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SYTYCD Upskirt Scandal: News Flash or Non-Flash?

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So last night on So You Think You Can Dance, an aspiring contestant reacted to some good news by rolling on the floor in her short skirt, exposing her bare crotch to primetime America and inviting the wrath of the FCC. Unless she didn’t. After the video and stills were posted online, SYTYCD producer Nigel Lythgoe made the seeming statement of admission to TMZ, “The show was always designed to expose talent, but not in this way.” But then Fox and Lythgoe released statements saying that the dancer was “wearing flesh-toned dance gear.”

This incited a hubbub and further dissection of the video online (here’s your new Zapruder film courtesy of Gawker), and—oh, dear God, I am a grown man with a college degree and I am writing about this for a living. OK, let me issue my own statements on the subject for now:

1. If we have to debate and analyze the footage frame by frame, and yet still can’t determine for certain whether any bare nether bits were flashed, does it matter what the contestant was wearing? Whether the girl was wearing a leotard or nothing, in practice we saw the same thing, a momentary undeterminable blur—which only shows how ridiculous this kind of “controversy” is. Is there some sort of platonic model of obscenity, such that seeing bare skin (yet thinking you may not have seen it) is somehow automatically dirtier than not seeing bare skin (and yet believing that you did see it)?

2. Pursuant to #1, if there’s enough doubt that the entire Internet can look at the video and be unable to determine if we’re getting flashed a woman’s uncovered genitalia, do you think, Fox, that you might just decide to skip showing an upskirt shot on primetime TV anyway?

Shorter version: can we all just be rational, not freak out and, oh yeah, exercise some judgment? I know, we won’t. But a guy can dream.

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