A new meaning was given to the recent adage “shock and awe” last week when, as billions of people now know, pop icon Janet Jackson bared her right breast during the Super Bowl Halftime Special, which was prepared by MTV.”Tolerance of this sort of sexual imagery may have reached its peak,” said Carson Daly, former host of MTV’s “Total Request Live.”
Other recent vulgarities include Bono’s use of the f-word on the 2003 Golden Globes, and Madonna and Britney Spears’ tongue-slurping on MTV.
What sets Jackson’s showcase apart from these other entertainers’ is that she chose to reveal herself–whether accidentally or not–before the largest television audience of the year–90 million people. Madonna and Britney performed in front of only 11 million viewers.
With CBS already facing an FCC probe, should Jackson be the only focus?
Charles Barkley, former NBA star, said, “Give me a break. There are a lot more trashier things on television than Janet Jackson.” Apparently, he wasn’t the only viewer with this type of response.
Some audience members have been commenting on the vulgarity and sexual innuendo behind the entire Super Bowl spectacle. Bone-crunching violence, sexed-up cheerleaders, and television advertisements for medication to cure impotence are among a few of the complaints.
One father who watched the game with his 12-year-old son said that they didn’t even notice the Jackson mishap, but when an advertisement for impotence-curing pills came on, the boy asked, “Dad, what’s erectile dysfunction?”
In my own opinion, if the FCC is going to hunt down and fine Jackson for having part of her clothing torn off by Justin Timberlake (let us not forget that he too was involved, whether he intended to show her breast or not), they also need to hunt down Kid Rock for grabbing his nasty cowboy crotch, Nelly and his striptease dancers, and advertisers of sexual impotence pills.
Now that Jackson’s exposure has circumnavigated media worldwide, other entertainers and media outlets are being forced and/or persuaded to censor what they’re putting out on the small screen.
The Grammy’s this month will be broadcast with a five-minute delay to allow time for editing of any offensive behavior; the Academy Awards on ABC on Feb. 29 will also follow these orders. Last Thursday, NBC cut a scene from “ER” that showed an elderly woman’s breast during a surgical procedure.
Even a colleague of Timberlake, fellow N*SYNC member JC Chasez, has been cut from the NFL’s ProBowl Halftime show in Honolulu because his song contains the words “horny” and “naughty.”
While it’s true that many performers nowadays have gained popularity and publicity through outrageousness in order to excite an audience, the entertainment industry shouldn’t be feared based on a few entertainers who used poor judgment. TV shoes like “ER”–of upstanding quality–shouldn’t be forced into cutting a tasteful scene because a breast is being shown in a procedure, not in a sexual way.
Our country has been in such a fearful state now for over two years. After 9/11, we looked towards the entertainment industry to comfort us and make us laugh again. Now that one woman had part of her top ripped off by a man, we are told to fear the entertainment industry.
We’ve already spent enough energy, time, and money on fear and protecting ourselves and our country from terrorism; let us not fear entertainers and primetime television. Government agencies and institutions need not be probing CBS for intelligence on a run-in with a boob, but focusing on finding real threats to homeland security.