February 1, 2004

lactating the masses


I know every other blogger on earth is talking about this, but I found Janet Jackson's Super Bowl boob to be among the more refreshingly cynical things to happen in mass American culture in a long time. The weird backpedaling of the Powers That Be notwithstanding, you have to see this as a the ultimate and I would say successful use of Spectacle.

Think about it: nobody is hurt by this. CBS gets boffo ratings and makes it the water-cooler talk of the week. MTV gets itself involved with scandal, which is their life's blood. Justin Timberlake gets to officially graduate from "ex-boy band member" to "someone who has the nads to fondle rock royalty." And Janet Jackson, who is about to release an album in the long, dark afternoon of her career, gets more free press than the President of the United States.

I mean, come ON, people: the last line of Justin's lyric was "I'm gonna get you nekkid before I finish this song." Janet's acting in the split second after the reveal was so good that it's a shame she sucked so bad in "Poetic Justice." I think the whole thing is wonderful, as it is the ultimate subversion of our draconian nudity laws and a giant middle finger to conservative thinking all in the name of big business! It's the endgame of strange bedfellows, which is this country at its best.

Thank god for TiVo, so we could rewind it forty times. And if that wasn't cool, how about our beloved Shelagh Ratner in the Toyota ad? Getting a commercial during the Super Bowl is the Holy Chalice of actors doing these gigs, and it couldn't have happened to a cooler chick. Go Shelagh!

"What planet are you from? Are there more of you?"

Posted by irw at February 1, 2004 11:33 PM
Posted by: steph at February 3, 2004 12:15 PM

Ian, I like your "Real job" vs. freelance report.. an A+ review of both sides. I do not like the janet-boob happening as being regarded as "wonderful". Did I read that right? You stuck your middle finger up at me because my conservative-democrat-arse views it as something I don't want my kids to ever see. I don't want my son to ever treat a woman like that, whether or not it appears she is asking for it. Isn't it a little sickening that promoting that skit is saying our country's talent lies mostly in exploiting sexuality? I wish we could be more creative than that.

Posted by: Ian at February 3, 2004 1:16 PM

Yeah, I hear you on the kiddie thing. When and where a parent decides to let their young'uns see their first non-maternal breast is entirely their call. But I mean, come on, it was less than two seconds of actual flesh.

I thought the whole episode was a sneaky and effective use of fame, spectacle and the subversion of American puritanism. Seriously, everybody (except concerned parents) wins, even the FCC, who get to make a ruckus and seem relevant. And I know you're not like this, Steph, but a lot of parents LOVE to get to complain about culture.

Posted by: steph at February 3, 2004 1:32 PM

parents who see their kids becoming products of their society may seem to LOVE complaining about it but it's actually a cry for help. Read "Reviving Opehlia" to get some worst case scenarios. I am not worried about the 2 seconds of boob. It's the whole song and dance around it, the friggin' theme. Spend some time with some Britney-wannabes and you'll be censoring your MTV channel in a heartbeat -- or at least grumbling about it under your breath.
I'd rather see a super-bowl halftime show based on someother medium. How 'bout soccer penalty kicks? Some gymnastic routines? I'm so booooring.

Posted by: shelagh ratner at February 3, 2004 3:41 PM


How flattering to be mentioned in your blog. Interesting bit of trivia about the Toyota spot: in the director's cut the Latin hunk actually rips half of my sweater off. Didn't get by the censors,we can't all be as lucky as Janet.


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