Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sex, No. Violence, Yes. Crazy? For Sure!

I read an interesting article on Alternet a while back titled Five American Sex Norms Europeans Probably Think Are Insane. I think they're right. Hell, I think most of them are insane.

I'd like to talk about just one of those five points*: Extreme Violence in the Media Is Fine, Just Don’t Show a Nipple.

In 1999, the Senate Judiciary Committee published a report titled Children, Violence, and the Media. According to statistics cited in the report, by the time an average American child reaches the age of 18, he or she will have seen 200,000 violent acts and 6,000 murders on television. Now, one can quibble with these numbers, but there's no arguing about the prevalence of violence, much of it extreme and sadistic, on television ... two of my least favorite shows are Criminal Minds and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, both of which feature shocking violence, much of it directed against women and children.

Shows like these are very popular, and arguments against their violent content are few, far between, and generally ignored. If you want to hear real outrage about horrible things on television, you have to show a female nipple.

Some of you may recall the mighty howls of outrage that erupted across the country in 2004 when, during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII**, a "wardrobe malfunction" caused one of singer Janet Jackson's nipples to be exposed for approximately a half-second on national television. The horrifying incident led to widespread condemnation of indecency in broadcasting, and the Federal Communications Commission fined CBS $550,000*** for the exposure of the offending nipple.

If they'd only aired something decent and responsible, such as showing a sadistic villain torturing Ms Jackson while she screamed in terror and agony, it would have been okay.

I often wonder why it is that people get hysterical over the sight of an exposed breast, when they're okay with violent imagery+. I'm repulsed by many crime shows on television for their glorification of extreme violence and sadism, but I have no problem with admiring a lady's body if she choses to show it. I've been to topless beaches in Europe (which, in my mind, tend to be overrated as sources of ... uh ... titillation), and I believe in the Picket Fence Theory of feminine dress: it should protect the property without obstructing the view. If you want to go topless or dress minimally, that's fine with me ... but don't be offended if I look.

Let's get upset about the right things. Why fret over exposed breasts when your socialist Muslim Nigerian president is invading Texas and getting ready to confiscate your guns and put you into FEMA internment camps?

I wonder if there's a potential market in this country for tinfoil nipple shields to go with the tinfoil hats?

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* So to speak.

** That's "38," for those of you who don't do Roman numerals.

*** The fine was later overturned in 2011 a decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and an attempt to reinstate it was refused a year later.

+ I suspect part of the reason is that weapons, especially firearms, are considered holy in this country, and criticizing their depiction and use is blasphemous.


allenwoodhaven said...

I agree. What is or isn't allowed is ridiculous. Cable has different standards so broadcast rules are even less logical.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

We're overly puritanical in this country. In a way, that's good. The old-fashioned string bikini still has the capacity to be stimulating to guys while hinting that there may be more than is there. Filmed or televised violence is sickening.

Gonzo Dave said...

Yet another reason why I rarely watch TV any more.

Banana Oil said...

"hinting that there may be more than is there." You can't stuff a bikini top if you're not wearing one.

Mike said...

"...socialist Muslim Nigerian president..." I think that's 'socialist Muslim Kenyan president'. You don't want to confuse the granite heads anymore than they already are. Or you could say 'socialist Muslim Hawaiian president'. My guess is most of them don't know about the 50th state yet.

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer said...

In the case of the Janet Jackson hype: the boobs made too much over a boob.