Friday, October 3, 2008

Really? Isn't there anything more important?

Warning: this post is about the real world. Sorry, comic book junkies.

I don't watch Survivor and I never have. It's jsut not for me. What I do know about it is that there is generally copious amounts of male nudity. I guess the male contestants feel more comfortable showing their genitals. However, it's blurred for network television, which is fine. This week, CBS forgot to blur a second of a flaccid penis that accidentally falls out of a contestant's shorts during a physical activity, an immunity challenge, I think. Here's the text from the Washington Post, which you can click here to access.
CBS, the network that gave us the Nipple That Knicker-Knotted a Nation, now brings us the Peekaboo Penis.

The self-appointed watchdog group Parents Television Council has filed an indecency complaint with the Federal Communications Commission over the season debut of "Survivor: Gabon" -- ironically the first episode of this series to be broadcast in high-definition.

If you look closely at participants in a race, you see Marcus Lehman's little colonel "falling out" of his boxer shorts as he runs to the finish line, PTC reports. "The image was not obscured in any way," PTC notes in disgust. In fairness, the episode had a lot of pixelation -- just not of Lehman's male pride.

"Although this instance was brief, it was nonetheless shocking and purposeful," PTC President Tim Winter said in a statement.

CBS, in a statement, insisted it was "a completely unintentional, inadvertent and fleeting incident that was virtually undetectable when viewed in real time." "Fleeting" was the word of choice when the Super Bowl Nipplegate story broke, too. "In the first 24 hours after the broadcast, before freeze-frame images were widely posted online, we received one viewer comment from the 13 million who watched the telecast," the network said.

PTC had this to say about that:

"CBS's decision to hide behind excuses that the incident was 'fleeting' and didn't generate an immediate flood of complaints is the epitome of irresponsibility. The number of 'fleeting' penises we expect to see on broadcast television is zero."

Okay, but here's the thing. The penis is a part of the male anatomy. It serves many biological functions and is absolutely mandatory for reproduction and the propagation of the human species. Humans have no further need to exist other than to reproduce, just like all of the organisms on the face of the planet. So the second most crucial element of our anatomy (the brain being numero uno) isn't really that much of a surprise when it's accidentally revealed. "What in the world is that thing, honey?" "Why, I'm not sure. Some sort of second nose?"

I don't think so. It's frigging 2008 here. Ancient civilizations, geniuses of art and symbolism, and even textbooks have shown the penis without any regard to eroticism or gratuitous exposure. An accidental flaccid penis exposed during a physical activity has no erotic value whatsoever, so why is this such a big deal?

Why is Janet Jackson's breast a big deal? Why is nudity a big deal? It's the same double-standard that has been chewed over to death: why is extreme violence acceptable but nudity not? Why is the nude form so offensive? CSI and Law and Order can get away with the most ridiculous explicit violence and dialogue about anatomy and sexuality, but you can't show a breast. You can't even show a mother breastfeeding, which is not sexual (but sexual to those with that penchant, a clear minority).

Is this really a topic of debate? Isn't there anything more important in the world, such as poverty, hunger, AIDS, cancer, homophobia, misogyny and lack of education? Let's talk about that.

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