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Madonna Stirs Controversy

            Madonna is either synonymous with popular culture or the Virgin Mary, but one thing is certain; wherever Madonna makes her appearance millions will follow. Many things can be said about Madonna: unconventional, anti-institutional religion, feminist and gay movement icon, a shrewd business woman, and, as quoted in Pamela Robertson's book, Guilty Pleasures, "She's become a repository for all our ideas about fame, money, sex, feminism, pop-culture, even death." 1(Page 117) Michel Dion's essay, "Madonna in the French Press"2, reveals the reasons why the French Press react to Madonna in such an extreme fashion, and one reason would be what he calls the "religious transgression". (Page 285) To correctly understand Dion's findings and the conclusion presented, a complete and accurate definition of pop culture is needed to fully realize the nature of Madonna's "business". .
             In the essay "Madonna in the French Press", he uses the Critical Approach of Intercultural Communication. The Critical Approach is a process of analysis whereby Dion attempts to analyze the ubiquitous coverage of Madonna in the French media. Dion states that he counted and analyzed over 800 articles in the French press on Madonna in a year between October 1992 and October 1993. Dion points out that in this one-year period Madonna published her " . Highly controversial book of nude photos, Sex, released a compact disc, Erotica, and played in three films, A League of their Own, Body of Evidence, and Snake Eyes."(Page 284) Dion then divides this analysis into two categories; "favorable overall" and "hostile overall", after which Dion states, "There isn't any middle ground". (Page 287).
             Essential to understanding Dion's essay is a definition of Popular Culture. And to understand popular culture is to understand its impetus toward consumption of product, which in turn, generates income. Popular Culture, as defined by Martin and Nakayama in their book, Intercultural Communication in Contexts3, is a subgroup of low culture that employs systems of communication, such as television, music, video, and magazines to perpetuate populist ideas of contemporary culture.

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