in the meantime, sex related websites account for more than half of the Web revenue, probably in great part fueled by some of the same adults who are now claiming indecency...
Drop the outrage, bra-play was blasé
Sexual and crass ads drew no ire
Accidental fumble or planned foul? Publicity touchdown or illegal use of celebrity hands?
A day after the dust settled on Super Bowl XXXVIII, a firestorm ignited around the XXX Half-Time Show. The concert ended with Justin Timberlake ripping off Janet Jackson's leather bodice, exposing her bejewelled right breast to about 100 million viewers.
Forget "The Miracle On Ice" and "The Shot Heard Around The World." Sunday's football game — there was a game, right? — will enter American sports lore as The Nipple Miraculously Seen Across The Planet.
U.S. networks scrambled yesterday to "inform" viewers who may have blinked and missed the peek-a-boob show. On CNN and MSNBC, the incident — described as "shocking," "scandalous" and "unbelievable" — was treated like a shocking, scandalous and unbelievable game play.
Start the clip: There's Justin, following Janet around the stage, lip-synching his way through "Rock Your Body," clutching his mike with a menacing expression of pre-coital intent.
There's Janet, gyrating her hips, puckering her lips, lasciviously zigging her way through late-'80s dance moves. And, wait, now put it in slow-motion, there's Justin creeping his left hand up Janet's torso and yanking on her bustier with the zeal of a skydiver pulling a ripcord.
The televised incident happened so fast even a gifted police sketch artist would have found it impossible to render Jackson's areola based on eyewitness testimony. No matter.
The switchboard at CBS' New York headquarters lit up like a Christmas tree. Execs at both CBS and MTV, the youth-and-sex obsessed network that produced the half-time show, issued public apologies.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue released a statement saying the league was "extremely disappointed" and that "the show was offensive, inappropriate and embarrassing to us and our fans."
Timberlake, who made similar headlines last year after squeezing Kylie Minogue's backside during a British awards show, apologized to everybody and blamed the flash on a "wardrobe malfunction," a zany euphemism now headed for the popular lexicon.
U.S. President George W. Bush, who in a pre-game interview said he planned to watch the Super Bowl with family and friends, bowed out of the Nipple Controversy.
"I don't want to admit it, but because this White House starts early, I missed it — again," Bush told reporters. "Saw the first half, did not see the half time — I was preparing for the day and fell asleep." Right. Other high-ranking Americans were not as disingenuous or diplomatic.
Michael Powell, the chairman of the FCC, blasted MTV and CBS, both owned by Viacom, and said the federal regulator would launch a swift and immediate investigation. He called the incident, "a classless, crass and deplorable stunt."
All this shock and horror and moral outrage were tough to understand. Does Powell not watch American television? Sex is everywhere. Sex sells. Especially in the music business — whether it's Lil Kim exposing her breast on the red carpet, or Britney French-kissing Madonna, or Nelly imploring young women to take off all their clothes.
And the Super Bowl, the most watched television event of the year, symbolizes the nexus between commerce and spectacle. For $19.99, viewers could have even purchased a half-time package that included the Lingerie Bowl, a tackle-football game between two teams of scantily clad female models.
There were commercials Sunday night featuring lesbian kisses, farting horses, and spots for erection-enhancing drugs. (Paraphrase of a tagline warning: "An erection that lasts more than 4 hours is not normal and you should seek immediate medical attention.")
Daddy, what's an erection?
I doubt that anybody under the age of 35 was shocked by the fleeting sight of Jackson's pierced nipple.
Was this planned? Was it, ahem, a wardrobe malfunction? Doesn't matter because to an entire generation it was about as shocking as a cup of hot chocolate.
Ironically, one of the bands that played during the pre-game show was Duran Duran, a group that earned some controversy more than 20 years ago for its risqué "Girls On Film" video.
Today, that 1982 video would elicit mostly yawns from bored toddlers. And that's the interesting thing about the Nipple Controversy: Grown-ups are either wilfully blind or hopelessly naive when it comes to what the kids are watching these days.