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February 1, 2004 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Janet Jackson pops out of dress at Super Bowl; CBS Apologizes. Note that this happened during Justin Timberlake's lyric of "I'm gonna get you naked by the end of this song." ..."It was not intentional and is regrettable," said Timberlake. Please direct all complaints to Viacom (owners of CBS, which aired the Super Bowl, and MTV, which produced the half-time show), if you felt offended. Me? I was pleased — it was one of the more entertaining half-time shows I've seen. Who needed the Lingerie Bowl?
posted by Down10 (243 comments total)

 
Yahoo news? Janet Jackson? Justin Timberlake?
You really meant to post this?
posted by signal at 8:26 PM on February 1, 2004


Wardrobe malfunction? What the fuck? She was wearing pasties over her nipple, wasn't she? How is that accidental and unplanned?

I thought overall the half-time show was pretty lame, most of the songs were quite old, especially the kid rock tune from what, 2001?
posted by mathowie at 8:26 PM on February 1, 2004


Wardrobe-related program activity.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:30 PM on February 1, 2004


It was planned. Janet hinted at it happening beforehand.
posted by stbalbach at 8:31 PM on February 1, 2004


and there was a streaker.
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 8:31 PM on February 1, 2004


It looked like a large, pierced nipple to me, not a pasty. But maybe I'm just indulging in wishful thinking.

I'm just longing for a time in this country when this will mean nothing.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:31 PM on February 1, 2004


Not pasties. According to Fark, it's a metal shield that protects a barbell-ring.

And now I know way too much.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:31 PM on February 1, 2004


Ummm, not a pasty. Drudgereport.com has a closeup. Still, that was no malfunction.
posted by AstroGuy at 8:32 PM on February 1, 2004


Not pasties I am afraid. NSFW, probably.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:32 PM on February 1, 2004


Totally planned. Such a lame MTV publicity stunt.

So, just for the record: Drug war propaganda - OK. Janet Jackson's boobie - OK. Criticising the commander in chief - Not OK. Enjoy your spectacle!
posted by majcher at 8:33 PM on February 1, 2004


so her boob was the surprise guest?
posted by amberglow at 8:35 PM on February 1, 2004


Now this is a wardrobe malfunction.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:35 PM on February 1, 2004


Next year's secret performer? (NSFW)
posted by homunculus at 8:36 PM on February 1, 2004


Drug war propaganda - OK. Janet Jackson's boobie - OK. Criticising the commander in chief - Not OK.

Apparently CBS is pro-boob and pro-Bush.
posted by homunculus at 8:38 PM on February 1, 2004


It was planned. Janet hinted at it happening beforehand.

Link please.
posted by jjg at 8:39 PM on February 1, 2004


And people care about this because ...?
posted by moonbiter at 8:39 PM on February 1, 2004


Jerseygirl... you've just convinced me of the positive aspects of HDTV, thanks.
posted by KnitWit at 8:39 PM on February 1, 2004


and here i was thinking all along that Bush was a boob. leave it to the Tiffany Network to set me straight.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:40 PM on February 1, 2004




That's a pasty. Link leads to giant 1900x1080 sized jpg of the moment.
posted by mathowie at 8:40 PM on February 1, 2004


ALL NSFW.

http://www.chaoshosting.net/janet_superbowl.avi

http://www.ottalk.com/forums/files/janet_superbowl2.jpg

http://drudgereport.com/jjteet1.jpg

It was planned:
http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1484644/20040128/index.jhtml?headlines=true

http://www.pornforlosers.com/janet/
posted by McBain at 8:40 PM on February 1, 2004


Not a pasty, the Drudge link above proves it.
posted by McBain at 8:42 PM on February 1, 2004


Thank the Lord for the internet - what did we ever do before it?
posted by Jimbob at 8:42 PM on February 1, 2004


That Janet Jackson boob looks to me like the most unappealing mammary gland I've seen in a long time.
posted by troutfishing at 8:42 PM on February 1, 2004


And people care about this because ...?

Because it was something out of the ordinary that happened during one of the biggest sports events of the year. We don't care per say, but it'll be interesting for a day or two.

(Not that it makes this a primo Mefi post or anything...)

Enjoy your ironic detachment, though.
posted by Cyrano at 8:43 PM on February 1, 2004


Jerseygirl... you've just convinced me of the positive aspects of HDTV, thanks.

glad i could help.
posted by jerseygirl at 8:45 PM on February 1, 2004


not a pasty...here they are (scroll down and sfw i think)
posted by amberglow at 8:45 PM on February 1, 2004


By the way, I understand there was a pretty good football game on tonight.
posted by konolia at 8:45 PM on February 1, 2004


Definitely planned. A transparent & desperate publicity stunt on par with the Madonna/Britney kiss. I'm amazed the planners got so many people to be complicit in it while keeping a straight face about how "unplanned" it was.
posted by dhoyt at 8:46 PM on February 1, 2004


Enjoy your ironic detachment, though.

Sorry, I guess I've just seen too much cable to be impressed.
posted by moonbiter at 8:46 PM on February 1, 2004


Gosh, all that's missing from this fascinating bit of viral Jackson marketing is a shameless press release.
posted by 2sheets at 8:49 PM on February 1, 2004


Um, speaking of the superbowl, did anyone here encode the commercials? If you have divx, or mpeg, or whatevers of 'em, I'd appriciate a copy. My e-mail is in my profile, I can make an account on a server for an upload.
posted by Grod at 8:51 PM on February 1, 2004


Drudge says, planned, and approved by CBS. Goddamn hypocrites.
posted by majcher at 8:51 PM on February 1, 2004


Also, as mentioned on Fark (of all places):

Let's see -- we got insipid music, slutty cheerleaders, cheesy pyrotechnics, Nelly grabbing his penis, Kid Rock desecrating the flag, and finally Justin Timberlake pulling down Janet Jackson's top after some obscene bumping and grinding. And all that during their own self-named "family hour."

At least the wise leaders of CBS had the good sense to not bring unneeded controversy to themselves by running the MoveOn.Org ad during the game. They obviously follow a zero tolerance when it comes to advocacy ads -- unless they're about drugs, or music downloading, or smoking, etc., etc.

Kudos to The Tiffany Network for maintaining it's high standards and values during these difficult times.

And be sure to join us in two years for Super Bowl XL in Detroit, where the CBS half-time MoTown Spectacular will feature several nude Temptations and Martha reeves giving Stevie Wonder a good old fashioned reach-around.
posted by moonbiter at 8:53 PM on February 1, 2004


It is not like the streaker didn't let anyone know what he was planning on doing.
posted by sp dinsmoor at 8:53 PM on February 1, 2004


In my humble, pierced opinion, that's definitely not a pasty. In any case, it's been rumored for a long time that Ms. Jacksonifyou'renasty has her nipples pierced, as well as some, er, other areas. Now I'd like to see photos of the other piercings.
posted by bedhead at 8:53 PM on February 1, 2004


There are still people who believe anything that Drudge says?
posted by interrobang at 8:54 PM on February 1, 2004


You say nipple discs, I say pasties. I still think we're splitting hairs.

It was definitely planned and CBS is giving us a bald-faced lie.
posted by mathowie at 8:56 PM on February 1, 2004


little Penny from Good Times all grown up! how proud we all are! ; >

(matt, pasties cover the whole nipple--these things let it poke thru)
posted by amberglow at 8:58 PM on February 1, 2004


Quite a nice boobie, I'm sure, though an unflattering photograph. I'm sure she wished she'd staged it better, perhaps better lighting?
posted by Hildago at 9:02 PM on February 1, 2004


I wonder if that's the first exposed nipple on network tv?
posted by amberglow at 9:07 PM on February 1, 2004


That's a pasty. Link leads to giant 1900x1080 sized jpg of the moment.

At least we can agree that more silicon was exposed than anywhere this side of Postroad's blog.
posted by y2karl at 9:11 PM on February 1, 2004


Of course it was planned. I thought that was the implication I made in the original post, specifically in how Viacom owns both CBS and MTV, and the rather insincere apologies from all parties.

...It doesn't make me think any more of that particular corporation, though. What a bunch of slimes. I wish they'd just be honest that it was a publicity stunt that was in poor taste and not feign regret like they have.
posted by Down10 at 9:12 PM on February 1, 2004


"no one's shirt rips like that"

-the gf
posted by scarabic at 9:13 PM on February 1, 2004


Well, if it was a publicity stunt then it's working.
posted by Cyrano at 9:13 PM on February 1, 2004


Anybody else think of Elaine's Christmas card...?
posted by davidmsc at 9:15 PM on February 1, 2004


It'd be nice to see some public indecency charges laid.

but no. These are celebrities.

And no kidding, cyrano. Next some someone exposes themselves around here, I'll be sure to let everyone know.
posted by ODiV at 9:16 PM on February 1, 2004


So, I didn't watch it.

Who was the 'mystery act'?
posted by interrobang at 9:17 PM on February 1, 2004


I thought the ribald incident was MeFi-worthy (as did mathowie, evidentally), So I'm not sorry for posting this. This is more than just ogling famous tits, it's about about the media maniulates the public.

Also, as for the Yahoo links, they were wire stories (from Reuters and Associated Press, repectfully), so that's where I found them. Sorry about that.
posted by Down10 at 9:20 PM on February 1, 2004


As you can see in this high-res photo there are 'pop-snaps' around each cup... they are meant to come off...


It was a stunt.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:21 PM on February 1, 2004


Are there any legal implications with this? I mean, Janet WAS in public...
posted by konolia at 9:21 PM on February 1, 2004


Interrobang, it was Justin.
posted by konolia at 9:22 PM on February 1, 2004


//edit: it's about how the media manipulates the public
posted by Down10 at 9:22 PM on February 1, 2004


Are there any legal implications with this?
I'm sure there'll be a FCC fine--the repubs have been out for CBS since the reagan miniseries thing.
posted by amberglow at 9:26 PM on February 1, 2004


You know, I only have passing familiarity with Star Trek, but doesn't Ms. Jackson look like a Klingon in her getup?
posted by moonbiter at 9:27 PM on February 1, 2004


i went to the lingerie bowl and there were no boobs at all !
posted by mishaco at 9:27 PM on February 1, 2004


Enjoy your ironic detachment, though.

enjoy your lemming-like sheephood.
posted by quonsar at 9:29 PM on February 1, 2004


Best. Half-time show. Ever. Only because of Janet's nipple... The rest was lame. Great post though. When I saw it, I said to my friends, "That was her nipple!" And they were like, " No way!" And now I find this post. I am vindicated. It looked blatantly intentional.

Pasties are pasted on, nipple discs are anchored, and much more erotic.
posted by wsg at 9:30 PM on February 1, 2004


I'm sure there'll be a FCC fine--the repubs have been out for CBS since the reagan miniseries thing

How is this a partisan thing? I thought there was a wide agreement that nudity on Broadcast TV during the so-called "Family Hour" was a bad thing...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:31 PM on February 1, 2004


enjoy your lemming-like sheephood.

