Thursday, March 10, 2005

Does Madonna like Gefiltefish?

I have a friend/co-worker who adores Madonna and today she sent me an email with this link to a scanned NY Post page asking me to tell her what the "Jewish lettering" (her words) on the $75 t-shirt in the picture meant. I explained that I don't know Hebrew but that I'd try to find out somehow.

The t-shirt in question

Turning to my old friend Google, I did a search for "Madonna hebrew t-shirt." The search returned a few interesting results.

First of all, I found the t-shirt in question on a fan t-shirt website. The Hebrew letters on the front spell out "Madonna." From the shirt description:

Featuring two dramatic portraits of Madonna, this unique garment touches on themes from the Kabbalah, an ancient mystic theology. The front says MADONNA in Hebrew while the back features some of the 72 Names of God, meditation on which is said to have spiritual and healing powers.

I cringed when I read that. It's like she's gone from Material Girl to the faux Jewish equivalent of a Christian rock band (remember DC Talk's Jesus Freak merch from the 90s?) Putting Hebrew on your merch because you've discovered Jewish mysticism and it has changed your life in 2 years? How pure of you to show such great respect for your newly found piety that you would want to slap it on a t-shirt and sell it for $75 at a show where the tickets themselves probably cost between $50 and $100 in the first place!

After solving the mystery of the "Jewish lettering" I looked at another Google result that caught my eye, an article from Fox News. For the first time in history, I think they have a point, which is the same point I was getting to above: she's flaunting her new "religion" but in such a superficial way one can't help but think she's full of shit.

But that led me to another thought... Fox News accuses her of flaunting her religion and incorporating it into her "act." But isn't that exactly what George W. Bush does? Isn't that one of the calling cards of the neoconservative right wing of the United States, their religion? God hates gays, gays can't marry; God hates this, we can't do it; God things this is bad, BAN IT. Bush was a material boy of sorts before finding religion, snorting coke to his heart's content, drinking beer out of kegs in the halls of Yale, yet his "conversion," his "being saved," is considered natural and pure. The Material Girl herself, however, is just a phony. Maybe if she'd picked Christianity instead...

In my world, hey, it's cool if you have God in your life, just keep it out of my face. Enjoy it for yourself, but don't impose it on me, and don't flaunt it. Don't put Kabbalah mysticism on t-shirts and don't tell me that God wouldn't like what I think.

And Madonna, seriously... get that shit off of your merch, you look like an idiot.