By Colombo Telegraph –
It was the most controversial Super Bowl show since Janet Jackson flashed some nipple. But can we really be outraged by MIA’s middle finger and a line from the new Madonna single?
You’d be forgiven for not having a coronary over the fact MIA gave Super Bowl viewers the finger during her half-time guest spot with Madonna. For most fans, it was probably more shocking to see MIA performing a rehearsed dance routine than flipping the bird. And besides, it was more than 35 years ago that Sex Pistols went on British television and called host Bill Grundy a “fucking rotter” – in comparison, MIA sticking her middle digit up and saying “I don’t give a shit” seems a bit tame (especially as she didn’t manage to get the full “shit” out, it more like a “shi”, really … maybe she had constipation).
But then this is the Super Bowl, a direct route to 110 million sports-loving American households. After the Rolling Stones and the Who played sedate shows at the event in recent years, viewers are not used to hearing someone go off piste. Even when “off piste” means singing the words of the song.
Perhaps it was agreed beforehand that the line “Imma say this one, yeah, I don’t give a shit” would be censored. Maybe Madonna expected MIA to tone down the words, only to be out-controversied by the Paper Planes star.
Either way, the NFL promptly issued an apology: “The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologise to our fans.” NBC also apologised, no doubt aware of the 2004 controversy when Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” sent commentators into meltdown. If they’re smart, though, NBC and the NFL will be thinking about the 2004 show for all the right reasons. After all, Jackson’s flash of nipple was eight years ago and people are still talking about it. Who remembers what Tom Petty played in 2008?
America secretly loves whipping itself up into a frenzy over this sort of thing, but it wasn’t just the rightwing press expressing outrage – even Pitchfork was in on the act. “In the few bars Madonna was kind enough to grant her during the biggest television event of the year, MIA’s message to America was simply, ‘Fuck you'” it complained, somewhat innacurately (surely the message was “I don’t give a shit”, otherwise she’d have just said “fuck you”). It went on to conclude that: “It wouldn’t be the worst idea [for MIA] to draw as much focus as possible back on to her music.”
Yes, because the Super Bowl half-time show has always been about the music …
courtesy The Guardian