February 07, 2005
A year later and we are still victimizing Janet Jackson for “her” wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Superbowl. Seems to me that Janet didn’t pull on her costume revealing her breast - Justin Timberlake did. Why isn’t he ever mentioned in any of the hand-wringing stories about this incident?
I’ll tell you why - because in this country we are taught that men are never the problem, and certainly never the victim of circumstance. Even if the whole event had been staged by both Janet and Justin ahead of time, he would still be fifty percent responsible in my eyes. To read about it then or now you’d think that Janet did a lascivious strip tease that lasted for 20 minutes while the entire nation was forced to watch, their television remotes suddenly non-functioning; ruining the moral character of tens or hundreds of thousands of impressionable children. When in fact her breast was exposed for all of 1 second, and only those people who did an internet search for enhanced still images of the few frames of video got to see anything of detail.
The puritanical streak in this country runs at odd angles to the truth of this country. We piously pretend to be shocked and appalled by the momentary exposure of a woman’s breast on television, but are totally accepting of the two soft porn commercials selling beer or automobiles that sandwich this scene. We can’t talk about or visually show sex in public, but we use it in nearly every advertisement in the country. We refuse to allow open, frank, and honest education about human sexuality in our schools and then we are appalled at the numbers of pre-teens and teens actively engaged in intercourse.
The United States tries to pass itself off as moralistic and “Christian” when in truth we are far from either stance. The continued vilification of Janet Jackson as being the sole responsible party for the half-time show at the 2004 Superbowl is just one small example of the willingness, eagerness even, of our society and media to find a simple (you’ll excuse the expression) titillating explanation for everything - even if that explanation is complete wrong. Just look at the every changing justification for our preemptive invasion of Iraq.
Until we as a people stand up and demand that our leaders and our media start treating us like adults, and start presenting us with the truth and not some pseudo-moralistic hype, we will continue to approach everything as lurid and unwholesome, unfit for consideration - even the truth. The truth isn’t lurid, or anti-Christian, or anti-patriotic. The truth is just the truth.
Was it unfortunate that two performers managed to sneak the entire nation a peek at a woman’s breast on television? Yes.
Is this incident the end of western morality and civilization? Hardly.
Do we need to stand up and take America back from the forces that would have us believe that finding victims and attacking them (Janet, Iraq, et cetera) is the only way for the only remaining superpower to behave?
Only if we want to truthful, honest adults in the world.