....LMB: "Boobery"....

February 03, 2004

About half of the human population has breasts, and nearly all of the human population has nipples. One of these 12 billion nipples appeared on TV this weekend, and it was the most horrific and controversial event in the history of mankind.

Here is the offending nipple, if'n you're interested. It appears to be wearing a neat li'l metallic nipple sombrero.

If America were a society of grown-ups, this would not matter a bit. We've all got bodies with similar parts, we're all naked underneath our clothes, nudity of any kind shouldn't be a big deal. But no, we're apparently a society of idiot screaming children who find nipples--the part of the body that nourishes growing infants in their early stages of life--to be vulgar and offensive.

On the other hand, Western culture has managed to sexualize everything even slightly related to women, which means that displaying parts of a woman's body is a sexual act. Showing sex acts on TV in front of the children?! Disgusting.

Sometimes I think about living in a cave, far far away from other people. But then I'd only have two nipples to look at, and that's just not enough.

Posted by Jake at 12:32 AM | TrackBack (1)
Comments

a little nipple sombrero, ha ha, i like that! obviously, there is a lull in the drama the conservative media loves to spew and this breast issue brought a "spicey" tidbit to it. but... on the other hand, two points:
1) you see more on the national geographic channel than you saw on that milli-second breast shot. it's just a surgically augmented/enhanced breast for heaven's sake! and as far as the kids who were watching are concerned, most have seen so much more in their lifetime, a breast shot is not going to set them back.
2)this definitely reeks of promotional b.s.- janet's new album, record sales,capturing an obscenely large enraptured audience more than likely half drunk with a little skin....and does she always wear the little sombrero? janet, desperation is a bad perfume. shame.
my hope that this skin shot inadvertendly deflected some of the domestic violence that is usually at its crescendo on super bowl sunday. make love not war.

Posted by: paula in virginia at February 3, 2004 06:25 AM

Hey Jake, this is Susan. An adult woman's nipples certainly aren't disgusting, but for what it's worth, I think they can even be shown at least partially on network television, though usually associated with breastfeeding, cancer screening, or in some National Geographic-like context. What made this slip different and over the line was that it was part of a MTV-produced halftime show which itself was over-the-top, probably even in the eyes of many MTV fans. While the nipple exposure itself was unintentional, the stunt wasn't, and MTV wasn't aware of it and so didn't approve of it. That's what made this "news". It might be even more newsworthy to explore how MTV and the network censors are supposed to have advance knowledge of every breast grope and crotch grab, but I don't want to go there.

What really deserves comment on was a much less prominent part of the halftime show, a political message that we think most young people would have missed even if not for the nipple incident:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2004-02-02-jackson-halftime-incident_x.htm

"MTV president Van Toffler said the network was "incredibly disappointed because it completely overshadowed" MTV's get-out-the-vote message."

Here the same thought is elaborated a bit more in an official MTV statement:

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1484766/20040201/jackson_janet.jhtml?headlines=true

"Our goal with the Super Bowl Halftime show was to produce an entertaining stage experience with a positive message about empowerment and voting. We are disappointed that this message has been overshadowed by the unfortunate incident."

For you or anyone who watched the show, what did the halftime show have to do at all with empowerment, or connectivity, for that matter? Was there a Macintosh or PC-compatible product insert we missed? And if you saw any reference to voting, do you think it was more for cause marketing, to use a cause primarily to advance their business interests, than to seriously mobilize young people to vote? I didn't see the halftime show or game at all, but I think any "get out the vote" (GOTV) message was near-subliminal compared to the sensory overload of the rest of the performance. I cannot find mention anywhere in reporting on the web, nor from friends of mine who watched most of the halftime show, of what reference was made to voting at all. I do find a lot of references to MoveOn and PETA's ads which CBS declined to air, citing their policy against airing ads on "controversial issues of public importance", but that's been criticized elsewhere by bigger voices than ours, and we aren't posting a comment here to talk about that.

We don't want to criticize all that MTV does in their PSAs and documentaries, they do produce documentaries showing kids how racism and homophobia is bad, though "real world" strategies for doing something about it are hard to find in the "Fight for Your Rights" shows I've seen. And I'm sure that some good is done by them saying, for example, that high school students' schools should provide comprehensive sex education -- somehow -- even if they say nary a word about how minors also deserve community health care providers offering confidential contraception and abortion services.

And -- once every four years -- MTV and music industry interests deserve credit for putting on the road a very expensive bandwagon that tells young people when they turn 18 they ought to vote at least every four years for someone or something or other. It's easy to pick on MTV, but they aren't alone in this approach, "cause marketing" projects abound like this, and not just every four years. These capital-infused ventures with a altruistic front combine businesses' interest with some well-meaning activist group, all of whom want to catch a wave of youthful enthusiasm, or at least increased consumption of the businesses' products and "street teams" and volunteer fundraisers for the activist groups in question.

I just think that MTV and similar music industry efforts are WAY overexposed -- no reference to Janet's breast intended -- and overrated as being part of the solution, and deserving of credit when youth voter participation surges in a Presidential election year, as it surges in every other demographic as well. Given the steady decline overall of youth voter participation since the early 90s, going back maybe coincidentally to the beginning of MTV and the music industry's GOTV efforts, aren't they at least part of the problem too?

We have some ideas for a better plan for GOTV efforts, but we'd rather you and the fellow readers of Lying Media Bastards take credit for it. Let's just keep the ideas to ourselves, for now...no one from the corporate media reads this weblog anyway, so we can plot in secret.

To start with, how about working up a proposal for next year's Super Bowl with Tom, Serj and AOJ Radio for a halftime GOTV performance they'll never forget? It will be after the elections, and we won't be accused of raising "wedge issues" in the campaign. You can count on our support as radical cheerleaders backing y'all up:

Lights out, guerrilla marketing!

Posted by: Susan at February 3, 2004 06:39 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

Failure.

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