What a show; did you see it?
Published 7:01 am Monday, February 9, 2004
I did not see it all! I missed it. But I did catch a glimpse of it. I saw only the last quarter of it. Super Bowl XXXVIII was televised by CBS from Houston, Texas and millions of Americans watched with their families.
As the Patriots and the Panthers battled it out on the football field, viewers enjoyed a superb display of athletics. Disciplined professions entertained us as they showed us their talent. We saw two teams give their best effort and we saw players leaving the playing field with dignity and pride. What a great display of family entertainment. It was the biggest sporting event of the year. That's what we like to see.
Along with millions of Americans I did see the replay --the most replayed moment in television history. Having nothing to do with football and nothing to do with true entertainment, it awakened a sense of indecency and broadcast shock waves of reality into the living rooms of families. The halftime show produced by MTV featuring characters such as P-Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson presupposed culture shock.
All the stir occurred as Timberlake and Jackson were performing "Rock Your Body." The line, "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song" became more than words as Timberlake tore off part of Janet's costume -- the part that was designed to cover her breast.
The whistles blew, but what's the penalty? CBS apologizes, deeply regrets the incident. MTV apologizes explaining the display was unintentional and "inconsistent with assurances we had about the content of the performance." Did the words and the "brilliant choreography" have anything to do with the content?
Federal Communication Commission chief Michael Powell called it "a classless, crass and deplorable stunt" and urged "our nation's children, parents and citizens deserve better." And Mr. Powell don't you have a significant role to play that could provide us with the better entertainment we deserve?
Timberlake either not knowing how to tell the truth or not understanding how to make an apology explained, "It was a wardrobe malfunction." Jackson said she was sorry too.
It was a shocking moment, a set up, a corporate decision, a malfunction or just a harbinger of our culture. Alvin Toffler in his "Culture Shock," saw the advances of technology as progressive and regressive. He warned us to evaluate our future concerning ourselves with more than conveniences and entertainment.
President Bush missed it. He was asleep before the halftime show got started. Maybe that ought to be our response to the entertainment industry.
Only after 10 p.m. is indecent material allowed to be broadcast into your living room. It's time to blow the whistle. It's time to wake up to the ill effects of moral adolescence and it's time to turn off the choreographed messages of an industry that is classless and crass. You and I and our children deserve better. Modesty of dress and decency of behavior is expected of all of us created in the image and likeness of God. We all will rest better with a little respect and decency in our lives. Will you make a pledge to enjoy life but to play with dignity so as to have an appropriate pride of character? Take the challenge --show us what you've got! Respecting God and one another is a good game plan. That's really what we want to see.
Rev. Michael King is the pastor of North Brewton Baptist Church.