Europeans are convinced that we're a nation obsessed with breasts.
That's the word from the weekly newsmagazine The Week, which in a recent issue put together a roundup of European newspaper opinion pieces on the Super Bowl halftime show that exposed one of Janet Jackson's breasts.
"Anglo-Saxon morality" is hard to understand, El Mundo of Spain said in an editorial. "If this had happened in Spain, people would have merely laughed. But millions of Americans were scandalized, and are demanding that everyone connected with the incident be punished for polluting the airwaves. Is America still a nation of Puritans?"
Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung weighed in thusly:
"How reassuring to the rest of the world that the U.S. has its priorities straight. We, the poorly informed old Europeans, wouldn't have realized that Jackson's breast was a more important issue than Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction. But the U.S. media is covering the breast-baring incident like the story of the century."
The paper in Munich chimed in:
"Newspapers and TV are pretending to share the public's indignation, but the coverage is gleeful, leering and laced with double-entendres. What's particularly hard for Europeans to grasp is a moral standard that allows every Uzi and explosion to be shown but - for God's sake - no breast."
Brian Flynn in the London Sun wrote:
"There's no comprehending the uptight Yanks. They keep all their raunchy shows on cable. The broadcast networks still have to meet ultra-strict decency rules. In most of Western Europe, bare breasts can be seen on TV in the middle of the day, on commercials for razors or moisturizing cream. Movies with topless scenes are routine on evening television. And Italy even has a game show on which contestants strip down to their underpants. But in America, a two-second boob flash is grounds for a national meltdown."
Terrence Blacker in the London Independent had the best line, though.
"Perhaps we should all grow up and stop making such a juvenile fuss over breasts. It's not just the Americans who are obsessed with them. In Britain, too, we've turned breasts into fetishized sex objects. To conform to immature male fantasies, scores of women are headed off to surgeons to turn what nature gave them into overinflated footballs.
"Enough is enough. The breast should be officially deregistered as an erotic zone."
Copyright 2003 The Capital Times