Did you really need to double up on your metaphor there? ;)
posted by The God Complex at 9:32 PM on February 1, 2004


What Justin shoulda done was flip up her skirt so we can find out once and for all if Janet is actually Michael. Then Janet could rip open Justin's pants and we could find out if he's actually Britney.

I didn't actually watch the Superbowl this year cause the Giants weren't in it. But this just gives me another reason. It all just keeps getting stupider all the time.

Enjoy your ironic detachment, though.

enjoy your lemming-like sheephood.


Enjoy your pointless pissing contest.
posted by jonmc at 9:32 PM on February 1, 2004


For perspective, this is how MTV pushed the limits at the 1999 Video Music Awards. Or Lil Kim pushed them, and MTV didn't stop her.

Can you really be accused of baring your breast if not all of it is totally exposed? If a woman's hungry baby's head were fused to the end of it, I can't believe that could be called baring her breast.

Ditto the comment about looking forward to the day when something like this is a non-event.
posted by emelenjr at 9:35 PM on February 1, 2004


I didn't actually watch the Superbowl this year cause the Giants weren't in it. But this just gives me another reason. It all just keeps getting stupider all the time.

Now I know why you're so damned bitter!

Sorry, couldn't resist!
posted by The God Complex at 9:37 PM on February 1, 2004


Oh, I'm not bitter, TGC. Ask anyone who knows me. I'm the most harmless little throw pillow you'd ever want to meet.
posted by jonmc at 9:39 PM on February 1, 2004


Ditto the comment about looking forward to the day when something like this is a non-event

If it were a non-event this wouldn't have happened at all. This was all about the shock value.

Personally, I think it was rude and uncalled for. A lot of families-and church groups!-get together to watch the Super Bowl, you know.
posted by konolia at 9:42 PM on February 1, 2004


Can you really be accused of baring your breast if not all of it is totally exposed? If a woman's hungry baby's head were fused to the end of it, I can't believe that could be called baring her breast.
It's all about exposing the nipple/areola that makes it obscene--breastfeeding isn't bec. the nipple is covered. And Lil Kim was ok--the pasties totally covered that area.

And Steve, the anger at CBS already existed on the right (both the reagan thing and that Bias book)--watch how it gets worse now.
posted by amberglow at 9:46 PM on February 1, 2004


That half-time show was the worst bit of so-called "entertainment" I have ever suffered through. I can't imagine how it could possibly have been any worse. The breast was bizarre but not unwelcome amongst all the haphazard, amateurish tedium.

It's all about exposing the nipple/areola that makes it obscene

I'd love it if you (or anyone) could explain THAT "logic" to me....
posted by rushmc at 9:51 PM on February 1, 2004


Dude, it was a halftime show. What the hell were you expecting, Othello?
posted by jonmc at 9:54 PM on February 1, 2004


I agree, you all really missed a great game, probably the best Super Bowl ever.
posted by jbou at 9:55 PM on February 1, 2004


NSFW
http://www.highboard.com/YH/WTFTIT.jpg

There are snaps attached around her breast.
Like the ones I have on my jacket.
Yeah, it wasn't an accident.
posted by cinderful at 9:56 PM on February 1, 2004


“I wonder if that's the first exposed nipple on network tv?” - amberglow
The first exposed nipple(s) on (US) network TV was on the Roots mini series 1977. The FCC allowed topless women to be shown for accuracy in the historical drama. Of course in Canada CBC had been showing full frontal nudity and sex in movies since the early 70's as had CITY TV. The first "beaver shot" on US network TV was on NBC's The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder interviewing Suze Randall. She crossed her legs and gave us all a view that generated a lot of mail and phone calls for Tom. Of course there is also the NBC Today Show flasher also named Suzy and there was Lucy lawless at the NHL game a few years back.

I honestly don't know why I remember such useless crap but I bet it is very Freudian. Add to that the fact that my girlfriend and I watched Queer Eye and I guess I am just not well…
posted by arse_hat at 9:57 PM on February 1, 2004


I wonder if that's the first exposed nipple on network tv?

On ER on Thursday night (a repeat from earlier in the season) we saw two: attached to the very, erm, aged breasts of a very aged actress. I'm fairly sure that it wasn't the first time nude breasts were seen on ER, though they are certainly exposed in a medical scenario, albeit a fictional one. They do pop up (no pun intended) from time to time, but never quite like Ms. Jackson's this evening.
posted by Dreama at 10:00 PM on February 1, 2004


Holy crap! Interrobang?

Argh, the internet is all melting and running together on me here. Like melting plastic, y'know the kind that smokes and drips when its on fire making those "feep feep" noises...

Gonna have to break out the 409 on that one.

What? Oh, right. Topic.

Janet Jackson is scary. I think I'd rather make out with Michael. (Michael Jackson!@ LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!)

The only good thing about superbowl halftime shows is that they are a deathknell* for the artists involved. (So don't be wishing for your favorite artist to play. Unless your favorite artist sucks.)

And as far as half time shoes go, that one was pretty damn deadly. Way to go MTV!

*Well, at least it used to be that way before this confounded media consolidation. Now it just gets foisted on us anyway.
posted by loquacious at 10:00 PM on February 1, 2004


I wonder if that's the first exposed nipple on network tv?

Certainly not if you call PBS a network. I've seen many a boob on (fiction) programming on PBS. There's the "The dull life of a City stockbroker" skit on MP'sFC, f'rinstance. Fair amount of stuff on Monsterpiece Theater had the odd bit o' nudity too.

There's been the odd breast here or there on network tv too, but probably always in nonsexual contexts. Body on the slab on an episode of CSI, stuff like that.

I'm just pissed that I missed a streaker by doing Almost Anything Else. I'm on record as being in favor of streakers.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:06 PM on February 1, 2004


ahhh....who knew nipples were popping up all over on tv? ; >
(insert groans here)
posted by amberglow at 10:10 PM on February 1, 2004


All this talk about Janet Jackson has made me forget about her brother Michael raping making love to various children.

Wait, I guess not.
posted by emelenjr at 10:10 PM on February 1, 2004


I don't own a decent TV, nor do I have cable. While Janet's tit was titillating countless millions, I hung a new door on my remodelled bathroom.

I heard my neighbors screaming, though, from afar. Maybe it was from tit-shock.
posted by troutfishing at 10:14 PM on February 1, 2004


I'm just pissed that I missed a streaker

Enjoy.
posted by homunculus at 10:16 PM on February 1, 2004


Did anyone see the 'salute to NASA' with the guy in the astronaut suit on the fake moon thing with the flag? I bet the NASA people on hand were thinking, 'first our friends died on the columbia, then we have to do this Mars crap, now I have to stand here and watch this'.

I just wonder if the Super Bowl gets any more self important that it actually caves in on itself.
posted by graventy at 10:16 PM on February 1, 2004


It's so funny to think of a collective gasp all across the country at the same time. (and not for tragic reasons, which is good)
posted by amberglow at 10:19 PM on February 1, 2004


Word on the street is that Britney has signed on to have her nipples surgically removed in preparation for next year's unapproved Super Bowl moment. She'll be totally bare from the waist up, but uncensorable due to zero nip revelation (heretofore referred to as ZNR).
posted by ssukotto at 10:21 PM on February 1, 2004


So, in conclusion, the Super Bowl:

violence, violence, violence, aggression, coach mouthing obscenity, beer commercial, cheerleader, cheerleader, beer commercial, violence, aggression, commercial with horse igniting woman with its fart, violence, cheerleader, beer commercial, DIRTY FILTHY TITTY MY GOD WHO WILL THINK OF THE CHILDREN, violence, aggression, beer commercial.

Tune in next year for what Howard Fineman referred to on Meet the Press this morning as "America's largest secular holiday."

Man, it's a good thing CBS banned an anti-Bush ad and refused to let Bono perform out of fear of raising some controversy, wasn't it?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:22 PM on February 1, 2004


Is there any place online with all the ads? I've love to find that really offensive Bud ad with the ref getting yelled at by a coach, then his wife. I found it pretty appalling.
posted by mathowie at 10:22 PM on February 1, 2004


Enjoy your ironic detachment, though.

enjoy your lemming-like sheephood.

Enjoy your pointless pissing contest


I had no intention of trying to start a pissing contest, jonmc. But if someone really has no interest in something like the Superbowl or the halftime show then they should leave us poor, opiate-addled massed to discuss it amongst ourselves. Or, if the thread is such an affront, take it to MetaTalk.

That said, it was a damn good game. And I thought the commercial with the donkey was kinda cute even though I'm told it's been aired previously.

/sheephood
posted by Cyrano at 10:27 PM on February 1, 2004


superbowl ads
posted by amberglow at 10:27 PM on February 1, 2004


Perhaps it was planned to give Letterman some good material for once?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:27 PM on February 1, 2004


People who might get offended by a breast on TV-- wacko families and wacko church groups alike-- deserve to get offended. Over and over. It's a breast. I'm embarassed to live in a culture that considers such a thing on TV shocking.

That being said, it was nice to see Budweiser 7-7 (or whatever) w/ the ridiculous gender stereotype advertisments. My friends and I discussed having a drinking game where every commercial you'd see w/ a gender stereotype, impicitly or explicitly, you'd have to take a drink, but we actually wanted to watch the game. The only commercial I recall liking was the FedEx one w/ the alien.

And on something football related: Adam Vinatieri should know some damned failure in life! Best SB ever? I still take the Pats win over the Rams.
posted by xmutex at 10:39 PM on February 1, 2004




/fark
posted by delmoi at 10:41 PM on February 1, 2004


A lot of families-and church groups!-get together to watch the Super Bowl, you know.

And a bare breast is worse than the rest of the crap they show how?
posted by majcher at 10:43 PM on February 1, 2004


I'm just pissed that I missed a streaker

Enjoy.


Hey, thanks, homonculus.

But now I see that he's wearing a winky-pouch g-string. If you're wearing anything but jewelry, you're not a streaker. You're the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Lamers: a poseur streaker.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:47 PM on February 1, 2004


Best SB ever? I still take the Pats win over the Rams.

I hate the Rams, but for sheer excitement I don't know if you can beat their win over the Titans.
posted by The God Complex at 10:55 PM on February 1, 2004


Joking about the irrelevance of this aside, I have no idea if this was staged or not. But what I think honestly bothers me the most about this is that, if this event wasn't staged and Jackson had no idea this was going to happen, then Timberlake essentially violated a woman in front of 100 million people.

Considering this is the same person who "raised controversy" in a similar situation by fondling Kylie Minouge, perhaps we should be less concerned that her nipple was shown and more concerned why.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:58 PM on February 1, 2004


Is there any place online with all the ads? I've love to find that really offensive Bud ad with the ref getting yelled at by a coach, then his wife. I found it pretty appalling.

I thought it was funny.

Most of the commercials I saw really sucked. The caddilac commercials were the worst. There was an AIG add that look like it was whipped together in 20 minutes in front of a PC with Premier. Supposedly you can find them here.
posted by delmoi at 10:58 PM on February 1, 2004


If we in the USA didn't make such a big issue of nudity, then it wouldn't necessarily be such a big thing when a nipple pops out. Is it forbidden because it's titillating OR titillating because it's forbidden? I think the latter. It's just a nipple. We all have them.
posted by wsg at 10:59 PM on February 1, 2004


if this event wasn't staged and Jackson had no idea this was going to happen, then Timberlake essentially violated a woman in front of 100 million people.

