Jarv has sympathy for the devil and takes a look at Censorship

In the light of recent terrible events the debate about violence in film and censorship has arisen again. The British press has been full of stories about the BBFC, and commentary on the subject of censorship in general. So with that as background, here are my thoughts on the problems that any, hopefully, developed society should have with censorship. Before we start, for the most part, I am not pro-censor, and to some extent that does colour my viewpoint, although I do feel some sympathy for what is an often untenable position.

This is the first time I’ve attempted an essay, and it is very long. Apologies in advance.

Who watches the Watchmen? And more importantly, who are the Watchmen and how dare they decide what I can and can’t watch?

In the UK, the BBFC has rediscovered the power of the Ban Hammer with loathsome trash such as The Bunny Game or Human Centipede: Full Sequence receiving bans.  HC2 was reprieved with cuts being recommended instead, but it’s still in theory impossible to legally gain access to notorious titles such as A Serbian Film. That this is the internet age, and therefore a world of filth is available at the click of a mouse is not the point, I can’t access a DVD of the above uncut titles for my own personal viewing masochism.

For the record, anyone reading this is also likely to be at the more internet savvy end of the movie-watching spectrum and, therefore, far more capable of finding the above titles than the average punter.

In America, as shown in the excellent This Film Has Not Been Rated, Kirby Dick looked at this in far more depth regarding the MPAA. While I think he focused too much on the identity of the individual censors and did dilute his point a touch, he did shine a light on the fatuous and hypocritical process.

The problem as I see it is twofold. Firstly, when any discussion of censorship in any form is raised, what we’re effectively talking about is some unknown individual making a decision on my ability to cope with a film. Furthermore, regardless of that, there’s the “Well you don’t have to watch it” argument, which, while true, doesn’t actually address the issues raised.

So, who are these individuals? In the UK, as we don’t have a film industry worth the name, the BBFC is (allegedly) an impartial board.  In America, where censorship is much less sensible and far more problematic than the UK, the MPAA (as shown by Kirby) consists of highly partial studio-connected people, many of whom actually should not be in their position. Furthermore, the appeals board is comprised of several high-ranking studio executives, and it is with this board that the eventual rating will ultimately reside with.

How does anyone not see the conflict of interests inherent here? What the MPAA actually is is a cartel- you have individuals in place making decisions about the effective release potential of a film that may be in competition with their own product. At the marginal edge, which is where these films lurk, it is not in the board’s interests to allow these films a certificate, as it could cost them money. This is not censorship, or even classification, rather it is corporate manipulation of the media.

Censorship: a question of taste or a question of standards?

This brings me on to the second problem. Any discussion of the merits of a film, and whether it should be banned/ cut is basically an argument about personal taste. What I may find offensive and beyond my ability to tolerate on screen is not necessarily applicable for anyone else. I suspect, actually, that my tolerance is higher than most, frankly. Therefore, is it acceptable for me to see, say, Martyrs and give it a clean bill of health on the basis that there’s nothing in it that I couldn’t stomach?

No, of course it isn’t. I’m not a parent, for example, and therefore I hold different standards to those who have children.

When making a decision on the suitability of a film for a particular rating, this represents a huge problem as what everyone who assesses a film on these grounds is dealing with is their own personal demon. Hence marked inconsistencies in the treatment of homosexual material as opposed to heterosexual: Boys Don’t Cry was the example Kirby used, and compared its NC17 rating with other films containing the same material. Effectively it turned out that Boys Don’t Cry warranted a harder rating simply because it involved lesbians.

Personally, I think this is farcical. If you’re incapable of stopping your personal bigotry from allowing you to make a fair assessment then you should, frankly, not be in a position of judgement.

Bigotry’s open face.

