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An Open Letter to Madonna

Timothy Kincaid

October 15th, 2008

Dear Madonna,

You are coming to Los Angeles next month as part of your Sticky and Sweet Tour. Several of my friends are going and they’ve asked me to get a ticket as well.

In fact, among some of my friends, being one of your fans is almost an expectation. More than one were teen-age members of your fan club (they’re in their 30′s now) and while only one actively collects memorabilia anymore, the idea of missing a concert of yours is unthinkable.

I’m sure you’ve figured by now that these friends are gay men. After all, Madonna, gay men make up a huge majority of your loyal fans, those who buy every album and keep your name and music relevant.

And I do enjoy your music. I own several CD’s and caught your last concert in Las Vegas. It was a great show and I hear the new one is as well.

But I will not be going.

You see, Madonna, when you make a career out of appealing to a gay audience, when you cultivate your Gay Icon status, and when you make hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, you owe something back. You owe the loyalty to the gay community that they have given you.

And you are not fulfilling that obligation. You have given NOTHING to the fight in California, Arizona, and Florida to protect the rights of the gay citizens of those states. I guess you think that you have better things to do with your money.

So if you are looking for me to drop down a couple hundred bucks to watch you lip-sync, it isn’t going to happen. I too have better things to do with my money. For one thing, I’ll need to pick up the new Fall Out Boy album.

Sincerely,

Timothy Kincaid

p.s. Feel free to pass this message on to Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler, and Cher, all of whom have also given nothing to the cause.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

Here! Here!

Let’s add Oprah, Patrick Neil;
Harris, and a paltry 50,000 from a billionaire entertainment mogul.

Chris
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

Maybe Madonna, struggling thru a divorce, and raising a family, might not feel that this particular fight isn’t hers. Maybe she doesn’t think gays should marry. Maybe, just maybe, she does have more important things going on in her life than worying about YOU. And, “NO” I am not a fan.

cowboy
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

I’m not sure I feel comfortable with using guilt-trip tactics when groveling for dollars. I would rather the money come altruistically from our friends. Not that we are groveling but it just has an undignified aspect to it.

And I suppose dignity is not what we are worried about, is it? Especially considering Madonna who has performed in Los [sic] Vegas.

Evan
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

Yeah, count me among those who are getting really grossed out by this guilt-tripping of celebrities to give money.

It would be different if these were people we actually knew, and these conversations were being had, like, over dinner or something, but frankly, I’m tired of it.

Regan DuCasse
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

I don’t and have never cared for Madonna. I think, at least that the NO on 8 campaign is far more honest and needful than that of the opposition.
The opposition is after all, using scare words and tactics. Churches and most religious based organizations not even in this state are exploiting their tax exempt status and their parishioner’s donations to attack a distinct and obviously compelling part of the entire human race.

Someone scolded me on the Townhall website by saying that what gay people do isn’t all that important to most people and that it’s not necessary to make so many appeals.

He’s wrong simply by how much money IS being generated and spent by the opposition.
That it’s not being spent on more pressing and important issues, like say…measures to reduce domestic violence or too easy divorce.

And in spite of the fact that the statistics on marriage failures, child welfare and support won’t change for the better with this amendment, it could be argued that such issues can be improved WITHOUT it.

It might be NICE if certain people in our midst, enriched by gay people, didn’t have to be prompted at all, but if they have to be, it just shows that up and down the line also, that apparently some people don’t think they need us or our money.
That goes for politicians with their hands out too.

It never helps much to keep reminding some people of their obligation to you.
But I sure won’t feel anything for them if their tickets, sales, ratings or profits drop in any way for lack of response to that obligation.

JackBeck
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

How much money have Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Elton John and Melissa Etheridge given to fighting Prop 8?

Dave Hughes
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

Has anyone asked Madonna (or Barbra or Bette or Cher) to contribute? Do you know?

It would have been far more respectful and effective to start with a polite request for a donation than to start with this. This kind of approach will get you nowhere.

AJD
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

I agree it’s unfair for Madonna to capitalize on her popularity with gays while not giving anything to defeat any of the propositions. Still, I don’t think it’s advisable to take such a — dare I say — bitchy tone when trying to persuade someone to donate money to a cause.

Emily K
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

Way to appeal to Stereotype, Timothy. And fall-out boy?? wow. just, wow.

Timothy Kincaid
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Emily,

If, admidst your wowing, you click the link you will see that Fall Out Boy gave $50,000.

Shawn
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

I would really disagree with you, no celebrity is obligated to do anything with their money, we pay them to entertain us, not to be our friends. People really need to get over the idea, that celebrities are our friends, or even want to be our friends. They are preforming a job that they have chosen to preform, just like someone working anywhere else.

People make way to much of movie, TV, or music stars, its their job, and they are not required to support anything.

That being said, I do also think that they should keep their opinions on politics, and other stuff to themselves.

Entertain me, I don’t care what you think, do your job, that it nothing more.

Willie Hewes
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s getting sick of these weird guilting tactics. Do you really think emotional blackmail is an effective way to get people to donate? It makes you look like a*holes.

You have no right to tell anyone else what to do with their money. As Dave Hughes said, why don’t you try asking nicely?

Or why don’t you try rewarding the people who DO donate instead of hating on the ones who didn’t (publicly)? Why is there a massive and clearly ineffective facebook campaign about harassing Ellen to donate money to NO on 8, but not massive facebook campaign to encourage people to go to Brad Pitt’s new movie, as a thank you for his support? I think it opens this weekend and it looks like good harmless fun, you know, the kind of thing that you could go see with a big group of all your queer friends. Just an idea!

