YOU’D THINK THAT ALL THE TALK OF ‘OPEN UP HOLES’ AND ‘PUMP FAKES’ WOULD HAVE TIPPED THEM OFF: The Smoking Gun website this week spotlights some of the complaints filed with the FCC after this year’s Super Bowl, which featured a half-time show by Prince and a Snickers ad that showed two dudes swapping spit.
Filing complaints with the FCC over obscene content has become a hobby for broadcast lobby groups like the Parents Television Council, so it’s hard to tell just how many of these are sincere expressions of public disgust or organized campaigns meant to advance an agenda. Whatever they are, they make for hilarious reading, such as the one that targeted Prince and his onanistic guitar-slinging, written by a viewer obviously unfamiliar with the very public private life of the diminutive musician:
“It was obscene to show Prince, a HOMOSEXUAL person through a sheet, as to show his siluette (sic) while his guitar showed a very phalic (sic) symbol coming from his below-midriff section. I am very offended and I would preffer (sic) not to have showed it to my 4 children who love football. One of them has hoped to be a quarterback and now he will turn out gay. I am actually considering to check him for HIV. Thanks CBS for turning my son GAY.”
Another viewer complained about “the pro-homosexual theme of this year’s event … It’s pathetic when you can’t keep porn out of the superbowl, just because 6% of the population is gay.” Let’s see, there are 57 players on the active roster of the Colts, 71 on the Bears’ roster, that’s 128 players. Six per cent of 128 is 7.68, so at least seven of the players in this year’s Superbowl were gay, and not Prince gay, but honest-to-heck, Greenwich Village Halloween Parade gay, if you believe the whole six per cent thing.
Another complaint described the Snickers ad in detail, before insisting that “I feel violated by having that disgusting image inserted into my mind in such a setting, so completely unexpected … God knows, I didn’t turn on the superbowl expected to be tricked into watching gay sex! Or any sex …” No, but that’s what Showtime and the Sundance Channel are for.
There is, of course, the likelihood that many of these letters are spoofs, written by aspiring comedy writers trying to keep their hand nimble – they’re certainly funny enough. There are, of course, rules about what can be shown on prime time, and it seems likely that CBS happily flaunted these rules for its high profile Superbowl ads; hiring Prince for the halftime show is probably more about poor taste in nostalgia acts. Like most problems with TV today, it will probably be solved simply with the final atomization of the broadcast market, which would allow the game to be sold to more than just the Big Three network with the deepest pockets – I’m sure some family channel or Christian broadcaster out there would love to get a shot at their own Superbowl, though I blush to think at what the Spice channel would do for a halftime show.