'œMadonna can't seem to roll out of bed without getting somebody mad,' said Kevin Sullivan in The Washington Post. This time, though, her offense isn't sporting a Gaultier cone bra or posing spread-eagled on a crucifix. She and her husband, Guy Ritchie, have adopted a 13-month-old Malawian baby named David Banda. To hear Madonna tell it, she was moved to adopt David while on a tour for her charity, Raising Malawi, which aims at helping the impoverished African nation's orphans. But critics claim she effectively bought Banda by pledging $3 million to the local government. This 'œspoiled and self-absorbed pop bimbo,' they say, is simply following the trend established by Angelina Jolie—whisking a cute little brown foundling out of Africa 'œto become her latest celebrity accessory, like a new navel ring.'

Let's face it, said Karen Stabiner in the Los Angeles Times. Ordinary folks who want to adopt a foreign baby must wait for months or years and jump through endless bureaucratic hoops. But those rules don't apply to wealthy celebrities. Somehow, Madonna was able to bypass Malawi's requirement that prospective foster parents live there for at least a year. 'œThe orphanage was instructed to preselect a group of tykes for her consideration,' and she quickly exited with the baby of her choice. Of course, Madonna could have quietly set up a trust fund for Banda and let him grow up in his own land, instead of carting him off to her British estate. But how much good press would she get out of that? You can practically hear the Material Girl telling Ritchie, 'œHoney, the Hummer needs gas, I've got a fitting for the Dior at 1—and, oh, while you're out, can you pick me up a destitute orphan and alert the press corps?'

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

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