[Marxism] Frank Rich on Sex, Violence, Money and Janet Jackson

lshan at bcn.net lshan at bcn.net
Tue Feb 17 07:01:56 MST 2004

The New York Times is not available to everyone and even some of our U.S.
participants may not have turned to the Arts section. Here is Frank Rich's
take on how violence and sex bring in the $$$ for all concerned.

By baring a single breast in a slam-dunk publicity stunt of two seconds'
duration, this singer also exposed just how many boobs we have in this
country. We owe her thanks for a genuine public service. . . .

If we are to believe the general outcry, the nation's families were utterly
blindsided by the Janet-Justin pas de deux while watching an entertainment
akin to "Little Women." As Laura Bush put it, "Parents wouldn't know to turn
their television off before that happened." They wouldn't? In the two-plus
hours "before that happened," parents saw not only the commercials featuring
a crotch-biting dog, a flatulent horse and a potty-mouthed child but also
the number in which the crotch-grabbing Nelly successfully commanded a
gaggle of cheerleaders to rip off their skirts. What signal were these poor,
helpless adults waiting for before pulling their children away from the set?
Apparently nothing short of a simulated rape would do. . . .

But the N.F.L. is in the sex business as assiduously as CBS and MTV, and for
the same reason: it wants those prurient eyeballs. It's now been more than a
quarter-century since Super Bowl X, when the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
first caught the attention of the nation. "The audience deserves a little
sex with its violence," Chuck Milton, a CBS sports producer, said back then.

The N.F.L. has since worked tirelessly to fill that need. This year was not
the first MTV halftime show that the league has ordered to try to expand its
aging audience beyond the Levitra demographic. The first such collaboration,
Super Bowl XXXV three years ago, featured Britney Spears all but falling out
of a halter top and numbers in which both Mr. Timberlake (then appearing
with 'NSync) and Nelly grabbed their crotches. There was, to my eye, twice
as much crotch-grabbing then as there was this year, but that show generated
no outrage whatsoever.

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