Meet your nanny

Meet your nanny
: Michael Powell is setting himself up as our national nanny — now ludicrously expanding his probe of the Super Bowl into the entire halftime show — I say he opens himself up to questioning about his own sexual beliefs and behavior. Either that or he can just get back to doing his job.

And while Powell is at it, maybe we should expand the probe to include ass-slaps on the football field. And those obscenely tight pants of theirs. And let’s expand to the baseball field and their scratching. And Nascar, too: Are the proponents of erectile dysfunction drugs truly dysfunctional or are they defrauding us?

And let’s expand it to all of entertainment.

Let’s go back to the days of single beds and no touching.

Let’s deny sex and sexuality and the human body, while we’re at it.

Yes, that’s a fine use of our tax dollars and government authority. A fine use, indeed.

Howard Dean is right and said it right: It’s silly, just silly.

  • http://www.halleyscomment.blogspot.com Halley Suitt

    Right on … I fear he’s all in a lather from seeing Janet’s not-fully-exposed nipple, nicely sheathed with a tiny gladiator’s shield. Perhaps he should legislate that all nipples on TV must be so sheathed. Perhaps he and Ashcroft, equally obsessed with bared breasts should work on this important legislation together. This would be a very good use of their time.

  • http://www.baseballmusings.com David Pinto

    My problem with the half-time show was one of choice. When I’m looking for shows to watch, I have guides as to what those shows are going to contain. If I’m watching with my daughter, I’ll skip shows that I would ordinarily watch because I see from the summaries that they contain content that I do not want my daughter to see. I have a choice as a parent. The super bowl halftime show did not give me that choice. I wasn’t going to watch it (I had started flipping channels), but my daughter did. So I let her watch it. I figured it was just going to be some pop stars singing. So her and her friend got to see a woman being treated as an object.
    Even without the bare breast, it was TV-14. I just want to know that before hand so I can make an informed decision and be a good parent.

  • JP

    German Radio SWR3 jokes about the event and the outrage it causes in the US. One worry, however, is that GWB will now start a war on the breasts of evil.
    Beware America.
    J

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    JP: For the sake of the punchline, I’d take liberties with the translation and, instead, wonder whether Powell is going after the … drumroll, please … asses of evil.

  • KMK

    The streaker, who showed far more to the public, will get an indecent exposure charge and Janet’s breast will get the station an FCC probe. It’s a waste of money to investigate and it removes accountability from the owner of the exposed breast. Fine her and Timberlake and be done with it. People keep pointing to their kids as excuse my kids are in bed by 8 on a school night no exceptions.

  • Jesus Juice

    Yeah lets make this into a discussion of what’s its not. Broadcast TV at the hours before 9 or 10 has some higher standards to live up to than cable (exactly because it is an “intrusive” form of media). Like the preivous poster said, it’s about choice. I bet everyone who goes on and on on the “Americans are moral prudes” tangent didn’t watch the half-time show with their pre-teen children. Most shows put a parental discretion warning even before (gasp) more gruesome or provactive programming (even FOX does before shows like 24). So maybe Mikey at the FCC is a big prude, but he wouldn’t be doing his job and the FCC standards for broadcast tv wouldn’t mean anything if he didn’t look into the event. If I was watching a show on S&M then I might be expecting a bare breast, but wasn’t expecting it watching a SPORTING EVENT. Not into taking away anybody’s right to view what they want, just don’t put me in that situation with my kids while watching a football game. And you know what the whole “Europeans think we’re dumb” meme is a big non-starter. Look we bathe, wear deodorant, and have generally been better at just about everything for the past century, so what they do really doesn’t concern me.

  • GCW

    The boob and other writhing were a big yawn.
    The intent behind them, though, was to push the limits by showing more than they were allowed to on broadcast TV. When they cross the line, the governing body has a duty to look into it.
    The standards themselves are a different discussion. Personally, I agree that violence is far worse than nudity on broadcast TV. This issue, however, is about enforcing the pre-existing standards.