He'll make a fine governor someday.
posted by homunculus at 11:06 PM on February 1, 2004


I'm not sorry for posting this

Ah well, if you're gonna stoop to it, you might as well do so proudly. Have you considered a Total Fark membership?
posted by scarabic at 11:07 PM on February 1, 2004


I was more offended by Kid Rock's wearing the flag, actually. That seemed pretty rude. You could have blinked and missed the boob (like I did).
posted by lnicole at 11:08 PM on February 1, 2004


wsg: Just for the record, I don't.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:12 PM on February 1, 2004


We all have them

Yes, but some of them are a lot more interesting to me than others.
posted by aramaic at 11:12 PM on February 1, 2004


People who might get offended by a breast on TV-- wacko families and wacko church groups alike-- deserve to get offended. Over and over. It's a breast. I'm embarassed to live in a culture that considers such a thing on TV shocking.

It's all about exposing the nipple/areola that makes it obscene: I'd love it if you (or anyone) could explain THAT "logic" to me....


What kind of "logic" do you want? There's a tacit understanding among a majority of the public that seeing the nipple on a full breast is the most arousing amount of upper exposure on a woman. In context it was also clearly performed for the purpose of sexual titillation (i.e. it wasn't a slavery or holocaust re-enactment/78 year old dying women on E.R.). There is also a tacit understanding in every society that there should be some sort of limit on public forms of arousal. So, rushmc please tell me where this indisputably "logical" line should be drawn? Or is it not "logical" to have a line anywhere? We could do the Reductio ad absurdum with this involving, say, Justin grabbing the boob and sucking on the nipple, or a 60 minute half-time N*SYNC/Spice Girls blowjob orgy. "What its just anatomy? You're not being "logical" . . . I hate this country."
posted by dgaicun at 11:15 PM on February 1, 2004


if someone really has no interest in something like the Superbowl

Then they have every right to tell you it doesn't belong on MeFi. I mean come on. We've got official sanction to ignore the Iraq war because it's too well covered. You're going to defend a MetaFilter SuperBowl post-mortem? Puh-lease.

You want to bring your post-game chit chat about the SuperBowl *here?* I have no pity for you if someone bitch-slaps you for that.
posted by scarabic at 11:15 PM on February 1, 2004


Washington Post's Tom Shales pans the Janet flashing, the streaker and the commercials.

In an NPR preview of the ads Friday, a reporter mentioned that they were disproportionately targeted at men even though women make up nearly half of all Superbowl viewers. But many ads went beyond targeting men to being really sexist -- which makes both men and women look bad.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:16 PM on February 1, 2004


it was a damn good game. And I thought the commercial with the donkey was kinda cute

[and other keen observations]

I rest my fucking case, Cyrano.
posted by scarabic at 11:16 PM on February 1, 2004


scarabic's a looooser, scarabic's a looooser. Go be a loser somewhere else, loserhead.
posted by The God Complex at 11:21 PM on February 1, 2004


adamgreenfield,

Your statement raises many questions and I don't know where to start...not to sound insensitive, if I do.
posted by wsg at 11:34 PM on February 1, 2004


I didn't freeze-frame to check, but the shots of Britney during the grammy promo were way more erotic than Janet's barely exposed boob ever could be.

People are very very strange.
posted by mosch at 11:43 PM on February 1, 2004


If we in the USA didn't make such a big issue of nudity, then it wouldn't necessarily be such a big thing when a nipple pops out.

Your statement is flawed for the following reasons:

a) The USA doesn't make a big deal about nudity. As already pointed out breasts are shown on TV without protest for a variety of non-sexual reasons.

b) Even then Rated R movies that show breasts for sexual reasons are very popular. As is porn on the Internet.

c) the nipple obviously didn't "pop out" it was staged for the purpose to be sexually exciting.

The "big deal" was breaking a necessary social contract where limits are pre-set, understood and agreed upon, to respect people and families who want a system of choice in what they are exposed to. That's why we have TV and movie ratings, NSFW tags on MeFi links, and more censorship on public TV and radio (as opposed to cable).


PS - I should note I really don't care that much about a boob on TV or even a hypothetical untagged gay porn link on MetaFilter (though I'm sure that would make for an interesting MetaTalk thread). But the naivete of these style comments is a little grating.
posted by dgaicun at 12:24 AM on February 2, 2004


Ah, quit'cher metabitching, all of you. :)

It's been a good thread, funny, entertaining, etc.

I hate TV. I hate commercials. I hate football. I watched almost the whole damn thing.

Well, mostly the commercials. The bizarre uberpatriotic displays. The nightmarish attempts at arts and entertainment.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?

The disturbing thing to me was the superfluous and nonsensical way even more overt sexual titillation was crammed/disguised/spammed into family entertainment.

Not that there was said titillation at all, but that it's such a huge hypocritical double standard.

I'm pretty sure we (the US) wouldn't have such a huge issue with the objectification of sexuality (and women), addiction to pornography, molestation of children, teen pregnancy and a whole host of other such sex related problems if we (the US) were able to just fess up to our true desires and express them in a healthy manner for once.

Damn our Puritan forefathers to hell for bestowing their legacy in such a way.

We're sexual beings. Sex is a fine thing. But not for the wrong reasons. Question your motives and your intent and be honest with yourself and others. (That means honest communication with yourself and others. Fear is the mindkiller.)

I honestly long for a society that doesn't simultaneously repress genuine human expression while obsessively and hopelessly objectifying it in a sick attempt to sanitize and commodify it.

Imagine all the actual theater, art or honest expression such a spectacle could bring. Imagine the museums. Sculptures, interactive or otherwise. Whatever.

Almost anything other than that trite, overblown waste of crap we dare call a spectacle.

2,000+ years later we still have gladiators and circuses. How far we've come.

I mean, fine, if you want sex and violence as entertainment, don't wrap it up in mylar confetti and spandex and try to call it something else. Call a spade a fucking shovel.

Anyways, it's pretty transparent if you look at it right. *yawn* No big deal. :)
posted by loquacious at 12:44 AM on February 2, 2004


It's both funny and sad that while an exposed breast on TV during the dinner hour causes outrage, bombs exploding, scenes of murder and the like are the norm.

It's a breast. Get over it.
posted by futureproof at 1:17 AM on February 2, 2004


It's a breast. Get over it.

Topographically sound advice.

This message brought to you by The Missionary Position Conservancy, Orville 'Smiley' Rugburn, chairman.
posted by Opus Dark at 1:44 AM on February 2, 2004


More important than (exposing breast/being violated), was Jackson using steroids?
posted by ElvisJesus at 2:00 AM on February 2, 2004


You poor deluded fools, that wasn't Janet, that was Zelda. Be afraid.
posted by ciderwoman at 3:25 AM on February 2, 2004


This breast...it vibrates?
posted by davidmsc at 3:49 AM on February 2, 2004


So, like, who won?
posted by mischief at 3:49 AM on February 2, 2004


I didn't see the show, but based on the picture of Janet's show in the WashPost link from above, I'd say all those family's and church groups should have turned off the half-time show in disgust long before any nipples were exposed.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:54 AM on February 2, 2004


American football? Don't make me laugh! No, please stop it!!
/me wishes Americans played a real winter sport so we could beat them at it
posted by Onanist at 4:10 AM on February 2, 2004


We don't care per say, but it'll be interesting for a day or two.

Per "say"?
posted by signal at 4:38 AM on February 2, 2004


The USA doesn't make a big deal about nudity.

Which is why this thread and the multiple links in it to other American outlets of all sorts do not really exist.

The "big deal" was breaking a necessary social contract where limits are pre-set, understood and agreed upon, to respect people and families who want a system of choice in what they are exposed to.

Translation: the big deal was about nudity.
posted by magullo at 4:38 AM on February 2, 2004


"It's a breast. Get over it."

it isn't even that. it's a "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" moment where VERY SMALL SECTIONS OF A NIPPLE were briefly exposed on television, 30 feet away from the cameras.
we're here discussing hi-resolution vidcaps to try to figure out what covered the nipple. and is this a scandal?

Jesus.

I can understand our church-going, Creationist members being appalled by the whole thing -- after all, you know, nudity is a terrible sin and naked women (especially non-white women, one assumes) are Satan's allies. not to mention a partially bare nipple is notoriously more dangerous than, say, widespread private ownership of assault weapons.

having said that, it was just a lame publicity stunt by a washed-up marginally talented artist and a cute guy who once dated somebody famous.

and here we have a community of allegedly smart people discussing at lenght (and I'm as guilty as anybody else) such a non-event
posted by matteo at 4:47 AM on February 2, 2004


I see bigger boobs on television all the time, and they usually belong to men. Why is it there is a double standard that a man's nipple is ok to look at, but a woman's is just absolutely off limits?
posted by benjh at 5:06 AM on February 2, 2004


and here we have a community of allegedly smart people discussing at lenght (and I'm as guilty as anybody else) such a non-event

I found the nipple-disc/pasty debate to be the very height of intellectual discourse. Me, I just like to look at the naked non-white satan women.
posted by dgaicun at 5:20 AM on February 2, 2004


normally I wouldn't care. Nudity isn't evil. Yet CBS chose not to play a political ad by Moveon.org however because it was 'partisan' yet could play Bush's ads from the white house.
posted by substrate at 5:24 AM on February 2, 2004


/me wishes Americans played a real winter sport so we could beat them at it
Amen.
posted by dg at 5:29 AM on February 2, 2004


I haven't heard anyone mention the AOL ads, and I thought they were the funniest of the ads. They don't do a damn thing to attract people to AOL, but they are funny.

I think you mean "silicone", y2karl, but if that's silicone enhanced breast, she should get her money back. That thing just *flopped* out there.
posted by astrogirl at 6:06 AM on February 2, 2004


Thanks for the mammary, Janet 'n' Justin.
posted by alumshubby at 6:29 AM on February 2, 2004


I can understand our church-going, Creationist members being appalled by the whole thing -- after all, you know, nudity is a terrible sin and naked women (especially non-white women, one assumes) are Satan's allies. not to mention a partially bare nipple is notoriously more dangerous than, say, widespread private ownership of assault weapons.

I dunno. Maybe they're just saying there's a time and place for everything. And nobody's bringing race into this but you.
posted by jonmc at 6:30 AM on February 2, 2004


Maybe they're just saying there's a time and place for everything

no, not really. for example konolia here is already talking about "legal implications". it's kinda different.
one wonders if Janet Jackson was hiding WMDs in her corset or something.

but of course, a partially exposed nipple is the real outrage, nowadays, isn't it?

And nobody's bringing race into this but you.

does the words "non-white" scare you so much?
wow.

and anyway MeFi's Usenet branch, alt.gossip.celebrities, knew that something "shocking" was going to happen:

Janet Jackson's Super Bowl Show Promises 'Shocking Moments'

I'm shocked, I tell you. shocked!
posted by matteo at 6:57 AM on February 2, 2004


does the words "non-white" scare you so much?
wow.


