Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The Janet Jackson Controversy

After two days of research and thought, I have reached a conclusion on the flash seen round the world. I believe everyone is telling the truth. I believe that CBS and MTV did not know that bare breasts would be involved. I also believe Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake when they say that a costume malfunction was the reason for the controversy.

I never really had much of an opinion about what CBS or MTV knew ahead of time, but at first I found it hard to believe that Jackson and Timberlake did not know what they were going to do. After all, JT ended the song with the words, "I'll have you naked by the end of this song," and took a swipe at Jackson’s breast. Furthermore, why would Jackson be wearing a pasty if she was not intending to show it? I don’t know many women who wear pasties under their clothing.

However, I first thought that maybe there was actually a costume malfunction when I saw a closer view of Janet Jackson’s face. She does look truly shocked. But, I really came around to believe JT and Jackson when much closer inspection revealed that there was no pasty involved. Rather, there was a nipple clamp. I still don’t know many women who wear these, but I do know that even L'il Kim doesn’t generally consider these to be outer wear.

So here is my conclusion: JT meant to tear the black, outer portion of Jackson’s samurai outfit. There was supposed to be a red bra that remained intact. The red bra would have been racy enough to reveal the nipple clamp but not so racy as to reveal anything that violates FCC rules. So, pushing the envelope was not an accident but baring all the contents of that envelope probably was.

But there is a lesson to be learned here by CBS and the NFL. Even if they did not know exactly what was going to happen, they did know who MTV was when they invited them to produce the extravaganza. I can’t feel too bad for CBS officials who were surprised by the flash. Rather, I would remind them of the old Indian adage, "You knew I was a snake when you picked me up."