When Janet Jackson bared her breast during the Super Bowl halftime show, intentionally or not, it immediately became the story of the week.
Anyone watching a newscast was repeatedly shown the incident, but with some sort of censor over the breast itself.
Apparently, the best way to make sure that no performer ever tries the same stunt is to give Jackson tremendous media attention.
MTV produced the halftime show, but what works for MTV awards ceremonies didn’t carry over to mainstream media.
The only reason anyone watches an MTV awards show like the Video Music Award’s is to see what might “spontaneously” happen. The shock value is half the show.
What MTV didn’t count on was a strong reaction from Midwest viewers who saw the performance during dinner hour.
Conservative watchdog groups have found a new crusade to begin. Oddly, the religious right doesn’t have a problem with the Super Bowl commercials about fart jokes or female degradation.
Jackson’s nipple raised alarm at the networks.
A seven-second tape delay was implemented that would enable censorship of any future live performances, effectively taking away the excitement of live shows.
The lure of explosive performances by risquÃ© artists has become a drawback.
With the decision to tape delay live ceremonies, the producers might as well tape the practices and run-throughs to get the best shots and just show that to the home audience.
NBC edited an episode of ER in the week following the Super Bowl because one scene showed an elderly woman’s breasts exposed.
The context of that shot, a woman having a heart attack in a hospital, could not have been further away from that new TV entertainment trend: woman showing boob for money.
If NYPD Blue set a mark 10 years ago for realism by including a shot of a leading character’s butt as he got out of bed, ER shouldn’t have to feel an obligation to the current flap about a woman’s breast on another network.
Keep in mind that in places such as, Brazil and Britain, female nudity is a common practice, and it’s not always in an educational context.
So why is a breast obscene, but hardcore violence isn’t?
Recently, the Federal Communications Commission approved the use of the f-bomb as an adjective.
What has made it acceptable all of the sudden? Why aren’t there tape delays for radio programs?
Bubba the Love Sponge is regularly offensive, but his material only warrants fines from the FCC.
If one entertainment program can show a woman’s breast for credibility, why can’t a performer show her breast for artistic integrity?
Violence and foul language are no less harmful than nudity, especially when only one breast is shown per half-hour segment.
It may be a good idea to set limits on what can be shown at certain times of day, but the rules for nudity can’t be changed because more people are watching.
Then again, obscenity and hypocrisy usually go hand in hand.
Staff Writer Jeff Novak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.