Madonna remains the most visible performer on the planet, as well as one of the wealthiest, but would anyone seriously say that artistic self-development is her primary motivating principle? She is too busy with Kabbalah, fashion merchandising, adoption melodramas, the gym, and ill-starred horseback riding to study art.
It's time for a recovery and reassessment of North American thinkers. Marshall McLuhan, Leslie Fiedler and Norman O. Brown are the linked triad I would substitute for Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, whose work belongs to ravaged postwar Europe and whose ideas transfer poorly into the Anglo-American tradition.
Madonna is her own Hollywood studio - a popelike mogul and divine superstar in one. She has a laserlike instinct for publicity, aided by her visual genius for still photography (which none of her legion of imitators has). Unfortunately, her public life has dissolved into a series of staged photo ops.