The Wardrobe Malfunction   1 comment

Jackson, JanetIt was 10 years ago, and it changed The Game forever.

It only lasted 9/16 of a second, but in an era before Facebook (!) and before DVRs were standard fare in American homes, what became known as The Wardrobe Malfunction became the most watched and re-watched event in the history of TiVo.

35,000 more people signed up for TiVo immediately after The Game.

Justin Timberlake actually coined the term, “Wardrobe Malfunction,” which just missed becoming the word of the year, according to the American Dialect Society (they wisely chose red state, blue state instead).

Superbowl XXXVIII was on CBS that year, and the NFL had hired MTV to stage the halftime show. During the show, Justin Timberlake sang Rock Your Body from his first solo album … and while singing “gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” he reached over and ripped part of Janet Jackson’s bustier away to reveal her right breast.

America was stunned. I remember standing in my living room and thinking, “What did I just see?” That’s what happened at Superbowl parties all across the country. What did we just see?

There was a congressional investigation into what we saw, why we saw it … and how to keep it from happening again. Congress reached a bi-partisan agreement (back when that was still possible), and promptly raised the indecency fines that could be levied by the FCC from $32,500 per incident to $325,000 per incident.

Eventually, CBS (who could have been fined for every single television station that aired the offensive 9/16 of a second) settled and paid $550,000.

The NFL banned MTV from producing future halftime shows. After this cultural, uh, low point, here are the featured performers since:

2005 – Paul McCartney

2006 – The Rolling Stones

2007 – Prince

2008 – Tom Petty & The Heartbrakers

2009 – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

2010 – The Who

2011 – The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Slash

2012 – Madonna, Nicki Minaj, MIA, Cee Lo Green

2013 – Beyonce, Destiny’s Child

2014 – Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers

As you can see, it was six years before the NFL allowed a female to be a lead performer at the Superbowl halftime show again. Because, clearly, it was all Janet’s fault.

So, what really happened? Conspiracy theorists love questions like this.

Apparently, Timberlake and Jackson conspired and then agreed to do the bustier rip-a-way without rehearsal. Without telling the producers. Without telling anyone. Maybe it was their intent to rip away the leather and leave some red lace covering Jackson’s skin (which prompted the creation of the term “Wardrobe Malfunction”). Maybe this was just out of control attention-grabbing by Pop stars that went too far on a national stage without supervision. To this day, Timberlake won’t discuss what happened. Jackson won’t comment on it any more, either.

Read the ESPN article below for an exhaustive account, with some revealing pictures.

Just don’t look at them longer than 9/16 of a second.

And enjoy today’s game!

More In The Beginning…

Huffington Post: Janet Jackson’s…

The Atlantic: The Legacy Of Janet Jackson’s Boob

Being Bad

Posted February 2, 2014 by henrymowry in Media

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