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

In honor of today’s Super Bowl, I am harnessing the time-traveling power of Flashback Sunday to go back to that moment when I became one of only eight people who missed witnessing Janet Jackson’s big reveal…

What did I miss?! It’s been a decade since the introduction of the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” to the world vernacular during the 2004 Super Bowl. Yet 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 90 million viewers were gawking at a flash of 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.

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 10 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.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)


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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...

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

  1. Well, if you want to forward your lawyer’s contact info, I will join in your crusade, I will be strong and stand by you. Oh wait, those are Les Mis lyrics….anyway, you get the picture. My brain, too, is devoid of the burning memory of “nipplegate” and I’m not one bit sorry about that. But if we can make some money….sign me up!!!

    1. Lol! I’m not sure how many people are required for a class action lawsuit, but we’ve got nine! I think the problem will be getting a jury of our peers, since just about everyone else has seen the “evidence” already…

  2. Oh I’m in. But for a stake my friend.

    You have forgot one very important person and very important suitor and there is much more amount of money to gain here ned.
    Not sure what you are not thinking…

    Either you include me or you don’t.

    51% stake…wadda you to say to ms wonderful?

      1. Gosh ned. For the love of nippalage already. It’s just a breast. Not like you haven’t fondled one…or haven’t you?

        Anyway, JUSTIN needs to be part of the soot. First of all, let’s face facts. You knew he knew. Premeditated.
        And Frito-lay for sure. Doritos has long gone ahead making mills since with their commercials. Well played Doritos. Well played. INCLUDING any and all animals that have been involved. Add them and their owners who have signed contracts for their relentless roles too and lets not forget YouTube for all their portrayal in the time after time videos of the animals for Doritos.
        I could go on.

        I think you get me. And my 51%. But for a hamburger today I shave the 1% off….

        1. Janet and Doritos.
          Chips and a dip.
          I see where you’re going with this.
          I’ll mail you your 1 percent as soon as we settle the suit. Do you like nacho-flavored or fiery? Never mind, I’ll send a pair. Of chips.

  3. I, too, remember that day. And while I wasn’t bending down to pick up a chip, I missed the event because I was too busy coralling my four-year old son who had just toddled his way up to the big screen (someone else’s house) and smeared some yellow/green/blueberry/snot confection over the entire surface. Fortunately, the smear didn’t reach the wardrobe malfunction in question and the day was saved for the other 4.5 guests in the room…all happy, gaping, awestruck men 🙂

  4. I too have not seen Janet Jacksons boob. I blame time zones (I was in Europe at the time and was asleep when Janet and Justin did their thing). Could your lawyer add time zones to the list of parties to be sued?

    1. I think the lawyers could include it under “post traumatic stress” since, due to the time zone, it came after the traumatic event. So yes, I think you’re good.

  5. Timing, Ned. Life is all about timing. Although I did witness the malfunction (sorry – both to you and Janet Jackson – I think), I have had simlar timing boondoogles in the past (being one of the older persuation) and would like to offer a word of advice re: suing. One bitterly cold winter morning at an outpost in rural Maine, I came out of my hotel at 2:30 am to get my tractor-trailer started and when I turned the key absolutely nothing happened. Knowing full well what had failed.from previous experience, I got out my tools and a torch to solve the issue. Sliding under the tractor on the icy gound I proceeded to fix the issue. To keep the 15 inch adjustable wrench I was using in reach I set it on the framerail over my head as I worked.At that precise moment, Maine experienced an earthquake (no, I am not joking) one of five they experience every century. As I was bouncing in confusion on the ground under the truck, the wrench (all five pounds of solid, cold, machined steel) fell off the framerail and struck me exactly across the bridge of my nose doing considerabe damage. I dragged my bloody self to the clinic in a taxi, had the repairs made to my mutilated face and carried on. I consequently considered suing; 1) God ; 2) the state of Maine; 3) the wrench manufacturer (for not putting an earhquake warning on the wrench); 4) the truck manufacturer (for building a truck that broke prior to an eatherquake); 5) the motel (for allowing an earthquake on their property) and so on. I was advised by a lawyer that it was inadvisable to sue God (and the others) and would make no one happy but lawyers. On his advise, I forgave God and now I’m a much better person for it. I suggest you do the same. The End

      1. Sigh. Ned, Ned, Ned. You do realize, don’t you, that when the “unfortunate” partial dishabille condition occurred, not only was it planned to increase publicity and make more money, but the powers that be also knew that in 10 years time they would encourage a class action lawsuit that would bring the whole situation back into the public eye and give them a second chance to fill their coffers with still more publicity and money? You will give lawyers 100’s of thousands of dollars to pay for the privilege of making the rich people even richer. You are being used, my friend. Just move on – there will be other days and other breasts to see. Perhaps one will even hit you across the bridge of the nose, as you seem to so fervently wish. Be careful what you wish for – you might just get it, along with the two black eyes that ensue. You young’uns are all alike; “Just hit me in the face with a breast and I’ll be fine.” Sigh.

  6. I’m sorry, but in all good conscience I can not join your lawsuit. I saw the offending boob. And call me crazy, but no woman I know would put a pasty over her nips unless she was expecting to show off said boob. Wardrobe malfunction, my ass.

  7. We were in Brazil during the Superbowl that year, and when we got back I jokingly asked the concierge at our hotel what we missed in the US. Janet Jackson’s boob, he says. Ummmm… I thought maybe he was having a stroke or something.

  8. dude I don’t watch football and whenever I have it’s been immediately dumped from my brain… but I will never forget that I was with my entire youth group at my pastor’s house watching the Superbowl the year that happened… it was an awkward moment for all… 😀

    1. Ha! When the first play of the game ends in a safety, I believe it’s what is known as foreshadowing. And to open the second half with a TD run on the first play..?

      If this game were a book, I would have stopped reading because of its predicability. And I’m a Seahawks fan…

  9. Now the pasty may have been for practical purposes, like she didn’t want hard ones showing through the material. I didn’t see it and I am forever grateful that I have not added to my ever growing pile of PTSD. And as mine are all I ever need to look at for satisfaction, I don’t feel I have missed anything….LOL 🙂

  10. I haven’t watch the Super Bowl since grandma was a boy, so while I have heard of this nipple-oneous episode, I did not bear witness to it. It sounds like it was the opposite of “if it fits, you must acquit”. It certainly did not fit, and people were having fits. Of joy. Of sadness. Of opportunites missed. ouch…sorry, I hit a sore spot. I am sorry to hear about this grave psychological storm to hit. Best get it off your chest because she got if off her chest, no? It’s just a dirty affair, from day one, to be honest.

    Funny thing is this – I just finished writing a post I started yesterday talking about…a boob. Great minds, or just male minds, perhaps. It’s something in the air. A bit nippy, yes?

    Cheers – great stuff.

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