There’s no shame admitting you haven’t seen Janet Jackson’s breast

What did I miss?! Though it’s been nearly a decade since the introduction of the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” to the world vernacular during the 2004 Super Bowl, the fact that I missed that historic broadcasting moment continues to be the subject of ridicule by several of my so-called friends.

As luck would have it, in the same instant that 90 million viewers were gawking at Janet Jackson’s breast, I was picking a tortilla chip off the floor. The sequence of events leading up to that fateful moment went as follows:

1) While watching Janet Jackson dance in a highly suggestive manner, Ned inadvertently steps on a tortilla chip.

2) Being a polite guest, he reaches down for the chip just as everyone in the room shouts “HER _ _ _ _ IS SHOWING!!”

3) In a panic, Ned tries to knock his fellow guests aside but, instead, falls forward and lodges his head between the couch and coffee table, spraining his neck.

What made this experience particularly difficult is the fact that the chip in question wasn’t even mine. Who dropped it there? I honestly don’t know. Will I ever be able to look at a tortilla chip the same way again?

Probably not.

Thanks to that chip, I am one of only eight people living in the U.S. or Canada who did not seen Janet Jackson’s breast. As I’m sure you can imagine, this has made my life extremely difficult. While others have freely discussed the controversy over what they saw, its moral implication regarding our society’s downward spiral, and the superior picture quality of a high definition television when it comes to freeze-framing, I have remained a virtual pariah because I didn’t participate in this global experience.

I’d like to remind everyone that this was not by choice. Had I known what was about to happen, I would have gladly left the chip on the floor for the dog — which, by the way, did see Janet Jackson’s breast. It doesn’t matter that he has no concept of what he saw. What matters is that, upon seeing it, he rolled over on his back and began scratching himself.

Ever since then, I have been dealing with the situation by avoiding the topic all together. If during the course of a conversation Janet Jackson’s breast pops up, I immediately change the subject with a clever segue such as, “I guess that’s why it’s called the boob tube! Ha! Ha! Speaking of boobs, how about that Congress!”

Even then, I have to be careful not to let the conversation turn into an argument over politics and, essentially, end up trading tit for tat. I can tell you that after nine years of this, I’m getting a little tired of it.

I have nothing to be ashamed of, especially since I’m the victim here.

And my lawyer agrees.

“The bottom line, Mr. Hickson, is that you didn’t see Janet Jackson’s breast — and for that, someone’s going to pay.”

That’s why, on my behalf, he has filed a lawsuit against Janet Jackson, CBS, the NFL, MTV, Frito-Lay, our dog, and the guy who cut the stage lights so fast. In addition, we may also include the two teams who actually played in the Super Bowl, just as soon as we can remember who they were.

Obviously, our case would be a lot stronger if other people were willing to join our suit and admit that, yes — they, too, have not seen Janet Jackson’s breast. I’m not saying it will be easy, but I’m asking the seven of you to please step forward and join me in sending a message to the entertainment industry that there’s a time for that kind of display. And that, in the future, we’d like to know when it is so that we can be ready.

If any of you happen to be reading this, I hope you’ll consider joining my class action lawsuit. There’s no guarantee we’ll win, but, according to my lawyer, we stand a very good chance of at least getting some free chips.

(You can write to Ned Hickson at, or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

37 thoughts on “There’s no shame admitting you haven’t seen Janet Jackson’s breast”

  1. I agree and I think one of the stipulations should be a reprisal of that same incident with Justin Timberlake, but this time to the famed SNL skit dick in a box. Hopefully, there will never be a box malfunction. I don’t think America is ready to see that.

    1. I understand your decision, and appreciate the gesture. But sharing in that cultural experience “in the moment” can’t be re-captured. And I’m reminded of that every time my dog rolls over and scratches his back. Sometimes, I think he does it on purpose.

    1. LOL! I actually had someone send me a link on Youtube but, alas, it’s not the same as sharing in that cultural experience as it happened. I’ll never be the same — and neither will my dog.

  2. I haven’t seen Janet Jackson’s breast either. But if I *had* seen it, I would not have freaked out. It’s a breast, people. Not a man-eating vagina. Just a breast. Your mother probably had two of them. Get over it.

    1. You make a good point. 🙂 And it’s not the breast so much, as missing out on the cultural broadcast experience — kind of like being in the restroom when Ellen “came out” on TV… or is that the closet…

  3. As one of the seven (I was in the kitchen making chicken wings) I felt I had to come forward. But, based on what everyone else has told me, it was no big deal. I’m a woman and really don’t feel that I’ve missed a historic occasion when Janet popped a boob to millions.

  4. I’ll join you in the class action law suit as I am one of the seven remaining people who have NOT seen Janet Jackson’s breast. Especially if it means I can get a free bag of chips. Preferably Doritos.

  5. Who couldn’t use a bag of free chips? I, too, missed the breast reveal. I was restocking the chicken wings. My husband watched, but didn’t notice. He couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. Obviously I encouraged him to seek medical attention. To his credit it was determined that his eyeglass prescription was seriously out of date.

  6. I was watching this halftime show with no distractions whatsoever and still didn’t see it emerge. If there is a bag of chips out there for the taking I’m all in.

  7. I am also one of the unfortunate 8. I was hosting a Superbowl party and all of my guests saw it. But I was busy being a good host, freshening drinks, rearranging the dip, etc. In the midst of all this gracious hosting, I missed everything but the gasps from the crowd in my living room. Well, having learned my lesson that being a good host can cause one to miss out on seeing boobies, I’ve never been a good host since.

  8. My captain and I were watching the half-time. However, we had both decided that the song was lame, as was the performance, and we started chatting, ignoring the earth-shaking event transpiring on the screen. Thus, we were ignorant of our own ignorance until we heard the sportscasters mention the alleged incident later on.
    The captain is a broken man; he stumbles around his house in bathrobe and slippers, mumbling “Why did I turn away?, Was it the right or left?”, and worries that he is secretly gay. I am in recovery, taking each day as it comes, but I feel like I have a sign on my back …I MISSED JANET’S BREAST and cannot meet the gaze of a fellow American.

    3 down, 5 to go.

    1. LOL!! I hadn’t thought about the mental anguish angle in terms of questioning my sexuality because of missing the moment! Could be worth an extra bag of chips! That said, this is one American who will gladly meet your gaze. But not a long one. It’s not like I’m gay… 😉

  9. The dumb thing was the breast was just the peak (no pun intended) of the half time show full of misogynistic and drug-referencing lyrics, aggression, etc. So the fact that it showed (and I didn’t see it either), was just one more thing. Except for a few comments in the newspapers, I didn’t hear anyone say a thing about what the half-time show had in it before that split-second.

    1. Hahaha! Very true. If not for the boob peek, I doubt anything would’ve been memorable about that performance. And it’s good to know there’s someone else who hasn’t seen JJ’s breast.

No one is watching, I swear...

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