A wonderful, if infuriating, example of race- and gender-baiting was delivered earlier this year by pop culture pundit Emmanuel Hapsis, and a more ridiculous analysis you will seldom see. I missed it, but the post was no more valid then than it is now.
Returning, for some reason, to the infamous episode during the 2004’s Super Bowl halftime show, when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake conspired to turn the supposedly family-friendly Super Bowl into a strip tease, Hapsis’s piece is called “Nipplegate Revisited: Why America Owes Janet Jackson a Huge Apology.” During a choreographed duet with Jackson and while singing “Better have you naked by the end of this song,” (talk about rape culture!) Timberlake ripped a pre-rigged portion of Jackson’s bustier to reveal her naked breast. Jackson was severely criticized, as she should have been: after all, it was her breast, and she obviously agreed to allow it to make a surprise appearance, however brief.
Never mind. Hapsis sees the episode as exemplifying America’s “patriarchy,” “racism” and “sexism,” because obviously no white singers flashing ten-year-olds in TV land would be criticized, and no male singer who decided to let Mr. Wiggly make a guest appearance would be similarly pilloried.
“Janet’s first crime was being a woman and the second that she was a black woman,” Emmanuel writes, apparently in total seriousness. No, you astounding, progressive nonsense-addled fool, her “crimes” were 1) baring her breast on live television, 2) embarrassing the NFL, CBS and every parent with a kid watching, 3) breaching her contract, and 4) lying about it.
To make his race-and gender-baiting even slightly plausible, Hapsis lies too, writing that what was later called by Timberlake, “wink-wink,” a wardrobe malfunction,” was truly an accident. Nobody believed that at the time, nobody believes it now. If there was even the slightest chance that it was an accident, then Jackson was indeed mistreated. There wasn’t. This is another example of a dishonest social justice warrior distorting history to recruit millennials who don’t know about a historical episode and lack the curiosity to find out what really happened (hence Bill Clinton’s “alleged” affair with Monica).
In fact, I made Janet Jackson the first winner of a Jumbo, back before Ethics Alarms, when I wrote this about her self-evident lie (she could have been sued by CBS and the NFL, and perhaps did pay an undisclosed settlement)…
Janet Jackson has now appeared on the David Letterman Show to deny that her infamous Super Bowl breast-baring was anything but an accident. Before we discuss what a ridiculously transparent lie this is, let us also ask, “Why bother?” The damage, whatever it is, is done. Nobody is going to believe her. This was a fine opportunity for Jackson to stand up, admit an error in judgment, and use her celebrity to endorse some ethical values, like honesty, taking responsibility for one’s actions, and contrition.
Janet wants us to believe the incident was an accident, completely unchoreographed or planned. Never mind that:
- Justin Timberlake’s move uncovering Ms. Jackson’s breast occurred on a musical beat, corresponding to song lyrics referring to his “having her naked by the end of this song.”
- Her costume conveniently had a detachable flap that would expose the breast without doing any damage to the rest of her outfit.
- Her breast had a large, uncomfortable-looking decoration of some kind stuck to it, raising the obvious question of what it was doing there if it wasn’t intended to be seen. [ Ethics Alarms NOTE: This is conclusive evidence, unless you think Janet routinely wore that thing (above) under her bra.]
- Timberlake’s comments immediately after the show confirmed that the moment was choreographed…
Oh, just never mind. If this were a crime, any jury would find Jackson guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Even the most dishonest people, when confronted with undeniable proof of their misdeeds, will usually confess. Not Janet Jackson.
Here’s your elephant, kid. This Jumbo’s for you.
Jackson also got a career boost from the fiasco, which is exactly why she agreed to the stunt, and if she paid something for the contract breech, she could afford it. As for the public criticism of her unannounced peep show, race and sexism had nothing, zero, nada to do with it. When you have to reach this far back and distort reality this absurdly to make the case about how racist and sexist America can be, you really need to find another cause, because you’re lousy at this one.
There are real examples of racism and sexism out there. Using fake ones like this to caterwaul about just makes it easier to deny them.
Not only does America not owe Janet Jackson a “huge” apology, America owes her none at all. Emmanuel Hapsis, however does owe America a huge apology, for trying to further divide it, and for trying to make the public more ignorant than it already is.