Skip to comments.The Super Bowl Sinkhole
Posted on 02/03/2004 2:49:12 PM PST by FlyLow
Sports are supposed to remain as an inspirational oasis in our culture, a place where merit and performance, and even dazzling feats of prowess grab our attention. Too often in recent years, as professional sports has grown massively popular, the gap between athletic performance on the field and athletic misbehavior off the field has widened into a chasm. But the latest shocking sports news says something worse: now expectations of virtue in sports fans are also falling apart.
Even before the sleaze parade known at this years Super Bowl unfolded, sports pages were lamenting what was happening at the University of Marylands basketball game against Duke. Not only did a bevy of Maryland supporters show up in "F Duke" T-shirts. Sauced-up fans in the stands greeted Dukes J.J. Redick at the free-throw line with loud chants of "F you, J.J." nominating Marylands Comcast Center as the location where sportsmanship goes to die.
And all of this, the profane chants and T-shirts, was broadcast to a national audience, presumably filled with youngsters, courtesy of ESPN television.
Maybe one should expect the advertisers, whose money makes this programming possible, to object to the offensive product. But to advertisers, this is apparently a joke. After all, their contribution included the car ad where the kids put soap in their mouths after seeing the new Chevy line and saying "Holy [bleep]!" When was the last time a sports fan was presented with a Budweiser ad without crotch humor?
But the big story was the Super Bowl halftime show produced by MTV, Americas Ground Zero of commercially calculated outrageousness, the architects of last summers Britney-Madonna kiss controversy. At the end of performing his hit "Rock Your Body," a song which boasts "gonna have you naked by the end of this song," Justin Timberlake ripped off a piece of Janet Jacksons shirt, revealing a bare breast with a metal sunburst covering the nipple.
No one this side of third grade ought to imagine this was an unplanned mistake, despite Timberlake sounding like a bad campaign operative when he described it as a "wardrobe malfunction." MTV almost immediately boasted about the stunt on its Web site: "Jaws across the country hit the carpet at exactly the same time...a kinky finale that rocked the Super Bowl to its core," the network oozed. "MTV was Super Bowl central, so armchair quarterbacks, fair weather fanatics and fans of Janet Jackson and her pasties were definitely in the right place."
Nevertheless, CBS officials swore they were clueless about this and didnt see it in rehearsals (And once the stunt massively backfired, MTVs Web site soon fell implausibly into the "we didnt know" corporate line.) CBS did, however, sit through the rapper Nellys hit "Hot in Herre," which asks a girl to "take off all your clothes," the rapper Kid Rocks lyrics about hookers, and Justin and Janet dancing like theyre five feet from the door of a pay-by-the-hour motel. You might want to blame it on corporate synergy, since CBS and MTV are both part of the Viacom-Infinity Empire of Shock Profiteering.
But theres a dramatic difference between the youth subculture of MTV and the massive nationwide family audience for the Super Bowl, estimated this year at a whopping 140 million viewers. Crazed viewers of MTV might see this with a yawn, remembering the shock-rapper Lil Kim showing up for an MTV awards show with a bare breast and purple pasty as part of her outfit. MTV put her on stage as a presenter, and endlessly replayed what happened next: pop idol Diana Ross jiggling the out-and-proud boob with her finger.
But on Sunday night, grandparents, parents, and children were huddled around the set for the Big Game, an obvious time slot for "family hour" programming. Instead, Grandpa and eight-year-old Johnny are trying to process why they have to be infected with this communicable disease, this vile programming that should be known as the MTV virus.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell was appropriately outraged in public, and no doubt privately mind-boggled, since Congress just finished raking the networks over the coals for their increasing shock-jock TV antics, from the Victorias Secret "butt-cam" to the profanity-laced Golden Globes telecast.
The backlash was immediate and strong. Some wanted the story to end, so as to not give MTV the thrills. But an outraged public needs to make this backlash long and commercially painful. The NFL needs to back off its trend of treating its fans with the lowest common denominator of sleaze. CBS affiliates need to worry about license revocations if these offenses keep repeating themselves. And MTV, the makers of Outrage in a Can, ought to just be thrown out with the rest of the rusty garbage.
Really??? Read below.......
Pride still rocks Justin's granddad
By Yolanda Jones
Justin Timberlake called the Super Bowl halftime show that exposed more of Janet Jackson than expected an accident, and his grandfather who lives in Millington agrees.
''If you dance the way they dance in those garments an accident can happen, because the garments are thin,'' said the pop star's grandfather, Bill Bomar, in a telephone interview Monday.
''I am as proud as a man can be,'' Bomar said. ''I am so proud sometimes that I could bust the buttons on my shirt. I love my grandson and I think the entire thing was an accident.''
In a statement Timberlake made through his record company, Jive Records, he apologized for the incident.
''I am sorry if anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance of the Super Bowl. It was not intentional and is regrettable,'' Timberlake said in the statement.
The incident occurred as Timberlake and Jackson performed a duet of his song ''Rock Your Body.'' Timberlake reached over and tore a piece of Jackson's black, cat-looking costume, exposing her right breast just as he belted out, ''I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song.''
The lights went out and CBS cut away from the stage, and afterward, no one discussed the brief performance on-air.
But Monday was a different story.
WREG-TV Channel 3 in Memphis, which broadcast the game on CBS, said Monday they fielded about 50 phone calls and E-mails from angry viewers about the halftime show.
''Most people just thought it was inappropriate,'' said WREG's general manager, Bob Eoff.
Eoff, who was at the Super Bowl, said he didn't see the incident that has made headlines.
''I was sitting in seats more on the opposite side of the field near the 40-yard line and with the fireworks and strobe lights, the people where we were sitting didn't see a thing,'' Eoff said.
He said CBS asked all its affiliate stations Monday to have viewers call CBS headquarters in New York with complaints.
MTV, which produced the show, and CBS, which broadcast it, have apologized for the incident that they claim was ''unplanned'' and ''unre-hearsed.''
The Federal Communications Commission has ordered an investigation into the performance that FCC chief Michael Powell called a ''classless, crass and deplorable stunt.''
Jackson's official Web site was bombarded with angry postings about the incident.
Her spokeswoman, Jennifer Holiner, said a red lace garment was supposed to remain when Timberlake tore off the outer covering.
She said she was not sure whether Jackson's medieval-looking nipple decoration was meant to be seen but added that the singer does wear such jewelry.
She said the incident was not planned, even though Jackson has a new album coming out soon.
And on the MTV.com Web site an interview with Jackson's choreographer days before the Super Bowl promised there would be ''shocking moments'' during the performance.
- Yolanda Jones: 529-2380
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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