  • JP

    @Jeff: love it!

  • http://www.photodude.com/ Reid

    Listen, it was during what the networks used to call “Family Hour.” One has to assume with one of the highest rated TV events of the year, whole families were watching.
    It was highly inappropriate for such a broadcast, no matter what your morals are. That is, unless you are a firm proponent of women going topless at all times. And other than as a sexist joke, I dopn’t think any of us really think that’s a good idea.
    Furthermore, there’s significant evidence that MTV and CBS (“coincidentally” both owned by the same company) knew this was going to happen, and possibly signed off on it. Now everyone’s in denial. Lying … “oh, my, what an unexpected accident! For shame!”
    Bullsh*t.
    My guess is that this will go as far as most FCC investigations go. Nowhere. But it should serve as notice to our entertainment industry…
    …have a little damn respect for your viewing audience, and be a little less wrapped up in your own PR Glory.

  • Doctor Slack

    Jeff is right. The whole flap is just absurd, and I’m not even sure I buy the whole “family viewing” defense of this behaviour (meaning the behaviour of the people reacting to the boob, not the people who exposed it). With due respect to the parents involved I think this is a sign that it’s time to start asking:
    A) to what extent society at large should be expected to hide the human body in order to avoid offending the “choice” of this or that parent.
    B) whether it’s time for some parents to start coming to grips with changing attitudes toward the body.
    C) whether it’s time to start rethinking the role and regulations of the FCC.
    The “shelter your children from any glimpse of a breast” standard is on the same continuum as the long-dead hysteria that used to surround glimpses of ankle, and I’d guess it’s not going to be viable much longer. That’s not a bad thing at all, and it’s a vast (and unbelievably insulting) oversimplification to pretend that a woman who dares show skin is automatically being “treated as an object.”

  • jetgirl

    The boob doesn’t bother me. The implied violence of ripping a woman’s clothing off bothers me. (along with the line “gonna have you naked by the end of this song”, coupled with the ripping off of a piece of her clothing, implies violence and made everybody in the room with me feel kinda squicky–the boob had nothing to do with it.) The commercials featuring bathroom humor of every variety bothered me. The hypocrisy of calling the MoveOn ad too controversial to show, when compared to what they showed instead, bothers me.

  • GCW

    If a boob is no big deal, they could have done the entire show buck naked.
    Instead, they saved it for a “shocking moment” at the end. The whole point was to shock.
    Yes, boobs are not a big deal. So why hype it up? The artistic and entertainment value in ripping off that cup was as much as would have been in ripping off a sock; i.e., none.
    So why not just abide by the rules?

  • Benny

    It was highly inappropriate for such a broadcast, no matter what your morals are. That is, unless you are a firm proponent of women going topless at all times.
    What a lame straw man argument. No one’s suggesting women should go topless all the time. Sure this particular show was pretty crass, but what would be wrong with, say, a moisturizing commercial showing a naked woman? Nothing. And to say otherwise is to assume there’s something inherantly obscene about the naked human form. And that’s sad and unhealthy.
    Look we bathe, wear deodorant, and have generally been better at just about everything for the past century, so what they do really doesn’t concern me.
    Someone else who’s obviously never even been to Europe.

  • appalled moderate

    My nephew’s church group had gathered at my sister-in-law’s house to watch the Super Bowl. There was a presumption that the event was a football game, not an exercise in celeb nudity. I haven’t dared to ask what the fallout has been.
    Personally, I could care less. But parents have a right to know up front that their kids are going to get an eyeful. Think of it not as a freedom of speech issue, Mr. Jarvis, but as decpetive advertising depriving parents of exercising their freedom of choice regarding what they let their kids see.

  • Rick D.

    It seems to be a grotesquely disproportionate response to this eventlet, which I took primarily as Ms. Jackson’s admission to the world that she’s at fourteen minutes, thirty seconds and counting. Yawn.
    Maybe they can snag Madonna next year to, you know, restore dignity to the Superbowl?
    I’d like to see a little more energy out of Chairman Powell into breaking up media conglomerates such as Viacom and a little less into boobgate, but that’s an absurd dream. I suppose there’s at least a small irony at work here, being that he only has to smack a single company. How lucky for him that they own both MTV and CBS!

