Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Keith Rocka Knittel: "Nipplegate," 2009
Inspired by the aftermath of the Nipplegate incident during the Superbowl XXXVIII halftime show in which Janet Jackson's star-shaped nipple shield was revealed when her wardrobe "malfunctioned," I made a star-shaped sculpture out of radios that were all tuned to play an FM broadcast of remixes I'd made of a dozen or so songs that were censored by the FCC post-Nipplegate.
Nipplegate led to a crackdown on perceived indecency in broadcasting and resulted in a record half-million dollar fine levied by the FCC against CBS. The FCC also increased its fine per indecency violation from $27,500 to $325,000, resulting in widespread censorship by radio stations of music containing lyrics now dubbed "indecent" by Michael Powell, then-chairman of the FCC.
My new "Nipplegate" mixes contain only these "offensive" parts of the songs, the parts now bleeped or completely edited out of radio play. The songs include "Jet Airliner" by The Steve Miller Band, "Legs" by ZZ Top, "Genius of Love" by Tom Tom Club, "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones, "Money" by Pink Floyd, "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin, "Erotic City" by Prince, "White Horse" by Laid Back, and "Rich Girl" by Hall and Oates, all of which have been self-censored by radio or television program directors since Nipplegate.