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No matter what your view on who-knew-what-and-when-did-they-know-it, one thing is clear: MTV should keep its tits out of the Super Bowl. The pinnacle of American sport is having enough trouble maintaining its honor, airing $2.3 million commercials starring lascivious monkeys and flatulent horses promoting piss water beer and boner pills. The last thing it needs is a tired, insipid MTV stunt to cheapen it even further.

Despite the warnings MTV posted on its Web site the day before (and promptly removed the day after), seeing Janet Jackson's saggy, vein-ridden and strangely pale breast wasn't shocking. It wasn't clever. It wasn't "edgy." It was just … there.

The Super Bowl is on TV because it is the clashing of the two greatest teams in football. These guys perform feats of superhuman strength for five months to get the right to play in it. It has valor. It stands on its own. But like so much of MTV, Janet's breast was on television because simply because she's famous, and she's still famous in 2004 simply because she is on TV.

According to the FCC, which is now investigating not only the boob fiasco but the whole halftime show, obscene material is defined as that which describes sexual conduct "in a patently offensive way" and lacking "serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value." What better way to describe MTV than as the airing of sexual conduct completely lacking in serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value? The FCC is onto something: MTV is definitely obscene.

Don't get me wrong. It's pathetic that people get uppity about seeing a naked breast on TV. It also is a waste of taxpayer money for the FCC to make such a big deal about protecting kids from two-second boob shots on television when most kids have seen 30-second cum shots on the Internet. But hey, you have to feel for the masses of die-hard football fans in places like Missouri and North Carolina who were pissed that CBS, MTV and the NFL forced them to have to explain to their children that mommy just fainted because Janet Jackson bared her breast on TV.

Why did she do that, Daddy?

Well you see, son, Janet Jackson has another record coming out, and she's afraid that no one cares.

Not that any of that is of any concern to MTV or Janet Jackson. Janet has used her breasts to sell records for more than a decade now, and the dead-inside shock-for-shock's sake media outlets like Rolling Stone and MTV have always been all too happy to accommodate. Every time Janet has an album coming out, we get another breast shot ; her new record "Damita Jo" is due out this March (the release of her first single was bumped a few days to catch the wave of notoriety while it's still hot).

In 1993, her tits helped her sell her self-titled album when they appeared on Rolling Stone with the hands of her then-husband as the only thing covering the nipples. (Why is it that the smooth, purple flesh of the nipple somehow denotes indecency and gets the cover plastic-bagged, while a completely visible breast with the nipple airbrushed out is somehow fine?) Janet's boobs also helped her promote "The Velvet Rope" in 1997, when she appeared on the cover of Vibe with her nipple ring peaking out of her top. Now, a few years and a couple of snoozer records later, with her relevancy more in question than ever, she decided to flash the whole titty.

It makes perfect sense for her; Lord knows the public isn't getting any MORE interested in Janet Jackson the musician. It's been a good 10 years since she recorded a song capable of attracting new fans. Janet must have thought, hell, if I ever do manage to get another shot at a spotlight even half as big as the Super Bowl, chances are my deflated balloons won't be worth looking at.

It was now or never for her, so there we had it. On national television, in front of a captive audience at the halftime of the Super Bowl. Justin Timberlake, the world's most famous mouseketeer minstrel act, ripped the cup off Janet's top, revealing her boob, and we were finally relieved of the sexual tension created by those well-placed hands 10 years earlier. Thank God.

But it's really MTV, and to a lesser extent, the NFL, that's to blame. Janet Jackson is a twit. She was desperate to rectify the disturbing fact that her pedophile brother Michael and Martian sister LaToya have gotten more press than she has over the past couple of years. It was MTV that provided the opportunity for Janet to do this promotional stunt, and the NFL chose MTV to run its halftime show. Despite dubious and insulting claims by Justin and Janet to the contrary, it's very likely that the station that captured headlines last fall by having the washed up Material Mom kiss her Louisiana trailer trash protégé (oh, and Christina what's-her-face too) at the MTV Music Awards actually thought the whole scheme up and sold it to Janet. I mean, seriously, why the hell would Janet be wearing that giant, metal "nipple shield" thing if she wasn't planning on showing it? Give me a break. How stupid do these arrogant assholes think we are?

Of course it was all planned, and had Janet declined to do something "shocking" at the Super Bowl, MTV would have just found some other vapid female singer who was desperate enough to show her breast.

What really sucks is that, unlike their own music awards show -- where frankly, MTV can do whatever lame "stunts" they like and anyone who's annoyed or offended by it can tune out -- this was the Super Bowl. Many of us who hate and avoid MTV love the Super Bowl, yet we were all bamboozled into watching their crap in all its glorified lameness on Sunday night. A 140 million-strong captive audience.

Chances are, the NFL didn't know it was coming, but they paid MTV to come on and do its thing. Stupid, sophomoric stunts like that are par for the course. The NFL reaps what it sows.

But worst of all … not only did the stunt fail to shock anyone even remotely jaded by today's in-your-face culture, but it also failed to be sexy. Nothing that blatant, lacking in creativity and overtly commercial is the least bit sexy. MTV is so contrived and exploitive that it somehow succeeded in making two hot chicks kissing and a hot chick flashing her breast actually seem UNsexy. It's kind of impressive. You have to think that not even a Levitra-addled Mike Ditka could get a boner from any of it. Of course, these days, if it would get him some extra coin, maybe he'll just flash that at halftime next year.


Mike Bruno just can't believe Mike Freaking Ditka is doing boner ads.