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Super Bowl show shameful for its violence — not nudity

The recent hoopla over Janet Jackson's "indecent" exposure at the Super Bowl is a prime example of how far we have slid into depravity in our society. At first, I laughed at the entire tawdry display ... certainly the raunchiest halftime show I had ever seen. Then it hit me — it was not necessarily the exposure of a breast that was shocking; it was the violence with which singer Justin Timberlake, with a grim but triumphant smile, ripped Ms. Jackson's bodice.
Super Bowl show shameful for its violence — not nudity

By:Minx McCloud 02/05/2004

I'm so glad Jim and I never had children. I don't want to have to explain how a flash of flesh turned into a media circus leading to federal investigations and endless news coverage.
I never thought I would see the day when I turned on the TV and saw hourly news updates featuring a 38-year-old woman's checkerboard-censored mammary gland.
However, there is a bigger issue at stake than a couple of immature people pulling a shocking publicity stunt. I have come to realize that something very serious happened this year on Super Bowl Sunday.
When I first saw the half-time show, I was rather blas้ about it, even amused.
A half a century of life experience has taught me that nothing is sacred anymore. There are no limits to what people will do to shock or titillate (you should excuse the expression).
At first, I laughed at the entire tawdry display ... certainly the raunchiest halftime show I had ever seen.
Then I thought about it, and watched the tapes of the event very carefully. Something was bothering me, and I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.
Then it hit me — it was not necessarily the exposure of a breast that was shocking; it was the violence with which singer Justin Timberlake, with a grim but triumphant smile, ripped Ms. Jackson's bodice.
It was violence — and the look on his face, while Janet covered herself with her hand was all too vivid, even if it was an act.
Perhaps that's why everyone is shocked, even if we cannot quite figure out the reason for our dismay.
Whether or not Ms. Jackson was faking her shocked reaction does not matter — what we saw on Sunday was a form of rape, pure and simple.
It was a violent, unfunny act, and when we tolerate this sort of thing in the name of entertainment, we are a society run amok.
For the record, it has always puzzled me that we can go ballistic over the sight of a female's nipple, but men can go topless on a beach. A thong that exposes the round globes of a female's buttocks is acceptable, but total nudity is not.
I have always been a strong proponent of the liberation of nudity ... I'm just too fat to indulge in it publicly with any degree of comfort.
However, there is a difference between nudity or sensuality and violence — I am not happy about the fact that we have begun to couple sex with violence in many aspects of our lives, especially television.
Almost every drama I watch in primetime has some sort of violent rape scene in it.
I used to say to one of my friends, "Hey, I'm not responsible for your children ... you are. If you don't like something, change the channel."
I don't feel that way anymore because I now see the way this garbage is forced on people.
During the day, cartoons depict beheadings, mass murders and gore. Only the sex is missing — but that too will come, I'm sure. Busty women and muscular he-men in tight clothes already rule many of the imported cartoons.
Crime shows depict violence and sexual situations that cannot even be discussed in a family newspaper.
On one show, the plot concerned a woman violated by a foreign object, mutilated and left in an alley, and there was not a peep from the FCC.
When this violence permeates the Super Bowl, we are in deep trouble, and the FCC finally seems to be pulling its head out of the sand.
Even the videos on cable stations are sexual, explicit and often violent. Our senses are assaulted by scene after scene of violent sex, or at least implied violent sex, and these stations are touting themselves as entertainment for teenagers.
Not only women are being exploited, either. One video I watched while researching this article showed men in bondage and the over-endowed, underdressed women who were simulating torture.
As for the Super Bowl, one would hope that any children watching would not understand the lewd suggestiveness of the "dirty dancing" scene, which, let's be blunt here, was simulated copulation ending with the violent act of stripping a woman of her dignity.
Staged or unstaged, it was rude, crude and shameful.
I was popping a canap้ into my mouth at a Super Bowl party when the event occurred, so I only caught a glimpse; it happened THAT fast.
The host's children did not see the incident, for which the parents were grateful.
Of course, they didn't see it — they were busy playing a computer game in which a buxom, scantily-clad Amazon was kicking men in the groin and hacking off their heads with a broadsword.
I would have rather had MY kids see the halftime show.
Sure, sex and violence have always been with us and always will be. In the 17th century, Nicholas Poussin painted a picture titled "Rape of the Sabine Women."
I saw it many years ago, and it somehow shows the horror of women being hauled off by cruel, lustful men, and yet a child could look at it and not realize what it signified. Subtle. Artistic. Historical.
However, what happened on Sunday was far from artistic and has no redeeming features whatsoever. It was cheap and inexcusable, but worst of all, it was distastefully violent.
What's particularly disturbing is that some misguided souls have described it as "sexy" and "erotic."
We need to teach children that it is the lack of respect and the show of violence that is objectionable, not the flash of a woman's bare breast.
We need not go back to being Puritans.
We simply need to stop being barbarians.

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Agree 09.Feb.2004 20:36


I agree with your article - the point is not that a breast was exposed. This "show" contained masturbation, simulated copulation, and simulated rape. The media moguls who produce this filth do so for purely monetary reasons. The so-called "artists" are as much a pawn as the actors and actresses in pornography. The halftime production was sexist and particularly shocking because some high level executives signed off on it, believing that we, the people of this society, are so desensitized that we would view it as acceptable entertainment. What's next?

Thanks for one of the most cogently written comments that I have seen.