Maybe that kind of action would ENCOURAGE famous people to put money forward, rather than scaring them off! It seems that if you don’t pay up but you do support the gays by speaking out, instead of thanks you get slagged off. Or if you donate 50,000, you only get criticism for not giving more. What’s wrong with you people, do you want their support or not?

Tavdy
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

“Maybe Madonna, struggling thru a divorce, and raising a family, might not feel that this particular fight isn’t hers.” – Chris

Or maybe Madonna believes that for someone as famous as her, who is in the middle of such a public divorce, to endorse gay marriage could easily do more harm than good. Remember how willing the enemy is to twist truth into falsehood, and remember who we’re trying to persuade.

Angelo Bouselli
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

As a Madonna fan for the past 20+ years I find your open letter to be very one sided. Madonna paved the way for many of us by showing us that it was okay to be yourself… something that all the money in the world couldn’t do. Madonna also is not one to give to a cause for the sake of publicity. However, over the last 20+ years she has been a major player in the fight against AIDS and AIDS education by giving her money and name to the cause. How soon we forget about all the good she has done.

Alex
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

I’m still not sure whether this letter is satirical.

gordo
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Alex – Tim Kinkaid is usually NOT satirical.

But I agree with him – gays have been with Madge since the very beginning and she’s missing in action here. Shame on her, and shame on us if we don’t call her on it.

CLS
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

I usually enjoy this site but this post was nonsense. Let’s recap the thesis. Entertainers make money from gay people and thus they owe something back.

Now imagine Madonna or any other entertainer, going through a divorce perhaps, announcing to gay people: “You’ve enjoyed my music for years. Now your owe something back.” What would we say to that? We’d tell her: “Hey, we paid for that music. We bought concert tickets, albums, CDs, etc. At each point we gave you money to enjoy your music. We don’t owe you anything.”

Entertainment is an exchange. Madonna worked and produced music that you voluntarily bought. In fact you bought the entertainment precisely because you thought it was worth what you paid or more. If you though the music wasn’t worth what you paid you wouldn’t have bought it. You did an exchange.

Your entire premise is built on the assumption that when you buy a product from someone you are engaging in charity and building up credit where they owe you something. That is absurd. I never went to anyone’s concert because of pity and a sense of charity. I went because I valued what I got. If you didn’t value it then you certainly aren’t a “fan” by any definition.

So what does any entertainer owe us? No more than the local grocer owes us or the electric company or the newspaper we buy. And what do we owe them? Nothing — we paid for what we got and got something for what we paid. The exchange made us both better off or we wouldn’t have done it voluntarily and last I checked purchasing Madonna albums (which I’ve never done actually) is voluntary. That means with each transaction no one is building up chips to be called in later when wanted. You got what you paid for, if you don’t think you did, then you should have stopped paying long ago.

But, Madonna, et. al., it would be nice if you all could help. We really need your help to fight some nasty individuals who want to use the state to enforce their own values on the rest of us. Your help is appreciated for sure especially because we understand you have no financial obligation to do so. And I apologize for the people who make demands that they have no right making. Also, I should point out that such help in the long run will pay off as we won’t forget generosity and friends who help when we need it.

Jason D
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

While I’m not a fan of threats and guilt….

I do think it’s fair to remind Madonna, Cher, Bette (ellen has done PLENTY of work to defeat prop 8 BTW) who their fans are, and that we need them.

BUT, I do think another poster brought up a great point.

Madonna is not exactly everyone’s favorite person these days. She’s pissed off just about every Christian in the country on some level, so sticking her face into this fray might not be wise. Think about it Divorcing Diva Supports Gay Marriage — I think the earthquake from the collective eye-roll of the fundies would be felt all over.

Kevin
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

I haven’t bought a Madonna LP since cassette tapes were the medium of choice….

If anyone deserves to give back to this gay, it’s the estates of Karen Carpenter, Dusty Springfield, and Oum Kolthoum.

Alex
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Jason D,

Maybe Ellen DeGeneres is so involved because unlike Cher, Madonna, Bette Midler, and almost every other entertainer that reinforces the “fabulous” gay stereotype, she will lose rights if Prop 8 passes.

This whole argument is ridiculous. Gay people don’t need Madonna any more than she needs us. We should spend less time pleading with middle-aged celebrities who have their own problems to deal with and more time garnering support among politicians.

Priya Lynn
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

In light of the suggestions that Madonna’s open opposition to Prop 8 might hurt more than help, perhaps she’s given anonymously.

Evan
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

I would also add that none of us really know the state of individual celebrities’ finances at any given time.

While, arguably, Madonna is quite wealthy, she’s in the middle of a tour where a lot of her capital may be currently tied up, peoples’ investments are tanking all over the place, and, as another pointed out, she’s in the middle of a divorce in which her expenditures very well may play a part in the settlement…the point is, who knows?

Also, she already gives quite a lot to charitable causes, so it’s not like we’re dealing with someone who’s stingy about the things she cares about.

quo III
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,

This is not intended to be a rude question, but what makes you think that Madonna is going to read your post? Incidentally, public announcements of one’s own charity are forbidden in the New Testament.

Priya Lynn
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Quo, I don’t think Timothy wrote that post in the sincere hope that Madonna would read it. I suspect he wrote it as a statment on the situation.

Priya Lynn
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

I’d add that I don’t think Madonna is particularly concerned about what the new testament says.

Jason D
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Priya,
It’s my understanding that no direct donation for or against prop 8 can be anonymous. All are a matter of public record, donors are not allowed to be anonymous in this situation.

I have not found out (cause I really haven’t bothered) whether or not 3rd Parties can donate on someone’s behalf. In other words Madonna gives money to “Up With Homos, Inc” that gives money to “No on Prop 8″.

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