The Super Bowl is an annual tradition where millions of Americans gather around their televisions to watch football, sing-along to love songs dedicated to smart-phones, and occasionally register dismay over "shocking" gestures during the halftime show. Eight years ago, it was the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Last night, it was the increasingly silly M.I.A. showing off her middle finger during perhaps the gayest halftime entertainment not involving Up With People in Super Bowl history.
If you were too busy eating hot wings or tweeting about why the hell LMFAO got invited to perform with Madonna to notice the naughty protruding digit, you can see it crystal-clear in the photo above. Since there happened to be a TV camera on M.I.A. at the precise moment that the offending bird was set adrift, there likely won't be any sort of subterfuge attempting to explain it away. (Oh wait, nevermind.) It certainly seemed like a calculated maneuver by a once-respected artist now entering her "desperate for attention and, dammit, it worked!" period. The sour note came in what was otherwise an excessively campy and mostly likable extravaganza of over-the-top homo-eroticism and messianic pop-star posturing, culminating with Madonna immolating herself during "Like A Prayer" in the service of world peace. It was like a time capsule of social taboos that have been de-fanged over the past two decades.
NBC and the NFL have already issued apologies about the incident, professing ignorance and distancing themselves from M.I.A.'s actions. If you did miss it, check out the video below. [via Billboard]