Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.
If this doesn’t prompt Capital Hill Democrats to get off their duffs and accept the administration’s offer to bail out the Big 3 with a $25 billion taxpayer funded loan I don’t know what will. The patron saint of raunch was in the Motor City last night to deliver a rare Michigan concert and darn it all if she didn’t have a hard time finding anyone to bother showing up to ogle her. Madonna, a Michigan native but one who abandoned her home state and then her country long ago, has never been shy about sharing her political opinions. They usually start with an F-bomb which is then followed by the name of whichever conservative has dared raise her considerable dander. Eff George W. Bush. Eff Dick Cheney. Eff Sarah Palin. You get the idea.
When the ex-pat Material Girl isn’t lecturing American voters on politics all the way from her home in London she’s in Africa orchestrating high profile adoptions for her team of nannies, globe trotting with Alex Rodriguez (he has the heart of a poet, apparently) or, as it turns out, begging the few Detroiters who bothered to turn out for their adulation and approval.
I know that I, for one, am really sorry I missed it.
The Ivory Tower reports:
The homegrown hall of famer, tight and sinewy, was an onstage dynamo, whirling and gyrating her way through the biggest concert spectacle Detroit will see this year.
From an elevated throne — where she perched spread-eagled in a fringed black leotard — Madonna kicked into “Candy Shop” to launch an energetic, edge-of-risqué set that belied her 50 years.
She didn’t acknowledge her homecoming until midway through, when she clicked her heels a la Dorothy and uttered, “There’s no place like home.” Later, she paid tribute to Detroiters’ storied toughness, and wryly prodded the audience to clap along: “I don’t come here very often, so please make a big deal about it.”
If turnout for this concert was any indication it may be another seven years before her Madge-esty (har) graces us with her presence again.
Unlike most of the dates on this tour — and Madonna’s previous stops in Michigan — the show wasn’t a sellout. If anything is a bellwether of tough times in Detroit, this was it. Fans elsewhere might still splurge $165-plus on good seats, but ticket brokers Tuesday afternoon were discounting Ford Field tickets by up to $100. And this in a city once known as a can’t-miss concert market, for acts small and large.
Notice, though, that she wasn’t giving her tickets away. She had thousands of extras and didn’t bother to redistribute them to Detroiters who didn’t have any. Tisk.
The Tower reports about 30,000 people showed up to see the 50 year old prance around various set pieces. If you aren’t familiar with Ford Field, that number isn’t so hot. The building’s capacity for football games, and this show was set up on the football field without a lot of conversion, is 65,000. (When they really have a hot ticket they can cram as many as 78,000 into seats with their basketball style configuration). Those numbers don’t include standing room or seating set up on the field itself.
In other words, nobody showed. The place was significantly less than half full. Clearly a result of Michigan’s dour economy and Democrats continuing refusal to do anything about it in Congress. Not that DC Dems get all the blame. There’s plenty to go around on the home front, too, and the UAW is fighting tooth and nail to make sure none of it falls at their feet. Apparently those $73.20 an hour union jobs aren’t abnormal at all. (Where can I sign up for one of those, by the way?)
Thank heavens others disagree with Ron Gettelfinger and company. The Detroit News reports:
The union and management may have to accept further cuts, said John Paul MacDuffie, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “All the claims of past progress are moot at this point, and now it’s a question of responding to the urgency of the crisis.”
(David) Cole (of the Center for Automotive Research) concedes that the UAW may have to give up more benefits, and he singled out the jobs bank, where idled workers collect nearly full pay. People around the country are all aware of the UAW jobs bank, which sets a level of job security that’s unheard of in most sectors.
Or in any other sectors. Every place else, if there’s no work they start sending out pink slips. In a perfect utopia there’d be full employment, a Mustang in every garage and a pony in every back yard. Alas, the world is far from perfect. Just ask the folks down in Monroe County where yesterday Lay-Z-Boy announced a giant round of cuts to level off manufacturing with demand. The Associated Press:
The company said it will cut 850 workers, or about 10 percent of its work force, and expects between 15 and 20 dealer-owned stores to close in the next 90 to 120 days.
It won’t be the first round of layoffs for the company, which like other furniture makers has been hit by the housing and credit slump as shoppers pull back from big-ticket items.
How does the Queen of Pop respond to this sort of news? She tells folks they have to pay $165 to see her from a distance and then lectures the crowd when they don’t make a big enough deal out of her. The compassionate left.
Not that any of us should be surprised. Madonna gave up on Michigan a long time ago, but not capitalism and free markets, it seems. There’s that whole debate about whether art imitates life or life imitates art… I don’t have any answers but I’ll tell you one thing, the woman’s looking more and more like Eva Peron. Talks a good game about altruism and the “little guy,” lots of bread and circuses, but careful about pulling back the curtain.
Rollin on in, Rollin on inRollin on in, Rollin on inOn in