There's a very good reason that the (latest) Jackson incident outrages so many, including me; and it has little to do with prudishness. Allow me to ramble until I get to my point.
A child’s father throws him up in the air and catches him. Later on that child is a man and is sure that his wife will be faithful to him, even though she has to go away for six months (surrounded by other men) because she’s in the military.
The child and the man are exhibiting trust, and, in each case, if he’s fortunate and has chosen well, that trust, freely given, will not have been misplaced.
We as individuals and as group members place varied degrees of trust in many things, people and entities. We trust our new car to start and run proficiently. We trust the local grocer not to poison us and our physicians not to butcher us. We trust the US Postal service to keep the mail moving and our president to defend us from enemies foreign and domestic.
We trust the state-wide electrical utilities services to provide electricity to our homes and we trust our babysitters/day care centers to feed, cloth, and protect our children.
Picking but a single example from the above list will demonstrate how often our trust is offered in vain. When those various forms of trust are betrayed, we take a variety of actions, according to our values, temperament, resources, judgment and, most importantly, our self-control. But, often, the unifying factor in response to betrayal of trust is this: we are pissed; often so angry that the aforementioned self-control is straining its leash. Not uncommonly, that leash breaks.
Back to the Jackson/Timberlake incident: many people trusted CBS to present a family broadcast for a traditionally family event and now many people are hot under the collar; oh not necessarily because they’re “prudes” or are “uptight” about nudity. They’re angry because they didn’t make the choice to allow their children (or themselves) to pick what kind of “entertainment” would come into their homes at a given time. They thought they were getting apples and, instead, they got oranges. And now they have to explain to their children just what was up with the “orange” before they and/or the children were ready for that talk.
CBS, MTV, Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake (not to mention Nelly and Sean Combs) “flipped the script” on them without their permission. Oh, surely some of them check out pay-per-view soft- and hardcore-prÖn in the comfort of their bedrooms without the kids present. However, that’s the point: the kids aren’t present.
If I had children, I’d likely be a lot less dispassionate about this particular betrayal of trust. However, I do have nieces and nephews; the eldest, a twelve-year-old boy. I have friends with children. I wonder what my sister might have said to her oldest son about this. I wonder what my friend with two daughters, one seven and one fourteen, might say to his girls about the merits of showing a breast on TV (or anywhere else).
I don’t envy them this task or many others that go along with raising children with the desired values in this era.
I do know this: if I had children, the TV would have gone out of the window as of February 1, 2004. However, I am pissed off for the betrayal of your trust, parents, and ticked off enough to write the offending parties letters regarding this matter. I hope that many of you are doing the same.
And, by the way, keep that self-control on a reinforced leash.