Now I can tell you about success, about fame
About the rise and the fall of all the stars in the sky
Don't it make you smile?
Today we stop, dance and give thanks.
Yes, that seminal moment in popular culture - that day of great reflection and musing - has arrived. Our diamond, our Madonna, reaches the half-century mark today. All week, the pundits have been pondering: What does it mean? How do we reckon it with our own mortality? How does she do it?
It was, perhaps, the Washington Post's Hank Stuever who put it best when, last Sunday, he simply opened with the observation: "Madonna, OMG, you are 50."
For those of us who remember her Madgesty's Holiday, who learned from the best how to "express yourself; don't repress yourself," and who can answer life's most pressing questions with "What would Madonna do?," today is a high holy day, indeed.
Madonna has been all things - disco queen, sex symbol, mystical Jewish prophetess and a conquering Argentinian first lady - to all people. She has inspired graduate courses at universities... villages in Malawi... and countless gay men who just want to dress her up in our love. For a half-century, she has persuaded the rest of us that we live on her dancefloor, and that there's nowhere else we'd rather be.
The girls at Jezebel recently wondered, "What does Madonna's 50th birthday really mean?"
In a futile attempt to answer the unanswerable (as most things Materially philosophical are), here are some thoughts:
Madonna's 50th means that, just maybe, we have turned a corner- where she has liberated women (and the rest of us) once more. 50, she boldly reminds us, is no longer the age of Icy-Hot, but the age of hot, hot, hot. Reaching the half-century mark - with the help, perhaps, of a few B12 shots in a very particular place - no longer means smocks and socks, but Givenchy street wear and publicly displaying your underwear.
"She's dragging us kicking and screaming," as Edwina Monsoon once observed on Absolutely Fabulous, "into middle age."
The Material Girl's birthday present, it seems, may be to the rest of us. (Oh, she gives and gives and gives.) It is, perhaps, the gift of letting us realize that we can still be whatever we want to be... whoever (and wherever in our lives) we are.
Liberate yourself, she still says, and the rest will follow.
And no one does liberation like her Madgesty.
That's why today, as our diamond celebrates her jubilee, we can all find jubilation that five-decades strong, she continues to shine and "get up on the dancefloor."
Happy birthday, Madonna. You still make us smile.