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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Superbowl T&A

You have to admire the FCC, and the moralists in our country for their lovely consistency. They tune in to watch a contest where two groups of people try to maim each other while scantily-clad women look on and cheer. During commercial breaks, there are ads featuring no fewer than three different types of pill for erectile dysfunction, and a dog ordered to bite a guy's crotch. There's a constant stream of violence and sex beamed into your house on two-hundred high definition channels every second of every day, and the FCC chairman has the audacity to call a two-second nipple shot "outrageous" and "offensive" and "It was the finale of something that was offensive. The whole performance was onstage copulation." Has Mr. Powell seen MTV? I'll let you in on a secret: There's a whole channel of "onstage copulation" sponsored by the very people who did the halftime show. In fact, if I recall, there are two. The lyrics to Justin's songs all have overt sexual themes and lyrics suggesting the objectification of women. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with that, as such. But if the FCC is going to get all hot and bothered over a long-range nipple shot which lasted for a quarter of a second, it would behoove them to watch The OC or The Young and the Restless... or anything at all on daytime Spanish TV.

This, it should be noted, is also from the same chairman who earlier wanted to relax ownership standards to allow the five companies who already own something absurd like 75% of all media markets to encroach even more upon what is still sort of virgin territory. The fact that he can be angry about a nipple while advocating that sort of thing shows just what kind of idiot value system these people have. I think it's characteristic of this government to want to seem moral, and so fixate on stupid little things like this to avoid actually taking a look around. Just so we're clear: televising lies and overt propaganda? Fox-tastic. A one second shot of something 52% of the population has two of*, and a slightly smaller percentage has three of? "Unforgivable."

Also of note here is that Powell has recently started complaining about how the music "these darn whippersnappers"**are listening to is "darned offensive"**, and believes the state of the radio industry is regrettable, adding, "Back in my day, we respected our elders! And only had one radio station, and they only played that tasteful kid Buddy Holly!"** Personally, if I had such a problem with the state of the radio industry, I would try to... you know... not extend Clear Channel Communications' reign even further, given that they are pretty much solely responsible for the state of the medium these days. But that's me.

The worst part is, this isn't just some government bureaucrat who is going overboard. The Washington Post had a number of letters to the editor printed about the "Prime-Time Peep Show," one of which read, "Thanks, NFL, for making life even harder for responsible parents to explain to impressionable teenagers." Look: let's not kid ourselves. Kids have seen more than that. A teenager isn't going to be confused by the existance and function of a nipple. Many of them have even delicately sipped nourishment from one during their early days. Apart from three kids in Branson, Missouri, everyone who saw that shot at the Superbowl had seen one before. Getting all bent out of shape about it is stupid, and everyone who is doing so is either naive or hypocritical.

The only thing worse than the media overcovering such an insignificant story, of course, is the media covering itself on the topic of whether or not the media is blowing this story out of proportion. Having sat, huddled in blankets, for a majority of the day, I got to listen to six different ESPN personalities tell me that this story was getting too much airtime. I'm sure in two days, there will be either letters or op-eds in the big papers saying the same thing. And they'll be right, but it's still annoying that, with everything going on which legitimately concerns the people in this country, the thing that is covered is sex. There's an irony in these people using sex to sell articles about how deplorable it is that the Superbowl halftime show may have used sex to sell itself. These are the same people who went on and on about blowjobs and cigars and 'the dress' all those years ago during the Clinton impeachment. It's also somewhat hard to take their indignation seriously when there's a big-ass, full-color picture of Jackson with her exposed breast put right next to it. Almost as hard to accept as a former coke-head calling upon the NFL to ban steroids. Or someone who used his familial connections to get out of a war feeling cocky enough to tell people they have an obligation to serve their country. Or someone whose daughters are perennial underage drinkers driving home parental responsibility. But I digress.

The whole thing was just another spectacle. Sit back, and enjoy it, and stop trying to make such a big fucking deal out of everything. For once, it would be nice if something like this happened, and people said, "Huh. Seen it." and flipped the proverbial channel, rather than starting a campaign over a relatively vapid evil.

* = Yes, men have nipples. Yes, fat men have breasts. No, I don't care.
** = Not actual quotes from Michael Powell

cranked out at 6:38 PM | |

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