Madonna, Mother of Self-Mythology

n 2007, Stuart Hall, who helped found an academic field called cultural studies, was over it. “I really cannot read another cultural-studies analysis of Madonna or The Sopranos,” he said. It was a half-serious jab, but he had a point: There was an unbelievable amount of scholarship on the woman who remains, 40 years after her debut, the foremother of the present-day pop star.

Hall spent his life publishing work that asked people to take stock of their relationships to pop culture; he’d thought a lot about how to write social-minded criticism. Despite his exhaustion, Madonna’s career and Hall’s vision of a radical cultural-studies field were tightly related. They emerged around the same time, and their collision not only changed academia but took on a vaster life of its own, forging a new ambivalent vocabulary for fans (and armies of internet-culture writers) to think about pop.

Madonna Self-Mythology

Madonna became a target, an inspiration, and a pivot point for cultural critique almost as soon as she began recording songs in the early 1980s, loaded with immense metaphorical weight. An entire generation of academics saw her as the contradictory embodiment of a uniquely postwar mass culture: inflammatory and traditional, outside and inside, preternaturally mutable, a familiar American protagonist — Horatio Alger, if he slayed — who nonetheless posed a threat to the status quo.

Academics argued that she went on to change pop music in part by construing the self as episodic and ruthlessly, unendingly malleable. Politically, the trope cuts both ways: To make oneself has meant to hew to the acceptable and to chafe against it by imagining a different way of life.

Due to scheduling issues, dates in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, as well as Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Nashville, Tennessee, have been cancelled.

Madonna sent a message on Instagram at the time of the original tour cancellation. “I’m on the road to recovery and incredibly grateful for all the blessings in my life,” the pop diva added. “My focus is now on my health and getting stronger, and I assure you, I’ll be back with you as soon as I can.”

Guy Oseary, her manager, broke the news first. He stated on Instagram that Madonna “developed a serious bacterial infection, which resulted in a several-day stay in the ICU.” “Her health is improving, but she is still under treatment.”

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