Friday, Dec. 17, 2004

(Worst) Janet Jackson Overreaction

Yes, an aging pop star's breast is inappropriate in a halftime show watched by millions of children. No, that does not mean that an elderly woman's breast in a surgery scene is inappropriate on E.R., a drama for grown-ups. After Janet and Justin's midfield fumble last February, opportunistic would-be censors picked it up and ran, badgering the networks into craven self-censorship and the FCC into heavy-handed fines. Some moral crusaders would have us believe that pop culture is too nefarious for them to use their own remote controls and instill their own values in their own children, unless they can dictate what we (and our children) can watch too. Nonsense. Conservatives habitually say that other people — the unemployed, criminals — need to stop blaming society and start taking responsibility for themselves. They're right. And they should hold themselves to the same standard.