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The Collective
Tuesday, February 3, 2004
By Steven Taylor

One more comment on the Janet Jackson/Super Bowl halftime flap. I missed the show live, as we decided to leave the party we were at to get the kids to bed, knowing we would pay the price that tired children can levy if we did not do so. As a result I saw none of the half-time show live (indeed, got home just in time for the start of the second half), but awoke Monday morning to the stories and photos about the now-infamous breast.

Last night on various news programs I actually saw a decent amount of video from the event and have to say that CBS and the NFL need to do some serious reexamination of the halftime show productions in general if they think that having a bunch of gyrating women dressed in garter belts while Janet and Justin sing about getting’ nekkid is appropriate for the show. I am not trying to be prudish or unrealistic, but please: Super Bowl Sunday is probably the fourth most celebrated “holiday” in the US after Christmas, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. And in terms of tv holidays, it comes in second only to Thanksgiving. Families and friends congregate in front of the television in large numbers, including a substantial number of children. Do we really need to have a hyper-sexualized display as the halftime “entertainment”? Do the networks really think that is what is needed to retain viewers?

Even without the appearance of the nipple, the production was wholly inappropriate for the venue.

I would just as soon do away with the halftime “event” altogether and have them talk about the game or show a montage of the best plays of the season or something. It is, after all, a football game. But if they feel they have to have a musical number, is it too much to ask for something with a little taste?

Another comment: the news media can be quite hypocritical (shocking, I know)—on shows last night expressing their outrage at the event kept showing over and over and over and over and over and over (get the point?) the video of Timberlake ripping Jackson’s shirt. Sure, the boob was scrambled, but if the point is that CBS shouldn’t have allowed the whole thing is the first place, is it not a tad over the top to repeatedly show the clip? I understand showing a few times as a piece of news, but half a dozen or more times in a given segment?

And finally: I am surprised that feminists and civil rights groups aren’t up in arms, as the act of Timberlake ripping off Jackson’s clothes as performed came across to me as aggressive. Not to make too much of this point, but I am surprised those who are typically quite sensitive about issues of race (like Limbaugh and McNabb, for example), don’t see something a bit askew about the symbolism here. You’d think feminists would be crying about simulated sexual assault as entertainment and the NAACP wouldn’t be too happy about the white on black aspect of the situation.

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    Steven Taylor reflects on the media coverage of the Janet Jackson — Justin Timberlake Super Bowl breast extravaganza and notes that it is a tad…

    Trackback by OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY — Tuesday, February 3, 2004 @ 8:40 am

  2. This is all distracting from the real scandal: How did a washed-up singer become the headlining act, and why was she singing hits from 1989?!!!!

    Comment by Robert Tagorda — Tuesday, February 3, 2004 @ 11:14 am

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