Take, for example, the evolution (some may say decline) of standards regarding sex. In the UK, the mere sight of pubic hair used to have the censor up in arms. As society has become more tolerant it is now not unheard of for films such as Intimacy, or 9 Songs to receive an 18 certificate, and therefore a release, despite the presence of erect penises and in the case of 9 Songs, full penetrative sex. Admittedly, the BBFC may well have been banking on that nobody in their right mind would want to watch this crap anyway, but that’s not the point.

The BBFC rightly argues that people’s tolerance has evolved, and therefore there’s no reason for the sight of a boner to give them a boner, but such application of common sense is a relatively new phenomenon with them, and I suspect this opinion would not be shared by, say, Joann Yatabe, the 61 year old MPAA member stalked by Kirby in 2005.

So who is correct? The BBFC, or Mrs Yatabe?

What I’m arguing here is that there is no universal “standard” of offensiveness that can be applied- and as those making the decision are human, there is inevitably always going to be some overlap between personal subjective taste and what should be an empirical objective judgement.

It’s this intrinsic flaw that creates the problems in the system, as not only are the censors themselves coloured by their own subjective beliefs, but those that they are allegedly guarding are also coloured by their own tastes and preferences.

People are strange and stupid.

It appears from the above that I’m arguing for a total absence of Censorship. I’m not, I’m just trying to highlight the problems that the censors face.

In America, which has, allegedly, a voluntary system (but the reality is that an unrated film is unlikely to receive a release) there is an emphasis placed on parental vigilance- as one of the most common pro-censorship arguments is to protect children from images that may not be suitable.

However, this doesn’t work. The average cinema patron isn’t an internet savvy film geek, instead being just a member of Joe Public looking to kill a few hours in a harmless way. In an ideal world, each film will publish the details of why it received its rating (they do, incidentally), and every person buying it will do the bare minimum of research and know that, for example, Memoirs of  Geisha  was rated PG13 for “mature subject matter and some sexual content” and maybe consider that it isn’t appropriate material for 6 year old little Jonny. However, this isn’t what happens.

I’m not wailing “won’t someone please  think of the fucking children” or anything, as I believe that for the most part it is a parents responsibility to assess what is or isn’t suitable for their child, as who knows the child better than their family. However, the situation has arisen where everyone has stories of some inconsiderate advertisement for forced sterility inflicting their offspring on a late-night showing of an R-rated film.

In the real world, most people don’t do the research. There’s a combination of hazy nostalgic memories along the lines of “Well, I saw Aliens when I was 6 and I turned out just fine”, assumption, and sheer laziness that means that a percentage (and it’s a far from uncommon occurrence) of parents don’t do the necessary research and prevent their child from seeing material that it may not be emotionally ready for.

Nostalgia ain’t always good. This needs to happen.

This in turn has led, in the UK, to the censors swatting a fly with a cannonball and applying a blanket 15 rating to certain films, as in the UK you aren’t allowed in to the movie without being the correct age. Admittedly, we all know ways to circumvent this, and we all have fond childhood stories of such deception. I hold my hands up to hypocrisy here as I saw Lethal Weapon 2 in the cinema very underage indeed.

It isn’t a perfect world, but by the same score it isn’t the duty of outside agencies to do people’s parenting for them. There has to be some effort put in by Joe Public, a film classification board should not be force feeding him information that it isn’t exactly difficult to obtain.

Sadly, people are, in fact, lazy and stupid which is what has led to the current state of play.

The Power of “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”, or why middle-aged curtain twitching busybodies inflict their dismally conservative standards on everyone else.

Britain has had a long and colourful history of struggling to classify violence in cinema.

In the early 1980’s there was a mass outcry sparked by the likes of Mary Whitehouse and her self-fulfilling moral crusade. This in turn sparked our craven politicians to pass the Video Recordings Act of, ironically, 1984 and launched the term Video Nasty into public consciousness.

The theory was to protect the fragile little minds of the great British public from the evil of cinema violence- which tries to pretend that mankind has been brutalising each other for millennia but because VHS recorders pitch up in the arse end of the 20th Century a few shitty Italian Horror films drove people to commit acts of heinous violence.

