Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Cockroaches Come Out to Feast

Like Blattaria taking advantage of the fall of darkness to help themselves, the ridiculous tempest in a teapot over Janet Jackson's breast has seen the emergence of its own parasites.

A Knoxville woman filed a proposed class action lawsuit Wednesday against Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, MTV, CBS and Viacom, contending she and other viewers were injured by their lewd actions during the Super Bowl halftime show.
Terri Carlin filed her lawsuit "on behalf of all Americans who watched the halftime show" in federal court in Knoxville.
The lawsuit stems from Sunday's now infamous exposure of one of Jackson's breasts when Timberlake ripped off part of her costume during their performance on the CBS network.
Viacom International Inc. owns both CBS and MTV. MTV produced the show.
Carlin, who works at a Knoxville bank, said the exposure and "sexually explicit conduct" by other performers during the show injured viewers.
"As a direct and proximate result of the broadcast of the acts, (Carlin) and millions of others saw the acts and were caused to suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury," the lawsuit filed by Knoxville attorney Wayne A. Ritchie II states.
It doesn't specify the type of serious injury.
"All of the defendants knew that the Super Bowl, the pre-eminent sports event in the United States, would be watched by millions of families and children," Ritchie wrote. "Nevertheless, (they) included in the halftime show sexually explicit acts solely designed to garner publicity and, ultimately, to increase profits for themselves."

I haven't seen such a hue and cry about nothing in ages. Skimpily dressed cheerleaders flouncing about and dogs biting men's genitals aren't worth commenting on, but the mere sight of Janet Jackson's right breast (and not even the full thing) is cause for injury? Something is seriously wrong with American culture if such an innocuous event can draw out so many opportunists and schoolmarms, especially when there are so many far weightier issues in need of some attention. Juvenal's insight into Roman life still holds true in our time - the canaille dearly loves its panem et circenses.

UPDATE: This BBC article gives a decent view of just how crazy the outrage about this incident must seem from a European perspective. If there's one aspect of life Europeans have a saner perspective on, it's this one.