- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 7, 2004

Does anyone for a second believe the pitiable Janet Jackson stunt during this year’s Super Bowl was an accident?

Let’s review the facts. Justin Timberlake sings “I’m gonna get you naked by the end of this song” and true to his word, he rips a piece of clothing cleanly from her breast. Justin and Janet attempt a rather pathetic display of shock and the camera quickly turns away … Janet, Justin and MTV later say that the whole thing was an accident and unplanned. Right, and Britney Spears and Madonna just tripped into each other’s lips.

I am feeling a new form of disgust for today’s media. As disgusting as that kiss was at last year’s MTV Music Awards, at least it was aired on a network known for its shock value. One could make the argument that anyone tuning into anything MTV airs should be prepared for the worst. Not so with CBS and the Super Bowl a week ago today. At least, not until now.

The audience for the No. 1 watched show of all time is not made up of just hormonal young twenty-something’s, or the type of men who plop down at a strip joint on Friday night, hoping to see some bare breasts.

Families all over the country spend hours cutting up vegetables, making chili and eagerly awaiting the arrival of their guests to their annual Super Bowl Party. Eight-year-olds sit on the couch with their dads who teach them the difference between a kick-off and a punt.

It is a day for sportsmanship, fans, and families. It is not a day for gratuitous nudity. Yet that is exactly what we were served last Sunday.

Responsible moms and dads weren’t given enough time or warning to switch the channel or cover the eyes of their 8-year-olds. Teenage daughters watching the game with their fathers most likely shifted uncomfortably in their seats while the rest of the people in the living room looked around at each other asking “did that really just happen?”

There have been several polls taken since last Sunday’s display of trash, and there have been viewers who claim they see nothing wrong with what occurred during the halftime show. They are entitled to their opinion and if they would like to continue to view nipple piercings on bare-breasted women, let them tune into the FX network at 11 p.m., the Playboy Channel or Cinemax and leave primetime on the major networks for the families.

My personal opinion is that the NFL and CBS are not to blame for what happened last Sunday. I believe it was a stunt planned by Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. Perhaps they conspired to pull this little exploit to one-up Britney Spears in the continuing juvenile competition between she and Justin.

Or maybe Janet and Justin hoped the extra publicity would boost their record sales. Whatever their motives, their actions should have consequences. And those consequences should not be a few extra million in their bank accounts from increased record sales.

I don’t know much about the legal system or the nitty gritty details surrounding class-action lawsuits, but perhaps the viewers of Sunday’s game are entitled to some sort of compensation. They spent money on big screens, high definition receivers and television bills based on the promise of a good family game. Any individual or group who was forced to view Janet’s shiny nipple should have the right to sue those responsible.

It may not even matter if the argument can be won in court, so long as the message is sent to these folks that not everyone appreciates this smut entering their family’s living room on a Sunday evening. If we all continue to just mutter amongst ourselves, then more stunts like this will be pulled, earning more and more money for these so called artists.


Sterling, Va.

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