CMI Commentary: Viacom's Endless Violations
It's so ironic that in the very midst of the Anthony Weiner Twitter scandal, television's most shameless channel, MTV, is working overtime to make any notion of sexual restraint obsolete. This year's MTV Movie Awards aerobically established a new low.
Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are starring in the upcoming summer comedy "Friends with Benefits," yet another movie exploring the "dream life" of casual and very cold sex. As they introduced the award for Best Male Performance, Timberlake and Kunis grabbed each other's private parts on national TV.
Reflect for just a moment on what Weiner did, and the medium he chose, and the audience he was addressing. Now consider this action, which was raunchier - and on national television, aimed at an audience of millions of children.
The two actors are dating in real life, but Kunis joked "We're like brother and sister." Timberlake added, "Totally platonic relationship which is why I can do this" - and he grabbed and held both of Kunis's breasts. Kunis replied: "And it's why I can do this," as she grabbed Timberlake's crotch and held on.
Yes, this "treat" is compliments of the same scummy conglomerate Viacom that let MTV run its Super Bowl halftime show on CBS in 2004, in which this same Justin Timberlake ripped bare one of Janet Jackson's breasts and scandalized a whole country.
There were no less than 20 sexual depictions or discussions during this "awards" show. There were twisted homosexual jokes, too. When actor Ryan Reynolds of the forthcoming superhero movie "Green Lantern" came on stage, the gag was that several men in the front row were having green-laser erections. To get this phenomenon to stop, Reynolds told them to imagine a naked Donald Trump in leather chaps on a white horse. MTV "Jackass" star Steve-O apologized for his arousal: "I'm sorry, dude, Donald Trump is gorgeous.I want him inside me."
"Twilight" star Robert Pattinson, a heartthrob to millions of teenaged girls, even dropped an unbleeped F-bomb. Pattinson joked to Reese Witherspoon that she was slated to play his mother in the 2004 movie "Vanity Fair," but his part was cut. This year, he played her lover in the movie "Water for Elephants" and "I did f-- you." This, he said, left him with the lesson, "As you get older, you realize it's not always a bad thing to have sexual chemistry with your mother."
Witherspoon was at least bleeped when she replied: "I played your mother, then we had a sex scene. So you're really the best mother (bleeper) in Hollywood." Classy MTV. It's where dignity goes to die.
All this vulgar talk was brought to you by advertisers like Twix, Snickers, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Sprint, and Colgate Max Clean.
As long as we're talking Viacom, let's switch from MTV to BET in discussing the utter lack of civic responsibility or taste, whether the matter is sex or violence. After rejecting several of Rihanna's videos," BET accepted the graphically violent video for "Man Down," which begins with a man getting a spurting hole blown in the back of his head.
In a statement, the network declared "BET has a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines that are applied to all of our conduct. The Rihanna `Man Down' video complied with these guidelines and was approved for air. At the same time, it is clear that the `Man Down' video has sparked a passionate dialogue."
That's true, because it's obvious that BET either doesn't adhere to standards or just doesn't have them. Critics were passionate in their opposition. Paul Porter, a former BET program director now with the watchdog group Industry Ears, smelled a deal: "It's pretty obvious what is going on here. BET said no to Rihanna's `S&M' and `Russian Roulette,' but cut a deal to support `Man Down' for a performance at this year's `BET Awards' show."
Rev. Delmon Coates of the Enough Is Enough campaign added: "In a letter to me, Debra Lee, the CEO of Black Entertainment Television, stated, `BET does not air music videos that contain graphic or excessive sexual activity or violence'.The network says one thing to the public, but does another thing in practice."
Once again, Rihanna is milking her domestic-violence history with pop star Chris Brown to make that infamy into money and buzz. Given her history, you might think she would try not to encourage other women to "solve their problems" by glamorously committing murderous revenge. But she went on Twitter and protested she didn't have to be a parent.
"The music industry isn't exactly `Parents Are Us,'" she proclaimed. "We have the freedom to make art." Perhaps that's what Anthony Weiner should have tried as an argument. His vulgar tweets weren't aiming to be moral lessons. They weren't a sign of cultural decline. They were "art."