THE BLOG
08/01/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Keeping Abreast of Decency

Four years ago, I'm eating Chinese take out with three other guys in Brooklyn during halftime at the Super Bowl. Janet Jackson was dancing and singing (or lip syncing) with Justin Timberlake, and during a certain movement, her breast was revealed for (according to Rachel Maddow on Countdown) 9/16 of a second.

From the reaction, you would have thought she had passed it around for nibbles.

Michael Powell, a commissioner of the FCC, said he was outraged. Were you, Michael? Were you outraged? Did you have to be sedated? Were you foaming at the mouth? You have kids, I assume you have seen a breast before. Oh,have I thanked yet you for leaving the FCC? Is the fact your father is Colin Powell the reason you landed a job for which you weren't suited? We already have a son in D.C. taking the reins of a horse he can't ride well. Alas,if only he had galloped away!

Me and the boys chowing down on noodles barely noticed. We all knew we saw a breast, but since none of us have super vision, only instant replay could give us a more convincing peek.
Powell and his merry band of FCC prudes levied a half a million dollar fine on CBS. A federal court ruled that the fine was arbitrary and capricious (they left out petty and priggish) and CBS was a half a mil richer.

Kevin Martin of the FCC responded,and two of his thoughts on the topic were so comical, they made it worth my while to respond to him.

First, he wrote that children were watching this show, indicating that they were scarred for life. Right, the dozen or so commercials for boner pills are just dandy for little Tommy to view. The Victoria's Secret ads (bless them) were perfect for a child verging on pubesence, and those breasts are on those spots display these monuments to beauty a lot longer than Ms. Jackson's trip down mammary lane.

Funnier yet is the assertion that hundreds of thousands of angry protests were filed. Let's say that three hundred thousand people registered indignation at the nipple and tuck affair. Ninety million people watched the game in the USA. That means that one third of one percent of the viewers were also enraged. Ooooooohhhhhhhh! That sure isn't a lot of people,huh?

Martin also said he hoped that the Supreme Court will take note of this when they rule on indecency in the fall. Really? I hope that Obama is elected so you will have to update your resume. Please understand: I simply don't want you imposing your taste and morals on me. If it doesn't offend the 99.97 % of the fans, then calm down. If you can't explain the emergence of a breast on the tube for half a second to your kid, then your kid can probably explain it to you.

Listen.