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THE VIDEO: NOTHING REALLY MATTERS

GEISHA RAMA

Nothing really matters to Madonna--except being trendy and revamping the world in her own image.

And like the true cultural icon/diva/ice queen/anathema that she is and always has been, Madonna has found--and promptly appropriated--the newest fad. It was Erotica Madonna, then Evita Madonna, then Mama Madonna, then Om Shanti Madonna, and now--gasp!--it's Geisha Madonna. Obsessed with Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, Madonna has turned into a pop culture juggernaut. She has declared herself "Hatsumomo," the malevolent nemesis of the book's protagonist. (In a recent interview she clued us in to the disturbing fact that baby Lourdes seems to like calling her mom "Hatsumomo.")

MADONNA

"Nothing Really Matters"

True, Madonna is a shameless, shamefulappropriator. But she still is relevant (though noone can explain why), perhaps more so now thanever before. There is no better proof of this thanher newest piece of pop culture, her contributionto Geisha-rama--her newest video from Ray ofLight, "Nothing Really Matters" (which sheperformed lamely in Geisha garb at the GrammysWednesday night).

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The video is deliciously subversive. In asense, Madonna consciously sheds layers of herpostmodern act during the 4:25 minute video,daring us to piece together its clues. At thebeginning, she stands upon a raised platform infull Geisha costume (eerily enough, she resemblesMarilyn Manson with a fluorescent band of makeupacross her eyes). She holds a baby wrapped inglowing plastic. The scene seems comfortablyserene--until we realize that Geisha Madonna isn'tholding a baby. The plastic bag is empty.

The video explodes into angular movements andsurreal imagery which would be useless to describehere. But it's enough to say that the last 30seconds might be the worst revelatory materialMadonna has yet to produce. Dressed in a fiery redkimono (her breasts literally overflowing),Madonna dances in a narrow corridor. Her facialexpressions change by the second--she cries, shescreams, she feigns taking a gunshot, she smileshonestly, she smiles subversively, she pouts, shewhines, she scolds and finally, Madonna loses herhead.

Random? Of course not. Realizing it's all thepieces of a puzzle, we grasp the stunning answer.Madonna is, in all truth, a modern-day Geisha. Sheis trapped within her corridor, without the leastprivacy, but she is free to perform.

And like the postmodern icon she is, Madonnatells us in "Nothing really matters" that herwhole career has been a matter of performing oncue.

"Want me to smile?" she asks. "Want me tobitch? Want me to soften up? Want me to be a mom?"

And soon, she seems to be telling us, she willlose her head.Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records

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