Four years ago, I was at the Super Bowl in Houston (Patriots v. Panthers) when this trivial fiasco occurred. We were too far from the stage to see anything. We had no idea how big a deal it had become until we woke up the next day and no one was talking about the great game. It was all about Janet's nipple.
Anyway, an appeals court tossed out the $550K FCC fine against CBS. Why? According to Billboard, because "the FCC deviated from its nearly 30-year practice of fining indecent broadcast programming only when it was so "pervasive as to amount to 'shock treatment' for the audience."
Justin Timberlake, who wussed his way out of it four years ago, made light of it at this year's Espys, which aired Sunday: Why did he do it? "I wanted to be the first guy to ever reach second base at a football game." Funny, dude, but you also pretty much assured that for the next 25 years, Super Bowl half-time entertainers will be white men at least 50-years-old -- people no one wants to see naked.
Things seem to have changed a lot since then, though. They do racier stuff on prime-time ("Desperate Houswives") than bare a breast for two seconds. One of the reasons we missed that non-event: We were watching the Carolina cheerleaders, who weren't wearing much either. So don't tell me the Super Bowl is sexless and sacred.
And in retrospect, you kind of have to give her (not him) props: That was quite the punk thing to do. It was also a lot less objectionable than looking at Keith Richards' mug a couple of years ago, which probably amounted to "shock treatment" for some young'uns.
This all brings to mind my favorite William Safire pun, which explains why men can walk around shirtless (exposing nipples) and women can't:
"It's not the teat, it's the tumidity."
| Timothy Finn, The Star