Thursday, February 05, 2004

Tempest in a C-cup


To summarize.....
  • Kathleen Parker - Janet Jackson's exposed breast wasn't just a breast. It's not as though she was lifting her eyelet smock to nurse the baby Jesus. Her breast was unsheathed in an aggressively sexual context to shock and titillate.
  • Cal Thomas - Sunday's, Super Bowl XXXVIII, featured a halftime show that could have served as backdrop for one of Caligula's orgies.
  • Brent Bozell - But on Sunday night, grandparents, parents and children were huddled around the set for the Big Game, an obvious time slot for "family hour" programming. Instead, Grandpa and 8-year-old Johnny are trying to process why they have to be infected with this communicable disease, this vile programming that should be known as the MTV virus.
  • Jonah Goldberg - My daughter isn't quite 1 year old yet, but in (God willing) 20 years, if some boy thinks he can use a "wardrobe malfunction" as an excuse for similar behavior, he'd better wear a pretty protective wardrobe himself.
  • Matt Towery - But the only thing about the halftime show that could be described as sensational was the letdown. It wasn't just that Janet Jackson -- looking and sounding too much like her brother Michael for my comfort -- gave the world a bawdy now-you-see it, now-you-don't peek at her breast. I was even more disappointed that the whole show demonstrated a haughty and self-indulgent lack of respect for the many families and children watching it.
  • Rebecca Hagelin - While we're subjected to body searches at airports, increased monitoring of communications, and constantly changing terror alerts – all to combat terrorists who would destroy our nation – we invite cultural terrorists into our homes and allow them to destroy our sensibilities and the innocence of our children.
  • Suzanne Fields - No one expressed caution in having her entertain on prime time network television, at halftime of the Super Bowl, the one night of the year that parents and children watch television together.
  • Ann Coulter - Janet Jackson said she decided to add "the reveal" following the final rehearsal, which I found pretty shocking. Not the reveal -- the fact that the number in question was actually rehearsed.
Wow. As Maureen Dowd puts it, "The Janet and Justin show was unbelievably tawdry, but also unbelievably banal — another rehearsed pseudoshock that the media, and now the government, gladly play along with." I wonder which candidate received the greatest contributions for the 2000 campaign from CBS and Viacom - Gore or Bush? I wonder why the "conservative" columnists are so quick to blame the arts community for the tawdriness of popular culture, while ignoring the fact that it is a Republican-led FCC that has stripped away the restrictions which formerly would have prevented this type of "family hour" display? Oh, no, I guess I really don't:
Despite Bush's general reticence, show business contributors have not neglected him. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he has received $740,000 from the industry. Of that, $270,000 came from entities representing TV and radio stations, more than three times the $81,000 they had given to Al Gore.
The New York Times covers Janet's breast (pun intended) through the eyes of a parent (who, unlike Fields, seems to take more interest in what her children see and do than a "one time per year" joint viewing of a single program):
The other objection is this: It seems that only the desecration of a sacred, adult-male-oriented rite can awaken Authority's outrage at the slime in which our children are daily bathed. (The Super Bowl isn't supposed to be about nudity, dammit! It's supposed to be about enormous men trying to maim each other's kidneys!) Janet Jackson's breast is probably the most wholesome thing your average 12-year-old has seen in a year of Sundays.

* * *

Popular culture, as every parent knows, is the air we breathe. And mediating it for our kids presents the ultimate slippery slope. One day my daughter is bopping to the tunes of Professional Virgin Britney Spears, whom she first heard in a Pokemon movie soundtrack; blink, and Britney is locking tongues with Madonna on TV.

So forgive me if I am nothing but sourly amused at the outrage over Janet Jackson's breast. It serves the hypocrites at all the official fonts of indignation right that they, and we, are nothing but pawns in the marketing of her new CD. Wake me when it's over.
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