Before February 1, 2004, America was an innocent flower. (American) Football was our game, fun for the whole family, and we treasured it so. And then, during the Halftime Show of Super Bowl XXXVIII, the ultimate in family-friendly American spectacle and pageantry, the unthinkable happened. And it ruined everything. We caught sight of a nip. And not just any nip: Janet Jackson's nip. And it was Justin Timberlake's fault! Oh the humanity, former captain of N*SYNC baring the breast of a Jackson! I don't think I need to take you through the gory details.

Despite the incident being 10 years ago, we all remember it, and the pain and the scars, like they were yesterday. Nudity is a big deal to us Americans. CBS was fined upwards of half a million dollars, had to deal with thousands of complaints from angry viewers, Viacom and CBS subsidiaries went so far as to blacklist Janet's songs and videos from their networks for a stretch, and the incident generally created a ripple effect across the industry; everyone suddenly went on High Nudity Alert.

Let us forget that the lyric that accompanied the stripping of Janet's garment has JT singing, "I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song." (He's a man of his word!) Let us put aside the fact that parents let their young kids listen to JT, including this lyric, like it's just another cheeky line. Let us ignore that six months prior, we saw Britney Spears stick her tongue down Madonna's throat. (Which we loved.) Let us, for the umpteenth time, put away the ridiculous American standard, whereby violence, including men in pads standing two feet from each other and repeatedly ramming into each other for three hours, is A-OK, but show a 12 year old a butt crack and all hell breaks loose. In the wake of the wardrobe malfunction (a phrase that can now be found in the dictionary), there was all this controversy over whether or not it was planned. All parties still claim 'no', but everyone who saw it is pretty convinced the answer is 'yes'. Either way, why was this such a big deal in the first place?!

What it really did was show the true divide in our country. We are not divided by our public politics, red and blue, healthcare and immigration, but our private politics, our views on decency. Just as thousands of people took to the phone and the internet to condemn Janet (but, interestingly, not Justin, the person who quite literally pulled it off), more people sought out the nip slip and consumed it with abandon. The wardrobe malfunction heard 'round the world is in the Guinness Book of World Records as "Most Searched in Internet History". A nipple, guys. On the internet. Land of porn.

  • The parody we were all waiting for.

America's puritanical views on nudity have never made much sense to me. Everyone has nipples. Every single living person on this Earth has at least two nipples. And each person sees his or her own every day. What is so dirty and wrong and dangerous about a grown woman's? Not MIA flicking off the camera, not even Miley simulating from-behind sex with Robin Thicke came close to causing the stir that Janet Jackson's boob did. And thanks to careful television producers, we may never see the likes of it again.

YouTube creator Jawed Karim has said that Janet's nip slip, in all its search-ability and notoriety, led to the creation of YouTube. And now that YouTube has matured into the glorious internet time-suck we all know and love, I think all you decency curmudgeons owe Ms. Jackson an apology. And a debt of gratitude. You can go back to your cat vids now.