Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Malawi: Leave Madonna Alone!

Marina Hyde's Lost in Showbiz column for The Guardian - brilliantly punctures pop stars' pomposity and other assorted celebs' delusions of grandeur.
But when other hacks try this trick they are prone to grab the wrong end of the giggling stick.
Hadley Freeman tried and failed today. For those who couldn't be arsed to read her column a sub was kind enough to summarise it in its headline; "Even the all-powerful Madonna would admit that she didn't free the gay Malawians - she just signed a petition." (The online version features a truncated version of this and adds an explainer; "Celebrities don't make the difference they think they do" which indicates the online sub didn't read the piece).
Freeman's schtick is this; "this weekend, large swath of the celebrity press spontaneously credited the singer with freeing Chimbalanga and Monjeza. 'Malawi Releases Gay Couple After Material One Protests', squealed E, the entertainment news behomoth named after the substance one must be on in order to watch it."
But E's actual headline was more quizzical and playful; "A Madonna Miracle? Malawi Releases Gay Couple After Material One Protests."
It stated that; "The Queen of Pop, who launched a vocal campaign to free a gay Malawian couple locked up for homosexuality, is now celebrating their release."
I think the journalist Brandi Flower may deserve some credit for finding a way of getting a serious story onto a media outlet that's devoted to fluff.
Flower certainly doesn't deserve a sneer from a journalist who's writing about fluff for a serious newspaper.
And it's a bit rich to pour scorn on someone using their celebrity to highlight the Malawi couple's case when the only time this story made The Guardian's comment pages was when an open letter was written by one Elton John.

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