RICKTER SCALE: Keeping abreast of Super Bowl regrets

Rick Stiebel | Contributed

The Super Bowl served up a feast of offensive football, but I was disappointed with the half-time show.

It was rumoured in the buildup to the game that Janet Jackson might make a surprise appearance during Justin Timberlake’s performance, and that had the reporter in me primed in anticipation.

It’s been 14 years since Justin and/or Janet conspired to expose her right breast during their notorious half-time show, and I was quite curious to see how America would react if it happened again.

Even if you didn’t watch that infamous game in 2004, it would have been impossible to avoid the controversy that erupted following Nipplegate. CBS was buried under an avalanche of outraged callers while the other networks fell over each other taking turns replaying the titillating clip over and over again.

The leaders of the free world in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives weighed in on the brahaha as well, resulting in the Federal Communications Commission issuing a record $550,000 fine to the beleaguered broadcaster in a ruling that dragged all the way to the Supreme Court before it was finally overturned in 2012.

All of this, even though Jackson, in defence of modesty, was wearing a nipple shield for the split-second unveiling, which raises the point even further about what the fuss was actually all about.

It was a fascinating glimpse into American culture, where the nipple is verboten on television in any shape or form unless it’s on pay-per-view or in a diaper commercial.

You can tune in just about any time of the day or night and watch slow motion decapitations or brains being splattered on a wall, but heaven forbid something as controversial as an adult human teat ever makes its way onto your screen. That’s unless, of course, the protuberances in question are attached to women in Third World countries, preferably standing in a jungle somewhere wearing grass skirts.

As a somewhat jaded journalist with a healthy infatuation with Montgomery tubercles that dates back to puberty, it would have been intriguing to watch how Nipplegate II played out, especially if Janet appeared sans metal cover the second peak around.

How different would the reaction have been in 2018? Would we be keeping abreast of debates on CNN while stone-faced talking heads interviewed politicians lined up to weigh in on how the moral fabric of America has been ripped asunder again? How would Fox News have handled it, and, most importantly for me personally, what would Donald Trump have tweeted?

Fourteen long years later would we have learned anything from the first areola uproar, or would NBC be staring down the barrel of a multi-million dollar fine? My hope is that it we have evolved enough as a species to the point where it would merely be considered a case of tit for tat.

•••

Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist.

Just Posted

Province delivers notice of unauthorized occupation to Saanich tent city Camp Namegans

A Ministry of Transportation liaison to Camp Namegans delivered a “notice of… Continue reading

UPDATE: Woman hit by car in parking lot 93 years old

Driver of sedan backs into older adult walking through lot

Residents of tent cities unfairly labeled as criminals, says report

Some neighbours supportive of Regina Park camp

Delayed grant decisions could send new Crystal Pool costs soaring

Delays could cost the City of Victoria up to $500,000/month more in construction costs

Delivery truck downs power lines in Sidney

A tractor trailer delivering eggs clipped a low-hanging wire on Second St.… Continue reading

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Special forces unit to monitor Hells Angels ride on Vancouver Island

Enforcement unit says motorcycle club to hold 35th anniversary ride in Nanaimo

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Saanich Police investigate store robbery

Store video captures image of suspect

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Most Read