Aoife Finneran: Beyonce's cleavage is the least of our children's worries
IT'S one of the great mysteries of our time. Why, when we're all mired in shame and misery because of everything from the weather to the crippled economy, do the powers-that-be attempt to crush the last remaining bit of light out of our day?
There are many offenders, but for today I'm focusing my gripes on the Advertising Standards Authority (the uptight UK version of the species) which has banned Beyonce's new perfume ad from daytime television.
Apparently the footage of Miss Bootylicious writhing in a skimpy red silk dress is "too provocative" to be viewed by children.
Instead, Beyonce will have to wait until after 7.30pm each evening to flaunt Heat, the fragrance that has the censors all hot under the collar.
Now, don't for a moment think I'm not agreeable to protecting young, innocent minds, but this is one babe whose butt isn't going to contaminate the future generation.
For a start, there isn't even a flash of boob to outrage all the right-thinking day-time TV viewers.
There is, however, a suggestive slipping of material around the cleavage area that is apparently enough to ensure the ad is far too dangerous for youngsters.
Might I just point out that kids aren't the only people who watch TV during the day? Nor, for that matter, are kids generally inclined to watch ads, using the break in programming to go beg for sweets and treats.
Instead, all those commercials for cleaning products and home insurance are targeted at the adults who work in the home. And at the risk of sounding like a script from The Simpsons, would somebody please think of the men?
Okay, so I can't speak for any red-blooded males, but I'd imagine that anyone at home during the day, be it because of shift work, unemployment or a posting as a house husband, would only love a glimpse of flesh under a silky red dress. It might make a welcome change from the incessant warbling of Balamory or the Telebubbies.
At any hour of the day we're bombarded with images of women in bikinis flogging all manner of products, and yet nobody bats an eyelid. Kids don't pay any attention to these ads, so they're hardly likely to zone in on an enthusiastically-wiggling Beyonce jiggling to the song Fever.
Frankly, I consider it a case of severe poker-up-the- posterior syndrome on the part of the Advertising Standards Authority. A tantalising glimpse of Beyonce's curves might be just the antidote for any down-in-the-dumps daytime TV viewer looking for a bit of escapism. And frankly, I'd be far more worried for the welfare of any child caught in front of the TV while Brians Cowen or Lenihan are interviewed.
If I were a pig-tailed six-year-old plonked in front of the TV, the sight of the ministers of doom and gloom would throw me into far greater turmoil than a glimpse of a half-naked Beyonce.
Perhaps the ASA should lighten up and leave Beyonce to her afternoon shimmying and the lads to their minor daytime titillation.
Trust me, the kids are alright.
It's the hourly broadcasts of grim tales about lying politicians, axe-wielding IMF chiefs and bailouts that are far more likely to do long-term damage.