No, but the implication that anybody who might be offended* by this is racist is a bit much. Not to mention a scarlet-letter argument technique.

I can't speak for konolia, but I'm enthusiastically pro-nudity in general, but I just figure that it's a bit much for a freaking half-time show.

* I was offended, not by the nudity, but by the whole controversy-in-a-can aroma surrounding the event..
posted by jonmc at 7:03 AM on February 2, 2004


In today's LATimes (subscription req, sorry):

The most recent film to trigger discussions about the application of NC-17 for violence was Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill: Vol. 1." In October, the rating board's decision not to give the film an NC-17 outraged some advocacy groups and industry critics who maintained the movie was too bloody to merit an R. Bernardo Bertolucci's film "The Dreamers," due in theaters this weekend, will be the next film to carry an NC-17, in this case for nudity and sexual content.
In America, it seems to Dan Harkins, owner of Harkins Theatres in Arizona, moviegoers are much more comfortable with violent images than sex. He has ordered extra prints of "The Passion" because of the interest it is generating and remains unconcerned about the violence.

posted by matteo at 7:04 AM on February 2, 2004


And a bare breast is worse than the rest of the crap they show how?

You have a point.

Meanwhile, I find some irony in the fact there were so many ads for erectile dysfunction drugs. Heh.
posted by konolia at 7:07 AM on February 2, 2004


Wow. A mamory gland. yawn.

In case it hasn't been said enough, or even at all, hats off to one homunculus... You sir are a god! Extreme Elvis indeed! Grazi. :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:26 AM on February 2, 2004


Hey Janet, next time show some talent.
posted by Termite at 9:59 AM on February 2, 2004


I wonder if that's the first exposed nipple on network tv?

I remember a video clip of Little Nell (Columbia from Rocky Horror) popping out of her top during a musical number. But that was the BBC, so probably no big deal and certainly not the first. I only remember because I was young enough at the time that it was just about the most exciting thing I had ever seen. Perhaps J.J. has a whole new group of young male fans in some of the more more repressed communities.

Also, I can't believe that no one has mentioned the potential ouch-factor of that big spikey nipple thing getting yanked at. OUCH!
posted by milovoo at 10:02 AM on February 2, 2004


To paraphrase some comic (Bill Hicks, maybe), there's whole entire movies out there with nothing but nekkid women and their nipples, doing all kinds of things, right out in public. You can rent 'em or watch 'em right on yer own TV.

Whatever. I've enjoyed this thread, even the pissing-contest bit, and I'll bet y'all a dollar that next year they'll have Amy Grant in a burka singing something appropriately Patriotic, and this booby nonsense will fade into memory like the late-in-Janet's-career stunt it was.

And everything will be as it should be. Sic transit janet.
posted by chicobangs at 10:11 AM on February 2, 2004


and the FCC reacts: In a statement, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said, "I am outraged at what I saw during the halftime show of the Super Bowl. Like millions of Americans, my family and I gathered around the television for a celebration. Instead, that celebration was tainted by a classless, crass and deplorable stunt. Our nation's children, parents and citizens deserve better."
"I have instructed the commission to open an immediate investigation into last night's broadcast," he said, vowing it would be "thorough and swift." Earlier, an FCC spokeswoman, Suzanne Tetreault, said it was launching a routine investigation because it had received complaints.

posted by amberglow at 10:15 AM on February 2, 2004


If this event wasn't staged and Jackson had no idea this was going to happen, then Timberlake essentially violated a woman in front of 100 million people.

Which CBS, MTV, the NFL, and Justin and Janet would prefer to assert, for some reason which is not explained fully by the need for plausible deniability. The net effect of the stunt, regardless of to what degree it was scripted or rehearsed, is to submit a deeply misogynistic and racist image to a gluttony of reflexive media attention.
posted by sudama at 10:24 AM on February 2, 2004


Who needs Booble.com?!
posted by ParisParamus at 10:33 AM on February 2, 2004


Yeah, everyone is essentially setting up JT to take the fall here, which is as bad for Janet as it is for Justin, because, as has been noted, it makes her seem violated instead of, I guess we'll say, comfortable enough in her sexuality to flash America. In fact, because this could so easily have backfired, I'd guess Justin and/or his handlers were told that Janet would be wearing more than that -- not because Justin is virtuous, but just because the bodice-ripper is probably not a good image for him right now. I wonder if it Ms. Jackson was acting alone?

Speaking of damning images, though, look at the Neanderthal expression on Justin here. At least Janet looks co-conspiratorial in that picture, unlike this one, where she looks wounded.
posted by blueshammer at 10:42 AM on February 2, 2004


The net effect of the stunt, regardless of to what degree it was scripted or rehearsed, is to submit a deeply misogynistic and racist image to a gluttony of reflexive media attention.

What? That sentence made my head hurt. Besides, the net effect of this stunt is to get Justin and Janet's pictures in the paper yet again, enhance their images, and make some people shitloads of money. That's it.
posted by jonmc at 10:44 AM on February 2, 2004


XQUZYPHYR's description of this year's Super Bowl is one of the most accurate things I've read about the event. Plus it's funny.
posted by moonbiter at 10:55 AM on February 2, 2004


I think Michael Powell and his idiocy of plopping his children down in front of a "celebration" of violence, aggression, alcohol advocacy and general mass consumerism unguarded deserves a swifft and thorough investigation.

People willingly and happily allow their children to see considerably more damaging things on television every blessed day. A two or three second glimpse of nipple (even after a top is ripped open) can't begin to approach the seriousness of several hours of beer ads, a single news program or an episode of Friends. The outrageous hypocrisy threaded through this entire fake controversy is enough to make parents who really think about what television their children watch vomit.

My kids didn't watch the Super Bowl, and wouldn't have been interested even if we did allow them to. But if they had, a moment of naked breast would rank dead last on the list of things they would've seen yesterday that would bother me. Dead absolute last.
posted by Dreama at 11:26 AM on February 2, 2004


If you're wearing anything but jewelry, you're not a streaker.

Shoes. I'm pretty sure you're allowed to wear shoes, too.
posted by anastasiav at 11:34 AM on February 2, 2004


It's a toss-up between who's more stupid: those who think nudity is so horrible; and those responsible for the event. Actually, it's a three way toss-up: add in all those who wasted several hours of their lives watching the Supertbowl.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:37 AM on February 2, 2004


It's a toss-up between who's more stupid: those who think nudity is so horrible; and those responsible for the event. Actually, it's a three way toss-up: add in all those who wasted several hours of their lives watching the Superbowl.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:37 AM on February 2, 2004


May I take credit for this popular thread? I mean, it wasn't MY boob, but the post got the ball rolling (as it were).

I agree that XQUZYPHYR's succinct Super Bowl summary was the highlight of this thread — one of the funniest things I've read today.

Thanks to all of you who were keeping 'abreast' of the situation! As for the resident MeFi trolls who think watching the Super Bowl was a 'waste of time' or who insist they they are too intellectual for such, here is a quote:

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
Bertrand Russell
posted by Down10 at 11:45 AM on February 2, 2004


Shoes. I'm pretty sure you're allowed to wear shoes, too

Ya gotta understand, in my religion shoes count as jewelry...

I concede the point. I'd even allow socks, so long as they remain on the footular regions.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:47 AM on February 2, 2004


a deeply misogynistic and racist image

Misogynist, I can maybe see (if I squint). But racist? Maybe I missed something, I've only seen stills and very short video clips of the whole thing. What was the context that prompts an accusation of racism?
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:48 AM on February 2, 2004


Actually, it's a three way toss-up: add in all those who wasted several hours of their lives watching the Superbowl.

And yet here you are, nearly 150 posts down, commenting on that supreme waste-of-life, the Super Bowl. Kudos on time well spent.
posted by Skot at 11:55 AM on February 2, 2004


Dunno. I spent the whole night moving things over to my new server... Hmmmm...
posted by Samizdata at 11:56 AM on February 2, 2004


Nice show XQUZYPHYR :)

Ahhh the refreshing smell of Double Conflicting Standard Salade !

You can watch and cheer as dumb asses kick the hell out of each other on the field to catch a ball, that's ok ! And there are commercials between each ass kicking

Your playing Doom is bad, even if you don't actually harm anybody ! There are no commercials between fraggings !

You can watch cheerleaders as they shake their booties in rythm, it's not a sexual innuendo ! Some commercial between the boobies !

You can't watch a tit on tv , it's evil ! No commercials, nobody would pay attention to it.
posted by elpapacito at 12:18 PM on February 2, 2004


It was planned:
http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1484644/20040128/index.jhtml?headlines=true


It appears that MTV pulled that news story.

Hmmmm....
posted by fredosan at 12:20 PM on February 2, 2004


And yet here you are, nearly 150 posts down, commenting on that supreme waste-of-life, the Super Bowl. Kudos on time well spent.

Actually, we're commenting on the halftime show, which is even more pathetic. Nobody's even mentioned football.
posted by jonmc at 12:22 PM on February 2, 2004


if they had, a moment of naked breast would rank dead last on the list of things they would've seen yesterday that would bother me

it's funny because last night, in Italy, there was this big soccer game, not a final like the Super Bowl but a big sport/media event anyway, and after the game was over a huge player jumped another guy and punched him in the face, busting his lip.
tv viewers then had to watch the fat-lipped guy cussing and complaining in front of the cameras. hence, the fat-lip shot over and over on tv and the papers.
well, if I had kids, I'd rather them watch a split-second image of a faraway partially bare nipple then the whole sorry punch-in-the-face saga

Misogynist, I can maybe see (if I squint). But racist? Maybe I missed something

you know, white guy ripping an African American woman's dress...
does that help?
posted by matteo at 12:37 PM on February 2, 2004


What was the context that prompts an accusation of racism?

In some misguided people's mind every interaction between a white person and a person of any other racial background has racial undertones.

That this belief makes those that hold it bigots is lost on them.

On Preview:
Thanks for proving my point matteo.
posted by Mick at 12:42 PM on February 2, 2004


I don't care if Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake made sweet, sweet love right there on the stage. You're still not going to top the Superbowl I halftime show in 1967, featuring guys flying around in personal jetpacks!!!

And in almost 40 years since, the best we can do is this so-called "segway"?

/spits contemptuously
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:54 PM on February 2, 2004


Would you like to volunteer to explain to my three year old that his daddy's a bigot because I don't want the only couple my son sees in the mass media who resemble his parents to be celebrated for enacting a 19th century slaveowner's fantasy?
posted by sudama at 12:55 PM on February 2, 2004


don't worry Mick, racism does not exist nor has it ever existed, it's just a PC conspiracy theory. also, you know, all those black people traveled to America willingly, once upon a time.

it's all the liberal bigot feminazis fault, Mick.
go back to sleep now.

Black Men Can't Kiss
It's been more than 30 years since Martin Luther King Jr. had dreams of blacks and whites using the same bathrooms, water fountains and schools. But there's still something a black man can't do, at least in a '90s reality envisioned by Hollywood--have an onscreen relationship with a white woman.


posted by matteo at 12:58 PM on February 2, 2004


matteo: you know, white guy ripping an African American woman's dress...
does that help?


sudama: ...celebrated for enacting a 19th century slaveowner's fantasy?

