In Defense of Lip-Synching | Letters | Chicago Reader

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In Defense of Lip-Synching

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To the editors:

Gone are the days when I eagerly await the release of the Reader to find out what Critic's Choice will be. Perhaps Bill Goldman, I mean Wyman, you need a holiday, so you can open your heart and better express yourself.

My disillusionment came with reading your obscenely prejudiced and scathing piece on Truth or Dare [June 21]. Let's begin with your indictment that the movie is a docudrama rather than a documentary. Throughout your diatribe you portray Madonna as a maniacal control freak. Why then, I ask Bill Goldman, I mean Wyman, is it "hugely contrived" that the woman you describe as "so unsure of her image that she can't bear to let it out of her control even for a second" (you obviously didn't see Shanghai Surprise) wouldn't want to wait until the following morning to remove the half empty beer bottles soiling her posh hotel suite? I bet a call to the Four Seasons housekeeping staff could verify this "truth" of yours.

I can't even begin to fathom the benignly absurd comparison of Truth or Dare with Triumph of the Will. I mean, are you such a close friend and confidant of Madonna's that you can so assuredly claim what she truly does and does not do, or what she is truly or not truly like? And does it really matter?

Speaking of "truth," let's talk about your analysis of the concert footage scenes. It is apparent that you don't listen to her "overwrought and overproduced albums." (You are probably too busy listening to the brilliantly honed craftsmanship of Nine Inch Nails or the Revolting Cocks.) How then would you, Bill Goldman, I mean Wyman, have any idea whether the live sequences are "patently staged or rerecorded"? She willingly admitted while on tour that she lip-synched to ensure her audiences consistent performances. With the price of tickets these days, this consideration of her fans is something other performers should pay attention to. Would the movie have been better if it had the sound quality of, let's say, "Blank Generation"?

But let's get to the heart of the matter. What really bothers you, and you are not alone, don't worry, is the very thing that she is celebrated for: her control of her image and her unconventionality. Yet, you only pay lip service to these things. The fact that you don't think that her saying "dick" a lot is unconventional, means you have spent too many nights at the Metro. For you and your urbane poseur friends who have scuffed their shoes in the sawdust at the Smart Bar epater les bourgeois may be commonly used phrases. (I overheard Elmer tell Floyd that it's just the epater les bourgeois the last time I was in Des Moines.)

Mr. Goldman, I mean Wyman, the real issue isn't her sex talk or her elaborately casual relations with her gay dancers; the real issue is her control. Women, especially short, blond, buxom ones aren't supposed to be in control. And they certainly aren't supposed to be in control of multimillion dollar corporations entitled Boy Toy, Inc., Slutco, and Siren Films.

You obviously despised Madonna prior to writing your "review" of the movie. You could have at least had the decency to provide this disclaimer at the beginning of the "review." Albert, I mean Bill, lighten up and throw away your thesaurus.

Tracey Wik

Doug Sohn

Chicago

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