WMD: Wardrobes of Mass Dysfunction

By now, everyone breathing has heard about Janet Jackson’s flashdance during halftime at the Super Bowl. I didn’t see it. I had checked out to the food table about the time P. Diddy came on. It was a simple choice: feed my body some seriously good fixings from Mrs. Throckmorton’s kitchen or feed my mind trash.

With the lineup of performers announced, I knew trouble was brewing. So when the “wardrobe malfunction” occurred, I was not particularly shocked. In a way, I am pleasantly surprised that there remain vestiges of concern for public modesty, but I think the outrage does not go far enough. As much as the wardrobe dysfunction, I am concerned about the casual approach to the actions, words and lyrics uttered by the remainder of the halftime gang.

Take P. Diddy’s entrance. He is quoted to have said, “I’m the definition of half man, half drugs.” I don’t think he meant Prozac. Reportedly, Nelly came on and repeatedly advised: “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes.” Justin Timberlake, as if to oblige, removes half of Miss Jackson’s breastplate while singing those thought provoking lyrics: “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song.”

Now that’s subtle. I don’t expect much but I am hoping that the whole episode rekindles a discussion in the country about the incredible double standard there is in the popular culture. Adults complain about the prevalence of teen sex, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and lack of respect for appropriate authority but then place those very behaviors in front of children in the form of talented, attractive and highly paid role models. This is not a sensible approach. Speaking globally, this culture is asking for its own demise. We know children model what they see, especially in those who appear to be successful.

We fear terrorists and we should enhance external security. However, I am nearly as concerned about our moral security. I suspect the security around the Super Bowl was pretty tight. The moral security inside the stadium during halftime was non-existent.

According to football executives, MTV will probably not be doing an encore next year. So I have a humble suggestion for halftime next year. Remembering that the Super Bowl is a football game, why not focus on the teams? Surely, the networks could celebrate the successful season of each team with an entertaining program.

In the party that the Super Bowl has become, some kind of celebration seems appropriate during halftime. But what did the choreographers of carnality celebrate with this show? Even without the wardrobe of mass dysfunction, the entire spectacle celebrated random sex, and drug use.

Critics of my thoughts will no doubt ask, “what’s the big deal with a little skin and some swearing, kids hear it all the time.” In my judgment, attitudes such as those demonstrate my premise. Little by little we have become desensitized to the very cultural sicknesses that we spend millions to fix. As long as we have leadership that understands the external threats, destruction as a society will not come through weapons of mass destruction but rather through mass moral dysfunction. It will be an inside job.