I agree with pretty much with what everyone here has had to say about the Janet Jackson incident. However, I think there’s another aspect worth emphasizing.
This morning on CNN I caught Jack Cafferty (who’s great by my lights) reading viewer email on the whole thing. One viewer gave the hackneyed “we all have body parts, get over it” defense. I haven’t had time to scan the blogosphere, but I am sure there are already plenty of people having a good laugh at the “prudes” who took offense to Jackson’s display.
But here’s the thing. Shocking the sensibilities of the bourgeoisie is so old. The people who thought Janet’s boob-watch moment was a good idea — beforehand or afterwards — almost surely didn’t actually enjoy the spectacle themselves. What appeals to them is the idea of shocking other people. Clearly, they weren’t shocked — enjoyably or otherwise — by seeing Janet’s tassledness. They’re used to such displays. No, what was cool about it was that it would offend the sensibilities of fuddy-duddies. This sort of thing is the source of a vast, vast amount of bad “art,” music, fiction etc. The value of a song or a video is measured not by its creativity or excellence, but by its ability to elicit the desired response from the other side. This sort of thing is so unimpressive. It’s tired, it’s played-out, it’s Madonna. So I’m fine with being might peeved with CBS. But let’s not forget to mention that part of their mistake was being predictably banal.