The scene that takes place 3 minutes and 7 seconds into the video for 1989’s “Like A Prayer” is an inevitability. It’s the resulting serum of a strange American brew; the stain of racism, Christian dictum, riotous sexuality, pansophical mass media and a #1 pop smash courtesy of the mother (of god?) herself.

Madonna’s white tits glisten as she bounces around a field of burning crosses, professing to fellatiate a martyred black man is “like a prayer”, with the borrowed authority of a sanctified church choir. This baroque sequence realizes that the history of American popular culture is the outcome of crude clashes; the trash-bin of the nation’s dreams and nightmares, compressed, packaged and sold back to us on MTV. Madonna’s stony Detroit gaze is, as always, omniscient. Just a thought.

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