Sasha Frere-Jones Gives Middle Fingers to Critics of M.I.A.’s Middle Finger

02/07/2012 12:45 PM |


Well, it’s not like we couldn’t see this one coming from a million miles away. Janet Jackson’s stray nipple was met, perhaps one-upped, by M.I.A. acting in typical M.I.A. fashion during the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. American viewers witnessed the rapper flipping the bird, which deeply offended some people’s selectively wholesome sensibilities. Apologies from the NFL, NBC and M.I.A. were subsequently issued, and now there’s the possibility of M.I.A. paying up a fine to the FCC. Blah blah, our inflamed Puritan eyeballs, yes, yes, more blessed, offensive Super Bowl commercials instead, yes, and please pass the Doritos.

One critic, however, wasn’t as complacent about this series of events. The New Yorker‘s resident pop culture critic, Sasha Frere-Jones, had his own message to deliver to Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, who had just published a statement of the PTC’s displeasure online.

Unless somebody was handing out Xanax with the foam fingers, Lucas Oil Stadium was ringing with the music of profanities last night. More to the point, television viewers were submitted to ad after ad that likened women—negatively—to sofas, cars, and candy. Mr. Winter didn’t have anything to say about that, so I’d like to raise both of my middle fingers to him and anyone who thinks profanity is somehow more harmful to our children than images of violence and misogyny. [New Yorker]

Frere-Jones defended M.I.A.’s artistic value as a provocateur, which okay, one can either agree or disagree with, but also pointed out the undeniable hypocrisy of Winter’s admonishment and some similar responses to the event. “I say we get out of The Pretending To Be Moral game altogether and use the Internet for important things like posting pictures of cats looking at croissants and PDFs of sensitive government documents,” Frere-Jones wrote.

Of course, on top of this, some offended New Yorker commenters responded to Frere-Jones’ use of the profane, creating a swirling vortex of meta-insult.


And then there was this bit of douchebaggery:


It just goes to show that even the New Yorker‘s internet commenters are not immune to the ugliest kind of trolling. Still, perhaps it was a New Yorker internet commenter who made the best point of all in this mess:


Perhaps it is weird that M.I.A.’s middle finger and the cycle of insult that followed is just as much a part of Super Bowl entertainment as the Super Bowl itself. But hey, who’s excited for next year’s mass affront? Middle fingers crossed for some mooning.

3 Comment

  • I think NFL should apologize for that intentional grounding call vs Brady.

  • People just need to chill the fuck out! Why is it ok to use the word bitch, ass, stupid on TV? Those are badwords that are frequently being use all the time. MIA didn’t even say the word, a gesture is nothing. Anyone who got offended should go after those beer commercial for promoting the use of it to have fun. That to me is worse cause that make kids want to get drunk and party and do stupid shit. and enough with the ” halftime sucked”, it may well have sucked for you, but not to the additional 4 million people who tuned in just to watch it.

  • NFL should apologize for turning their championship game into a circus, a commercial clusterfuck.