Old people have too much time on their hands.

This is, clearly, nonsense, as almost all of the films on the list, including the likes of the Evil Dead and The Exorcist at the better end and the deplorable Anthrophagus at the other, have a release and society has inexplicably failed to collapse.

How did such a patently ridiculous situation come to arise? Well, we have a rabid tabloid media, and they, unfortunately, know the views of their readership. The Daily Mail, the voice of the far right, ships millions of copies and is the first place the inevitable “Ban this filth” nonsense appears. The Daily Mail and its ilk have, thus, significant political power.

The irony, of course, is that the average Daily Mail reader is less likely to have heard of, say, Cannibal Ferox than the average Martian, but I digress.

Mary’s coffin spins so fast that we use it to power Hemel Hempstead

The point is outrage. The Mail can highlight that these little films exist, and that there’s terrible violence in them, and the gleefully self-righteous can whip themselves into an orgy of finger-pointing and condemnation. It can’t be either America’s gun laws or an act of insanity that caused the Virginia Tech shootings; instead it simply must be down to some obscure Korean film(actually it was the fairly well-known Oldboy that the papers cited as the root) they’ve never even heard of. And if it’s down to an outside agency, then they can, of course, call for the cause of the crime to be banned.

And call they do. The letters, emails and outraged calls flood in, and our politicians need to be seen to be “getting something done”. So, in the aftermath of the James Bulger killing in the early 1990’s the Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells body got their knickers in a twist over Child’s Play 3, a film that the killers hadn’t seen, and more importantly bears no resemblance at all to the horrible crime committed.

By making a scapegoat of Child’s Play 3, not letting the facts get in the way, of course, and demanding powers they, er, already had under the 1984 Act, the politicians were able to distract from the larger questions raised. More importantly, however, they were visibly Getting Something Done and Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells went back to muttering about “Them single mothers being to blame for all the sins of society” or whatever feeling all very satisfied that the Will Of The People has indeed been acted upon.

This gives me huge sympathy for the censor, who must therefore react to the fickle whims of the cretins in power, who in return are reacting to the fickle whims of cretins in Middle England.

It is, when all is said and done, an impossible position that has led to anachronisms such as films like Heathers receiving an 18 Certificate in the UK.

Dedicated followers of fashion. Alternatively known as Hipster Douchebags

Dedicated followers of fads and fashions.

Moral outrage isn’t the only problem for the average censor, and some of their problems are self inflicted.

A few years ago the BBFC went through a phase with imitable behaviour, and headbutting in particular, automatically boosting the rating of the film.

This is absurd. A Headbutt is no more dangerous, or open to mimicry than a punch. Still, this fad passed soon enough, but what I do not understand is the arbitrary selection of the big no-no of the month.

When it comes to video games, Rockstar’s Bully (cracking game- think Grand Theft Auto in a school, but mischievous rather than violent) was rated as 18 in the UK despite it being the mildest “Just William” style violence imaginable and nobody actually getting hurt. However, it was set in a school so the BBFC shat one about “Imitable behaviour” and slapped an 18 on it.

How is this any more open to mimicry than a myriad of other games out there? I’d argue that the unrealistic nature of the game, and that nobody in this country would know how to make a bottle rocket in 1000 years, make it actually less worthy of the top rating. Unless they were terrified that rafts of swirlies were going to be performed in schools up and down the country. Nevertheless, the press had spoken, and bullying was that month’s hot topic.

This is my point- there’s no consistency and no comprehensibility about the trends followed. They seem to adhere to some utterly arbitrary and frequently nonsensical code and as such makes the concept of a universal standard completely laughable- when the censor bends to fashion in such a way then how can the concept be remotely justifiable?

Why does this matter?

We live in a commercial world. Hollywood and producers aim to maximise the amount of people that they can get into a film, this is simply logical.

