Offense is such a funny thing, especially at Super Bowl halftime. In fact, it’s a farce. Really now, how can MTV Chief Executive Tom Freston blame the woman—Janet Jackson—for having her right breast exposed to the nation when it was Justin Timberlake who engaged in “wardrobe malfunction.” Maybe now parents aren’t so comfortable watching their daughters spend baby-sitting money on J.T.’s albums.
Of all the myriad issues in the world to get all upset about—starvation in the Third World, the child sex trade—you’d think one woman’s breast would never have the power to light up television-station call boards. Such objections are annoyingly elitist—if still rational, of course!—because you just can’t fight an offended public. If people are offended, then it’s clearly offensive. Remember, even before this little stunt, Congress was poised to raise the maximum $27,500 fine for indecency to a whopping $275,000. And it was last month that, thanks to a radio program by someone named “Bubba the Love Sponge,” the FCC slammed Clear Channel Communications with a $755,000 fine. As U2 frontman Bono said, “This is really f—king brilliant!” Except he wouldn’t say it now. He solemnly swore not to swear during last month’s Golden Globe Awards. Don’t believe all you hear about American standards slipping from puritanical view. We are all being watched.
& ull; We hate the obscene, and we love the obscene. But it really depends on how old you are, natch. A Woodbury, N.J., couple said they will sue the Blockbuster video company after their child was allegedly exposed to pornographic footage attached to the end of a Home Alone 3 tape. Meanwhile, film directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato last year produced a documentary film around the thesis that Deep Throat was “the most successful independent film of all time.”
& ull; Putting breasts in perspective. Still freaked out over a certain part of the female anatomy? Two fine books explore the subject from every perceivable angle, titillating or not. The Breast Book by Maura Spiegel and Lithe Sebesta packs lots of photos and illustrations into an easy-to-read book exploring such questions as why the vast majority of French women do not breast-feed their children. Get ready to hunker down for a real scholastic journey if you want to tour Marilyn Yalom’s book, History of the Breast. “I intend to make you think about women’s breasts as you never have before,” Yalom says. Meanwhile, this column challenges women everywhere to breast-feed their infants during a lunch break at Hooters. Remind the public what breasts are all about.
& ull; Meanwhile, Utah makes headlines: Newsweek’s Feb. 9 issue highlights the recent Fundamentalist Mormon troubles of the Kingston family, otherwise known as The Order. Even as the polygamist family endures rising protest over the condition of workers at its mine, Jeremy Kingston is set to spend one year in jail after felony incest with his cousin, who is also his aunt. “Utah prosecutors crack down on incest and polygamy,” the article announces. If you thought Janet and Justin were bad, just imagine the sort of halftime show the Kingston family would produce.