February 2, 2004

That Renegade Breast Again. Alessandra Stanley is being deliciously cruel to poor Janet Jackson in tomorrow’s NYT:
Even trussed as she was in a shiny "Matrix"/dominatrix outfit, Janet Jackson, 37, has never had much luck being taken seriously as a sex symbol …

[T]he one moment of honesty in that coldly choreographed tableau was when the cup came off and out tumbled what looked like a normal middle-aged woman's breast ….

She’s even harsher toward CBS, putting its denials about the Janet Jackson matter in context with other recent CBS denials:
CBS insisted there was no quid pro quo when it sent Pfc. Jessica Lynch a letter suggesting that an exclusive interview with CBS News would be rewarded with other lucrative contracts within the Viacom empire.

CBS insisted that its decision to cancel the mini-series "The Reagans" had nothing to do with the right-wing lobbying campaign that threatened a boycott of advertisers' products.

And the network insisted that it did not sweeten a deal with Michael Jackson to secure a "60 Minutes" interview with him after his arrest last November as the network was preparing a Michael Jackson entertainment special.

Stanley's got a little denial going for herself--"One does not have to subscribe to conglomerate conspiracy theory to be suspicious"--but the point is, CBS has become a bit of a laughstock and Stanley's done a nice job of marshalling the evidence, putting Jackson's breast in context, and deftly calling attention to "the fungible walls between news and entertainment, and between art and commerce."

(Yeah, "fungible" isn't the right word--permeable? flimsy?--can't they check that stuff?)

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