The Tragic Tale of Janet Jackson’s Evil Breast Has a Happy Ending

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I thought that Houston would like to know that our long national nightmare is over. No, George Bush is still the president. No, our armed forces are still over in Iraq. No, the Astros still suck. The nightmare to which I’m referring is, of course, Nipplegate.

Yep, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the FCC’s fine of $550,000 levied on CBS for the indecency of seeing Janet Jackson’s bare breast for less than a second was improper and unwarranted. Further, the court ruled that the FCC can’t just go changing the rules without informing anyone that it’s changing the rules, which is essentially what the FCC did when it leveled the fine on CBS. According to the New York Times, “the fine was unfair because the commission, in imposing it, deliberately strayed from its practice of exempting fleeting indecency in broadcast programming from punishment.” The court also questioned the number of complaints that were actually filed regarding the incident, noting that many appeared to be form letters from advocacy groups.

I’ve got to confess that the outrage over this and the Terrell Owens/Nicolette Sheridan Monday Night Football incident has always puzzled me. First, there was just the brief nature of the Janet Jackson exposure: it was less than a second, and if not for TiVo, most people would have probably never noticed. Second, I guess I have just never understood the hang-up about nudity – oh, I’m a guy, and I really like female nudity – but I’ve just never understood why the rightwing religious nut jobs always explode when human skin is glimpsed.

I’ve always wondered why they never have this outrage over the replay of Joe Theisman’s snapped leg, or why they never complain about some wide receiver being nearly killed for catching a pass? And I never hear moral outrage about the so-called cheerleaders patrolling the NFL sidelines. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with skintight hot pants while the camera zooms in on an extreme close-up before cutting back to the ritual beheading of the quarterback, but apparently a brief glimpse of a nipple is a sign of the apocalypse.

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Oh well, perhaps it’s a good thing that I don’t think like a rightwing religious nut job because I rather enjoy the feeling of sanity. And maybe, just maybe, George Michael was right: sex is natural, sex is good. Not everybody does it, but everybody should.

Unless you’re a rightwing religious nut job that is, because you people breed way too many morons and before you know it, I’m going to be stuck in a Luke Wilson movie.

-- John Royal

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