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Stealing Is the New Stealing

Nuh-uh, Gwen Stefani, that is not your shit. At least, according to Madonna, it isn't. The never-hard-up-for-material girl recently told USA Today that Gwen has ripped her off. "We work with a lot of the same people. She married a Brit, she's got blond hair, and she likes fashion," says Madonna.

Since Madonna is always about two steps behind on the path to self-awareness, here's an addendum to her observation: Gwen is stealing from a thief. Madonna has built her career out of cultural mining, expressing herself via the sights and sounds of others.

Madonna and Gwen occasionally dine on other cultures at the same table.


Gwen Stefani

Source Material: High School Angst

Madonna's take: In her four-and-a-half-minute after-school special, 1986's "Papa Don't Preach," Madonna played the role of a knocked-up teen with a conscience.

Gwen's take: "Hollaback Girl" found Gwen at her most appropriately annoying, playing a punk-ass teen ready to take down a shit-talker behind the bleachers.

It's a good look for: Gwen. Nurse-office drama is exciting for the nurses, while nothing tops a good catfight. In this case, half-Italians do it better.

Source Material: Old Hollywood

Madonna's take: In 1990's gayer-than-gay "Vogue" (it was inspired by the drag balls of Paris Is Burning, for God's sake!), Madonna pulled out a sixteen-bar rundown of those who helped the Hollywood's Golden Age sparkle.

Gwen's take: A two-line cameo in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator found Gwen in the role of Jean Harlow.

It's a good look for: Madonna. Her dramatic and precise phrasing bespoke an understanding of ways gone by. Meanwhile Gwen gave good face. But that's it.

Source Material: Disco

Madonna's take: Madonna's most recent stroll to the Seventies finds her hustling like John Travolta on her Abba-does-Italo, Stuart Price-produced current single, "Hung Up."

Gwen's take: The remix of her debut solo single, "What You Waiting For," is a throwback to the early Eighties hi-NRG that kept the spirit of disco alive when many were convinced it sucked. Price produced that one too.

It's a good look for: Gwen. Without even having to reduce herself to a camel-toe-prone leotard, she fit right into the role of disco's bitch.


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