Justify my glove: Madonna, sports and the art of protest

Madonna’s birthday, professional sports, and other things that don’t really matter

By Scott King

SPORTS ARE SATANIC. They teach us from an early age that there has to be a winner and a loser in life, pretty much every time we get together to have fun. They teach us that half the world is against us and that saturated fats are the thing to eat even though the bathroom has no toilet paper.

To each they own. That’s what the Bible say. Or did I read that in The Enquirer?

Speaking of which, Madonna is also satanic. A little bit. She has sex with lots of beautiful men and has been married twice and doesn’t apologize for being successful or sexually provocative or pretentious or interesting or, you know, Madonna. She once wore a black dress and a pentagram ring that she claimed was “satanic” on The Arsenio Hall Show. Then her friggin’ dad showed up. Paging Dr. Freud.

SPEAKING OF DISTURBING CHILDHOOD MEMORIES, one of my most vivid and beautiful was when I was perusing the Sports Illustrated that was lying around in my mother’s office like it wasn’t about to change my life. My mother is a retired college professor and coach, and my sister is a very successful athlete.

I love them both for who they are, and I support their rights, and it was a privilege to be raised by them. But back to me. And Sports Illustrated.

This is before the Body Issue, so there wasn’t any porn involved, at least none that I could find, but there was on page whatever-whatever a little blurb about a yet-to-be-named film about an ephemeral professional women’s pro baseball league.

I know, right?

The article was titled “Justify My Glove -Madonna Madonna blah blah blah something that’s not Madonna. Madonna.” I must say, not that bad of a title, Sports Illustrated in 1991. It even contained a little bobblehead doodle of an illustration, of a bustier sportin’, cleats trampin’, smirk workin’ Madonna Ciccone.

This was 1991. In 1989, I’ve done my research, and for over a month ‘Like a Prayer’ was at number one, which meant they played it on the top five at five every Friday on 101.5 WQUT in Johnson City, Tennessee, where I grew up. And by grew up, I mean listened with silent reverence to this six-minute pop music séance every Friday at 5:25 p.m. for five weeks.

I hear sports people are into statistics. There are no coincidences.

Yes girl this was the album version, not the version you prefer from The Immaculate Collection cuz it starts with “…God?” I’m way deeper than God, but that’s for another column on another rainy day.

SPEAKING OF THE BIG G MAN, it’s mostly faded away but it was pretty ubiquitous for about eight years of her career, this fake controversy over Madonna courting controversy to sell records and, you know, highbrow porn.

What people don’t understand is, and what had happened was, are you fucking kidding me? Do you remember the ‘80s and early ‘90s? We needed some fucking controversy.

“Like a Prayer” was a protest song. “Vogue” was a protest song.

“Vogue” protested reality of the Bush presidency and Jerry Falwell rising to power and all of her friends dying of fucking AIDS. “Like a Prayer” protested the notion that a simple Midwest girl couldn’t happily fellate black Jesus and also sing with the choir.

And, you know, racism and people being wrongly accused of murder because of their skin tone and, you know, the Christian right.

Right on, Veronica Electronica.

GIRLFRIEND DID MANY THINGS, but I think the most genius was claiming her sexuality and her artistry and her spiritualness.

I would argue that her decadence from the mid-‘80s to early ‘90s was a form of Dionysian spiritualism, which kind of became a yawn when it became Kabbalah, I mean as far as interviews go but her records have gotten even better. I mean not better than like a prayer, but you know pretty good.

And if you haven’t listened to Erotica straight through lately, do yourself a favor today and listen, with headphones. Most of the songs are about love, and yes, her friends dying of AIDS. Colonel Angus only rears his beautiful head once.

So there you go. When you’re dancing today or tomorrow or Friday or Saturday or Sunday, enjoy your holiday and don’t worry about what you might possibly say to straight people when they ask you what Madonna means to the queer community and why she’s so special. They will never understand because no matter how progressive they are, I really don’t think that they will ever understand how beautiful it is to imagine the beauty of fellating Black Jesus.

Just tell them that if they have to ask, they’ll never know. They’ll be sucking dick in no time.

Only when I’m dancing can I feel this free.

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