Carrie: What about your whole spanking thing? I don’t get that.
Madonna It’s a joke. I despise being spanked. I absolutely detest that. It’s play. I say I want to get spanked, but it’s like “Try it and I’ll knock your fucking head off.” It’s a joke!
Carrie: But I saw you on Arsenio and you said –
Madonna I was just playing with Arsenio.
Carrie: This is a very important piece of news.
Madonna I certainly punish myself in lots of ways but not by having people hit me. I hate it. And if someone tries to spank me, like before sex or something –
Carrie: But if kids hear some of that stuff and think it’s cute, it could be misinterpreted.
Madonna I suppose so.
Carrie: You could be a little bit clearer about that, to my mind.
Madonna I thought it would be obvious – because of my image as a person who wants to be domineering and take charge – that there was no way I would actually want somebody to spank me.
Carrie: I didn’t get it or that stuff on the “Express Yourself” video with you in a dog collar.
Madonna But it’s all the same thing. These are traditional roles that women play, and here I am doing them, but that’s not really what I’m doing.
Carrie: I thought perhaps you felt that you had so much control that you had some berserk fantasy having some of it removed.
Madonna I didn’t mean it that way. I think it was just my sick little sense of humor, or not so-little sense of humor. The spanking thing started because I believed that my character in Dick Tracy liked to get smacked around and that’s why she hung around with people like Al Pacino’s character. Warren [Beatty] asked me to write some songs, one of them the Hanky Panky song was about that. I say in the song “Nothing like a good spanky,” and in the middle I say, “Ooh, my bottom hurts just thinking about it.” When it came out everybody started asking, “Do you like to get spanked?” and I said: “Yeah. Yeah, I do.”
Carrie: And on “Nightline”, you talked about putting a dog collar on yourself and all. I thought, “Well, why would somebody in her position choose to put a collar on herself?” So I thought maybe it was a way of punish yourself for all the rewards you had gotten.
Madonna It is, I’m sure. I can’t entirely explain it. It’s just an image I thought was powerful, and I chose to use it in my video. It showed an extreme. First you see me chained to a bed, then you see me on top of a stairway with these workinh men below, and I’m wearing a suit and grabbing my crotch. Extreme images of women: One is in charge, in control, dominating; the other is chained to a bed, taking care of the procreation responsibilities.
Carrie: You’re more known through your videos and songs, so perhaps your sense of humor isn’t as obvious to people.
Madonna It will be soon, though.
Carrie: If you do a lot of press and people understand that you’re kidding –
Madonna Then the real me will be revealed.
Carrie: I don’t think there’s any such thing.
Madonna So, I’m being sarcastic.
Carrie: That would be a good way for someone to woo you?
Madonna If I knew, I’d call them right away and tell them.
Carrie: No, I think you should leave that to me. I think it would be better if I told them and they approached you. It would be bad if you just thought they were following your instructions.
Madonna I like letters.
Carrie: So, you’d like to go out with a writer.
Madonna Oh, God, I would love to.
Carrie: I’m telling you, I can set you up with one! He has tattoos and a brain.
Madonna That’s worth at least a hard-on.
Carrie: And what else?
Madonna I like it if I haven’t seen somebody in a while and he remembers my favorite thing to eat or my favorite flower.
Carrie: You like someone to be considerate.
Madonna Yeah. A considerate good writer.
Carrie: Good-looking is not essential? It seems to have been a factor. The last one was a model.
Madonna Yeah, but you haven’t seen everybody I’ve gone out with.
Carrie: How do you know? Do you think I’m too busy to follow you around and know all about your life?
Madonna I suppose looks are important, but I’ve certainly found myself attracted to men who aren’t conventionally attractive. Painters are good, too. There are two things that I can’t do and wish I could – write and paint.
Carrie: But you do write.
Madonna I know, but to sit down and write a novel is mond-boggling to me. I just can’t imagine sitting down and applying yourself to that much paper. How do you sit still for so long? My attention span isn’t that long.
Carrie: I read you write songs in fifteen minutes.
Madonna Yeah, but pop songs are really easy to write. Michael Jackson’s been working on his album for something like three years. I can’t imagine doing that! I’d go insane.
Carrie: Has anyone written a song about you?
Madonna Pat Leonard, this guy that I write music with, wrote a song about me called “Queen Of Mysery.”
Carrie: Are you like that? Do you get depressed?
Madonna I have been. I write all my sad songs with Pat.
Carrie: What are your sad songs?
Madonna You want me to name all of them?
Carrie: No, just a smattering?
Madonna “Live To Tell”, “Oh Father”, “Promise To Try”.
Carrie: Do you play any instrument?
Madonna No. When I was really little I played piano and then decided that I didn’t want to. Then in New York, after I decided that dancing was a big waste of time as a career, I asked this guy to teach me how to play the guitar. I started writing immediately. For a couple of years I practiced the guitar two hours a day and the drums four hours a day. But as I got more involved in the things you have to do to make records and videos and go on tour. I just stopped playing. On my first album, I wrote almost every song myself. Then I guess I got lazy.
Carrie: I would hardly characterize you as lazy. What’s the song you’re proudest of?
Madonna That’s like saying which child I like best in my large family. There are different things that are great about each one. There are certainly plenty that I don’t really give a shit about. I don’t like listening to my music. I listen to all those weird tapes you get at Bodhi Tree [a New Age bookstore in Los Angeles]. Chimes. My masseuse has one amazing tape that just keep playing pachelbel’s Canon over and over.
Carrie: Do you write when you’re upset?
Madonna Yeah, a lot. Words just come spewing forth. I’ve written my best things when I’m upset, but then who hasn’t? What’s the point of sitting down and notating your happiness?
Carrie: No, generally you don’t have that kind of concentration. And it’s not that interesting unless it’s psychotic. When it’s a maniac high you can have a skewed sensibility. Someone told me it’s called dysphoria – elation with a limit. You become aware of the limit, and you’re notating it before it ends.
Madonna I’ve never done that, I don’t think. No, I have written songs in that state.