Monday, February 6, 2012

The Middle Finger Malfunction

I did not watch any part of the Super Bowl. Not the game, not the commercials, not the half-time show. Morning after the game I heard about one thing and one thing only. No, not the winners of the game, nor the best commercials, nor what Madonna sounded like. I heard about M.I.A. flipping off a camera. And apparently this is The Worst Thing That Has Ever least since Janet Jackson showed her nipple.

Personally, someone giving the middle finger does not bother me. Though to be fair, Janet's nipple didn't really bother me either. But the backlash has been amazing! NBC and the NFL have both apologized while making sure to blame the other group for the non-blurring of a finger. NBC claims they tried to blur it but were just slightly too late and really it is the NFL's fault because they hired and produced the show. The NFL claims that NBC should have been on the blur button quicker. Also, the NFL called the gesture "obscene" while NBC called it only inappropriate.The PTC (I really want to call them the PTA) claims this is the worst thing ever. My favorite of all of the coverage...Entertainment Weekly showed the picture unedited.

I want to focus on two things about M.I.A.'s finger malfunction (also, calling it a Middle Finger Malfunction is genius and hilarious; thank you random person quoted on and for that). First, why is this a big deal? It wasn't meant as a big statement or anti- anything. It was an artist getting into her performance who may have made a bad judgement call. Also, she is from the UK where as far as I can tell, that really isn't a big deal at all. Let's call it a misjudgement of the situation. Secondly, I want to discuss the use of the word "obscene". Obscene is defined as disgusting to the senses; abhorrent to morality or virtue. Obscenity is one of those "I know it when I see it" words; there is no obscenity scale. I object to the use of the word obscene in context with someone flipping someone or something off. It could be constituted as inappropriate for sure. You wouldn't walk into a meeting with coworkers and flip them off, nor would you walk into a room of third graders and flip them off. There is a time and a when someone cuts you off on the highway or when your computer deletes an important file or when your friend makes a smart ass remark to you. There is nothing disgusting about a middle finger nor is M.I.A flipping off the camera hurting the morality of the country.

And on one last note, even if the finger that shall not be named had been blurred, does that change the act? No. Everyone still would have known what finger was raised.

Where you offended by M.I.A's finger? Do you find the gesture to be obscene? Would you prefered to have seen someone's nipple again?

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