Jackson’s stunt sign of bigger problem

Ned Cantwell

You would have thought, judging from the outcry, that our society was clean as a pasture blanketed with fresh snow before Janet Jackson made a boob of herself on national television.
It’s as if she dumped a load of coal on an otherwise pristine landscape of cultural innocence.
In one breast-taking moment at the Super Bowl, the singer illustrated for all of us the muck in which we wallow. It didn’t just happen. It’s been a long time coming. The halftime show in its entirety was more Hells-a-Poppin’ than Mary Poppins.
New Mexico is right in the thick of the firestorm created by the Jackson “costume reveal.” Rep. Heather Wilson grabbed some national media attention with her dressing down of the TV executive on whose watch this happened.
You had to see the Republican congresswoman in action to know how mad she is. Normally, Heather is rather devoid of passion. Drab as a February morning. Heather makes Dick Cheney look like Jay Leno.
You can tell when lawmakers are intoning outrage as a way of huffing and puffing their moral superiority to the voters. And you can tell when they are really outraged.
Make no mistake about it. Heather Wilson is genuinely bent out of shape over Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.”
High-pitched voice, almost shaking with anger, Rep. Wilson lit into the TV boss with a fury. “You knew what you were doing. You improved your market share and lined your pockets,” she harangued.
New Mexico political junkie Joe Monahan —
—hints the Wilson performance was her coming out party for an eventual Senate run. I don’t think so. I think Heather’s tongue-lashing was born of pure rage, one that pretty well reflects the anger of her constituents.
The big surprise here is not that Janet Jackson has breasts and proved it. The big surprise is that none of us saw it coming. No-holds-barred media trash has not been the exception, it has been the rule. You don’t have to be a professional tracker to read the signs.
Did you catch the phony act of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell? He feigned such outrage over the Janet spectacle when he appeared before a Congressional panel. Yet this is the same FCC that, just last October, ruled it would not ban airing of the f-word. No, sir. The f-word, in fact any obscene language, can be used if it is not in a sexual context.
Well, feathers! At last year’s Golden Globes, singer Bono let go with an f and no one protested a peep. Yet we are surprised other entertainers do anything they want and get away with it.
For years the hugely popular TV sitcom “Friends” has made bed hopping as common as a visit to Baskin Robbins. Yet we are surprised young kids wonder what the big deal is about premarital sex.
If the world was long waiting to see Janet Jackson’s breast, it was hardly worth the wait. But if it took that mountain out of a molehill to reveal the bare truth that society is a cesspool, it was probably worth it. Go get ‘em, Heather.

Ned Cantwell is a retired newspaperman living in Ruidoso. He welcomes e-mail at: ncantwell@charter.net