The current trend is towards PG13 movies- the theory being that the film will intentionally try to aim to slide under a lower rating than it would naturally. Examples include Alien V Predator being rated as PG13. The decision was made to neuter one of cinema’s greatest monsters (two of them, actually), and reduce them to a level whereby even the strictest censor would concede that it is acceptable for kids to see them.

Given the reactive and arbitrary nature of censorship, as outlined above, the only way that the film-makers can meet the censor’s demand is to aim at the lowest bar possible. So, for example, we’re lucky enough to have a Die Hard film where McClane doesn’t swear. This is absurd- I’ve spent a significant chunk of my career working in Schools, and if the kids stuck to “Yippee Kay Aye Motherfucker” then that, frankly, would be a relief. Yet to receive a PG13 rating, there’s only one F-Bomb allowed.

Are we really happy with corporate censorship such as this? I, for one, am not.

What is to be done?

And here’s the rub: I don’t know.

On one hand, there’s little artistic merit to tripe like Human Centipede 2, and reprehensible faux-art garbage like A Serbian Film has arguably less merit than that, so perhaps bans are in order.

However, I’d like to think that we lived in a more evolved society where a fully functioning adult individual, such as myself, can make an informed decision on whether or not I want to see a film where a man rapes a new-born baby to death (I don’t).

We haven’t changed that much

Violence has been around since man came down from the trees and hit other man on the head with a stick, so it’s absurd to argue that it was “the film wot made them do it”, yet every time some disturbed individual commits an atrocity the debate will arise again. Does this mean that we ban all films that aren’t Merchant Ivory? No, of course not.

People need something to blame in these situations, and cinema very often makes itself the easiest target. This isn’t likely to change any time soon.

By the same score- do we let everything through? I lean towards “no”, because, frankly, there’s no reason for the Guinea Pig Films and their ilk to receive validation.

This man once dialled 911 because he thought a Guinea Pig film was real. Not so full of win after all, eh?

Context is everything with censorship, and I think, perhaps, my struggle to find a solution in part reflects this.

Given that it is effectively meaningless anyway with the rise of the digital age, maybe we can but hope that people will grow up a touch, and not blame real world atrocities on an imaginary man who dresses like a flying rodent to fight crime.

Or is that asking too much?

Until next time,

Jarv.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

131 responses to “Jarv has sympathy for the devil and takes a look at Censorship”

  1. Jarv says :

    Apologies for the length of this. Rambling a bit, but hope it’s ok. I’ve tried to fence sit a touch.

    • David Hussey says :

      No apology required Jarv, I enjoyed the read. My favorite part….

      “What is to be done?

      And here’s the rub: I don’t know.”

      I appreciate anyone who is honest enough to admit they don’t have all the answers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic.

  2. Tim The Film Guy says :

    That’s an interesting post, going to share this on twitter and stuff 😀

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers Tim.

      I’m plonked right on the fence with censorship.

      I’ll make a decision one day…

      • Tim The Film Guy says :

        Sometimes I get why they decide to sensor, but I think giving us a warning about what its about should be enough and then let us decide what we watch 😀

      • Jarv says :

        I tend to agree with that. For example, say A Serbian Film was released, then I’d know in the certification what it contained, and would, therefore, avoid it.

        The problem is that people are lazy and don’t bother checking.

        Daft really, government etc should have no business interfering in this.

      • Tim The Film Guy says :

        It’s the whole nanny state the west lives in now, back to the good old days when children got taken away in the night by wolfs haha 😀

      • Jarv says :

        Hahaha!

        What’s funny is the relaxation- when I was a kid, I genuinely remember some speccy git on VHS’ telling me why the film was 18 rated- and one reason was usually “Adult themes”.