So a white man ripping a piece of a black woman's costume off, while singing a song that is basically about casual sex, can't possibly be anything but racist? It can't just be about sex? White men and black women can't possibly interact in other than a bland, non-sexual way without it being racist? Because that's what I hear you saying.
posted by RylandDotNet at 1:08 PM on February 2, 2004


But there's still something a black man can't do, at least in a '90s reality envisioned by Hollywood--have an onscreen relationship with a white woman.

Really? What was Monster's Ball all about, then?
posted by keli at 1:09 PM on February 2, 2004


Never mind
posted by keli at 1:10 PM on February 2, 2004


The response I expected.

Hey Sudama, try telling your kid not to judge people based on the color of skin. Remember, racism is taught.

Read it again, matteo. I never said it didn't exist, I said not every white person is racist and not every act that transpires between two people who differ in race has racist undertones.

A Reading for Comprehension class might help a lot of people around here out.
posted by Mick at 1:12 PM on February 2, 2004


My kids didn't watch the Super Bowl, and wouldn't have been interested even if we did allow them to. But if they had, a moment of naked breast would rank dead last on the list of things they would've seen yesterday that would bother me. Dead absolute last

Not the point. You were already aware that this sporting event would televise things you didn't wish your offspring to see. You made an informed choice. I doubt very seriously that you expected to see Janet's breast exposed. I know I didn't.

The fact that you apparently don't think others should be offended doesn't mean that others don't have the right to be offended. We expected to see a football game, not a peep show.

Just so you know, if a mom breastfeeds in public I think that's fine-that is what they are for, basically. But Janet's display was all about shock and titillation, and it was very disrespectful to the viewers...and to the football players as well-this was one of the most dramatic games I have ever seen, very well played yet Janet's breastipoo is what is garnering most of the attention.
posted by konolia at 1:19 PM on February 2, 2004


Sudama & Matteo: By suggesting Race had anything to do with any of this, you are no longer part of the Solution, you're officially part of the Problem. Get a fucking grip. Seriously.
posted by dhoyt at 1:27 PM on February 2, 2004


The fact that you apparently don't think others should be offended doesn't mean that others don't have the right to be offended.

Everyone has the right to be offended. Nobody has the right to not be offended.
posted by majcher at 3:06 PM on February 2, 2004


A Beavis & Butthead moment, if ever there was one....
posted by ParisParamus at 3:14 PM on February 2, 2004


But Janet's display was all about shock and titillation...

Please tell me what about this whole weekend's Mass Marketing Orgy were not about shock and titillation?

In my own personal opinion the fact that we stigmatize our bodies and suppress our sexuality to this extent does waaaaay more harm than good down the road.

I'm offended that this has already gotten way outta hand. I mean come on it's a freakin boob already. You'll see more in your newstand's edition of Cosmo...
posted by aaronscool at 3:15 PM on February 2, 2004



posted by joedan at 3:17 PM on February 2, 2004


Oops, I guess they did a bad thing: FCC launches probe into Jackson breast exposure

Methinks the FCC should get its priorities straight. Bare nipples mean little compared to corporate media monopolies.
posted by Down10 at 3:21 PM on February 2, 2004


Not the point. You were already aware that this sporting event would televise things you didn't wish your offspring to see. You made an informed choice.

Right, and I'm raising the issue -- if you take what your children watch seriously then there's no way in hell that any preteen kiddies should've been watching the Super Bowl to begin with.

But even if you are amongst the population that sees nothing with exposing your children to what the Super Bowl has to offer, it is hypocritical in the extreme to say that that momentary exposure of breasts was damaging, dangerous or wrong when the entire event from beginning to end was a festival of stuff that is far worse for children to see than a breast, absent anything being done with/to/for/around the breast (of a sexual nature) could ever be.

I doubt very seriously that you expected to see Janet's breast exposed. I know I didn't.

No, I didn't. But I don't know what difference that makes.

The fact that you apparently don't think others should be offended doesn't mean that others don't have the right to be offended.

Of course not. You have a right to be offended until the cows come home. But I also have the right to call you on the hypocrisy and stupidity of that offendedness over something so particularly stupid.

We expected to see a football game, not a peep show.

Translation: We expected to see loads of aggression and violence with some braindead cheerleaders (with more total flesh exposed than Janet, ironically) shaking their stuff on the sidelines intermixed with an orgy of overpriced booze-and-viagra ads. How dare someone show a body part in the midst of our orgy of grunting sport and consumerism!

yet Janet's breastipoo is what is garnering most of the attention.

Yeah, because of all of the hypocritical yaboos who want to make a federal case -- quite literally, thank you Michael Patronage Powell -- out of a breast.
posted by Dreama at 3:22 PM on February 2, 2004


has anyone ever heard justin timberlake *speak*? i doubt seriously he's ever used the words "intentional" or "regrettable".
posted by centrs at 3:32 PM on February 2, 2004


Dreamw, why would your kids not be allowed to watch the Superbowl? I am a parent and I don't see what could be wrong with it, sure lots of the ads are questionable, but to sit through the ads you have to be interested in the game, and if my child were interested in a sporting event I would let them watch. But, perhaps I am missing something. Let me know exactly what you find objectionable?
posted by cell divide at 3:36 PM on February 2, 2004


joedan, that looks really violent (which was latent in it anyway)

sudama has a good point--this younger white man ripping the clothing off an older black woman is very coded, and loaded.
posted by amberglow at 3:40 PM on February 2, 2004


if a mom breastfeeds in public I think that's fine-that is what they are for, basically

I'm sorry, I find this disgusting. It's the worst sort of essentialist, paternalist prejudice.

Who on earth are you to say what breasts are "for"? How about leaving that up to their owner?
posted by adamgreenfield at 3:40 PM on February 2, 2004


So, in conclusion, the Super Bowl: violence, violence, violence, aggression, coach mouthing obscenity, beer commercial, cheerleader, cheerleader, beer commercial, violence, aggression, commercial with horse igniting woman with its fart, violence, cheerleader, beer commercial, DIRTY FILTHY TITTY MY GOD WHO WILL THINK OF THE CHILDREN, violence, aggression, beer commercial.

Excellent!

it was also clearly performed for the purpose of sexual titillation

90% of everything that airs on television is performed for the purpose of sexual titillation. What's your point?
posted by rushmc at 3:48 PM on February 2, 2004


Translation: We expected to see loads of aggression and violence with some braindead cheerleaders (with more total flesh exposed than Janet, ironically)

No, actually I don't remember seeing much cheerleader flesh. Only saw their faces for the most part. And calling people you have never met "braindead" doesn't seem very kind to me.

As to aggression, what is so evil about that? Most men (and not a few women) are aggressive by nature, and a sport such as football seems a much better way of channeling that than other ways...I myself am about as aggressive as a drowned earthworm, but it isn't an evil quality.

But since you find football aggression objectionably, you chose not to watch it. Fair enough-but somehow I don't think you had the Playboy channel on instead, though.


Can I at least get you to agree with me that the half-time breast was inappropriate?
posted by konolia at 3:52 PM on February 2, 2004


I'm sorry, I find this disgusting. It's the worst sort of essentialist, paternalist prejudice.

Who on earth are you to say what breasts are "for"? How about leaving that up to their owner?


I don't understand. I was just trying to make the point that I wasn't somebody who would get the vapors if a nursing mom accidently showed her breast in public. I WAS objecting to how Janet was displaying hers in public in a socially inappropriate manner, simply to shock.

And by the way, feeding babies IS what breasts are for. The fact that they have an attractive design is simply added value.
posted by konolia at 3:58 PM on February 2, 2004


90% of everything that airs on television is performed for the purpose of sexual titillation. What's your point?

The point is that in many opinions Janet crossed a line, and that this was supposed to be the Super Bowl halftime show and not an evening at the House of Dolls.
posted by konolia at 4:03 PM on February 2, 2004


I don't really care about boobs on TV, but I'd love a ban on stupid publicity stunts.
posted by Shoeburyness at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2004


I can't believe that a breast deserves this much attention! Can we at least pretend not to be a fucking Puritanical nation?
posted by drstrangelove at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2004


sudama has a good point--this younger white man ripping the clothing off an older black woman is very coded, and loaded.

That is grasping at straws to the point of absurdity. You have an attractive male undressing an attractive female. With her participation and approval. That's the extent of it.

Who on earth are you to say what breasts are "for"? How about leaving that up to their owner?

The biological function of the lungs is to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide.

The biological function of the penis is to inject semen into a fertile recipient, and to conduct waste out of the system.

The biological function of the mammary glands are to nurse offspring.

That is what they are "for". Of course there are other uses, sometimes many, many others. But that does not detract from what they are "for". One could cut out a kidney and play hackey-sack with it, but that does not detract from what it is "for".

What the poster above was getting at is that the breast's primary biological function is to nurse offspring. Doing that in public should be as natural and as shocking as breathing, your lungs' primary biological function.

Americans are just too damn uptight. I'm with Dreama above... of all the things in those 3.5 hours or more of television, Janet's boob is perhaps the least offensive.
posted by Ynoxas at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2004


I thought the halftime desecration of the American flag was inappropriate, but I guess it is ok to destroy a flag provided you are saying "I'm proud to live in the U.S.A." while you destroy it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:06 PM on February 2, 2004


I'm still laughing at the guy that's offended at the thought of breasts being for feeding babies. What did you think they were for, man? Your viewing pleasure?
posted by degnarra at 4:07 PM on February 2, 2004


What did you think they were for, man? Your viewing pleasure?

What are a peacock's tail feathers for? Perhaps it's conceivable that some parts of the anatomy might perform more than one function?
posted by majcher at 4:21 PM on February 2, 2004


Ynoxas, it's about power--why wasn't it her who was the aggressive one? why didn't she grab his crotch or force him down to his knees? or rip off his shirt?


why did she cover herself up?
posted by amberglow at 4:30 PM on February 2, 2004


The weirdest thing is, I had some friends over, we were all making snide comments about Janet as she and Justin did their thing, and all four of us missed this as we were gabbing merrily away. The whole sequence of events must've been no more than a couple seconds at most.
posted by alumshubby at 5:04 PM on February 2, 2004


By suggesting Race had anything to do with any of this, you are no longer part of the Solution, you're officially part of the Problem.
For sure. Until we stop even considering the issue of race whenever people with more than x degree of difference in their skin tone are together, racism will never die. This was a stupid stunt, no doubt, but accusations of racism in this case could only come from a racist point of view. Now sexism and the pandering to society's alleged thirst for views of only female naughty bits, that is another story altogether...
posted by dg at 5:04 PM on February 2, 2004


The biological function of the penis is to inject semen into a fertile recipient, and to conduct waste out of the system.

The biological function of the mammary glands are to nurse offspring....

What the poster above was getting at is that the breast's primary biological function is to nurse offspring. Doing that in public should be as natural and as shocking as breathing, your lungs' primary biological function.


