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new featureAn Out of Country Experience-Part 28
(Please check the archives if you've missed previous installments)

Tales From The Barstool By: Clint Lien

The Fall of the Empire

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In My Opinion
By L.N.P.

"Crossed The Line"

Apparently, the baring of Janet Jackson's breast during the half-time show of the Super Bowl "crossed the line." What I want to know is…..what line? Where exactly IS that line, and why does it keep disappearing? In the midst of a show that was tasteless, crude, and sexually explicit, during which bumping and grinding was the dance of the day and Justin Timberlake sang, 'gotta have you naked by the end of this song,' did anyone even catch a glimpse of that elusive line? As far as I could tell, after being bombarded with a series of commercials portraying everything from a flatulent horse to a dog trained to bite crotches, a monkey trying to seduce a woman to a man tortured with a bikini waxing, what was it that made breast baring any more obscene? There's going to be an FCC investigation into a nipple. But where is the inquiry into more than 50% of the commercials that are aired, not only during the Super Bowl, but during supposed family viewing hours every night of the week?

I'm not a prude. Honest. I think the Victoria's Secret commercials are incredibly sexy, and if Levitra can help men maintain an erection, then I suppose they have the right to let them know. But does a ten year-old girl need to hear that "erections lasting for more than four hours might require immediate medical attention….but when the moment is right, you'll be ready?" And how can ANY twelve year-old boy (or 40 year-old boy for that matter) not be affected by the barely dressed, totally seductive women in the Victoria's Secret commercials? Of course, I'm also not an idiot. I get it; sex sells. But exactly how many teenage boys spend their money buying bras?

Incidentally, I was actually more offended by some of the seemingly less offensive Super Bowl commercials. Like the one where the referee was being screamed at by the coach "beating him like a rented mule," only to discover that his shrew of a wife "trained" the ref at home to tune out her verbal abuse. Spousal abuse, screaming, nasty wives….what a charming picture. I wonder how many husbands, drinking their twelfth bottle of beer, turned to their wives and said, "See, that's what I mean," only to have a major battle ensue in their own living room, fueled by the alcohol as well as the content of the commercial. Or how about the Sierra Mist commercial where the guy in the kilt is found standing over the subway grate with the air blowing up his kilt revealing…..well, we all got the point. Amusing? Sure. But the little boy in the ad who said, "That's just wrong, Dad," probably summed it up best.

Of course, commercials are just the tip of the iceberg. Television programming in general has gone completely over that (obviously) invisible line. Now don't get me wrong. I have absolutely no argument with, for example, HBO shows that are sexually explicit, or that incorporate profanity into the dialogue. In fact, I have no issue with shows on past 9 PM that feature fornication, gratuitous violence, or crude bathroom humor. If I choose to watch them I can, and if I want to avoid them I also have that choice. But it seems to me that we've gone from the absurdity of a world in which Luci and Desi slept in separate twin beds and couldn't use the word pregnant, to the equally absurd world in which EVERY couple dating for more than an hour has sex, every other joke is a double entendre, a woman without extreme cleavage is a rarity, every possible bodily function is discussed incessantly, and very few shows on at 8 PM are even vaguely suitable for family viewing.

In a world where moral relativism rules the day, no one knows what the rules are, or even if there ARE rules. After all, what one person finds offensive, another finds liberating, and without any moral compass to guide us, the bar seems to get lower and lower every day. I guess that's the price we pay for trashing "under God" and replacing it with Viagra. Some of us are perfectly content to pay that price. And, some of us think it's a shame.


Send me your opinions at LParis@netlistings.com

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