After Janet Jackson’s boob was met with puritanical backlash in 2004, the Super Bowl halftime show got fairly bland and safe. The years since have seen tame performances from old rock stars like Tom Petty, The Who and The Rolling Stones, and no modern artists (or women) until the Black Eyed Peas’ slightly disastrous 2011 show.
Last night, if you were paying really close attention, you might have seen M.I.A. flip her middle finger at America for less than a second while performing her part of “Give Me All Your Luvin” dressed as some sort of Pharaoh-cheerleader hybrid. In case you missed it, check out the video below:
I was watching the halftime show pretty closely — can’t help it, I still love Madonna — and didn’t even see M.I.A.’s bird until I read about it online this morning, but apparently there are people clutching their pearls and fainting over it.
NBC has already issued an apology, saying, “Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.” The NFL released a statement saying, “The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans.”
Naturally, conservative group Parents’ Television Council still has their undies in a wad over the whole thing, calling it “the selfish acts of a desperate performer” and saying that NBC “argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that it should be allowed to air all manner of indecent material at any time of day, even when children are watching.”
It’s still too soon to see if anyone gets slapped with a ridiculous fine or if this so-called controversy lasts more than 24 hours. But really, it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gesture that worked with the line of the song, and not really worth getting worked up over.
Maybe instead we should talk about how Ahmad Bradshaw fell into the endzone and scored what is probably the most hilarious touchdown in NFL history.