The finger seen ’round the world

By Ryan Hester |Staff Writer|

At this year’s super bowl half time show,  it wasn’t a nip slip that shocked everyone, but rather a flip slip.

During Madonna’s performance of her new single “Give Me All Your Luvin,” with rapper Nicki Minaj, M.I.A, also known as Maya Arulpragasam,  flipped her middle finger in front of millions of viewers during television’s most watched broadcast of the year.

Since dropping her biggest hit, “Paper Planes,” in 2007, M.I.A. has been, well, missing in action.

M.I.A. did not make it known through rehearsals that she would be doing the explicit gesture.

Towards the  end of her performance, she seemed to mutter “I don’t give a shit,” at one point, though it was hard to hear her clearly.

The screen momentarily blurred after M.I.A.’s gesture in what was a late attempt — by less than a second — to cut out the camera shot.

NBC had a five-second video delay on the show, but managed to blur M.I.A’s raised finger only after it appeared on air, according to USA Today.

According to TMZ, M.I.A. signed a contract with the NFL in which she, “…agreed to indemnify the NFL for any money it might be forced to pay if the FCC comes down on the Peacock Network [NBC].”

The NFL and NBC television network are apologizing for another controversial Super Bowl halftime show.

“The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show,” NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said. “Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.”

It provoked comparisons to 2004′s infamous halftime show when Janet Jackson’s nipple was briefly exposed.

The Jackson incident resulted in the FCC going after CBS, and inspired a broadcast-wide tightening of the content standards of live telecasts.

Ironically, the NFL took over production of the annual Super Bowl halftime show after Jackson’s performance, to have better control of the content.

M.I.A.’s “flip slip” seems less likely than the Jackson’s blunder to outrage viewers and watchdog groups since it didn’t involve nudity. On the other hand, it was aggressively deliberate.

“The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy to The Huffington Post.

Madonna had admittedly been nervous about her performance, hoping to position herself as the queen of a new generation of pop stars with an opulent show and a sharp performance that mixed her new release with more familiar songs.

She seemed like Roman royalty when muscle-bound men carried her extravagant throne across the football field to the stage for her opening song, “Vogue.”

In spite of all the controversy, the simple truth is that a raised middle finger shouldn’t be that bad, especially in this day and age.

It really doesn’t make sense why NBC and the NFL are trying to make this controversial.

M.I.A. has been missing from the music game for a while. It could be said that she flipped off America just to get them talking about her again.

All this fuss and vitriol could just be part of her plan.


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