There was no cure, and our government was indifferent. Real money was spent, and although the video got mtv airplay, the song itself never cracked the top ten, a first for madonna in six years. Her elegiac “in this life” offers gratitude to flynn and her late roommate martin burgoyne while addressing aids head-on. The authenticity of her playmates accentuates the fastidiousness of her makeup and the newness of her fetish-wear, which makes madonna look like a tourist. People from both pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion camps weren’t pleased. Elsewhere she’s clearly speaking her own mind, yet with the disclaimer, “nothing in this book is true,” which, to follow her logic, might be a lie. Video just cemented it for all time.
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Can’t numb the pain (“bad girl”), and a friend steals her man (“thief of hearts”). That critics of the era bemoaned, we applauded because it was our own. That was daring in her.