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Feb 04

Janet Flashing at Superbowl

Over at Expect Nothing, Nebu featured a comment related to this incident reading:

Some people still have morals. I wanted to watch a football game, not see a woman half naked. Yes, you are free to look at nudity all you want. Its called porn!!! It takes up half of the internet. To me, it is the individuals own problem if he wants to see that. Just tell me when it is there so that I dont have to see it as well. As they say, your freedom ends where my nose(or eyes) begins.

It produced a large number of ascerbic responses mainly of the “get over it, it was only a tit” variety. Eg:

Sorry, aero, but Janet Jackson’s nipple piercing, while large, wasn’t large enough to poke you in the eye. The ‘your right to swing your arms ends where my nose begins’ paraphase from John Stuart Mill is quite specific in what it refers to–initiation of force (and not figurative ‘force’ you’re referring to). There is no such thing as a ‘right to not be offended.’

The latter type of people are missing the point. The point is not drawing subjective lines of morality, which is already a problem in today’s society (since we can’t figure out where to draw a line, we shouldn’t draw one at all and declare open slather! It’s never too young to be exposed to porn because hell, it’s inevitable anyway!) The issue in this case is that there are certain censorship guidelines which are there for a reason, and these should be adhered to. What happened was wrong (asssuming it was not accidental, and no one does think it was), and people have a right to be up in arms about it. Would it be any different if Timberlake ripped off her pants?

Another example – just because something as trivial as swearing is an integral part of society, it still doesn’t mean I would like walking around hearing profanity as every second word in the street. But in the same token, just because I don’t think they should have pulled that stunt on national TV doesn’t mean I don’t want to see a copy of the picture or video clip. There is a difference. When I walk into an R rated film (NC-17 is the US equivalent I believe) I have an idea of what to expect. Some people don’t like the graphicness of the violence or sex portrayed in those movies, so they avoid them – not because they haven’t been exposed to them before, or that it will “destroy their fragile minds”, but because they just don’t enjoy it. Censorship itself is getting laxer, and I don’t see a problem with this – society changes, so these guidelines should change with it. It’s not up to the performers to take matters into their own hands.

And of course the comment above that “there is no such thing as a ‘right to not be offended'” is utter crap. That’s why there are laws against “acts of indecency”.