Indecent Exposure


It’s been several months now, but I know you’re still waiting to hear: "Was Sojourners’ pop culture columnist shocked by the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show?"

Frankly, no. I didn’t see it. The last time I watched the Super Bowl was in 1991. I don’t much like football. When I want to see young American men having their bodies crunched, mangled, and poisoned for the sake of corporate profit, I watch the Iraq war news.

But where else, you may ask, can one go to see shallow, narcissistic pop stars rip off articles of clothing? We don’t need football for that. For that we have MTV, the music video cable outlet that produced the notorious gridiron spectacle. And that brings me to the point. That tawdry Super Bowl display was just one more example of what can go wrong from corporate media monopolization.

So what do media monopolies have to do with Janet Jackson’s sad stab at reviving her career? It really is all connected. Viacom—one of approximately five remaining television companies in America—owns CBS, which broadcast the Super Bowl, and MTV, which produced the halftime show. That’s the "synergy" media execs were all slobbering for in the ’90s. Back in the days when CBS owned itself and wasn’t in the music video business, the halftime show would have been the business of the network’s sports division. And we all would have been spared a lot of embarrassment.

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Sojourners Magazine May 2004
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