Blog Master G

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Uptight Americans

Monday, February 2nd, 2004 · 10 Comments

janet_exposed.jpg Washington Post: “NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue promised a change in league policies Monday to avoid a repeat of a controversial halftime Super Bowl performance that included entertainer Justin Timberlake tearing a piece off Janet Jackson’s black leather bustier, exposing her right breast to a worldwide television audience estimated to include over 100 million viewers. The performance has also prompted an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission.”

It’s OK to show scantily-clad women in beer commercials and suggestive sexual imagery in ads for Viagra-like products, but show some breast during the Super Bowl and people freak out. Relax, people. It’s the human body. It’s natural. It’s beautiful. And so what if 100 million people saw Janet’s breast? Nudity on television is standard fare all throughout Europe. Americans need to take a deep breath and not make such a big deal about it.


Too bad the ad that CBS censored didn’t get as much press as the stupid half-time show. Censorship of the MoveOn ad is the real important issue here. It’s sad that the FCC didn’t investigate that.

A quick comparison of numbers from Google News shows the backward priorities of Americans: MoveOn Ad (913 results) vs. Janet Jackson (2,800 results).

Props to CNN for showing the MoveOn ad during the Super Bowl halftime show and again today (at least once around 11am Eastern Time when I caught it).

(Photo courtesy Reuters.)

Tags: television

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dave Reed // Feb 2, 2004 at 7:46 pm

    A true representation of the media focusing on non-news items and hyping them up beyond reason.

    [Gabe: will respond to our blooming political debate soon.]

  • 2 beerzie boy // Feb 3, 2004 at 2:17 pm

    Not that I disagree, but…what photo did you use?

  • 3 gabe // Feb 3, 2004 at 2:25 pm

    Point taken, beerzie boy. But the reason I used the Janet photo is because (A) that’s what prompted this entry, and (B) I don’t have a problem with it, as the FCC and so many others do. Further, I’ve previously written about the importance of the MoveOn ad that was not shown during halftime.

    In fairness, however, I’ve added a photo clip from the “Child’s Pay” ad to this entry.

  • 4 Jose Luis Martinez // Feb 3, 2004 at 6:45 pm

    As I comented earlier on someone else’s site:

    “Personally i didnt think it was lame because of the breast itself, we all know there is a lot heavier stuff going on TV anyways, plus a breast is just a breast.

    What I think its pretty patethic is that when an artist’s career is in decline they result to cheap tactics to create “buzz” as if to compensate for their lack of creativity.”

    It reminds me of the girl at school that used to sleep around to become “popular”

    Regarding the Move On add, last time I checked, it wasnt a constitutional right to advertise in the superbowl.

  • 5 gabe // Feb 3, 2004 at 9:10 pm

    The issue with the ad is less one of Constitutionality and more one of a free press, on which a Democratic society is built. What a scary society in which we would live if the government controlled the media..oh wait, that’s how it is in Saudi Arabia and was in Saddam’s Iraq.

    Why is it that CBS should selectively accept money? Why is it that some political ads — those sponsored by the Bush Administration’s drug office — are fine to run, but others are not? Money. Political favors. CBS wants to grow larger to earn more money for its executives. It can only grow larger with Congressional blessing. Hence the airing of ads paid for by the drug office, but not one that depicts the truth about Bush and the deficit he’s created for us.

    In denying this ad, CBS is threatening the idea of a free press.

    The ad, by the way, did nothing but understate a fact: That the federal deficit will be $1 trillion within a decade when today’s children (and us) will be paying it off. The number is more like $1.9 trillion — a fact released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (

  • 6 Jose Luis // Feb 3, 2004 at 11:51 pm

    RE: Why is it that CBS should selectively accept money?

    It’s very simple, because in this country we there as much value placed in free enterprise as there is for a free press. Whether you agree or disagree with CBS and the NFL you have to accept the fact that as part of the free enterprise system they have the right to decide who does or doesn’t advertises in their events.

    CBS paid a huge amount of money to purchase the rights for the Super Bowl and to be honest I can’t blame them for trying to protect their investment by alienating millions even though they did so anyway thanks to the “flash”

    Lets suppose that your site gets huge one day and all of a sudden you have the government telling you that you MUST take banner ads from the RNC or the NRA for the sake of so called “fairness” how would you like that?

  • 7 gabe // Feb 4, 2004 at 9:17 am

    How is shielding your audience from the truth about what this administration is doing alienating anyone? Don’t you think it’s important for people to know the truth and maybe, just once, talk about real issues, instead of whether which commercial was better: The one where the horse farts in the woman’s face or the one where the dog bites the guy’s nuts?

    As for your parallel, you’re missing the point. It’s not about taking money from the government or not. If my site were growing really big and I needed the government’s approval to do so, then of course I would only show pro-government ads and not one that reveals an alarming fact about it. That’s exactly what CBS did — or didn’t do, as the case may be.

    I’d highly recommend reading this editorial in the LA Times by MoveOn on the topic. Here are a couple relevant quotes from it:

    “Instead of taking every opportunity to promote civic discussion, commercial broadcasters like CBS shrink away. The airwaves are, more than ever, private enterprises. And for that we pay a price: As public political speech becomes more difficult and infrequent, the public becomes less engaged in the policies, processes and laws that govern us.

    “The CBS policy represents the triumph of corporate self-interest over the public interest. This is the same CBS, after all, that yanked the Ronald Reagan miniseries recently when Republican bigwigs complained. As Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) noted this week, ‘These are the same executives at CBS who successfully lobbied this Congress to change the FCC rules on TV station ownership to their corporate advantage.’ CBS simply would rather not risk offending powerful people in Washington who decide such critical regulatory matters.”

  • 8 beerzie boy // Feb 4, 2004 at 11:34 am

    Re: “Free” press, others have said it better than I:

    “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” – A.J. Liebling

    “Our republic and its press will rise and fall together.” – Joseph Pulitzer

    “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” -Jim Morrison

  • 9 Dave Reed // Feb 5, 2004 at 12:51 am

    Not to add more to the fervor, but:

    To me, that is certainly not a pastie. I seriously doubt that what she has on there was meant to be publicly viewed, fueling my belief that this “news” item is even less newsworthy than I believed beforehand.

  • 10 jen a. // Feb 6, 2004 at 10:23 pm

    just to add my two cents, even though i didn’t think janet’s breast was a big deal and i sure am sick of the relentless media coverage… still i have to wonder: why isn’t anyone jumping all over timberlake? why is it all janet? sure, said breast belongs to her… but she certainly didn’t whip it out by herself. if the stunt was choreographed, obviously timberlake had a big part in it.
    would the media crucify justin if the tables were turned and janet “accidentally” pantsed him or something?