I didn't see the Super Bowl Sunday.
That's not to say, however, that I feel as if I missed anything.
I understand that somewhere between the actual football game and the commercials for erectile dysfunction medication, some sort of controversial halftime show involving Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson aired. News programs on Monday morning reported on the "outrage" that followed Timberlake's disrobing of former singing sensation Jackson.
(There's a reason why I say "former" singing sensation. A strong case can be made that if Jackson still sold records she wouldn't have pulled Sunday's stunt. I must confess I don't know a thing about Timberlake. Was he a member of New Kids on the Block?)
A good portion of the population doesn't frequent adult entertainment establishments, where women gyrate and expose their bodies and men leer and grab at them. So, Viacom, the corporation that owns CBS and MTV (which produced the halftime show) decided, in the apparent interests of sharing new experiences with viewers, to bring adult establishment entertainment into American homes.
Wasn't that thoughtful?
Maybe you don't agree that Jackson and Timberlake should be characterized so negatively. After all, they're highly paid, award-winning entertainers, right?
Well, let me borrow a point I once heard a theologian use in describing how people sell their integrity if the price is right:
A man sits next to an attractive woman on an airplane and engages her in conversation. After a while, the man makes a proposition: "If I paid you a million dollars, would you spend the night with me?"
The woman, caught off guard, mulls it over. She asks if the man is serious.
"Quite serious. One night, $1 million."
Making that much money -- for just one night of intimacy -- is too just tempting, and the woman agrees.
Later, as the jetliner touches down, the man says, "I don't really have that much money. Are you OK with $100?"
The man's new business partner is shocked. "What kind of woman do you think I am?"
"We've established that," the man answers. "Now we're just haggling over price."
The so-called entertainers who lowered the bar further for common decency Sunday night established themselves to the world. Viacom established itself as a company that appeals to viewers' baser natures.
(And while I'm disappointed with CBS, let me offer that the network is capable of producing quality programs. This is the network that gave us "Touched By an Angel" and continues to air another decent program, "The District," which is bolstered by solid writing and a strong cast.)
The only decision left in this whole sordid mess is what individuals choose to do when confronted with filth in the marketplace.
Network television didn't slide into the condition it's in overnight, and it won't change overnight. The powers that be need convincing that American viewers don't want the equivalent of nudie bars in their homes.
The best way to get through to the networks is to find something else to do besides loving Raymond or hanging out with the friends.
Heath Griner is city editor of The Valdosta Daily Times. To contact him, call 244-3400, ext. 274, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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