M.I.A.’s social graces during halftime went missing in action

In 2004, it was Janet Jackson’s boob. In 2012, it was M.I.A.’s middle finger.

To be honest, I only watched about 15 total minutes of the Super Bowl on Sunday. It’s hard for me to care about the NFL past the regular-season games, which is usually when the Cleveland Browns have reached their expiration date.

Those 15 minutes that I watched included a couple disappointingly mundane commercials and part of the halftime show, where I luckily tuned in just in time to see the pseudo-Egyptian goddess flipping off the camera while pairing that ladylike gesture with a couple choice words.

It truly amazes me the lengths that celebrities will go to just to get some publicity. And when I say celebrities, I mean people who never really were that famous and have to try to claw back into the limelight.

Let’s be honest; “Paper Planes” really wasn’t that great, besides being annoyingly catchy. Its only saving grace is that it was featured in a couple scenes of “Slumdog Millionaire.” But I’m pretty sure that movie would’ve been just fine without it.

Sunday’s halftime show would have been just fine without M.I.A., too. It was never meant to be about her. It was about Madonna promoting her new album. Sure, I prefer old Madonna to new Madonna any day, but the woman’s an icon. And Nicki Minaj will always be a guilty pleasure of mine. M.I.A. was the third-string performer for the evening and yet it was her name that was splattered all over the headlines the next day. I’m sure Madonna was not happy about that.

A performance that had such potential to be simply entertaining and classy was undermined by one obscure singer’s juvenile cry for attention. Instead of viewing her chance to perform in such a widely viewed venue as a privilege, she went for the complete opposite approach.

I don’t understand the sudden need celebrities seem to have to shock and, in many cases, disgust. I will never understand Lady Gaga’s insatiable desire to drape herself in raw meat, for one thing, but at least she has talent and some actual accomplishments to her name.

If before M.I.A. was just looked at as underachieving, now she’s succeeded in making herself look truly pathetic.

The most irritating part of it is that people are attacking the network, NBC, and the NFL for the incident. It seems like the wrong people are being criticized here. How can NBC or the NFL be held accountable for something they could never have predicted from an artist whose sole purpose was just to supplement Madonna?

I understand the concern people have. Things like Janet’s wardrobe malfunction and this latest stunt can’t be a precedent for Super Bowls to come. Pretty soon they’ll have to start recording them ahead of time and having holograms of these people dancing around on the field.

But it really isn’t the network’s fault. NBC is run by humans, regular people, who would and should expect a hired, paid performer to act like a professional on stage, not a complete and total idiot.

All these outraged parents should really take their torches and pitchforks and bash in M.I.A.’s door instead.

CHRISTINE PEFFER

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