We named it the number one moment in Carolina Panthers history. Super Bowl XXXVIII. What a great game! What a great halftime show!!!
The music was alright, I guess. The best part was the nudity!!! You know it. I know it.
Worried about what would happen to my team and whether or not they could upset the New England Patriots, I found the brief display of that right nipple attached to Janet Jackson very relaxing. It took my mind off the game for a bit.
Thank you, Justin Timberlake!
It only lasted nine sixteenths of a second. So, what did the fine, up-standing and always, uh hem, fair people who run the Federal Communications Commission decide to do about it? They fined CBS $550,000 for indecency.
Look, JT sang it so he had to do it – “Bet I have you naked by the end of this song.” Rip open that bustier! You dang skippy!!! And every red-blooded American male stood and cheered. Then they started making phone calls to ask every buddy they had if they were taping the game and started begging to be the first guy to borrow the tape.
I didn’t make any phone calls. I was taping the game. (And, for the record, I don’t loan that tape to anyone for fear that it may never be returned.) To date, I’ve watched that halftime show approximately 743 times. It never gets old.
But the FCC thought it was a no-no and the act got very old to them right away. And The Man wanted to get some cash out of it. They did.
Finally, however, decency, intelligence and common sense have prevailed. A federal appeals court threw out the indecency fine paid by CBS.
The three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Federal Communications Commission “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in issuing the fine for the fleeting image of nudity.
Maybe it’s the subject matter but the word capriciously sounds kind of nasty, doesn’t it? I digress.
The FCC, in all of their wisdom and, no doubt, making a knee-jerk reaction to something most people didn’t even see when it happened live, pounced on that exposed right nipple and started levying fines like they were behind on their rent. Not so fast says the federal appeals court.
The court found that the FCC deviated from its nearly 30-year practice of fining indecent broadcast programming only when it was so “pervasive as to amount to ‘shock treatment’ for the audience.”
“Like any agency, the FCC may change its policies without judicial second-guessing,” the court said. “But it cannot change a well-established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure.”
“The Commission’s determination that CBS’s broadcast of a nine-sixteenths of one second glimpse of a bare female breast was actionably indecent evidenced the agency’s departure from its prior policy,” the court found. “Its orders constituted the announcement of a policy change — that fleeting images would no longer be excluded from the scope of actionable indecency.”
Take that, FCC!!!!
This is a great day in American history. Today, I am proud to be living in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Nipples! An event of this magnitude fills me with a sense of purpose and awe when witnessing the power and the glory of our system. Now, we can all go forward, our heads held high and exclaim, “Yes, we can…see nipples!!”
U.S.A.!!!! U.S.A.!!!! U.S.A.!!!! U.S.A.!!!!