Why Mean Betty Wasn’t Shocked By M.I.A.’s Middle Finger at the Super Bowl
Why on earth was everyone so shocked by M.I.A. flipping the bird during the Super Bowl half-time show? Meanie wasn’t. Here’s why.
Kittens, did you watch the Super Bowl on Sunday? Meanie did, but not because she happens to be particularly fond of football. No, Meanie was more interested in the things that happen in and around the Super Bowl: the legendary commercials and the fabled half-time show. But though Meanie found the commercials exceedingly entertaining, her focus for the time being will be the second of these two items: the half-time show.
Because something happened this year, kittens. Something shocking! Something scandalous! Something—dare Meanie say it—obscene! Although the big name going into the show was Madonna’s, which, given how the Golden Globes went, brought with it its own brand of scandal, hip hop artist M.I.A. managed to steal the entire show with one simple gesture: She flipped the audience the proverbial bird in the middle of her performance.
But, kittens? Meanie isn’t quite sure why this moment has become the massive scandal that it has. To quote to great Cole Porter, in olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, now heaven knows—but anything apparently does not go. For your consideration, here is a video documenting the controversial middle finger:
Naturally, one cannot help but compare this incident to that most famous of Super Bowl scandals, the Great Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction of 2004. For those of you who somehow missed this monumental event, during the half-time show of Super Bowl XXXVIII (that’s 38 for us non-Romans), Justin Timberlake ripped off a piece of Janet’s costume, exposing her right breast. The breast in question was decorated with a star-shaped pastie, so the audience was spared the sight of her nipple; but too late! The damage was done, leaving the network scrambling to smooth over the “accident.”
Which brings us back to the matter at hand: How does M.I.A.’s middle finger fare against Janet Jackson’s right breast? To be honest, kittens, Meanie doesn’t think it’s quite in the same league. To be sure, the butler gasped and covered his eyes, but then again, the butler gasps and covers his eyes at the appearance of a simple ankle, so perhaps he isn’t quite the measuring stick to use (you can’t imagine how problematic his ankle-phobia is when Meanie requests a cocktail while lounging around the pool). There are a few things to consider here:
The first is the moment itself. M.I.A. does not look angry or confrontational when she breaks out her powerful middle finger; in fact, she looks almost lackadaisical. We cannot, therefore, accuse her of attacking us. Furthermore, here is what she was saying at the moment the finger appeared:
“It’s super sonic, bionic, uranium hit
So I break ‘em off tricks
Let’s pray that it sticks
I’mma say this once, yeah, I don’t give a sh**.”
The gesture is directly connected to what she is saying, which therefore makes it an important part of the performance. Also, why is no one up in arms about the fact that she cursed on live television?
The second, kittens, is this simple fact: Things you are by no means expecting to see at a sporting event include Janet Jackson’s bare breast. Things you could conceivably expect to see at a sporting event include rude gestures. Sports fans will, after all, be sports fans! If M.I.A. had simply been in the stands watching the game, would it have been such a big deal? Probably not. Of course, if M.I.A. had been in the stands, the gesture wouldn’t have made it on TV in the first place, so do with that what you will.
Funnily enough, both NBC and the NFL are blaming each other for the fact that the finger made it live. According to NBC’s statement, “The NFL hired the talent and produced the half-time show. Our system was late to obscure the inapropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.” The NFL, on the other hand, said this: “There was a failure in NBC’s delay system. The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans.” But you know who isn’t apologizing? M.I.A—which is really just as it should be. Indeed, the flip-off isn’t even the worst gesture she could have made; compared some of the things the kids are doing these days, it’s downright tame.
In summation: It’s not that bad. We’ve all seen it before. The world is not ending. Let’s just deal with it and move on. Because really, kittens? Meanie doesn’t give a sh** either.