  • Doctor Slack

    The implied violence of ripping a woman’s clothing off bothers me.
    Hmmm. The thing is, there was a time when I would have been a lot more sympathetic to this; maybe I’m growing jaded or callous or both. But I can’t help wondering, if “implied violence” and not nudity is the thing… doesn’t the average soap opera plot involve plenty of “implied violence” against women? If we don’t assume that people are going to watch those shows and go out to commit real violence against women, is there any particular reason to assume it of a Superbowl half-time show?
    I suppose you could object to this that sporting culture anywhere has a pretty long history of ugly attitudes toward and treatment of women, which of course is true. But since this long predates this past Superbowl… how major an aggravating factor is a glimpse of Janet likely to be? And would assiduously cleansing the airwaves of breast address that problem in any way?
    So why not just abide by the rules?
    I dunno. Just hypothetically: what if the rules are ridiculous, archaic and prudish and no longer reflect the balance of the culture they’re supposed to be serving? Would that be a good reason not to obey them?
    I should point out that those who think this was a misguided PR stunt were probably right. I have no illusions about Janet or Justin being cultural crusaders themselves. But they themselves aren’t the issue — it’s the nannying of public discourse and airwaves that’s the issue.

  • http://site-essential.com MommaBear

    Given that the half-time show was on at 5pm Left Coast Time, no doubt there were many young people under the age of 14 watching the show. Not all children live on the East Coast.
    The really sad part was that what was shown was nothing but a huge bag of silicon covered by a thin layer of skin.

  • Mike

    Jeff: Well said! (And good punchline.)

  • GCW

    I thought the issue (JJ’s post) was that the FCC and Powell are being intrusive nannies. I just see them as doing their job: investigating a violation of the pre-existing rules.
    I’d be interested to hear more about the proper role of the FCC. Isn’t that organization in place to allocate OTA frequencies? Do those who hate the FCC’s policies with respect to nudity during prime time have consistent opinions regarding the FCC’s other standards and procedures?

  • appalled moderate

    Look, I cannot stand the idea of the nanny state.
    But, people, c’mon. Parents have a right to have some idea of what their kids are going to see when they are parked in front of the TV set. The Super Bowl, like it or not, is a national event, and lots of children watch it. I’m sure all those parents with somewhat conservative moral views are having a real fun time with their children right now. This is really a bait and switch here, and it’s fair to say parents were betrayed by CBS.
    If Miss Janet decided, as a publicity stunt, to give us a view, she, and those who knew about the stunt should pay for it. While that viewpoint may not appeal to all you Libertarians out there, it should force those who figure a little nudity will help their musical career to confine their escapades in overexposure to Playboy and their personal internet sites. That way, when parents sit their kids in front of a Superbowl, all they’ll have to worry about are the Victoria’s Secret ads…

  • Doctor Slack

    Parents have a right to have some idea of what their kids are going to see when they are parked in front of the TV set.
    Again, it becomes a question of: how much should society be prepared to accommodate itself to conservative parents? Though I’m not completely unsympathetic, I don’t think it can be argued that it’s the duty of pop culture to please the prudish minority. If prevailing attitudes in society are changing, then they’re changing and it may be time for, say, FCC regulations to reflect that. Otherwise it will eventually reach a point of true absurdity, where virtually everything on television (except graphic violence, of course) requires a disclaimer.

  • Jesus Juice

    Someone else who’s obviously never even been to Europe.
    Wrong…been there a lot actually (more than half a dozen times) and I live in a popular tourist state and have many interactions with Europeans. You’re obviously someone who hasn’t shared many airport limos with French people.

