There’s been a big to-do over the MPAA with its rating system, especially since Bully was given an R rating. I saw a letter to the editor of Entertainment Weekly that basically said that if the producers of Bully wanted a PG-13 they should have cut all of the language out…
Language? Is that what this is about, people? We’re totally fine having our children watch tons of violence, and gratuitous violence at that, but as soon as the “f-word” or any “-word” comes out of someone’s mouth it’s verboten?
We have to get past this. We can’t teach our children to use appropriate language if they don’t understand what is inappropriate. We can’t teach them to be good people if they don’t know what bad people do and how they act.
All I’m asking for is a more sensible ratings system. Let’s not give American Pie the same rating as Schindler’s List just because they both have naked people in them. Context!
There’s no such thing as bad words, to borrow from George Carlin. There is such a thing as a line between art and entertainment and we have to start trying to address that line alongside content and context.
So, in short, Human Centipede vs. The King’s Speech. Forget that the latter co-opted to the “moral majority” and took out some brilliant dialogue to appease the profanity counters. These are two different types of film. The first might be appropriately called entertainment and the latter might be called art. Choose your own terms for it, but something along these lines would be more helpful for adults trying to figure out what movie would be good to take their 13 year old to:
The King’s Speech is an historical drama concerning the ascension of King George V to the throne of England on the eve of WW2 while overcoming some major speech issues. It contains several uses of profanity and little else that might be considered objectionable. Human Centipede is a horror film where a mad scientists sews people ass to mouth. Maybe you should get a sitter if you want to see this one. And if you take your kids, you should be locked up.
Finally, the other (sad) truth is that today’s youth is more aware of everything than you might think. In my day, we had to sneak over to the mom and pop video shop while my parents were out of town to rent Basic Instinct…and that gave me nightmares for years. Now we have the interweb, so all of this stuff that the MPAA and parents in general are trying to shield their kids from is readily available. The only thing we can hope to do is educate them about questionable subject matter and hope to give them aesthetic values that make what we consider to be squalid detritus unappealing.
Those who continue to try to pretend that they can turn back time and make the world a 50’s wonderland for today’s kids (if that’s the goal) are fooling themselves. Knowledge is power. Talk to them! And tell the MPAA to give us some information instead of patronizing letter ratings that are essentially meaningless.