Wherever she goes she is recognized. Whether it’s jogging along a city street or sitting in a downtown care, heads turn and mouths whisper, “It’s her! Madonna!”

Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone is unquestionably the queen of pope music. To her credit she has held this title for seven continuous years – quite an accomplishment considering the number of other superstars who have found themselves on the “come-back trail.” At 31, she’s had 16 consecutive top five hits and sold over 60 million records worldwide.  Moreover, she stands as the chief executive of Madonna Inc., a multi-million dollar corporation which publishes her songs and videos. Without a doubt, the lady has talent.

World of fantasy

As the “live from Italy” video, Ciao Italia, begins, Madonna invites the listener to “Live out your fantasy here with me.” And it is this, some music critics claim, that has maintained the public’s interest in her. Madonna offers fantasy, illusion and escape.

Listening solely to the lyrics one could believe that Madonna beckons us to a real world where “a girl loves a boy, and a boy loves a girl.”

Use and abuse

The world that Madonna fashions is not one of “love” so much as “making love,” not of devotion and reverence so much as use and abuse. The truth of this is made manifest in every Madonna image. From the “Boy Toy” who’s “been had” but keeps coming back for more, to the “Material Girl” for whom the “boy with the cold hard cash is Mr. Right,” to the vamp who writhes and croons, “I’m not the same – I have no shame…I’m burning up for your love.”

It is on stage, however, where Madonna reveals that profound perversion of the world to which she musically leads us. Clad in bustiers or low-cut teddies, Madonna licks her lips seductively, wriggles her behind, writhes on the floor and much, much more. It is conduct more befitting the privacy of her own bedroom than a public performance of an accomplished musical artist.

But beyond the bump and grind lies something more depraved. “Do you like a little pain with your sex?” Madonna questioned the 27,000 fans at Toronto’s Skydome during a recent performance of her “Blond Ambition” tour. This isn’t just sex; this is violent sex, sex that conjures up images of bondage, torture and rape.

Straddled altar

There is no love in the message that emanates from Madonna; no love of self; no respect of others; no reverence for things holy and sacred. “I don’t make fun of Catholicism,” Madonna told Vogue magazine’s Vicki Woods. No, she does not make fun of Catholicism; she adulterates it. “Here was the Madonna that truly causes commotion – falling to her knees in the (stage set of the) house of God, literally straddling the altar” observed the Toronto Star.

Madonna’s invitation to “live out your fantasy here with me” is, in reality, a challenge to participate in the depraved sexuality and senseless violence of today’s North American society. When children as young as seven are exposed to the music and spectacle of her shows, and when teenage girls proclaim “We wanna be like Madonna,” there is little hope that the tragedy of pregnancy and abortion, sexually-transmitted disease, rape and sexual homicide and plain violence among our youth will be stemmed.

Listening to Madonna’s music it is easy to be taken in. The beat is seductive and the lyrics are all about having a good time. But beneath the veneer lies a disturbing truth in Madonna’s world, love don’t live here anymore.