And by the same logic, showing a penis injecting semen or conducting waste should be "as natural and as shocking as breathing." Nice try. Can we get it through our heads that human beings do not work on logical principles and that the supposed "natural function" of a part of the body is completely irrelevant to its cultural meaning?

I join the lemminglike hordes in my admiration of XQUZYPHYR's game report. And I'm glad I watched the game (quite uncharacteristically, since I learned years ago these things tend to be boring blowouts), since not only did I see a humdinger of a football match but I was enabled to participate in this already legendary MeFi thread, simultaneously incredibly stupid and hilariously over-the-top. Some of y'all spend way too much brainpower on pasties and Justin Timberlake.
posted by languagehat at 5:04 PM on February 2, 2004


As to aggression, what is so evil about that? Most men (and not a few women) are aggressive by nature, and a sport such as football seems a much better way of channeling that than other ways...I myself am about as aggressive as a drowned earthworm, but it isn't an evil quality

Let me correct the above statement appropriately. I hope you will see the hippocritcal nature of that comment:

As to sexuality, what is so evil about that? Most men (and not a few women) are sexual by nature, and a sport such as lookin' at boobs seems a much better way of channeling that than other ways...I myself am about as sexual as a drowned earthworm, but it isn't an evil quality
posted by aaronscool at 5:15 PM on February 2, 2004


It appears that MTV pulled that news story.

google's got a cache of it

and here's janet taking responsibility for the stunt in a new mtv article.
posted by t r a c y at 7:15 PM on February 2, 2004


As to aggression, what is so evil about that?

"The meek shall inherit the earth."

The biological function of the mammary glands are to nurse offspring.

That is what they are "for".


That's an overly simplistic notion of the evolutionary process, I fear. Mind, too, is biological function.
posted by rushmc at 7:46 PM on February 2, 2004


degnarra, Ynoxas, are you really that naive? I mean, have you really not been paying attention to the last fifty or so years of cultural history?

The use and meaning of any body part is socially constructed, heavily mediated, no matter what the underlying biology. You say breasts are "for" nursing. What about the breasts of a nonparous woman? A postmenopausal woman? Or how about the breasts of a man? Don't presume to dictate, huh?
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:28 PM on February 2, 2004


The only things that bother me about this whole sordid affair, in fact, are that:

1. It concerns the Super Bowl;
2. It concerns a Jackson sibling;
3. It concerns Justin Timberland.

All of which being entirely irrelevant to my life, I'll shut up now.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:33 PM on February 2, 2004


I really like a nice pair of tits.
posted by xmutex at 8:38 PM on February 2, 2004


Nice tits?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:43 PM on February 2, 2004


FCC=tit nazis

Thread over.
posted by Slagman at 8:47 PM on February 2, 2004


mtv, which produced the halftime show for cbs, issued an apology shortly after the show, calling the incident unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional and ...
(from t r a c e y's second link) So it was all a coincidence that she happened to be wearing a costume with snap-off pieces in the right place? Are we really that stupid?
posted by dg at 9:02 PM on February 2, 2004


Hey, implausible deniability is all the rage right now. If it works in the White House, expect to see it everywhere.
posted by rushmc at 9:06 PM on February 2, 2004


I saw on TV that Jackson issued a press release apologizing and stating that the incident was indeed planned. I couldn't find a link online, though.
posted by jennak at 9:09 PM on February 2, 2004


Enforcing "the line" is like enforcing copyright, if no one defends it, it simply becomes obsolete at which point there is a new line to tease. If the boobie flash is excused, it will cease to be a daring stunt, at which point the line has de facto moved and a genital flash or overt sexual touching (or whatever) will necessarily be the new rule to break.*

Frankly I don't personally care if there exists a line in any social context, I have never complained about NSFWless links regardless of what kind of content they go to. I am not shocked or offended by anything. But guess what? A lot of people do care. Again most people (esp. families) desire some blend of informed consent in the imagery they are exposed to. I propose that this is a very normal social request. The people at MetaFilter collectively desire such a system here as well, and there is a general sense of understood etiquette about using tags when linking to imagery that we tacitly know people would appreciate a heads-up on. The line is general instead of discrete here because laws on MetaFilter work differently than they do in larger society; rules of "law not men" is a system less corrupted by bias and abuse, but here we accept Matt as our benevolent dictator who partially listens to us.

So my question, again, is if we all "know" that this particular line is somehow an objectively false or ridiculous one, where exactly is the objectively appropriate one? Or is the very idea of desiring "a line" the property of pathological and disfunctional Puritan minds?

In other words there seems to be a lot of agreement here that the rules in place (and the public who likes them) are stupid or inferior, but I see not one person who has suggested what a better system should look like and on what logical basis it could be defended as actually better.

*please don't confuse this with a slippery slope argument, it isn't. The line stops where the social collective decides it should. Also don't confuse people thinking things are "wrong" with things that people prefer to experience only on a confirmed basis. The point is the latter not the former.
posted by dgaicun at 9:09 PM on February 2, 2004


(On the other hand, Dean's response.)
posted by rushmc at 9:09 PM on February 2, 2004


(We're still waiting for the Pope to weigh in...)
posted by rushmc at 9:11 PM on February 2, 2004


The point you seem to be missing, dgaicun, is that this sort of push-the-limits, push-the-limits, push-the-limits, get-smacked-down process is precisely how the current "line" is drawn in this society. Whether it's Dennis Franz's bare derriere or bloody bullets to the head, there are always those who push the outside of the envelope and those who resist the push. If there was never anyone willing to push, cultural boundaries would never change. There is nothing inherently wrong with public display of bare breasts—it's an agreement about what is appropriate, and agreements can be renegotiated.
posted by rushmc at 9:17 PM on February 2, 2004


I'm sorry, I find this disgusting. It's the worst sort of essentialist, paternalist prejudice.

Who on earth are you to say what breasts are "for"? How about leaving that up to their owner?

degnarra, Ynoxas, are you really that naive? I mean, have you really not been paying attention to the last fifty or so years of cultural history?


adamgreenfield,

While you have every right to oppose the argument that the primary biological function of breasts is to feed babies, did konolia deserve the disgust or senseless labels you threw her way? Did degnarra and Ynoxas deserve being called naive? Perhaps an apology would be in order?

FWIW, the mammary glands that secrete the milk from the breasts make up a relatively small fraction of overall breast tissue. Most is actually adipose tissue (fat) and connective tissue, both of which are not really necessary for breast-feeding. So your argument that breasts are not just for breast-feeding is supported by biology. Majcher does make an excellent point that breasts may also perform the biological function of a secondary sex characteristic much like a peacock's tail feathers. And konolia's statement, "The fact that they have an attractive design is simply added value," is simply beautiful. :)
posted by cup at 10:20 PM on February 2, 2004


The point you seem to be missing, dgaicun, is that this sort of push-the-limits, push-the-limits, push-the-limits, get-smacked-down process is precisely how the current "line" is drawn in this society . . . There is nothing inherently wrong with public display of bare breasts—it's an agreement about what is appropriate, and agreements can be renegotiated.

Why would you think I missed this? It was my whole first paragraph.

Your implication was that the line in place was not only subjectively displeasing to you but logically flawed as well:

It's all about exposing the nipple/areola that makes it obscene: I'd love it if you (or anyone) could explain THAT "logic" to me....

This implies either that you think there is a more logical (not aesthetical) point something can be considered obscene (in which case I'd like to know what it is) or that at no point is it logical to consider something obscene (which presumably means its irrational for people to desire informed consent for certain things that they and their families are exposed to).
posted by dgaicun at 11:14 PM on February 2, 2004


As the discussion gets more academic, I'll just take this opporunity to remind our viewers (er, readers) that we are talking about a split-second shot of a partially-obscured breast pretty much just hanging out there unengaged in any sort of filthy activities of any kind. Peep show my ass. Racist, popculture, pomo, offensive, misogynistic, blabbidy blah blah, wank, wank, wappita, wappita, get me the goldarn twelveguagegottagetthoseliberalarsebastagesoffamyairwaves, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

I enjoyed the football game. Closest thing to a CFL game (i.e., real football) the NFL has broadcast in some time. The players and coaches should be proud.
posted by sharpener at 11:31 PM on February 2, 2004


Let me know exactly what you find objectionable?

As I've basically covered, it's a game of naked, pointless aggression played by undeserving, undereducated millionaire buffoons for the financial benefit of other undeserving millionaire buffoons in playgrounds built on the public dime, interspersed with crass commercialism of the lowest order. Nothing about that which needs to be seen by my (pre-teen) kids.

Can I at least get you to agree with me that the half-time breast was inappropriate?

Nope. Tacky? Blatantly self-aggrandizing? Yes. Inappropriate? It was a body part, not a bomb.
posted by Dreama at 12:17 AM on February 3, 2004


cup, as usual, your comments are supererogatory. If they feel an apology is in order, they'll ask for one; I'm sure they don't require your intercession for something so simple.

I stand by what I wrote. Essentialism is backwardness, plain and simple. There's no place for it in any contemporary social or political consideration.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:33 AM on February 3, 2004


Thanks cup- adam doesn't have to apologize for his own opinion obviously. You're right that they serve more than one purpose though that's hardly the point. I love my breasts because I'm very comfortable with my femininity- something that seems a lot more common with European women than North American. People won't think twice about it when they see a woman breast-feeding her baby on a park bench in say, Prague. If that happened in Regina or New Jersey, it'd be a different story. Konolia said "if a mom breastfeeds in public I think that's fine-that is what they are for, basically"... key word being "basically" and key concept being acceptance of breastfeeding in public. You burst out with "paternalist prejudice". My question to you is- Konolia being a proud owner of a fine set of knockers herself, why wouldn't you take your own advice and "leave it up to the owner" how she chooses to view her own body? Sorry but I don't appreciate Mr. Testosterone telling me he finds my breast exposed to feed my baby "disgusting".
posted by degnarra at 6:42 AM on February 3, 2004


Hey, implausible deniability is all the rage right now. If it works in the White House, expect to see it everywhere.

I deny having ever looked at this thread, let alone having commented in it. In fact, I am not writing this comment.

Racist, popculture, pomo, offensive, misogynistic, blabbidy blah blah, wank, wank, wappita, wappita, get me the goldarn twelveguagegottagetthoseliberalarsebastagesoffamyairwaves

quonsar! When did you start using the "sharpener" login?
posted by languagehat at 7:02 AM on February 3, 2004


Why would you think I missed this?

Yes, we are noting the same phenomenon, but it seems that you are placing a negative interpretation upon the process and attempting to shift blame to those who are participating on the "push the envelope" side of the equation, rather than simply acknowledging that their role is as valid as that of the conservative set.

or that at no point is it logical to consider something obscene

I'd pretty much fall into this camp, I guess. I think the very notion of "obscenity" is the product of fearful little minds that seek to avoid knowledge of reality. On the face of it, a call for knowledge of what one is going to expose oneself to seems reasonable, but in practice it's impossible. If I object to viewing people eat cabbage, it is not reasonable for me to expect a warning before each show that contains such an act. If enough of us cabbage-eater-prudes band together, we can probably force the network to air such a warning by threatening their ratings, but that doesn't make it either right or rational. There are many less silly examples of things that I and/or others find offensive on television; to preemptively catalog them all in order to shield us from them would be both patronizing and ineffective.
posted by rushmc at 7:43 AM on February 3, 2004


The point you seem to be missing, dgaicun, is that this sort of push-the-limits, push-the-limits, push-the-limits, get-smacked-down process is precisely how the current "line" is drawn in this society . . . There is nothing inherently wrong with public display of bare breasts—it's an agreement about what is appropriate, and agreements can be renegotiated.

