Here’s a new video anthology that provokes an interesting question: Why Madonna? Why did a woman whose singing style is Early Munchkin, whose dancing is generally mechanical, whose sex appeal recalls that of a dominatrix, and whose only other notable asset is a David Bowie-style mastery of image- mongering, become a pop-culture icon?
The answer, as this video shows, is that we seem to get the pop stars we deserve. The Immaculate Collection — 13 video clips ranging from 1984’s ”Lucky Star” to 1990’s ”Vogue” — is a depressingly revelatory video, a sort of time-capsule peek into the pop unconscious of the Reagan years. Clip after clip vibrates with themes ranging from the appalling to the nearly evil — porn palace peep shows as harmless rite of passage (”Open Your Heart”), heartfelt paeans to unwanted pregnancy (”Papa Don’t Preach”), narcissism as liberation (”Vogue”), and on and on.
Although the clips could be defended as intentionally ambiguous examples of postmodern irony, watching them back to back makes it clear that Madonna has not one ambiguous or ironic bone in her well-displayed body. D+