Overheard on CNN.com: M.I.A.'s flipped bird takes flight after Super Bowl
M.I.A.'s middle finger was definitely not missing in action during the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday night.
February 6th, 2012
02:57 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: M.I.A.'s flipped bird takes flight after Super Bowl

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"Obscenity mars Super Bowl halftime show? I think you meant Super Bowl halftime show mars obscenity. No gesture, cursing, or wardrobe malfunction could be nearly as offensive as that 'music' was to my ears."
–HoopleDoople

It's amazing how one little finger can say so much, without actually speaking. M.I.A.'s centermost digit performed its own Super Bowl halftime show, inviting obligatory morning-after comparisons to the infamous Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" of yore. Lots of people are talking about it. Commenters, too.

Middle finger 'malfunction' mars Super Bowl halftime show

A quote from Devon Soltendieck of Montreal got people riled up.

"Can we all stop pretending #MIA flipping the Finger during the halftime show is offensive in 2012?" he asked. That got people talking.

IdahoJ: "Yeah, it is. Ever gotten the bird from another driver on the highway? Or flip it at someone who cuts ahead in a line? So yeah, we can brush it off, but we don't like it when it's us who are on the receiving end ... Point is, what's the point? All it did was cheapen the act IMO ... If obscene gestures and language is what people want to see, more power to them. Personal choice. Just stand in front of your mirror at in the privacy of your own home, make all the rude gestures and abuse yourself verbally all you want."

Saresudog: "IdahoJ, when people do that to me, I just laugh at them. When you get angry you're just empowering the person. If you have such low self esteem that a simple gesture or word angers you, than you got some real big problems. I don't know how you survive in this cruel world. Funny how we teach children about 'sticks and stones,' but a lot of adults don't seem to understand the concept. One reader said he's heard and probably said worse, but doesn't want that kind of stuff on TV. Others wondered if the whole thing was such a big deal."

Some said they've seen and done worse, but they were still bothered.

WRG01: "It was inappropriate and unnecessary. My 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter caught the word sh*t, but not the finger gesture. The idea in this piece that we should be over this sort of behavior in "2012" is an immature one. I am no prude and have seen and participated in many a vulgary (Iraq/Afghan), but are we really to act out to impress the basest level of any given audience despite the negative lesson(s) that we, as adults, are demonstrating for the youth? My kids caught the slur, because they are their father's children for sure, but MIA (not NBC or the NFL) violated our social contract. I've made an example out of her to my children as how not to behave. I hope too that the industry makes an example out of her to send the appropriate message to the youth. That is, adults are held to standards as well ... and that when people act immaturely or offensively, there will be consequences."

Jnsvd241: "If you don't want your kid speaking that way, you teach them not to. You did the right thing. But, that doesn't mean that everything should be censored. I honestly can't believe that people actually care about silly things like this. This country is so backwards sometimes."

Some said there were other things to adjust to.

azguy2008: "By the way, this show featured Madonna (known for having flashed every part of her anatomy just a couple of decades earlier), a band called 'LMFAO,' and a singer whose greatest hit was a song called 'F... You.' But, by all means, let's freak out about a finger."

This commenter said bird-flipping is pretty common on the roadways of America.

Noxxia: "So I've been preaching 'it's only as offensive as you make it.' I'll use myself as an example here. Driving. Someone almost hits me. I flip them off because the vast majority of the time, as proven by comments here and the article itself, it throws people into a hizzy. I enjoy that. Someone flips me off because I made a mistake (yeah, I'm not perfect), they drive by and flip me off. I wave and smile because frankly, I don't give a s***.

*I don't care about the bird. I do note that I made a mistake and try not to do it again. I do care about making mistakes on the road."

Lee Jones: "When are we going to stop making excuses for stupidity? I like MIA music, and I have no problem with expressing yourself, but tell me what was the point? So she flicks a bird to people watching the Super bowl and says 'I dont a sh*t.' Who is she trying to impress? See that's what bothers me about this new age ignorance, these people take some stance, but no one has a clue what it is, then when they ask the artist/actor gets all worked up and rambles off more ignorance. How about this, sing your music and act like an adult with some form of intelligence."

Others talked about violence in our society. (Bonus points below for the Barney visual.)

TennisGenius: "If someone had pulled an ak and killed people, we'd see all of it. Violence is more accepted in our society and gets a pg-13 rating. A finger no one saw is offensive because the media is making a big deal out of it and telling you what to be mad about. Think for yourself for once."

CNNFAN1977: "The point is the Super Bowl is a family event for the most part. Yes football is violent but the NFL has gone to such extent to avoid nasty injuries to get that shock factor out of the game, which pretty much limits defenders from doing anything. People keep pointing out whats out there but parents have the option to limit what there children see. So my toddlers do not watch things with AK-47s in them. The incident, even thought being blown out, is sort of like taking your kid to a Barney concert and Barney flips off the crowd, which goes back to my point SB is marketed as a family event."

