Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on February 3, 2004 By Draginol In Movies & TV & Books
At this point it seems pretty clear that Janet Jackson had every intention of pulling this stunt at the Super Bowl. The question is, what should be done?

Based on the reaction there seems to be 3 basic views:

  1. Have the FCC impose a huge fine on whoever is responsible including MTV and CBS.
  2. Outraged viewers to push pressure on Viacom to punish those responsible.
  3. Lighten up, it's a bear breast. Get over it.

The first option comes with lots of potential issues with it. First, the FCC has the right under law to fine those who put things that are so indecent as to offend the majority of people in the community. It's intentionally vague and  I tend not to favor this sort of thing. It's not the government's job to decide what's decent or not. I just don't feel comfortable with the government censoring things. That said, everyone knows that network TV isn't supposed to show frontal nudity or say any of the 5 big swear words. The broadcast networks use of the airwaves is predicated on having agreed to government regulations on what those airwaves will be used for.

The second option is the option I favor. Viacom (owners of CBS and MTV) should conduct a very public investigation into this and figure out whether Jackson was doing this as a publicity stunt. If so, it should take very public action appropriate to its findings. Angry viewers should keep the pressure on. I see right-wingers ticked off at organizations like but at least the radical left is organizing behind the things they feel strongly about. The "moral majority" needs to get off its rear end and do the same thing on that kind of scale too.

The last option I just find patently offensive. The people who really need to lighten up are those who find contemporary American culture too restrictive. It is the way it is, grow up and deal with it. The vast majority of Americans have decency expectations of what will show up on network TV. This was the Super Bowl for crying out loud. Millions of children were watching it. The left-wingers of the world always argue "Parents need to do a better job keeping an eye on what their children are watching." Fine. Then the networks need to keep their side too and ensure things that are rated G (or the TV equivalent) are of that standard.

I believe that the free market will resolve this. Janet Jackson's career will probably be harmed considerably by this. I think it was gratuitous and foolish.

on Feb 03, 2004
I pick the third option, only because, in my household, I'm not too offended about bare breasts. I try to limit what she she's but it's not just the nudity, that I'm concerned about but what exactly the context is concerning the nudity. I see what you are getting at, but come on, 'millions of children were watching it?' Let's face it, if there were kids hooked on the half time show, they knew what they were getting. MuchMusic (Canada's MTV) shows far worse any time of the day. If your kid knows, idolizes Janet Jackson, they've seen a few things already. Incidentally, I'm writing at home right now. My child walked by the moment this screen/picture appeared. Really.She's six. She didn't bat an eye. Your blog rarely contains pictures, I felt relatively comfortable opening it up in front of her. Unanticipated. (Now you never know about NaughtyAllie but you?) Did you post it as a stunt? Granted not as many people see your site as they did at the Superbowl, but hey...
I don't think this is going to hurt Janet Jackson's career. (or Justin Timberlake's either, though you didn't mention his). I think that, if the second option is pursued, what is the end result going to be? A fine? Miss Nasty Jackson's probably got enough cash in the bank to cover it.
The end result is this: this publicity stunt worked. Those outraged are talking about it. Those not, are talking about it, too. I don't know how many records it's going to help sell in the end, but I haven't heard anything about Janet Jackson lately. Now, in conjunction with this event, I do know that she's got another release coming soon. I've liked her music in the '90's, but just because I saw her breast in 2004 doesn't mean I'm lining up to buy her album. How many people will, because of this?
on Feb 03, 2004
I'm completely outraged and disgusted by the severity of this stunt. I have NOTHING against breasts, i'm very fond of my own. They've nursed two babies, been quite pleasurable to both me and my husband. What i'm offended about is having to explain to my 4 year old WHY she showed her breasts like that. How to explain to my 4 yr old WHY he ripped off her dress, and why it's NOT okay to do this to his friends in preschool. I can't imagine the impression this gives teenage boys. It's OKAY to disrespect women because it's cool that these women and men in show business do it? I refuse to allow my children to watch MTV now, and will in 10 years. I can't imagine what the people who put together this halftime show were thinking having a disgusting raunchy and very sexually implecative show. I am just glad I was at home and had the ability to turn it off rather than paying hundreds to thousands of dollars to be there in person and having to cover the eyes of my children to keep them from viewing behavior I find immoral and trashy. I wouldn't approve of my daughter being treated this way, I sure as hell wouldn't want to give my boys the idea this behavior is appropriate or okay.
on Feb 04, 2004
I wouldn't have anything against such an act if those involved warned the audience ahead of time with a parental advisory or something. If it's not even going to bother sticking to the ratings it has for its shows, then either the rating system should be discarded or they should face some harsh punishment.
on Feb 04, 2004

Unfortunately there is more to this than Janet's exposed breast that everyone is missing.  The content of the entire half time show really was very adult orientated.  From the lyrics to the dancing.  I can explain to my children children what a breast is but it's a bit more difficult to explain to them the bumping and grinding moves that Justin was doing with Janet or Kid Rock's lyrics "All the crackheads, the critics, the cynics And all my heros in the Methodone Clinics All you bastards in the IRS For the shots of jack and the caps of meth".

Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about the breast incident but the problem is much deeper.  If you remove the breast incident the half time show at a minimum should be rated PG-13 by movie standards.  Adding the breast incident it definitely becomes a rated R.  

In my opinion, what I think should happen is that all TV programs should be rated.  And when the program starts (and every time it comes back from commerical) it should display that rating.  So the SuperBowl should have been rated PG-13.  And because they violated FCC regulations and showed rated R material they should be penalized.  Unfortunately monetary penalties mean very little to large companies so I don't think giving them a heavy fine means anything.  It is just a slap on the wrists.  But what would be better is to give a fine that fits the crime.  They violated the FCC regulations during that 4 1/2 hour show.  So what would be good is that they have their license revoked for 4 1/2 hours during the same time frame on another day.

Now imagine CBS having to broadcast dead air for 4 1/2 hours on another night from 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm as a penalty.  I think that would make them think twice about showing in appropriate material.

I'm really tired of companies and people not being responsible for their actions.  Things need to change and I think this would be a welcome change that would really help.

on Feb 04, 2004
I dont get it. In the middle of a sport where grown men are beating the hell out of another a woman shows her bare breast and a lot of people are deeply offended? Also its ok for scantily clad people to dance about on stage quite provocatively but it becomes wrong when oen of them bares her breast? I dont get it.

PS Im not from America and down here in NZ we are quite amused at the uproar this is causing. Sounds like another excuse for nuisance law suits to me
on Feb 20, 2004
Who sets the "standard of decency" ? As an adult, I don't the government of any one else telling me what I can and can't see. Just check out TV in Europe -- they show boobs all the time and guess what --- no body cares. Conservatives are childish idiots.