I love football on TV
WARNING: The following column, though unintended, may include material that will be offensive to some readers – namely those who disagree with the author’s premise, which at this point still isn’t exactly clear.
As always, parental guidance is strongly recommended.
The titillating sex show on the boob tube during Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show was apparently appealing to some viewers for reasons more than the offending female body part.
This story, as they say in the media world, has got legs, too.
OK, now that I’ve fulfilled the apparent quota of obvious and obnoxious puns seemingly required to remain a card-carrying “member of the media,” let’s get down to business.
Who to blame?
Janet & Justin?
The NFL, CBS or MTV?
Was it the FCC?
What about you – and me?
Who’s responsible for the fact that millions of wide-eyed children, huddled around TVs during that halftime show, were barraged with a spectacle that I imagined to have moved Eddie Murphy – in his best Bill Cosby impersonation – referring to as “filth, flarn, flarn, filth.”
Let’s take all above, already topped with black hats by the media backlash, one by one.
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake felt so badly about their behavior that it seemed they had filed their apologies even before Adam Viniateri split the uprights with the game-winning field goal. (Of course, you did hear that the Patriots won the Super Bowl, right?)
Anyway, Janet and Justin both essentially said they, too, were shocked and dismayed at what amounted to an unintentional and regrettable “wardrobe malfunction.”
Which bears posing the question, what exactly did they expect to find beneath that bustier?
An NFL logo?
Paul Tagliabue, the league’s commissioner, wants the 89 million viewers whose jaws dropped into the guacamole dip to know that he, too, was outraged, calling the incident “offensive, embarrasing to us and our fans, and inappropriate.”
Perhaps Janet & Justin should have instead performed the act on the sideline, next to the scantily-clad cheerleaders.
Or they could have shot it as a commercial for Victoria’s Secret or maybe Bud Light. At least then they could have blamed it all on the alcohol and it would have ensured the elicit material to be aired in what evidently is considered a more “appropriate” time frame – the two-minute TV timeouts squeezed between Tagliabue’s family programming.
Best of all, the NFL and CBS could then have actually made money on it.
Instead, CBS will likely be paying for it.
According to the Associated Press, the Federal Communications Commission plans to investigate. If found responsible, CBS could be fined up to $27,500, which, if applied to each CBS affiliate airing the halftime show, could amount to millions.
For the record, “CBS deeply regrets the incident,” spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade told the AP. “The moment did not conform to CBS’ broadcast standards.”
But, Kid Rock’s lyrics about prostitution and Nelly’s continual crotch-grab fit just fine? Evidently so, as CBS officials reportedly attended rehearsals all week long.
FCC chief Michael Powell, though, called the show trashy in its entirety.
“Like millions of Americans, my family and I gathered around the television for a celebration,” he said earlier this week. “Instead, that celebration was tainted by a classless, crass and deplorable stunt.
“I think everybody’s focusing on the finale, but a lot of what we’ve heard in terms of complaints and the breadth of the investigation is a little broader than just that incident. I personally was offended by the entire production.”
Just wondering, but if Mr. Powell was so perturbed by the entire show, why did he force his family, gathered around the TV, to stay tuned through that filthy finale?
Which, of course, brings us back to you – and me.
The powers that be hardly get a free pass on this one. They’re all responsible.
But, so are we.
I don’t know when I became such a prude, though I’m guessing my seemingly overnight aging occurred sometime near the arrival of a certain little four-year-old girl in my life.
It’s amazing how responsibility arrives with a conscience.
In short, if you don’t like what you see or hear, turn it off.
Parents might argue that they certainly wouldn’t have allowed their children to watch such garbage, had they only known that what was expected to be a family affair would turn into an R-rated production.
Truth be told, though, the warning label was there.
As soon as CBS announced the names of P. Diddy, Kid Rock and Nelly, parents should have known what they were getting.
Some might contend that they just don’t know much about those “artists” or their lyrics and dance moves.
The only answer is this question.
“How tuned in are you?”
Brian Hamilton is sports editor at The Union. He may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 477-4240.
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