05/04/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Madonna and the Cult of Celebrity Adoption

Madonna, and other celebrities, who get lots of attention for adopting third-world orphans, should deploy their gazillions of dollars instead to support orphanages or villages.

The Material Girl was stymied by a Malawi court today and denied permission to adopt a tiny girl in that desperately poor nation.

That she would use her money to fight Malawi society in its court system is an abuse of wealth, as is the desire to pluck some foundling while ignoring the needs of the rest.

It's hard not to be cynical about Madonna's desire to adopt after seeing her walk-through photo op in an outfit worth more than what a Malawi family of six earns annually.

It's also insensitive to cherry-pick a child, who will live like Marie Antoinette, at the same time ignoring millions of others who starve in orphanages.

For the money Madonna would spend every year providing 24-hour nannies to raise this child, and lavishing it with private schools and the like, she could feed a village or a large orphanage for 20 years.

To Madonna, Angelina Jolie and the others I say if you really want to do good in the world, then do it properly.

Their behavior smacks of narcissism, collecting kids from various cultures like so many global accessories to adorn their own dysfunctional families and, to boot, to be raised by servants.

Oprah Winfrey's done it properly by creating a place where thousands of young females can be uplifted and trained in the hopes they will change and improve their societies.