OK, but see, it's not this particular breast in and of itself, it's the line that this latest push-the-envelope thing has now done, the precedent it's set.

This is troubling from a cultural standpoint because it's merely another step on the road which I think we all know will ultimately be traveled. So we say, Janet's breast isn't a big deal, we're overreacting, and maybe we are. Then it becomes a Lil' Kim thing, Christina parading about in naught but pasties or nipple rings or whatever two years from now at the Super Bowl halftime. Then it's full nudity on broadcast TV - initially, of course, only for "dramatic" purposes, but quickly enough it's appropriated for your average lame-ass sitcom. Then simulated sex in a public setting like the Super Bowl - and MetaFilter come 2020 is saying, "It's only simulated sex, what's the problem." Then the real deal. And soon enough you've got a pop culture - because ultimately we're not talking about things that are confined to the back reaches of the cable spectrum here - that is in your face specifically with as much explicit sex as is permitted - the level of which, as we see, increases all the time. We become, more and more, a society that sells sex to its youth, to it's fucking children, for the purpose of turning a profit.

Tell me that's not the most cynical thing in the world. The complete commercialization of perhaps the most wonderful and necessary thing in the world. Profitable? Of course it's profitable to take that which, for an adolescent, is already the most mysterious of things, and make it even hipper, even more accessible. It's an absolute formula for financial success - but tell me that the society that permits this isn't one that has collectively taken its eye off the ball, that has decided that fiddling is the proper thing to do while Rome burns because of the profits involved. Tell me that a society this absolutely cynical - which, incidentally, will continue to assert its moral superiority over the rest of the planet - won't be a place tha destroys your fucking soul.

Tell me that, and I'll tell you why I'm so bugged about Janet's breast.
posted by kgasmart at 7:50 AM on February 3, 2004


Jesus Christ kgasmart, if that isn't the most paranoid, delusional and yes cynical perspective I've heard yet. Somehow I've gotta respect your honesty though because I think it is this very fear that seems to have outraged most people.

"Oh my god they showed a pop star's breast on TV! If this goes unchallenged we'll be seeing Porno on Sesame Street tomorrow!!! Rome is burning!"

Before we even get into the merits of porno vs. aggressive TV debate let me point out that while we have some of the most prudish broadcast standards in the world, most other countries get by just fine with some boobs on TV shows, in advertisements (TV and print), heck even down at the local pool/beach/park.

You seem very concerned about the children's perspective and you are worried that we will take profit in "that which, for an adolescent, is already the most mysterious of things" yet in these places where boobs are frequently seen they suddenly become much less of a sexual thing. I'd say this is akin to ankle/elbow coverings of the past. How often do you find people who really get hot seeing a well turned ankle nowadays?

I think we can all agree that there are boundaries for broadcast and these boundaries can be debated ad nauseam. I personally don't think the naked human form is something that in and of itself is abhorrent or evil and that treating it that way leads people down far worse paths (self-confidence, body image, and sexual fixation issues).
posted by aaronscool at 9:37 AM on February 3, 2004


Now you are arguing the slippery slope argument, kgasmart, and it just isn't valid. Allowing A may make it easier to permit B, but it doesn't compel one to do so, and it is rather more likely that society will draw a line somewhere than abandon the notion of limits altogether.

but tell me that the society that permits this isn't one that has collectively taken its eye off the ball

As aaronscool pointed out above, many countries broadcast partial or full nudity all the time with no demonstrable resultant catastrophe. I also agree with the rest of aaronscool's comment.

Your point about the commercialization of sex and the human body is an important one, but you must at the same time concede that such a market wouldn't exist if it weren't based upon some pretty fundamental portion of human nature. Most of us find it innately rewarding to look at attractive unclothed members of the opposite sex—and until someone makes me a persuasive case as to why this activity should be curtailed or forbidden, I am going to go with the simplicity and purity of my natural response.
posted by rushmc at 10:45 AM on February 3, 2004


Now you are arguing the slippery slope argument, kgasmart, and it just isn't valid. Allowing A may make it easier to permit B, but it doesn't compel one to do so, and it is rather more likely that society will draw a line somewhere than abandon the notion of limits altogether.

I disagree. Are you saying a line will just be drawn, arbitrarily? Well, where might that be, and who might draw that line? If Jackson's stunt was an attempt to trump the Britney/Madonna kiss, what does Christina Aquiliera do to trump this? Start wearing floor-length dresses? I doubt it.

The ante gets upped because from the perspective of someone trying to stoke the hipper-than-thou flame, it has to be upped. If having that edge requires you to go farther - and we all know how important "edge" is these days - I've no doubt some will go farther. Can you honestly say that you don't think this will be the case?

As for the impact of it, well, I don't necessarily think it will have an impact on behavior. It's not that I think permitting full-on sex during the "family hour" is going to result in a rash of unwanted pregnancies or rampant pre-teen promiscuity, though I would argue that pop culture as a whole, with the emphasis placed on sexuality by the likes of Britney and, to a lesser extent, Janet Jackson, does encourage this.

But what I do think this creates is an atmosphere of absolute cynicism about sexuality. I mean, come on: Sure, nudity is relatively ubiquitous in other nations; but they don't share our puritanistic heritage and our rather fouled-up approach to the subject, do they? Which leads me to believe that there will be a salaciousness, an absolute crassness in our approach to the commodification of sexuality that makes the Page 3 girl look classy by comparison.

What I object to is not so much the attempt at selling this "product" to adult consumers, but selling it to kids - and the Janet Jackson episode is a case in point. In my mind, this is not that different from the A&F catalogue, in that it's a specific attempt to titillate pubescents and take their lunch money.

But why must the kids' money be so important that we've deemed it acceptible to bombard them with these sort of images at all times? Why must parents of 11-year-old girls fight the battle over revealing, Britney-esque clothes over and over and over again?

Why? Because pop culture is in this sort of race to the bottom, having found that there is real money to be made there. It may not be the end of the world, no. But I worry about a country that has decided to make it's living from what might be called the worse angels of our nature, that's all.
posted by kgasmart at 12:05 PM on February 3, 2004


The ante gets upped because from the perspective of someone trying to stoke the hipper-than-thou flame, it has to be upped. If having that edge requires you to go farther - and we all know how important "edge" is these days - I've no doubt some will go farther. Can you honestly say that you don't think this will be the case?

I can honestly say that this won't be the case. Case in point: France, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Japan and a myriad of other countries that have both relaxed broadcast standards allowing nudity and a multitude of larger than life home grown pop stars that don't seem to be doing much worse than our own.
posted by aaronscool at 12:26 PM on February 3, 2004


Unfortunately, aaronscool, as sympathetic with your hopes as I am, those are not relevant examples. They take place within entirely different sociocultural contexts.
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:41 PM on February 3, 2004


I can honestly say that this won't be the case. Case in point: France, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Japan and a myriad of other countries that have both relaxed broadcast standards allowing nudity and a multitude of larger than life home grown pop stars that don't seem to be doing much worse than our own.

But again, I'd point out that the commercial culture is different in this country than in those nations, as is the attitude towards sexuality. In a free market, after all, why should there be any boundaries placed upon the imagery used to market a product? And in fact you can argue that this is explicitly what happened in this case, that Janet's bodice-ripping had everything to do with her new album coming out, whether CBS or the NFL knew or not.

I mean, I have spent very little time in Europe, so those who have can perhaps enlighten me: Does European pop culture on the whole place the same premium on "edge" that we do in this country? Because that is what this is all about, after all. "Janet gets nasty," read the MTV headline. Nasty=sales.

And I absolutely bet you this does spur sales of her album, that this winds up falling into the category of calculated gamble that works. That means it gets repeated - but again, only if the ante gets upped. Because now, frankly, baring a breast is so 2004.
posted by kgasmart at 12:54 PM on February 3, 2004


Unfortunately, aaronscool, as sympathetic with your hopes as I am, those are not relevant examples. They take place within entirely different sociocultural contexts.

And

But again, I'd point out that the commercial culture is different in this country than in those nations...

I might agree if we were talking about only differences with Asian countries who indeed do come from millennia of vastly different sociocultural contexts, I disagree in the case of Europe. My wife spent this past summer in Austria and I took an extended vacation there as well. The one thing that shocked me most while I was there was a much things were the same there. Most bars playing mostly American music, Theaters had mostly American Movies and everywhere I went I saw McDonald's, Starbucks (a tragedy IMHO to see in a place like Vienna), Burger Kings and more. From a Capitalism/Marketing standpoint everywhere I went it was EXACTLY the same as here in the USA.

Sure they may be far more influenced by our culture than us of their's but there is not an order of magnitude of difference between the US and countries such as say Germany, Austria, or England all of which allow a fair amount of nudity in their media.
posted by aaronscool at 2:00 PM on February 3, 2004


Sure there is, if you look beneath the surface.

Case in point: in Germany, it's illegal to publish representations of the swastika or other icons of the Nazi period. Outright illegal, for any use at all, even parody.

Don't matter a whit how many Starbucks there are on the strasse, how many Wal-Marts might spring up out on the autobahn. The social, cultural and legal understandings of the balance between your right to expression and the state's legitimate interest in regulating expression are entirely different.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:36 PM on February 3, 2004


Adamgreenfield: there was a little blurb in today's NYPost about Mel Brooks' aspirations to take The Producers to Berlin. I guess he's in for a rude awakening....
posted by ParisParamus at 2:40 PM on February 3, 2004


Adamgreenfield: I think I've lost your point. Are you talking about legal differences of expression or sociopolitical differences?

My point is that socially and culturally the Europe that I saw was not that far off from the US I was familiar with. They have similar (and in some cases) the same advertising, movies, music and TV culture that we have here. I say this as evidence that showing some boobs (TV, magazines and even out in the open) every now and then does not lead a country to hell in a handbasket as described by kgasmart.

Are there going to be legal differences about what you can or can't show? I think that is a given from country to country and even state to state.
posted by aaronscool at 3:00 PM on February 3, 2004


Are you saying a line will just be drawn, arbitrarily?

Of course, since ALL the lines are arbitrary! But the fact that it's arbitrary doesn't mean that it can't be debated and negotiated by the various factions until compromise is reached.

The ante gets upped because from the perspective of someone trying to stoke the hipper-than-thou flame, it has to be upped.

This happens, sure, but it's not an inevitable progression. If it were, then, taking the long view, things would have maxed out long ago. In reality, cultural mores vary back and forth over time, more like a pendulum than an arrow.

I've no doubt some will go farther. Can you honestly say that you don't think this will be the case?

I do think that some will go farther, till the pendulum swings back. But I don't have a problem with this.

