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Fred's Views


The Tempest in a B-Cup

It must be a slow news week. The ballyhoo over Janet Jackson's breast is totally absurd. But, I might as well get in my two cents' worth since everyone else has.

First of all, I watched the Superbowl game. It was a great game, not the least since my favorite won - and my wife won $50 in an office pool. The first 20 minutes or so of the game was a fierce defensive battle that some called boring. Not so. It was fascinating to see how every play seemed to be anticipated by the defense and snuffed out. The remainder of the game turned into an offensive duel which turned on who made the fewest mistakes at the least critical times. It was a narrow victory that could have ended either way. One of the best games in a long time.

Unfortunately, the game itself has been forgotten in the controversy swirling around the half time show. Let's get the obvious out of the way: this was undoubtedly the worst half-time show in living memory. While I have nothing against Janet Jackson, she's no Shania Twain. One wonders what kind of voice she would have if she actually used it. She was okay - the song she chose was utterly forgettable, and reminiscent of the disco era where one song sounded pretty much the same as the next. The "performers" that followed her were largely pathetic. I'm no rap fan, I'll freely admit. I have nothing against rap, per sé, except I do take exception when the only raison d'ètre for the genre is to get your spoken word across and the words are incomprehensible. Worse, even when you understand the words - or think you do - they make no sense. Someone objected to Chris Rock (If that's how he spells his name) wearing an American flag - I didn't even notice. I had tuned out long before. And that's why I never even saw the infamous boob.

But let's take another side-trip. Every one knows that the real reason to tune into the Superbowl is to see the new crop of commercials. Every one knows this because the media kept telling us so. Well, some of the commercials did conjure up a smile, but none of them were really memorable. Maybe we've become too jaded and expect too much. Maybe it just isn't possible to top previous efforts. Maybe there was no money left to produce the commercial once the air time had been purchased. One wonders what CBS did with the profit from the commercials. Hopefully, they didn't spend it on the half-time show.

Oh, and one last aside. I finally have something good to say about the so-called reality shows: I was in desperate need of a washroom break - but I didn't want to miss the game or the commercials. Luckily, a promo for Survivor came on and I was able to take care of my needs without missing a thing!

If one wonders why the world's leaders - or Congress, or any other body politic - can't seem to agree on anything, take a look at the Jackson debacle. There have been almost as many points raised as viewers. First of all: accident or intentional? Since I'm forcing myself to decide, I vote accidental. I'm not sure why. There are lots of reasons why it could have been intentional: to get more attention, to draw attention away from brother Michael's problems, etc. and some evidence: why would she wear so flimsy an undergarment if she knew what Timberlake was going to do - unless she wanted to expose herself. Nevertheless, I think it was an accident.

But why such an uproar over the baring of a single breast? There are places in this world where going topless is the natural state of affairs. There are many areas, including our own province, where going topless is not illegal. Most of us have inadvertently or otherwise seen more than we expected when a mother is nursing a child. What's the big deal!

Admittedly, I'm a "breast man". I think there is nothing in this world more beautiful than the female breast. But that's just me. I'll further admit that, had the shoe been on the other foot, so to speak, and she had ripped off a piece of his clothing, revealing his manhood, that would have been disgusting. I wouldn't have wanted to see it, but it would still have been no big deal. (Pun intentional at your option.) North Americans are far too sensitive to nudity - and far too insensitive to the really disgusting things such as foul language and violence. Would there have been an "event" if, during their performance one of them made a mistake and she accidentally got whacked in the nose? Would the sight of blood streaming down her face have been less offensive? I think it certainly would have stirred up less controversy.

Someone raised an interesting point that, in a sense, Janet Jackson was demeaned or degraded by Justin Timberlake's actions. The ripping off of a piece of her garment, no matter how harmless it may have been intended, seems totally unnecessary and pointless. Of course, I wasn't paying attention to their number so, perhaps, it makes sense in context, but I doubt it. I don't believe it was intended as demeaning or derogatory, but I do see how it could be taken that way.

First reports indicated that she was wearing a "pastie". (No, not the pie sort of thing popular in some areas of the country.) Later reports have her wearing a "nipple ring". If true, that's the really disgusting part. There is nothing more demeaning or degrading (not to mention offensive to others) than body piercings. Yeah, I know, we've been piercing ears for millennia, and we've gotten used to that. But it is all so gross! I don't understand how someone could do that to themselves. I certainly can't understand why anyone would want to. If you think revealing her breast was a big deal, then revealing a nipple ring was gigantic!

Let's let the whole thing die of natural causes. Justin Timberlake professes his innocence pointing out that his career was going just fine (so he says, I wouldn't know), thank you very much, and the last thing he'd want is to be the center of a controversy that could ruin it. I tend to believe him. But the larger question remains: why are people, including the FCC and CBS, making such a big event of this? It's just a breast. No big deal.

Copyright © 2004 by Fred Oldfield. All rights reserved.


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