Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 2004 / 17 Shevat, 5764

Bill O'Reilly

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American culture exposed



http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Paris Hilton and I hung out together at the Super Bowl. Well, that may be overstating things a bit. Twice I happened to find myself standing next to her at parties, but the woman had no idea who your humble correspondent was. Instead, her vacant look clearly signaled to the world the essence of her philosophical outlook: "Here I am."

The Super Bowl and Miss Hilton were perfect companions, as both are glitzy, hyper and well financed. And the event itself accurately portrays what is good and what is bad about America. The actual game was magnificent; hard-working athletes performed heroically on both teams, and the competition was breathtaking. American society was built by hard work, competition and self-reliance. All of that was reflected on the field.

But the excesses of the Super Bowl got just as much attention as its champions. Janet Jackson's sleazy halftime performance symbolizes the debasement that has befallen American culture. But far from being outraged, I'm glad Ms. Jackson and the Timberlake kid did what they did. Now there is nowhere for the purveyors of crude to hide.

Let's walk through this. As a regular guy, I have no problem with Janet Jackson's chest. Quite the contrary, if the diva were to offer me a private look, I'd charter a plane. However, Ms. Jackson's halftime exposition was inappropriate and disrespectful. If she is capable of one lucid moment, she had to know that millions of families were watching the performance and her sexual writhing and breast baring would offend many of them.

But like Madonna and Miss Spears, Janet simply did not care. She makes a ton of money acting lasciviously, and blank you if you don't like it.

I got a great kick out of MTV and the NFL honchos being shocked, just shocked that something crude happened on stage. MTV produced the program, and for years that outfit has reveled in debauchery. It should be named DTV. I mean, come on, what did the moguls expect would happen when Kid Rock, Nelly and the rest took the stage? In the world of rock and hip-hop anything goes, the more provocative the better.

Perhaps now Americans will face the facts. Our popular culture has collapsed. For every Beyonce who shows a bit of class, there are dozens of performers who can't write lyrics about whores, glocks and drugs fast enough. The sex and violence available on the net, CDs and DVDs is numbing. Children are exposed to a constant media barrage of degenerate behavior, and if they want a break, commercial television now offers them a variety of "reality" programs where they can watch people eat bugs and demean women.




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Of course the rich and powerful in this country couldn't care less about all this. Howard Dean, for example, doesn't know what all the fuss is about vis--vis Ms. Jackson. You won't be hearing much about the debasement of our culture in the upcoming presidential race because, more than likely, the candidates will be contributing to it with slanderous personal attacks on one another.

Here's why all this matters: Children who admire crude performers are likely to incorporate some of those attitudes into their own lives. Already you see millions of young Americans covered with tattoos, unable to speak proper English, unwilling to read a book or a newspaper. How do you think these people are going to compete in our hypercompetitive economic marketplace? The answer is that millions of them will be unable to compete and will be doomed to a low wage existence. IBM will not hire you if you have a tattoo on your neck. And P. Diddy won't help you either.

So maybe this Super Bowl halftime controversy will finally wake some people up. American culture has collapsed, and big corporations are responsible. However, they, Janet Jackson and the MTV executives are laughing all the way to the bank. A bank millions of young Americans may never even need if they continue to buy into this garbage.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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