First, because Obamadonna was taken.
Second, is it just me or is the cultural landscape in Israel looking a little dry this summer, post-Madonna? The anticipation, the rumors, and then, finally, like a prayer if not like a virgin, the pop queen who has now made “look it up” the classiest epithet of our time turned the Holy Land on its head for a glorious two hours of overpriced over-the-top escapism. Since then we’ve had our this and our that, our White Night and whatnot, but after Madge, forgive me for thinking things are feeling a little limp zeitgeist-wise.
Credit the glum mood perpetuated by Persian prickliness or just blame the heat, but I think Israel could use some more star power this summer. POTUS, can you hear me? Which brings me to the first of five lessons I think Madonna could teach President Obama:
1. You don’t need to book a flight on Air Force One to make a jaunt to Jerusalem. Do like Madonna did and just fly El Al! Although I never received an official press release, insider sources say Madonna got into a first-class, keep the F away from me groove for her New York-Tel Aviv journey in May, and she managed to do it pretty anonymously. So come on Obama, you did your Cairo thing, and you’ve been known to break from the Oval Office for a two-hour spell in Kabul too, so now’s the time to prove your love to a nation that has increasingly credible cause to doubt it.
2. You can skirt the gay marriage debate by simply wearing a cone bra. And as Madonna showed us in Ramat Gan, you needn’t wear it for a very long time to make a lasting impression. By donning said garment, for even a few moments behind the lectern of your Presidential choosing, you will show the world that you are undaunted by a little metallic haberdashery and in so doing, instantly dissolve any doubts about your virility or openness to real change. You’ll be sexy and Romney-debate-ready, and we’ll know it.
3. Madonna is living proof of the importance of being up front about your name. I’m going to tell you a secret, Mr. President: bashfulness before the public eye will always backfire. Let’s take the example, since I’ve just extolled the virtues of the cone bra, of Mr. Anderson Cooper. For months now he’s been selling himself to Americans (not that any were watching) as the guy who’s “keeping them honest,” all the while prevaricating before the all-knowing gods of American pop culture about his propensity for things pink. His laughably tardy latter day admission hardly confers instant credibility – it will take years for him to earn back what he never had.
As I recall, the public invitations to your inauguration referred to “Barack H. Obama,” while those for POTUS 42 referred to “William Jefferson Clinton.” Why hide the Hussein? Since when is Gaga just Lady G? Had you embraced your Islamic nomenclature, partial yet indelible, from the get-go, you would have made the omission of Israel from the June 2009 itinerary that made you the star of the Nile that much less suspect. Like Madonna said once and said again in Ramat Gan, Express Yourself, Don’t Repress Yourself. So your parents gave you a middle name with questionable political cachet – but if Madonna doesn’t hide behind her initials, neither should you. Unless it’s a temporary ruse to sell records.
4. Enough politics – Madonna can also give you some great Israel holiday tips. Holiday! Madge demonstrated that you can be a hardworking Material Girl and still take some time out to schlep the kids to the beach. Madonna’s brats enjoyed Tel Aviv’s beaches and that means Sasha and Malia could too. I know you have a yen for the Vineyard, but have you seen the news reports from the Cape recently? Great whites everywhere! Yes, the Levantine littoral is speckled with jellyfish this time of year, but they’re small (I checked) and at the end of a long Presidential day, my guess is you’d rather have a mild-mannered cnidarian nipping your ankle than a fat shark tucking into your tucas.
5. Back to politics: You too can make an appeal to world peace in a place where most people would rather listen to pop music. Midway through her performance Madonna gave a headline-making spiel about the need to end war, bring people together, yada yada. In Israel, of all places. She’s never been short on chutzpah, that Madonna. But Obama, you seem a little sheepish in comparison. And the Middle East like the wider world is no country idyll right now. Unlike with Madonna, no one will forget what you say five minutes after you say it because Mr. President, you’re the President. You don’t have to flash a boob to grab a headline – all you have to do is show up.