bit more about the working man

    God and guns
    Keep us strong
    That’s what this country
    Was founded on
    Well we might as well give up and run
    If we let them take our God and guns

    I’m here in my back of the woods
    Where God is great and guns are good
    You really can’t know that much about ‘m
    If you think we’re better off without ‘m

    Well there was a time we ain’t forgot
    You caressed all night with the doors unlocked
    But there ain’t nobody save no more
    So you say your prayers and you thank the lord

    For that peace maker
    And the joy

    God and guns (God and guns)
    Keep us strong
    That’s what this country, lord
    Was founded on
    Well we might as well give up and run,
    If we let ‘m take our God and guns.
    Yea we might as well give up and run,
    If we let ‘m take our God and guns!

  37. Bob Belvedere
    February 7th, 2012 @ 9:09 am

     I’ve known a few Valkyrie. 

    Valkyrie are my friends.

    Madonna: you are not a Valkyrie.

  38. Edward
    February 7th, 2012 @ 11:23 am

     Hey I live in New Jersey!

    Yeah I don’t like Jersey in Feb either.  WTF is the NFL thinking of?