  3. koutchboom says :

    Heheheh this IMDB review of The Bunny Game sums up David Lynchism pretty well:

    And like most art school films, it’s very boring: there are moments that seem to drag on forever with virtually nothing happening at all; other scenes flash by in a whirlwind of epilepsy-inducing imagery and a cacophony of discordant ‘music’. When a film that sets out to disturb has me either dropping off to sleep out of disinterest, or wanting to turn off out of sheer irritation, then I have to consider it a complete failure.

    • Jarv says :

      That’s Inland Empire and he’s put it on the wrong film.

      I haven’t seen TBG, and I don’t want to, frankly.

      • koutchboom says :

        Well if you haven’t seen TBG then how do you know his statement is incorrect?

      • Jarv says :

        Fair point. It may be right for both.

      • Jarv says :

        For god’s sake:

        According to the documentary included with the DVD, the acting you see, apart from the drug taking and alcohol abuse, is all real: the woman is actually burned in several scenes, and dragged about

      • Jarv says :

        This lying git:

        Author: axdonaldson from United Kingdom

        Hasn’t seen it. It’s banned here. Or he’s someone that worked on it. Either way…

        PLANT!!!

  4. kloipy says :

    Jarv- excellent article my friend. You and I are on the same page on this issue. I’m against censorship but agree that rating systems should be mandatory. I think it mostly serves as a purpose to say this film is acceptable to this age group. With that comes the issue of how to show partiality to any specific film. What I feel they should do, is have a set guidline of rules that are followed.
    For example:
    Count of Curse Words in Film
    Sex/Nudity- explicit or brief
    Violence – none, average, above average, gorey/disturbing
    And so on. Rotate the folks in charge of the certifications board on a 6 month basis. Treat it like Jury Duty where if you are biased to a certain thing your beliefs won’t be forced upon the film or you to judge what is acceptable/in good taste.

    With that being said, as long as this list of guidelines for rating are followed, if a film fits enough of the list or hits on each category and is subsequently Rated R or 18+, then that film, that has now been deemed as for adults, should not face the challenge of having to cut or censor their work in any way (unless it is something that violates the law).

    When I was a kid I could get into R rated films with no problem at all. Never once was I asked for ID or told to leave the theater when going to see an R rated film without parent consent. So if they are going to judge and rate films based off of guidlines of what is acceptable for an age demographic, then it should also be taken into consideration that stricter rules be in place to not let children be able to get into a film for adults. But I’m not sure how or if that is even a good idea.

    But like I said, if we have a system in place that is already telling us that a film, or game, or music should only be used by an adult than there is absolutely no reason to make the makers of these products change their films. Like you and I both said in our respected articles on this subject: There are things like A Serbian Film or The Bunny Game or whatever that we, AS ADULTS, are able to decide whether or not it is something that WE want to see. The filmmaker shouldn’t be punished because someone doesn’t like the product that they decided to make. That is ludicrious. Though I think things like that in A Serbian Film are disgusting and nothing more than trying to offend people, I also know that I don’t have to watch it.

    With this recent tragedy in Aurora with the shooting in the theater, yet again the news media jumped on placing a scapegoat on film/art/music as the reason this disturbed person chose to murder a bunch of innocent people. But where was the focus on those who saw that this man had mental issues and did not take the proper steps to make sure he got treatment for it?

    Can a crazy person be influenced by what they see or hear? Of course they can. However, the only reason that what influences that obsession is that fact that this person is MENTALLY UNSTABLE. I’ve seen and read about countless ‘fictional’ characters that have been chopped, shot, blown up, and coutnless other fictional ways to die, and never have I felt that this is something that is ok to do. Only a person whose grip on reality is held by a pinkie finger is going to be influenced to take action based off of a fictional form of art that they looked at.

    Anyway, that was so long winded of a comment. But great article again Jarv and an important topic to keep talking about

      • Jarv says :

        Isn’t that that Christian Website?

        That’s the thing, though K, the information is piss easy to get hold of. People just don’t.