But what I do think this creates is an atmosphere of absolute cynicism about sexuality.

Not sure I know what you mean by "cynicism" here.

Sure, nudity is relatively ubiquitous in other nations; but they don't share our puritanistic heritage and our rather fouled-up approach to the subject, do they?

So your solution to our sick & twisted attitude is to condone and cater to it??

pop culture is in this sort of race to the bottom, having found that there is real money to be made there.

I think it's worth thinking about WHY there is real money to be made there.
posted by rushmc at 3:13 PM on February 3, 2004


...for an adolescent, is already the most mysterious of things, and make it even hipper, even more accessible.

Hmmm, maybe if it wasn't so mysterious in the first place it wouldn't be such a big deal. Maybe then we can concentrate more on why Johnny can't read, rather than who or what Johnny's jerking-off to.
posted by LouReedsSon at 3:26 PM on February 3, 2004


...or what Johnny's jerking-off to.
"Johnny snuck up the stairs, holding the latest issue of Industrial Machinery & Manufacturing in his sweaty, trembling hands, terrified that someone might see him...."
posted by amberglow at 3:54 PM on February 3, 2004


Just so long as it's not Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:01 PM on February 3, 2004


Glamour magazine?!
posted by NortonDC at 6:23 PM on February 3, 2004


I worked at Glamour (and it's not sexy at all i don't think--try Cosmo) : >
posted by amberglow at 7:16 PM on February 3, 2004


Guess I'd better close that /seinfeld tag.
posted by NortonDC at 8:52 PM on February 3, 2004


Janet Jackson's renegade tit as a Republican political high water mark
posted by troutfishing at 8:53 PM on February 3, 2004


Yes, we are noting the same phenomenon, but it seems that you are placing a negative interpretation upon the process and attempting to shift blame to those who are participating on the "push the envelope" side of the equation, rather than simply acknowledging that their role is as valid as that of the conservative set.

Rushmc, you are still missing the point. If I appear to be "siding" with one party, it is because the the process you cite is not one where both sides are neutral; there are definitely good guys and bad guys here. There are multiple channels by which a society's tastes and taboos can change and not all of those channels are ethically co-equal. I have a firm sense that much of these values are quite malleable, and perhaps, to show my relativist side, I can't say any one outcome would be "better" than the other (your "no obscenity" society or a Victorian one), but how we get from point A to point B is a different story entirely.
As an example I may love to eat dog poo three meals a day, and I may love it so much that I wish I lived in a society where everyone shared my tastes. We can all admit there is nothing inherently "wrong" with this (along the same tautological lines of "its just nipples", I can say "its just dog poo"). But how I go about changing this crazy Puritan non-dog poo lovin' society is a different matter entirely. The society can be changed but there are good, respectful ways and bad, intrusive, coercive ways.
An example of a 'bad', unethical, way, to go about this would be to sneak a chunk of this poo into a burger you order.
My offhand guess is you that you would be upset. After all the line here is tacitly understood, and informed consent would have been a natural preference. Seems like a pretty simple ethics to me, I'm not sure why many here seem to be missing it. My guess would be its because you are all proverbial 'dog-poo lovers', and are looking at the situation through Machiavellian lenses - Whatever it takes to beat those crazy backwards masses into the shape I feel is the best. Frankly I think that's a pretty scary, selfish, and elitist attitude, but, hey, every man for himself.
posted by dgaicun at 9:05 PM on February 3, 2004


Aside from the fact that I have little problem with elitism, I think the problem here is that neither you nor anyone else has demonstrated that "harm" has been done to anyone. Until I see the harm, I will have little sympathy for those crying. With regard to watching television, I think that "informed consent" occurs when you turn it on and choose to watch it. If it moves in a direction you don't care for, change the channel or switch it off. I think the notion that someone must protect us by shielding us from certain images is absurd and patronizing. Even if I wanted someone to perform such a "service" for me, I certainly wouldn't appoint perfect strangers of dubious taste and morals.
posted by rushmc at 9:21 PM on February 3, 2004


"I think the problem here is that neither you nor anyone else has demonstrated that "harm" has been done to anyone. Until I see the harm, I will have little sympathy for those crying."

The "harm" is implicit, and besides the point. Farting in an elevator doesn't "harm" people, per se, but it certainly breeches established and common-sense etiquette.

With regard to watching television, I think that "informed consent" occurs when you turn it on and choose to watch it.

Society disagrees with you, that's why it established a system of ratings. Again, this attitude is equal to "I'll fart in the elevator if I damn well please, and people can just learn to adapt", you can have it but it doesn't resemble any classic conception of the golden rule or pro-social thinking. In other words its not the 'good' position. Perhaps, like the kid who throws a tantrum in the toy store, it is effective, but likewise only at the expense of others.
posted by dgaicun at 10:16 PM on February 3, 2004


Society disagrees with you...

Or does it?
posted by majcher at 1:02 AM on February 4, 2004


Post-Super Bowl, Bare Breasts on 'ER' Raise Alarm
posted by amberglow at 4:48 AM on February 4, 2004


The "harm" is implicit, and besides the point

Actually no the "harm" is the point. If there is no harm then then there is no foul.

People seem to want to classify this as some kind of "Common Sense etiquette". That if the Super Bowl had pre-warned it's viewers that there may have been some nudity during the halftime show that would be A-OK.

Well, to use you analogy. Whenever I have been anywhere in a public place that someone farted I've never gotten a warning it was coming. It seems to be that just going out into public exposes me to all manner of things that I may not consent to. The only thing that would prevent me from this exposure would be if I did not go out in public.

Does the Super Bowl warn you that you may watch people get seriously injured or even killed live on TV for your entertainment? If someone were killed during the Super Bowl would we have spent this much time as a nation debating it much less the "effect" of having children watching someone die for real?
posted by aaronscool at 9:49 AM on February 4, 2004


The "harm" is implicit

Not implicit but imagined, and not all that we imagine is real. And it certainly is not beside the point, as it is the point: No harm, no foul.

Your elevator analogy is off-base, because the elevator is a (somewhat) necessary means of getting from point A to point B. Television—or any particular bit of programming on it—is not necessary, it is elective and easily avoided. What occurs within the privacy and sanctity of one's own home is not really comparable to what occurs out in public amongst the masses.

You can't please all of the people all of the time; therefore, to attempt to do so is stupid in the extreme as you will end up with watered down tripe that no one likes and alienate your audience anyway. A creator of art or entertainment should make it according to his own inclinations and let it find what sympathetic audience it will.
posted by rushmc at 9:51 AM on February 4, 2004


Not implicit but imagined, and not all that we imagine is real.

Actually no the "harm" is the point. If there is no harm then then there is no foul.

Both of these statements are false. The harm is offense. Not neutral offense (such as your "offense" at those who are offended) but cynical, purposeful, inconsiderate offense.

What occurs within the privacy and sanctity of one's own home is not really comparable to what occurs out in public amongst the masses.

Outside the house there are certainly laws and tacit social codes that uphold public sensibilities. I can't e.g. stand out on the side-walk outside some family's house and start masturbating. Even if it were legal (and I certainly wouldn't fault you for trying to change censorship laws; perhaps a commendable first step in trying to change public attitudes in a respectful way), it would be a jerk (zing) thing to do. Again a clear "bad guy"/"good guy".

If someone were killed during the Super Bowl would we have spent this much time as a nation debating it much less the "effect" of having children watching someone die for real?

This analogy doesn't work. If a boob *accidentally* fell out there wouldn't be an issue. Likewise if someone was killed *on purpose* a similar issue would arise (though there are less death taboos than sex taboos. Thats just the way it is.)

You can't please all of the people all of the time

I find this disingenuous. Again we could say this same thing for food preparation. Yet there would be a difference between "surprising" you with my special blend of spices and sneaking dog poo into your burger. Again we all share this society and everyone knows where the lines are. No one here is unaware of the sensibilities in this nation, in fact many of the people here expressed a clear, aware resentment of these sensibilities. We've done this issue to death. I understand your position and disagree. The issue to me is morally unambiguous, by any common sense understanding of ethics (the old "treat others as you'd wish to be treated" thing*).

*I am not convinced that you are this "person w/o boundaries" that you paint yourself to be (and pretend to support) for the purpose of argumentation. Everyone has grown accustomed to certain understood and appreciated boundaries. One example is that you disliked it when whatzisface called you by your real name instead of by your internet pseudonym. I'm sure this person could create all kinds of rationalizations that this custom is "stupid", "a product of fear and small minds", "condescending", etc., but at the end of the day it is clear which person broke etiquette - it's clear that someone was a jerk.
posted by dgaicun at 5:21 PM on February 4, 2004


Last thing I really want to say about this and I think this really goes to the heart of my feelings on it:

The issue to me is morally unambiguous, by any common sense understanding of ethics

I disagree. I bet if you were to take a poll of those who were offended by seeing a breast on TV vs. those who weren't, those who just plain didn't care/weren't alarmed would probably vastly outnumber those who were. The problem as I see it is that that a small vocal minority of puritanical fundamentalists who think that any outward sign of temptation leads immediately to damnation start to raise a stink along the same lines as your arguments are whenever they see something that offends them.

The reality is that a minority is offended and this minority wants to try to dictate the morals of the majority. This is wrong both in a democracy and according your own "rules of ettiquette. It is not my job to run into your house and start telling you what you should or should not be doing, thinking or feeling there.
posted by aaronscool at 10:44 PM on February 4, 2004


The harm is offense.

Mere offense can't be the harm, because we have no control over (nor even any certain knowledge of) what others may take offense at. Harm must go a step further and be objectively measurable in some way, IMO.

Again we all share this society and everyone knows where the lines are.

I think this is demonstrably false. There is no one line, but rather a number of lines shared by various subsets of the population that intersect here and there. You might take an average of them and call it the line, but I don't think this would be particularly telling or useful.

I am not convinced that you are this "person w/o boundaries" that you paint yourself to be

I make no claim to be without boundaries. People offend my sensibilities all the time; I just don't think it is always within my right to make them stop, if what they are doing is reasonable, within their rights, and/or if it isn't objectively justifiable to impose such a control over them.

Also, what aaronscool said.
posted by rushmc at 12:04 AM on February 5, 2004


Boundaries schmoundaries. Naked female breasts in public are still against the law, and Janet was in public. If I had pulled that stunt in the stadium parking lot I'd have been thrown in jail.

Speaking of which, what happened to that streaker?
posted by konolia at 1:12 PM on February 5, 2004


Janet wasn't in public. She was in a completely enclosed structure with carefully controlled access.

And, on top of that, naked female breasts are not against the law in many public places.
posted by NortonDC at 1:50 PM on February 5, 2004


I see lots of breastfeeders not getting arrested if naked female breasts are illegal.
posted by rushmc at 4:37 PM on February 5, 2004


rushmc, generally those boobies are covered by babies ;-)


And norton, if I bared MY pair in that stadium I guarantee the nearest cop would consider it public.
posted by konolia at 8:28 PM on February 5, 2004


Then why the common practice of featuring flashers on the jumbotron without repercussions?
posted by NortonDC at 8:41 PM on February 5, 2004


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