How's that for an inscrutable header? Translated out of tabspeak, it means that Madonna's husband, director Guy Ritchie, has apparently told her that he's done with Kabbalah. He seems to feel that time spent with his wife's religious community caused him to do a less-than-superb job on his most recent movie. While some sources (the Daily Star) say the sinewy songstress is "fuming," others (Fox, but still) suggest that she is herself beginning to wonder about the fate of her donations to a Kabbalah-for-kids foundation.
Now, let's be clear: old Father Anon. is a huge Madonna fan. After all, she does sex-religion-politics, I do sex-religion-politics. Had she answered all my fan letters in the early 80s, we could have made beautiful music together. (Well, if I weren't tone deaf.) I liked the whole Catholic-tramp phase (Like a Virgin, etc.) and liked the yoga-pop phase even even more (Ray of Light and the mehndi business). But the Kabbalah thing has always struck a wrong note.
Why? Hard to say. Like most evangelicals, I'm not wild about mysticism. But like most catholics, I also have a soft spot for it, at least in theory. And back when kabbalah was still a form of medieval Jewish mysticism, the esoteric province of aged rabbis with huge beards, I thought it was kind of cool. But these days, it seems to have become something else: one more slickly-marketed, anything-you-want-it-to-be New Age "spirituality," unhitched from its moorings in Torah and tradition. Just another another damned cult -- and specifically, another damned Baby Boomer cult.
Boomers burn my britches. First they got their patient elders to pretty much wreck Christian worship back in the 60s and 70s -- folk masses, anybody? Then, after the Church had bent over and taken it from them, they decided that wasn't really their bag, man. Over the years, they and their fickle self-indulgence have serially cheapened every religious movement they have been able to find -- sweat lodges and peyote, Zen and yoga, now kabbalah. They pick it up, play with it, produce a version which is "spiritual but not religious" -- meaning not what the founders and ancient practitioners actually think it is at all -- and then get bored (but claim to be disillusioned) and move on. If I were a Sufi, I'd watch my back. Fair warning, guys: You're next.