      • koutchboom says :

        I don’t think it’s christian? A little spammy maybe, but not christian. As far as I’ve bothered to look.

        It’s funny to read though. Think of a recent movie with a lot of bad stuff in it then go and read one of their ratings. I always enjoy the cuss word count, man what a miserable thing to have to do. See movies like that, probably the only time I’d understand some “critic” taking notes during a film.

      • Jarv says :

        Look what they gave The Watch. Nuts.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah sometimes their “reviews” of raunchy comedies are funnier than the actual movies.

      • Jarv says :

        The Boners won’t let me cut and paste to make a point.

      • Jarv says :

        Well, that’s a fail:

        SEX/NUDITY 8 – Two men investigate screaming emanating from a basement window and the homeowner comes out and invites them in to what turns out to be a loud orgy: we see over 50 people in the basement almost entirely nude (we see many bare breasts, bare chests and bare legs of both genders), a nude woman faces the camera, sitting astride a man and bouncing up and down while having sex (we do not see genitals), a nude man has sex from behind with a woman while both face the camera (genitals are not visible), and several female couples kiss in close-up; three men masturbate with their groin areas hidden by a waist-high shelving unit and they then masturbate one another below screen, a man says that he’d like an Asian housewife to perform oral sex on him and a woman approaches him, asks him if he would like that and kneels below screen (presumably to do so) and we see a dozen glowing lighted vibrators of different colors on a coffee table.

        Basically, if you see this in this detail in that film then I’ll be astonished.

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers Kloipy.

      Yeah, I’ve been flabbergasted by the amount of “It was Batman’s fault” articles out there (not that a crazy person can buy guns in america or anything).

      I thought about a guideline list, but this is where context is important. So, for example, the violence which takes place in Reservoir Dogs is off screen, but more effective and harder to watch than the violence in Red Cliff (all on screen).

      Basically, it shouldn’t be an issue- if people would only do a bit of research, the various agencies are clear as crystal about why they give out the ratings that they do. Unfortunately, people are morons and don’t so we’re stuck with what is effectively a jury-rigged solution to the problem.

      While I deplore the MPAA (incidentally, I like your suggestions, and I seem to remember that you aren’t supposed to serve on the MPAA for more than 6 months. I would also add that if you have any connection to Hollywood, then you’re out) for blatant conflict of interest and hypocrisy, they do publish in full the reasons for their certification.

      I also have a lot of sympathy for the censors, as I don’t think they can win in this case- someone is always going to be cross at their decision.

      I also agree with you about if it’s 18 then it’s Uncut. You can vote at 18, for the love of god.

      • kloipy says :

        What’s even worse about it Jarv, is the fact that all these films can be forced to censor/edit their films, then the studio releases it in 2 versions on DVD to help push sales.
        And worse than that is the fact that these people act like they are the moral majority in being able to tell people what they can and can’t see in a MOVIE.

        Yet. and it is a big godamn yet. If I go home, turn on the TV to the news, or look online at a news site, I hear the most deplorable and disgusting horrors ever imagined. Just the other day a video was posted of the massacre of protesters in Africa that were on strike. There in full HD I could watch a video of real people being killed. Or every sept 11th, we get bombarded all day long with the image of the plane hitting the WTC or people jumping out of the windows to their deaths. Just the basic network stations thrive on violence and depravity in order to get ratings and yet there is no real censorship on programs like that. Because they know it brings more viewers to highlight the most disgusting human attributes than it does to run an uplifting story. Hell, I remember seeing on the morning news a story of a family that had murdered their baby, and the newscasters were sure to go into the graphic detail of how it was done.

        It’s as if we can’t even distinguish the basic fact that is one of the first discussions we have with our children when it comes to film, that it is not real. That this is fiction made by actors, directors, and special effects. But god help the kids if they turn on the TV at 8 am to have to see the latest local murder right down the block.

