I curse an awful lot in this, and am mean to several people, a few of them who don’t even deserve it. Just wanna let you know that going in.
As some of you know, there was a brouhaha on Twitter the other day regarding the Superbowl halftime show and unfortunately this brouhaha involved me.
I didn’t want to get involved in a brouhaha. I try to remain as brouhaha-free as a writer of thinkpieces can be in this crazy old world. I was attempting to criticize the conservative movement (Matt Walsh in particular) for being anti-woman, much as I did in my piece Mata Hairy and its followup piece glam and flash. But some liberals I’m chummy with decided that me being an internal critic of conservatism gave them an opening to then pile on to bitch about ALL conservatives, including me, it sure seemed like anyway even though they tried to walk it back after they did it, for thinking “ya know, maybe that Superbowl halftime show was just a little bit over the top, and it probably should have been dialed down a bit since the Superbowl is one of the few things we still come together with our families to watch, and maybe we didn’t need to see JLo jackin it on national TV.”
Because that’s what happened. Aside from skimpy costumes, stripper poles, and very unfortunate camera angles brought to you by CrotchVision, now in Cinemascope, JLo actually pretended to masturbate while writhing around on her back, and I’m sorry, that is where I draw the line with Sunday Afternoon Family Entertainment. Luckily my kids weren’t watching right then, but I can imagine the questions seeing a woman explicitly finger her VJ in the middle of a dance routine might warrant from 10 and 12 year old boys in particular (By the way, I have actually complained to the NFL twice in the past about them putting ads for gory slasher films in football games, so my concern about inappropriate content is in no way limited to sex acts). Yes, it was brief, but it was by far clearer than the Janet Jackson nip slip thing, and it just did not need to happen.
I’m not going to give the arguments that were made at me much print since I don’t want to expend any more of my precious time to even encapsulate them. I’m sure you can imagine. It was basically “Prude” and “Adam Levine had no shirt last year” and “U watch violence” and my personal fave “ur kid already watches internet porn”!
No, I assure you, they don’t.
The absolutely stunning thing about all this (and the actual reason I’m writing this essay instead of just letting it go, Jake, it’s Liberaltown, you can’t expect shit to make any fucking sense here, because it doesn’t) is that these passionate brouhaha commenters didn’t even know what I was complaining about. They had no idea JLo had done anything beyond wearing slighty risque attire and bebopping around. It simply confirmed their priors to jump to the very huge conclusion that all conservatives are flying off the handle at seeing girls in sparkly swimsuits gyrate and they were off to the races, not caring to slow down enough to even find out what I was actually concerned about, let alone not caring enough to realize I was actually CRITICIZING THE CONSERVATIVE RESPONSE in my original Tweet. They came to my Twitter feed to make fun of me and the people like me and then feigned befuddled confusion that I might have a problem with their behavior, simultaneously managing to entirely undermine the conservative-critical point I was making when they did it.
Some of these people are cool people too. Not a-holes. Well, a couple of them were decidedly a-holes, but I don’t care about them. My upsettedness comes from the snapjudgementalism of the people I like who are apparently willing to immediately lump me in with the Bible Brigade Biddies, when I was really making a nuanced argument that was ACTUALLY ABOUT FEMINISM. More than that, when I tried to correct them since they were so totally wrong about what I was even saying, some of these folks made it perfectly clear they didn’t care a fig for my opinion or feelings and instead tripped all over themselves rushing to tell me how wrong I was again, only louder. They were willing to happily ride roughshod over a woman making a feminist argument in order to joyously mock prudish conservatives, high fiving each other and doing shirtless chest bumps, only thankfully figuratively because not even Adam Levine gets by with that shit.
I don’t quite see how I can interpret any of that as being anything other than tribalism > feminism, I really don’t. Dunkin on cons is wayyyy more fun than listening to some feminist harpy, amirite boys?
Hey and by the way, don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back telling yourself what a good ally you are any time soon, dickweeds.
