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Like a virgin, sorta

Madonna_1111165ItOther than those guys in Spandex and shoulder pads, it's all about Madonna on Sunday night.

A nation, helplessly immersed in what Carl Bernstein once called "Idiot Culture" (and, let's face it, the Super Bowl may be its annual apex), breathlessly waits to see what the 53-year-old Material Girl will do next.

What the heck. Let's join the party.

MTV has, ever so helpfully, put together a cheat sheet -- everything you need to know before Madonna takes the stage.  Why you need to know anything at all is a question that will remain unanswered, but assuming that you do, this ought to help tremendously.

Earlier this week, in a news conference, if you can call it that, the former Madonna Louise Ciccone of Detroit showed off some slinky salsa moves and hinted at what her gig would include.  One certainty is her brand-new single, "Gimme All Your Luvin'."  She also promised what it would not include: a wardrobe malfunction, ala her rival diva Janet Jackson.

And she called this opportunity "a Midwestern girl's dream."

Not surprisingly, the upcoming performance has generated plenty of ink and digits.  Here's some of the best of it:

The New York Times Media Decoder comments on the all-Madonna marketing juggernaut leading up to Sunday's show.

Greg Braxton of the Los Angeles Times offers his fantasy set list.

MTV looks back on the best halftime shows of the past, from Diana Ross to U2.

And more substantively, Sara Marcus, in Salon, offers a provocative look at Madonna's effect on American culture.

Marcus writes: "Her visionary assault on American prudery, her revelatory spreading of sexual liberation to Middle America, changed this country for the better. And that’s not old news; we’re still living it. "  

And loving every media-drenched minute of it. 

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