Janet Jackson's breast goes back to court

The Supreme Court orders yet more scrutiny of the infamous "wardrobe malfunction."


Tracy Clark-Flory
May 5, 2009 12:35AM (UTC)

It's time to snap out of your Monday daze, sober up and direct your attention  to some super-serious news of weighty importance: Today, the Supreme Court ordered a careful reexamination of Janet Jackson's nipple. That is, our nation's high court ruled that an appeals court will have to revisit its decision to toss out a $550,000 fine against CBS for the singer's so-called wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl.

Why, you might ask, is the 5-year-old nipple slip, which officially lasted nine-sixteenths of a second, taking up yet more of our courts' time? Well, a Philadelphia appeals court ruled last year that the fine went against the Federal Communications Commission's 30-year policy of punishing indecency that was "pervasive as to amount to 'shock treatment' for the audience"; it deemed a fraction of a second glimpse of Jackson's right breast to be "fleeting" and undeserving of punishment. But, conveniently enough, the FCC's appeal of the decision was heard after last week's  Supreme Court decision to uphold the commission's right to fine over obscene speech even when it's "fleeting."

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So, if you're exposed to even a single f-bomb or breast on TV, rest assured that it'll probably cost the network a @$*! load of money. That's the FCC, protecting your innocence, one boob at a time.


Tracy Clark-Flory

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