These dudes came rolling up to shoot me down based on me allegedly being a prude and they HADN’T EVEN WATCHED THE HALFTIME SHOW, didn’t know what had happened, did not know that woman had just feigned masturbation on national television, and some of them did not even bother to read my original tweet in which I was criticizing a conservative for their response to the halftime show. (!!!!!) They were just incredibly fucking sure they knew the score, entirely fucking convinced they had the market on reality cornered, and were so very happy to see the Church Lady whereever they looked, even in their adorable and totally outrageous friend atomic, and so they couldn’t bring themselves to shut the fuck up even when repeatedly asked to.
Tell me how this is any different from someone who’s never read Harry Potter crying “Witch!”
It isn’t. It isn’t at all. It’s the behavior of people who are blind with prejudice, engaging in tribalism as ridiculous as anyone with a colorfully painted face screaming at a football game, going through the world assuming that everyone they encounter who ain’t on their team is a stereotype of a caricature who never actually existed.
Some of these people probably think I’m being unfair, and I am, but this is my blog, and I get to be unfair here. I’m tired of playing fair and giving the benefit of every doubt to people who don’t extend me the same courtesy, like, seriously ever, even though I slave away over a hot keyboard creating mountains of content for their ungrateful asses.
So tell me this, Liberal Geniuses of the Internet – do we as a culture have to have any standards of decency or is it anything goes? Will the Superbowl halftime show in 2040 be brought to you by Astroglide and feature people actually fucking on there, and if anyone has a problem with their kids seeing that, well, they shouldn’t let them watch a sportsball match in the first place because violence is OHBVEEUSLEE just the same as sex. UR A BAD PARENT!
(Record scratch…sex and violence – if football is violence, which I do not concede – ain’t the same thing, yo. They aren’t the same at all, and I can prove that because after u watch porn, u want to have sex, like, right then and there, immediately if not sooner, and I have watched a lot of dudes play football and a lot of shows where people slice other people with swords and headbutt each other and I’ve never wanted to do any of those things, and certainly not within 2 minutes of watching. But hey, by all means, keep lying about reality, liberals, you’re really convincing me of how I should vote for your candidates and let you run the whole entire world. That’s sarcasm since u seem to have such a dreadfully hard time understanding the subtle nuances of the shit I say.)
Because just as I’d fully agree the liberals had a point with tearing the old sexually repressive ways down, the conservatives have a point too in saying enough is enough already. Somewhere between burqas and Tijuana donkey shows there’s gotta be some kind of line where most of us look around and say “ok this is a pretty good place to set our boundary, where most of us aren’t going around offended most of the time and small children don’t need the terms “santorum” and “filthy sanchez” defined for them, yet most of us have the freedom to dress how we would like within reason and adults can enjoy some titillating entertainment in venues in which titillation is appropriate.
(helpful hint – The Superbowl is NOT one of those venues, and don’t you dare come at me with “shirtless Adam Levine, double standards because a chick pretending to masturbate is just as explicit as a dude without his shirt on OHBVEEUSLEE.” Heads up – first of all, I thought Shirtless Levine was tacky as hell too, but more importantly, men and women are not the same. MEN AND WOMEN ARE NOT THE SAME and the rules governing our public sexual behavior are therefore different for a wide variety of reasons any person not completely drunk on partisan KoolAid would admit. You can shout ur rage at the sky about how unfair it is chicks can’t go round without their titties swinging free all you like, but it doesn’t make it a fact that men and women have the same sexual reactions to stuff because they DON’T. Women can see men without a shirt and not go berserk, whereas men, particularly of the youngish variety of whom God has entrusted four of the little bastards into my care – not so much. Whether that is innate or cultural is irrelevant, I don’t give two shits what happens “in nature”, it’s absolutely the case in America 2020, and again, pretending otherwise simply reveals to me the utter disingenuousness of liberal arguments on this topic.)
