Janet Jackson’s Breast
During the halftime show at last weekend’s Super Bowl, Janet Jackson, a not very good singer who compensates for her dearth of musical talent with ribald gyrations and costuming befitting a budget-priced dominatrix, exposed her right breast on live television. She was assisted by Justin Timberlake, a similarly uninteresting singer bleating with faux passion about wanting to disrobe the object of his desire, who, on cue, ripped away Jackson’s pre-fabricated bustier cup.
Predictably, the moralists at CBS and the FCC (and everyplace else that believes protecting our children from the sight of nipples is just as vital as shielding them from images of penises and vulva) were outraged and appalled and mortified at Jackson’s breach of decorum.
We were, too.
But our disgust was not with the flash of a breast, which, surely, cannot possibly be as harmful to the psyches of impressionable youngsters as seeing a running back writhing in pain on the ground after a heavily armored mercenary/linebacker has attempted to knock him unconscious with a violent blow to the head. As far as we’re concerned, we need the court jesters of our society – the Jacksons and Timberlakes –to be nude more often, for this is the only aspect of their persona that’s remotely interesting.
What troubled us about the Super Bowl halftime show, an event watched by nearly 300 million people in more than two dozen countries, was that it exposed the utter emptiness of our popular culture. We are the richest, most “successful” society in the history of civilization, and the best we can come up with for entertainment is this? The Super Bowl spectacle, climaxing with the titty moment, was about sex and drugs and megalomania, the qualities, I suspect, that make us an easy target for religious fundamentalists who see the United States as a valueless, diseased nation.
The entire world, we are told, looks to America to lead them in fashion and music and entertainment. Our popular culture is what everyone else is supposedly imitating. So when given the chance to present America’s Best to the world, we give them:
+ Sean Combs insolently explaining that he is “the definition of half man, half drugs.”
+Kid Rock, draped in an American flag, screeching about his love of hookers and alcohol.
+Nelly, repeatedly admonishing the already barely covered dancers around him to take off all their clothes. (They did not oblige.)
For all our riches, all our power, we are still a shockingly puerile country. Sure, there’s a small minority of the United States that would have preferred to see Charlotte Church, Yo-Yo Ma, and Diane Reeves display America’s aesthetic wonders. But the vast majority, I’m afraid, got exactly what they wished for in Janet and company.
And we wonder why in certain precincts of the globe jihad is such a popular concept?