Bust untrussed: An exclusive interview with Janet's breast

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With a mixture of defiance and contrition, Janet Jackson's breast suddenly emerged from self-imposed exile, both to quell the furor caused by its sudden disclosure on the Feb. 1 Super Bowl and to capitalize on the ensuing publicity. In an exclusive interview with Ad Age, the unmanageable mammary reflected on media, marketing, and the culture of celebrity that fuses-and infuses-both.

Ad Age: You've been in hiding for two weeks. Why come out now?

Janet's Breast: I wanted to make a clean brea -

AA: -- Breast of it?

JB: Please. Break with the past.

AA: What are your concerns?

JB: Too much exposure isn't good. Look at Anna Nicole Smith's. Or Jenny McCarthy's. They flopped. It's not a risk I wanted to take.

AA: Cognoscenti are saying you consciously timed two releases: yours, and the new CD.

JB: Cynics! My career comes second. Integrity means everything to me.

AA: So this had nothing to do with media synergy, flagging sports ratings, young men disappearing from the TV audience or erectile-dysfunction ads?

JB: I'd like to answer that question with a question: Why do you think NBC felt compelled to announce it would not expose an 80-year-old woman's breasts on "ER?"

AA: Are you intimating that sex sells?

JB: So much so that even the lack of sex sells-as long as it's publicized.

AA: Does this have implications for the coming presidential race?

JB: I think John Kerry's got it locked up. After all, he's a Boston bra-man.

AA: Ouch.

JB: Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

AA: Let's get back to the controversy. Reality shows have featured group sex, sex with midgets, gay sex and badly decorated apartments. Why the commotion over an undressed chest?

JB: Nothing frightens Americans more than a wardrobe malfunction. It reminds of the fragility of daily life. I bet most of your readers still remember the Talon Zipper ads-with a shudder.

AA: By the way, what was it you were wearing?

JB: A propeller.

AA: A propeller?!

JB: For lift?

AA: I don't believe it.

JB: OK. It was a yin-yang star. A martial-arts weapon. You think I trust Justin Timberlake?

AA: Speaking of revelations, what about Pete Rose's admission he gambled on baseball?

JB: I got more elevation than his book did. He may make it into the Hall of Fame, but if the market's any judge, it won't happen until he's dead.

AA: What about President Bush's admission that there probably weren't weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

JB: He's even more exposed than me! Too bad he couldn't tell the truth: We didn't go to war with Iraq; we went to war against Saudi Arabia. We just fought the battle in Iraq.

AA: Quite sagacious for a mere breast!

JB: I've had media training to make the transition from gland to brand.

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