In a decision that clears CBS of any wrongdoing for airing the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that featured Janet Jackson's infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” a federal appeals court overturned the $550,000 fine that the Federal Communications Commission levied against the station, calling the fine arbitrary and capricious....because 1) it really did strike me as a case of the FCC being a tad overzealous under pressure from a few particularly loud objectors, and 2) it was a friggen boob! Seriously, what is our obsession with so-called "indecency"? The media can show and/or glorify violence, ED drugs, and ridiculous gossip, but allow a split second shot of a woman's half-exposed nipple? End of the world as we know it.
I suppose I could go and blame the Puritan heritage of our country, or Queen Victoria, or the likes of good ol' Anthony Comstock - and I'm sure all of that and more has played into our country's overall aversion to the naked human body. But it's 2008, and we've had plenty of time to get reacquainted with the idea that nudity (and sexuality) isn't inherently sinful. And yet, we still have ridiculous incidents like this one, where one moment of exposed breast becomes more outrageous, more offensive to us than, say, the blood and gore of most modern crime dramas, or the thousands of dead and wounded coming home from war, or our civil liberties and basic freedoms being systematically stripped and given away.
None of that seems to matter so much to the Julaine Appling's of the world, who would ban women from even breastfeeding in public--so uncomfortable (and tingly) does the sight of a bared bosom seem to make them.
Really, though, our collective hysteria over the human form has gone to such extremes that I'm almost inclined to believe that it's partially a knee-jerk reaction to distance ourselves as much as possible from those dirty Europeans, who don't take nearly so much issue with what Americans would deem "obscenity."
Here's an idea: maybe if we stopped making such a big deal out of it, it would become less of a big deal. Maybe we should spend more time saving the children from violence, hunger, oppression and environmental destruction, and less time attempting to shield them from boobs. Well, the kind attached to adult females, anyway.
Can I get a rim shot, please?