Monday, October 23, 2006
An Australian blogger says I can be 'fairly pompous'. I console myself with the thought that Australians can detect pomposity in a waffle iron. And, in fact, it is fear of sounding pompous that has so far stopped me from posting on the subject of Madonna and her adopted baby David Banda. (My possibly pompous views, incidentally, on Madonna the artist can be found here. ) Predictably, the adoption process has begun to turn tricky with David's father saying he didn't realise his child had gone for good. The pompous thing to say - and everybody has said it - is there is something grotesque about the likes of Madonna and Angelina Jolie grabbing cute African babies as if they were shopping for accessories at Prada. But, of course, this baby will not suffer poverty, disease and, almost certainly, an early death. David will enjoy all the fruits the first world can offer. If the individual life is of absolute value, then what Madonna has done is absolutely good. Yet Africa is diminished. The casual, impulsive embrace of the star makes it look as though nothing can be done for the continent apart from the selective removal of its inhabitants. Furthermore, both Madonna and the posturing Bono are shamed by the systematic intelligence, hard work and massive personal funds being put into Africa by Bill Gates. The truth is, I suspect, that Madonna in middle age is bored and she has discovered the idea of doing good as a distraction. Doing good is cool, but working as hard as Gates at doing good is not. Grabbing babies is simply a satisfactory compromise for the ageing star.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:51 am