Tuned In

The Artist Formerly Known As Sexually Dangerous

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Prince performs during the American Idol Season 5 Finale in Hollywood in May, 2006.

CBS’s announcement that Prince will be the musical headliner of the upcoming Super Bowl is a step forward for the show’s musical interest (following on the last two, even older-and-less-relevant choices, The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney). But it’s gotta be a step back for Prince’s erstwhile image as sexiest bastard ever to crotch-thrust a guitar. First he appeared on American Idol, the white-bread standard for universally inoffensive entertainment, and now he’s this year’s official Safe Alternative to Janet Jackson’s Breasts?

I just wept a little, for my lost youth and America’s lost libido. What has our society come to when Prince is the guy you can trust not to sexually offend 120 million middle Americans? What has Prince come  to? The man whose "Darling Nikki" set Tipper Gore off on her record-labeling crusade? The man who appeared nude on the Lovesexy cover with a strategically-placed flower stamen where his, er, stamen would have been? Has he gotten that clean, or have we gotten that dirty?

Fortunately, what pop stars and TV networks choose to forget, YouTube now remembers for eternity. Journey back with me to 1980, a more innocent, which is to say less innocent, time…

…and let’s say a prayer that this guy is the one who decides to show up in uniform at the big game.