And furthermore, claiming “parents need to raise their sons not to be misogynistic rapey toxic masculinity bastards, don’t objectify women” out of one side of your mouth while telling me “JLo’s visbly shaved pussy needs to be exhibited on TV in front of your pubescent sons during a national sporting event with a thin strap of sparkly material covering it and how dare you complain about ur sons seeing that because head injuries and Adam Levine and also by the way let’s throw Shakira’s wiggly ass in there too” has gotta be the most whiplash-inducing set of directives since Liz Warren told me we needed a president that was honest and forthright.
Forget it, Jake, it’s Liberaltown.
Enough is enough already. Why is is so EEEVVULLLL of me to want some areas of human existence that don’t involve people masturbating? Why is it EEEVVULLLL of me to want a safe space for my kids to grow up without seeing sex before they’re ready? I’m not the one being unreasonable here, Sport, it’s you. I’m just trying to be a good mama. My requests for a few tiny pockets of this world to remain somewhat sex-free and suitable for a family to enter them together are perfectly reasonable and relatively minor and I am not a bad person or a hypocrite for making them. Let there be some family shit for families without thrusting pelvises, ok? Why is that so fucking hard?
WHY DO YOU WANT SEX ON THE SUPERBOWL? Why? Why is this a necessity? Why is JLo’s twat in the Superbowl up there with Mom and apple pie for you? Do you even know? You want to peddle sex to children, to LITTLE CHILDREN, you want sex everywhere in every thing all the time, you want cartoon characters and Muppets to have sexualities for some reason even, and you don’t even know why. I think I know why, but I’m not telling, because it’s a nuanced argument and I’m fed up with making nuanced arguments to people so stupefied with tribalism that they basically have adult-onset Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Long story short – “Our team Good, our team have boobies. Ur team BAD, ur team have no boobies.”
Did ya get that one or did you need me to dumb it down a little more for ya?
Again, I say, once upon a time, liberals were correct to kick down some old and dusty Puritanical stupidities like laws against dildos and homosexuality. I for one like very much being able to wear yoga pants and tank tops in public and not marrying the first man I kissed. These freedoms are good freedoms. These freedoms virtually all of us would agree upon, liberal and conservative alike. These freedoms are fanfuckintastic. There are women and girls, and not a few, walking around Planet Earth right now who have had their clitoris surgically removed to prevent them from experiencing sexual pleasure. There are women and girls who risk getting stoned to death for being raped or being homosexual. In America 2020, the battle has been won, we have an insane and amazing amount of sexual freedom the likes of which no human being has ever seen, and especially not any woman.
When will it be enough for you? Ever?
Public decency is by necessity a line drawing exercise and drawing lines means that some of us who exist on the margins will have to suck it up and deal. And maybe, just maybe, the group that needs to suck it up and deal is YOU this time. Just because ur team has built its self-image around a mythology where they’re the brave superheroes bringing Shakira’s quivering tush to the deprived pre-teen masses doesn’t make you actual heroes. It’s cosplay just like about 90% of everything you #resisters do is cosplay. You don’t give a shit about kids, you don’t give a shit about women, you don’t give a shit about freedom of expression (you’re trying to erode it every goddamn chance you get, except when it involves seeing JLo’s taint apparently). You mock prudish conservatives because your movement defined itself on being pro-boobie a long time ago and you gotta go scream at your football game like the primitive tribe member you are.
The thing I learned about the Bible Brigade Biddies when I actually took the time to get to know them, is that they are concerned about modesty because they actually kind of care about girls and think they know what is best for them. They may be wrong, but their motivation (like that of a good many feminists too BTW) is to protect girls from messages that the world is telling them – to dress like a slut to make boys like you because your sexuality is the only thing that matters about you – a toxic message that I myself internalized growing up. And the Biddies’ other motivation is to protect girls from boys who get too interested in sexish stuff when they’re not old enough to handle it and may pressure girls to do things they’re not old enough to handle either. Their motive is to PROTECT those who are not capable of protecting themselves because they are still in their formative years. You may disagree about the necessity of their protection, but don’t you dare impugn their motivation.
