Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Madonna Causes Bird Flu?

What's a girl like Madonna to do? It's no secret that she's deeply immersed in Kabbalah, the once-obscure form of Jewish mysticism that, thanks in large part to the Material Girl (or Esther, to call her by her "Kabbalah name"), has taken over Hollywood like the next incarnation of Transcendental Meditation. Everywhere you look, anorexic wrists are sporting red Kabbalah strings and doe-eyed starlets are sipping "completely positive, healing energy" from their bottles of Kabbalah water (only $1.75 per half-liter!).

Why this love for Kabbalah in the entertainment ranks? It allows them the excitement of cultural squatting while fulfilling their basic need to feel superior to the rest of America. Madonna, obviously, has a ravenous appetite for that sense of superiority. After all, she already has a bazillion dollars and a phony British accent. That would be enough for most people.

Hollywood Kabbalah, like Richard Gere's Buddhism, has a certain hippy-dippy, experimental cachet, and many adherents like to believe that they're slaking their spiritual thirst without contaminating themselves with the orthodoxies associated with mainstream religion in America. That said, I wonder what Madonna's reaction is to this from a recent Reuters article:
An outbreak of deadly bird flu in Israel is God's punishment for calls in election ads to legalize gay marriages, according to Rabbi David Basri, a prominent sage preaching Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism....The bird flu outbreak stemmed from far-left political parties "strengthening and encouraging homosexuality," Rabbi Basri's son quoted him as saying.
Pat Robertson couldn't have said it better. Basri's comments were brought on, in part, by a political advertisement in Israel that shows two brides kissing. I certainly hope the rabbi didn't catch the "duet" between Madonna and Britney Spears at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards!

This is not to say that Kabbalah in general is as intolerant as, say, fundamentalist Christianity. It just goes to show that when you do spiritual cherry picking, you sometimes end up with the pits.

P.S. If this proclamation had come from a Muslim, Weblogistan would be going crazy. Where's your outrage, Andrew Sullivan?
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