  • http://youngcurmudgeon.typepad.com Eric Deamer

    Doctor Slack has proven himself to be a hearltess right-winger who feels that implied violence towards women is no big deal. We should all go to his place and tell him that this means he’s not a real liberal. Of course we can’t, since he doesn’t provide a URL or an e-mail.

  • Anonymous

    Again, it becomes a question of: how much should society be prepared to accommodate itself to conservative parents? Though I’m not completely unsympathetic, I don’t think it can be argued that it’s the duty of pop culture to please the prudish minority
    Yeah F’em and their kids too!

  • Benny

    You’re obviously someone who hasn’t shared many airport limos with French people.
    So you’re just grossly exaggerating then to make your case. Gotcha.
    Nothing you said applies to all of Europe. And doesn’t remotely reflect the Europe of my experience.

  • Doctor Slack

    We should all go to his place and tell him that this means he’s not a real liberal. Of course we can’t, since he doesn’t provide a URL or an e-mail.
    Heh. Good to see you’re maturing, Eric. Not to worry, soon as my website is set up you’ll be the first to know. Promise.

  • billg

    Rather worse than having a peek at Janet Jackson’s pierced breast was her simple presence at the show; along with all the other self-exploiters who seem to market themselves to puerile 12-year-olds.
    Yes, the FCC has more important things to worry about. But, geez, someone ought to slap the NFL and CBS upside the head for putting that kind of tasteless infantile crap on TV in the first place.

  • Doctor Slack

    Yeah F’em and their kids too!
    Oh, especially their kids, who we all know will surely mutate into grotesque sexual predators on account of a single glimpse of The Mighty Breast of Janet Jackson.

  • http://youngcurmudgeon.typepad.com Eric Deamer

    Doctor Slack:
    Live by the PC sword, die by the PC sword.

  • Benny

    Zymurgist your argument makes no sense at all, but, man, was it funny!

  • GCW

    Great point, Zymurgist. Being opposed to JT robo-masturbating for the entire 23 minutes of the halftime show would make one …oh, what were the words again?…
    a nanny
    a prude
    obsessed
    hysterical
    sad
    unhealthy
    ridiculous
    archaic
    prudish
    conservative
    prudish minority
    We all need to get with the program. I, for one, nominate JT and JJ for a live version of goatse.cx for next year’s halftime show.

  • Zymurgist

    Benny, I’ve made no arguments. I’ve anly asked a question. Now answer it or move along smartly.

  • Benny

    Now answer it or move along smartly. Ooh, so speaking curtly makes you right, huh? Morally superior and all.
    Your question (implicit argument) is absurd because it compares simple nudity with extremely explicit sexuality. You got yourself a bad case of
    reductio adsurdum there, my friend. I ain’t argiung that it wasn’t crass, but it wasn’t exactly a Vivid Video production either.
    Now, do I have to “move along,” your eminence, or I have I satisfied your imperative sufficiently?
    (Heh-heh.)

  • Benny

    Interesting how Jesus Juice and Zymurgist are the only ones using incredibly vulgar language here – despite the fact that they’re the ones most loudly decrying Janet Jackson’s performance.
    Interesting study in hypocrisy. Or repression. Or maybe they’re just trolling.

  • GCW

    No, they’re not trolling. They’re demonstrating that everyone has standards.
    “extremely explicit sexuality”
    There was a day that an exposed breast was extremely explicit sexuality. There may come a day that you will be called prudish (…etc.) for thinking male masturbation is “extremely explicit sexuality” or having a problem with the f-word.

  • Benny

    Actually, Jesus Juice you’re the only one who said I was offended by your language. You see, you’re assuming I’m thinking like you. You’ve just fallen into a trap of your own making.
    All I pointed out was the irony of you complaining about breasts on telly whilst simultaneously using language that most folks would find more offensive. Left my personal opinion out all together.
    Oops! Big Freudian slip on your part!
    Zymurgist, I’m not getting into a childish string of definitions of what’s hardcore versus simple nudity with you. My arguments all there. It’s clear. Move on. Smartly.

  • Benny

    I agree with you on that, GWC – see above post.