Most conservatives aren’t Handmaid’s Tale prudes looking to keep women barefoot and pregnant and they never actually were. Most conservatives are simply people who have a different view of what the world ought to look like and a different opinion regarding what is the best way for people to live to attain maximum happiness. Like a good many myths, this myth of heroic liberals fighting prudish conservatives may have been historically useful and even somewhat true (I’m skeptical, but I’ll give it to you) but in the modern world, it’s no longer valid. YOU WON. We all won. Why not give conservatives a charitable read on their concerns, huh? We have a pretty fucking amazing level of freedom both sexually and otherwise, and all we’re asking for is a little moderation in how we exercise that freedom in certain venues.
No pretend masturbation on the Superbowl because children might be watching. Maybe forgo the stripper pole next year, and let’s do away with the up-close-and-personal crotch shots. It’s a family sporting event, not Vegas. It’s a reasonable request we’re making and is not at all extreme. That you insist on saying it’s an extreme position, I think says more about you than it does me – namely that you’re so in love with the idea your own mythology you can’t recognize a sensible, legitimate argument when you see one.
10 thoughts on “JLo’s Vent”
Didn’t watch it. Asked my mom about the show and she loved it. I didn’t ask about the raciness of it because, hell, if she liked it, that’s fine. (She can to tune out the lewd and is a big fan of JLo, so why ruin it for her?) None of my kids have the slightest interest in these formerly indispensable American traditions, and I’m okay with that.
But, this is a helluva rant. I liked it a lot.
They put on a good show. This is not the kind of vent I would normally do as it’s just not something I find horrifically concerning (I was way more angry about the slasher movie commercials, this was just kinda like me saying “huh” that was a bit much) I wouldn’t normally spend my time when I could be writing about sandwiches instead LOL. But it was getting attacked on a set of assumptions by some Very Smart People that really set me off, so I couldn’t resist.
My spouse and I watched the halftime show because she likes Shakira. But I think by the time we turned it on, Shakira had already performed. And I had just finished making dinner, so we missed some of the J-Lo thing. But….
….am I right in remembering that it wasn’t just J-Lo doing her thing but a children’s choir was singing along with her? That seems to me a bridge too far–having children actually be a part of that. Maybe I’m misremembering.
As you know, I might not agree with all of your positions (here or in general), but thanks so much for putting them forth. I certainly agree with you that we should hold back on the criticisms of the so-called “Bible Brigades'” prudery. It’s also worth considering that one person’s “prudery” is another person’s “actions have consequences” and yet another person’s “maybe it’s okay for other people but I have to sit this one out because it bothers me and I’m sick of apologizing for being bothered by it.”
Sorry about the rant. Thanks, again, for writing this.
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Yes there were actual kids there performing too. Weirdly I’m more forgiving of that because I feel like the parents have some choice and say in the matter, and there’s a value in allowing kids to engage in special events, pageantry, etc. in pursuit of an artistic goal (some people might even shun things like dance altogether due to sexualizing children, but that’s never been where I’m at – if I didn’t live in the middle of nowhere where I’d have to spend my entire day driving to get anywhere, I’d have my daughter and sons if they wanted to, in dance lessons in a heartbeat and my older sons did musical theater when we lived in town).
I just didn’t like having the choice taken from me in something that is really truly a family affair. I just didn’t like the assumption being that this is what we should always expect to see every time we turn on the TV, that a decidedly PG-13 Vegas show broke out in the middle of an event that people regularly watch with their kids and grandmas.
Mostly I didn’t like getting attacked for it. 🙂
Thanks as always for your insightful comments.
Kindly asking you to avoid It (the new movie), Meatballs, Weird Science, Welcome to the Space Show, Card Captor Sakura and… aww hell.
Or, if you’d rather not avoid all of those severely sexualized media, then at least be bothered to define where your lines are.
Panty shots? Ass shots that freaking sit there for No Reason Whatsoever?
(Ahem. We know the reason. We’re adults)