Some said it's time for people to speak with their wallets.

mimikatt: "All we need to do is stop buying her music, stop buying any product that she endorses, and stop buying anything that has her name. That will teach her a lesson. She should of been excited that she was given a chance to sing along Madonna at one of the most viewed shows in America. As consumers we can "make" or "break" an artist. We have the voice, not them. So anything related to M.I.A. would be missing in action in my home - so follow my lead."

World peace is yet to come, noted this poster.

vicsc: "Madonna ends the show with 'World Peace.' MIA says gives the world the finger. Wow what a classy way to promote harmony and peace."

This person has a theory about M.I.A.'s intentions.

Soylent: "What she did makes perfect sense in context, but won't be explored in any article. MIA is from Sri Lanka, but now lives in England. Her father was a higher-up in the Tamil Tigers. For her first album she tried to tour in the US, but there's a line in the song Sunshowers that says, 'Like PLO I don't surrender.' They decided she had terrorist sympathies and denied her entry. Now the NFL decide they can make a buck on her work, and there she is in Indianapolis on the biggest prime time media stage there is, with a direct pipeline to America's living room. In her situation I'd have done the same thing. Revenge is sweet, and she has enough indie cred that she doesn't have to care if it's a bad career move. Sometimes your pride is more important."

Others suggested alternative entertainment.

POUNDTOWN: "If people want to see people prance around on stage doing all sorts of acrobatic, gymnastic feats to background music; then perhaps NBC should try and book the entire crew from Cirque Du Soliel for next year. If people want to waste hundreds of dollars watching modern music artists lip sync to their big hits, their fans go to their concerts. Here is a thought. Why don't these so called music artists, actually sing...live. No lip syncing. Oh wait I remember now. Most of them actually are terrible singers. Ever here LMFAO live without the benefits of studio recording lip syncing? If you want to know what its like, just think of a time you went out to eat and had the worst food, worst service you have ever had. That about sums it up."

Tex71: "Cirque du Soleil actually sounds like a really good idea. Genuine talent and artistic merit – what a novel concept! Hopefully the presence of trashy, artless junk like MIA at a major event like the Superbowl says more about the producers than about the American public. In view of record sales, that might be too much to hope for. But there's always hope."

A return to the classics, perhaps?

Goss68: "If we stuck with classic artists at halftime like McCartney, Springsteen, Petty, etc., then we wouldn't have this problem."

Rulerocks01: "Bring on Metallica ... then the halftime show will rock!"

BlitzNeko: "Unless you have a time machine to go back about 18 years, Metallica needs to stay forgotten ... personally I'd like to see Lars fall into a meat grinder, but thats just me..."

But this reader thought Madonna did well.

dukchagee: "Have never been a Madonna fan, and have never heard of the others. I thought that was the best halftime show in years. The halftime show will always have its detractors and will never please everyone.
Hopefully this twit MIA had a clause in her contract that will cost her for that ignorant move. M.I.A. ... is that a reference to class? It was certainly missing. Her family must be so proud. I think the fact that hardly anyone even saw the gesture is a testament to both the fact that no one was watching that buffoon MIA, and how desperate she is for attention."

Others seem to have had their tongues planted into their cheeks.

Jnsvd241: "When my son saw her flip us off he began crying hysterically and ran off into the street. You just can't imagine the emotional distress this has caused my entire family. We're never going to watch the superbowl again. An absolute disgrace."

Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Football • Music • Overheard on CNN.com • Pro football • Showbiz • Sports • Super Bowl • TV
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. SmarterthanU

    Get over it America. For a land that is so progressive, we are so uptight and cry babies over ridiculous things like this. I flip my finger to all the things that screw us everyday – recession, war, insider trading for government officials, an ineffective non-rehabilitating prison system, inequality, bailouts, no bank loans, guns, gangs, murder, drugs, corruption, tenure for horrible educators, tiny salaries for our educators, slow politics, injustice – seriously! This so called 'progressive nation' is operating ass backwards. Our recession has given everyone in the US the biggest middle finger ever and we are worried about a girl flipping the bird. How about taking that fine money and donating it to all the unemployed people that can't get a break.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeffrey

    Maybe the Championship game should go back to a 15 minute half, with Sports Center highlighting the first half of play.

    February 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LBM

    It's called having some class. Keep that kind of stuff for your own show, don't bring it to the Super Bowl.

    February 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sarah

    No one would have probably noticed if the media didn't say anything.

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    February 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    I cannot leibeve PA actually tweeted an admission that they are a vanity press!'insiders say avg vanity pub author pays $1400 in fees. with almost 40,000 authors pub'd for free, PA has saved its writers over $50 million!'

    March 13, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
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