In a motion to recognize the year 2004, essentially, the Supreme Court has declared that it is officially time to shut up about Janet Jackson's briefly exposed areola at the Super Bowl, the tiny patch of flesh that has become the battleground for a larger war over broadcast decency standards ever since. Today the Court—which has had to deal with enough controversial decisions for one week, thanks—decided not to consider reinstating a $550,000 FCC fine levied against CBS, refusing to hear an appeal or basically listen to anyone talk about Janet Jackson's nipple anymore. "Jesus Christ, enough," the official Court ruling may or may not read, perhaps adding a sub-clause of "It's not like you even saw a nipple."
The decision comes just over a week after the Court punted on similar FCC cases regarding the fleetingly glimpsed nudity on an episode of NYPD Blue and the even more fleeting expletives uttered on awards shows—one of which has been rendered so especially meaningless by time that it was officially attributed to "a person named Nicole Richie," whom scholars claim once held some sort of totemic significance to our ancestors. In that case, the Court dismissed the FCC's fines not on their constitutionality (or lack thereof), but because they'd failed to give proper notice to the networks that they were in violation.
The Jackson case also hinges on a technicality—that the FCC's rules on fleeting nudity weren't clear at the time Justin Timberlake ripped off Jackson's costume, instantly sending the nation spiraling into a depraved decade of godless self-gratification—but in this latest ruling, the Court emphasized that such allowances won't be made anymore, as the FCC's stance on fleeting nudity and expletives has become much more definitive now by years and years of talking about this shit in exhausting detail. "Any future `wardrobe malfunctions' will not be protected on the ground relied on by the court below," Justice John Roberts said in a statement, also adding that calling it a "wardrobe malfunction" in the first place "strained the credulity of the public." Regrettably he did not go one step further by saying that, by decree of the highest Court in the land, no one will ever say the words "wardrobe malfunction" again, on penalty of torture. But let's just pretend he did.
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