It is perhaps a sign of the times and the constant state of hyperbole overload we live in that at least some of us didn’t pay too much attention when Madonna told the women’s march on Washington crowd that she had thought about “blowing up the White House.” First of all, it’s Madonna. Unless she’s singing, how seriously can you really take her? And the amount of breathless proclamations filling the airwaves on Saturday from political and entertainment luminaries was such that it was hard to keep up. But some people obviously did notice the rather, er… “explosive” phrasing and word leaked out fairly quickly that the Secret Service had been alerted.
I’m not sure if the singer is actually a more savvy businesswoman than I’d imagined or she just has some people in her inner circle with the normal allotment of common sense, but one way or another she got the message. Within twenty four hours she was first seeking to “clarify” what she was talking about. (Associated Press)
The singer said at the Washington, D.C., march Saturday that she had at times been angry after the election and had thought “an awful lot about blowing up the White House.”
In a statement Sunday on Instagram , Madonna said she was trying to express there are two ways to respond to Donald Trump’s election: with hope or with outrage. She said she hopes to effect change “with love.”
Yes, effecting change “with love” will probably get you in a lot less trouble than using dynamite. (We won’t rehash that other sort of love she was offering prior to the election in exchange for votes for Hillary Clinton – NSFW.) But even that clarification didn’t seem to go far enough, so the singer went on to claim that her comments were taken wildly out of context. (BBC)
Trump supporters reacted angrily, claiming that there would have been uproar if such a comment had been made about former president Barack Obama.
Madonna has now said her remarks were taken “wildly out of context”.
“I am not a violent person, I do not promote violence and it’s important people hear and understand my speech in it’s entirety rather than one phrase,” she posted on Instagram.
I’m not sure Madonna understands the phrase “out of context” as well as needed here. There really isn’t a “good” context in which one could include the phrase I’ve thought about blowing up the White House unless it was preceded by, “I would never say something as stupid as….”
But setting that aside, I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here for a moment, at least in part. The rules we have regarding threats to public officials in general and the President in particular are obviously important and they’re in place for a reason. But we do tend to get a bit carried away with them at times. Not every comment of this nature is intended seriously and, particularly when we’re talking about comedians, entertainers and purveyors of outrage, it should be fairly simple to dismiss such talk as boorish behavior. The idea of the pop singer physically wiring up some bricks of high grade explosives and sneaking onto the White House grounds strains the boundaries of reality to say the least.
But with that said, the problem that we run into is that the Secret Service is in a business where they can’t take any chances. They have to be right every single time when it comes to keeping the First Family alive and in one piece. How do they know who is joking until they check? Even more disconcerting is the possibility that one of the tens of thousands of nut cases in the audience might be unhinged enough to think that Madonna was sending them a coded message calling them to action.
This should be a relatively quick and easy investigation for the Secret Service but they might want to ask her for a more complete and public apology before they put the matter to rest. I don’t say that out of concern that Madonna could pull off something horrific, but because there are a lot of unhinged leftists out there listening to her.