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Milking it for all it's worth

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Face it. Janet Jackson's boob was about as sexy as a water balloon. Not that I saw it the first time. I skipped the Super Bowl. Perhaps it's my aversion to blood sport, which dates back to the childhood trauma that came from reading the classic Shirley Jackson (no relation) short story "The Lottery," in which people in a fictional New England town cheerfully gather annually to stone that year's "winner" to death.

Anyway, I didn't see the game, the halftime show or the now infamous live bodice ripping by Justin Timberlake. And, unless you were glued to the boob tube, chances are you didn't see the split-second exhibition either. (Many viewers actually reported that it all happened so fast they weren't actually certain that it was a bare breast.)

But thanks to the broadcast media and Focus on the Family, the entire country got more than enough just by watching the news the next day, in which the boob shot was rebroadcast over, and over, and over again.

On Monday, in the span of just 45 minutes, I watched as CNN exposed Jackson's boob no fewer than four times -- in close-ups and even once in slooooow motttion. Even our local Channel 13 aired the breast footage that has sent the rigid right into orbit. And no, the images that were rebroadcast weren't fuzzied up or altered in any way to shield "innocent" eyes.

Just how did we get here? The day after the Super Bowl, Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, joining with other conservative groups, issued a scathing press release denouncing "nudity at the Super Bowl."

"Last night's Super Bowl halftime show was appalling in its utter disregard for American families," proclaimed Daniel Weiss, the ministry's media and sexuality analyst. "No child -- or adult -- should be assaulted by such a profane and indecent performance. It was nothing more than a high-tech striptease foisted on tens of millions of unsuspecting Americans."

Focus went on to suggest that "top" CBS officials not only knew about the planned nudity, but also had approved it. And, the ministry asserted, the raunchiness was just an indication of how the Federal Communications Commission has slipped right down the slope of moral decay.

"After the FCC ruled in October that Bono's use of the 'f-word' was not indecent, we have seen a steady torrent of course, degrading and indecent material on broadcast television," Weiss warned. "This complete breakdown of enforcement by [the FCC] is virtually guaranteeing that this torrent will soon be a flood."

The ministry's Web site was a veritable monument to Jackson's scandalous boob, and anti-boob loyalists were directed to call FCC Chairman Michael Powell and the agency's four commissioners directly (their phone numbers were posted). The site also provided an extensive analysis of the commercials that had been aired during the Super Bowl -- further proof that America is losing the battle over Good vs. Evil.

In the analysis, Robert Knight, who is described as the director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America, cited numerous "mediocre and tasteless" commercials. "Bud Light led the pack, with a dog biting a man's crotch, a woman giving a man a private "bikini waxing' and a woman getting gassed by a flatulent horse," he wrote.

Knight was also irked by a Pepsi commercial in which a "flashback" showed a kid buying a soda from a machine outside a guitar shop. The camera then panned across the street to a Coke machine in front of a store that sells accordions. The boy is identified as "James Hendrix" followed by the onscreen finale: "Whew, that was a close one."

Here is Knight's response: "Come to think of it, wouldn't we all be better off if Jimi had learned to play polkas instead of drug music?"

Knight went on to describe the "low point for the entire event" -- halftime. "Even before the Janet Jackson exposure, the show resembled a fertility ceremony for the false god Baal," he wrote. "Jackson took the stage and danced amid fire, smoke and barely clad celebrants."

And finally, the kicker: "Keep in mind that the Super Bowl is broadcast throughout the world, giving an estimated one billion people a picture of America as an oversexed, pagan society. Is it any wonder that many people in traditional cultures honestly believe America is the Great Satan?"

Um, something tells us that al-Qaeda doesn't think of the United States as the Great Satan because of Janet Jackson's boob.

A boob that, thanks to Focus on the Family, the whole world will get to see over, and over and over again.

--degette@csindy.com

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