It was eight years ago on a Sunday much like the Sunday before last. Superbowl weekend, Superbowl Sunday filled with high hopes and titillating anticipation. The halftime show, a tradition long revered by fans of football and indifferent viewers alike. Janet Jackson performed with Justin Timberlake and some other music producers and singers. Jackson wore a curve tight black leather dress. And as the titillating anticipation built, so did the tension between Jackson and her dress. Luckily JT was nearby to relieve the tension. Timberlake reached to his right, latched onto Jackson’s dress. What came next exposed Timberlake as the boob he really is.
The point I’m getting at is that Jackson’s glittery nipple-covered breast slipped from her dress, well sort of popped out of her dress like an grape slips between a thumb and forefinger. The infamous titillating titty. Pretty titty, like a kitty, minding everyone else’s business. The snap, crackle, pop incident caused catastrophic damage to the Fox network, the home of the Superbowl at the time.
It wasn’t until eight years later, a few months ago, that the boobs in the Janet Jackson case settled and placed the appendage under covers. The case received multiple rounds of legal arguments.
Ever since Jackson flashed a ‘lil skin at halftime, the shows have taken on a more conservative role. Single bands; be it U2, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Prince—I may have seen his milk duds peaking out—have performed a few hits, new and old. The show, for many, has failed to paint the Superbowl in a modern light, and failed to acknowledge any evolution in music, i.e., pop and top forty hits.
That is until Superbowl XLVI’s halftime show promised such producers and artists as Cee Lo Green, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj and MIA to help promote Madonna’s new album. And it was about time. I’ve begun to feel as dead as Mick Jagger’s motor skills in past years. I needed a boost. Give me some “Sexy and I Know It” and some “F*** You.”
The show turned out to be spectacular. A green screen lay over the field, or was the field that projected stunning lights and animations. They were breathtaking and dazzling.
Madonna was dragged in on a float by a team of men dressed in Trojan War uniforms. Madonna was adorned in ancient Egyptian style dress. She sang popular hits from the past and songs from her new album. LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, MIA, and Cee Lo Green sang alongside her.
Nicki Minaj and MIA danced among a group of women dressed in ancient Egyptian clothing. After Madonna finished her bit, Minaj belted out her verse, a section of the song she’ll be singing on Madonna’s new album. Then MIA rapped her part. Here’s where the shiz got ugly.
Upon further review, if in fact you didn’t notice MIA’s gesture during the show, you’ll notice MIA flipping the birdie to a camera on stage. In big titillating moments people are prone to unresolve habits of excitement. You can’t blame the messenger. MIA also uttered the words, “I don’t give a sh**,” while on stage, but her voice was not clearly audible.
So this makes me think that the producers of the Superbowl and halftime show had one thing in mind: It seems the half time show is better served as a sedative, or a tranquilizer, so that the focus remains on football and not a dance party. Well, hold on just a second because the football ended with a final drive, go ahead touchdown and some spectacularly, athletic performances. Nothing lacking in that department.
NBC studios, the station that aired the Superbowl this year, is likely to go through a prolonged legal battle. The case of “the fleeting expletive,” which reached the Supreme Court, is precedent for the halftime show catastrophe, if it can be called such a thing.
NBC studios apologized to their viewers by stating that the rehearsed halftime show was PG rated and that the incident during the show, “was a spontaneous gesture that our delay system caught late.” The NFL blamed the incident on their broadcast partner by saying, “There was a failure in NBC’s delay system. The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans.”
The Superbowl is the most commonly watched television event of the year. It has been eight years since the Jackson nipple slip, and eight years since the halftime show had some spunk. Now it was MIA who shamelessly issues a “fu** you” to a crowd of children and adults.
The league and NBC knew what they had in store by hiring performers who have made their careers by expressing profanity and titillating lyrics in their music. The studio and the league both expressed before the Superbowl that the halftime show was going to be appropriate, knowing the controversy on hand by having hired the top 40 artists.
Should indecent material be allowed during the airing of the half time show? What is indecent? Obviously, a little bit of boob is indecent for all ages and inappropriate on all levels. Unlike a middle finger gesture or a profane word, a nipple slip invokes classless taste and poor judgment. I know Jackson wasn’t planning to have her britches torn or her companion to cop a peek, but the titillating nipple was too much for anyone to bear.
That being said, the expressions’ offensive gestures used by MIA were almost unnoticeable. Look at it this way: the halftime show had the ability to be unbelievably dry and monotonous. Yet what the halftime show did do was rock the fu**ing house! It’s what the most watched television event of the year needs, hands down. Don’t get caught up in gestures and profanity. Before your angelic child reaches the age of fifteen he’ll have discovered all of the roots of evil. And then what? Will you blame it on the silver stickered boob? Or the found in action birdie flipped by MIA?
Lighten up, America. The mainstream media is all-powerful. Your kids might turn on Comedy Central and watch a loosely censored sex scene, or your prized ballerina will see male frontal nudity while searching the web innocently. MIA’s middle finger is the least of all worries. And with everything being digitized and everyone being tech-savvy, why flip the bird over something so . . . you get the point.