Jackson’s not the only coarse act

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

I’ve been so busy covering some of the Miss-Lou’s Mardi Gras krewes that people thought I was going to let some of the current issues slip by. One I cannot let fade away without a comment or two is the halftime show for the Super Bowl.

I was picking up my youngest child, Emily, from a friend’s during the halftime. As we were leaving, I saw Justin Timberlake singing and off we went. By the time we got home, we had missed the &uot;real show.&uot; Nevertheless, thanks to the world of television, Emily and I both over the next few days got to see it anyway. Did we want to see it? Nope, Janet Jackson’s breasts are of no concern to Emily or me. However, the event was replayed on every channel you turned to and screamed at us from every magazine and tabloid for the next week.

How ironic, the very newscasters who proclaimed what an awful person she was to do this knowing that kids were watching gave her the most replay time. Show after show stepped into the moral battlefield. My favorite was the night I heard someone from Hollywood say parents should have turned the channel if they were offended by the halftime show.

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At first when I heard that, I wanted to say &uot;Excuse me, I don’t remember Ms. Jackson holding up a sign that said she was preparing to show my children her breast.&uot; After a few deep breaths, I listened a little closer to what she was saying and then the near impossible happened, I found myself agreeing with her.

Did we know that Jackson was going to get skimpy on stage? Well no, we didn’t. But, had we already listened to one rapper use the word bastard several time…yes. Had we already watched several rappers grope themselves on stage…yes.

Were we already past the striptease cheerleaders…yes. Had we already laughed at the beer commercials with a monkey inviting a girl to &uot;go upstairs&uot; with him? And watched another commercial for another male virility pill? And did we know that MTV was producing the halftime show? So what did we really expect?

So basically, by the time Jackson’s breast was exposed for approximately five seconds, we had already been bombarded by sex and indecency. And none of us had changed our channel. Does this make her action any less uncalled for? No. But it does strike me as funny that everyone got so riled up about a female breast, but not about all the implied sex that had gone on before.

Let’s face it. When a broadcaster can charge $2.3 million for a 30-second commercial, a $25,000 fine is not likely to bother him. And not once during the next few days as I listened to the bickering about the incident did I hear one male newsman or one male at the hearings in Washington, D.C., say that they were offended by anything but the Jackson incident.

When one woman brought up the other offensive actions and commercials, they looked at her incredulously. They were simply there to discuss the Jackson &uot;incident.&uot; And how they can best protect the American public. Perhaps, we should learn to protect ourselves and re-evaluate what is or isn’t decent in our own homes.

Christina Hall

writes a weekly column for The Democrat.