MIA Super Bowl Halftime Show: Parents Television Council Overreacts to Gesture
And here comes the backlash.
After M.I.A. flipped Super Bowl cameras the middle finger while she performed with Madonna at halftime on Sunday Night, everyone who gets up-in-arms about these things came out of the woodwork, including the Parents Television Council.
And they want justice! From TMZ:
The PTC claims NBC and the NFL knew full well what could happen ... especially because they chose a lineup filled with "performers who have based their careers on shock profanity and titillation.
The PTC also rips NBC for failing to block the image from broadcast ... especially since Janet Jackson's nipplegate incident on CBS 8 years ago.
But this is my favorite part:
Instead, the group wants ACTION -- saying, "Either the NFL and NBC will take immediate steps to hold those accountable for this offensive material in front of a hundred million Americans, or they will feebly sit back and do nothing."
Either you are with us or your against us! There are no grey areas in life! Anyone who owns a shock profanity album of M.I.A.'s should get fired from their jobs too! Titillation is the devil's tool! Hear our roar!
Never mind the fact that "nipplegate" was an accident that no one could have seen coming, or that the Super Bowl halftime show has been happening for years and this is the first middle finger I ever remember seeing by a performer.
Nope, the person who was a split-second late hitting the censor button needs to be fired immediately, as does anyone else involved in the show. Never mind the fact that the gesture was so fast and difficult to discern initially that it took almost a full 10 minutes on my Twitter feed before someone even mentioned they noticed the incident. (You guessed it—Deadspin was first to the party.)
The NFL wants to let you know they are sorry as well. From CBS:
"The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans," said Brian McCarthy, spokesman for the NFL, which produced Madonna's halftime show.
And NBC wants to remind everyone they didn't hire the performers.
"The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show," NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said. "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers."
That won't be enough for the PTC, of course. They want heads to roll.
What they don't get is that these overreactions are the reason performers do things like this in the first place. By reacting to a stupid little hand gesture so vehemently, groups like the PTC make that gesture far more powerful than it should be.
Their attempts at ideological censorship are exactly why artists use things like profanity and shock value in the first place. It's an artist's way of saying, "Hey, I don't agree with your standards of decency. They don't apply to me. But thanks for all of the free publicity!"
Seriously, that middle finger may piss a lot of important people off, but it will probably also be great for M.I.A.'s reputation as an artist. Funny how that works.
And honestly, things like the middle finger wouldn't be a big deal if we didn't make it a big deal. It's a finger. That's the thing about symbolism—it only means what we allow it to mean.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets never accidentally fall over the goal line.
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