        It doesn’t make any sense to me

      • Jarv says :

        Got to agree with that. I almost included a section on how Religion has been responsible for more atrocities in the last 20 years (ignoring all the thousands of years of shit) than Cinema so maybe we should ban that, but thought it was a bit too inflammatory for the piece.

        The whole mess is confusing to me.

  5. Jarv says :

    Incidentally, I would like to know how the director of the Bunny Game wasn’t arrested and tried for GBH.

    In the UK, you can’t consent to things like Branding- and if they did actually burn that lead actress, then the evidence is on tape, and he should be arrested, charged and sent down.

    That’s quite clearly crossing a line that should not be crossed.

    Unless he faked it, and they’re lying for the documentary. In which case he’s a deplorable scumbag trying to sell the film on the “real” pain and suffering of the woman in it. Actually, that’s the case either way.

  6. koutchboom says :

    To be fair to the MPAA, this statement:

    At the marginal edge, which is where these films lurk, it is not in the board’s interests to allow these films a certificate, as it could cost them money. This is not censorship, or even classification, rather it is corporate manipulation of the media.

    While yes, sure I don’t agree with it, I understand it. I mean it sort of makes sense that the MPAA is made up of higher ups from the giant theater chaines. And they are in the buisness of making money…movies are in the buisness of making money….so of course they want to maximize their monies.

    And it’s pretty much been proven that all the money is from PG-13. I could understand if X and hard R movies made money somehow. I mean yeah that’s great they got made and some idiot paid for them. But as far as some giant theater chain releasing them just because they exisit even though they are proven money losers, yeah I understand the basis of all that.

    And yes this is more about the difference between A Serbian Film where it’s like should we even show this or not. This isn’t about snipping a nipple, bush or penis shot here or there in order to get your film from an NC-17 rating to an R rating.

    And yeah maybe the MPAA shouldn’t be considered some “rating” board thing, and maybe should be better known as “we will/won’t show this shit” board. Because the thing I got from ‘This Film Not Yet Rated’ was little poor flat chested Maria Bello was butt hurt people didn’t wanna see more of her bush. Just like if it had been left in The Cooler would’ve been a 100 million grosser.

    • koutchboom says :

      I mean for the MPAA/theater chaines to really consisder NC-17 movies as a viable income, some big name director/actor/book whatever really needs to come in and make a fuss.

      And sadly in all reality the ONLY thing I can think of in this moment is the 50 Shades Of Grey movie coming out. I’ve not read it nor know anything about it save for it makes middle age women premenapausal, I gather that you couldn’t do the novel justice with an R rated film. And of course there’s no way a property this huge is going to be turned into an NC-17 movie like it should….but personally I think that would be cool.

      And really it’ll take some popular property to get the puplic consious to embrace something new like an NC-17 movie. And so if they did do it, and it was some major hit, that would pave the way for more NC-17 movies to be allowed an get shown. But there’s no way the 50 Shades movie won’t be R.

      • Jarv says :

        I don’t funnily enough object to the cinema chain guys, it was the studio execs that shouldn’t be there.

        That Maria Bello line is funny.

  7. Bartleby says :

    Was listening to a guy on NPR talk about the use of the NC-17 and how it’s never really become the thing it was supposed to be. He cited the mid 90s–when people were purposefully make trash so lurid it would achieve the rating (Showgirls)–as sort of devaluing the purpose of it. I don’t know as I have any answers either, but well written piece and follow-up conversations too.

    I agree that the larger issue is about work that seems to really Cross a line that seems to go beyond a taste issue. There seem to be—I haven’t seen either so I couldn’t tell you—things in both HC2 and Serbian Film that enter into the deplorable in such a way that some question whether it’s the kind of thing a ‘well’ person should even be thinking about. Again, though it’s a judgment call. Also, there’s a question of the things one would need to do to completely outlaw this sort of thing. Where would it stop? Right I now I have very easily managed to avoid ever seeing HC2—despite it’s ridiculous poster showing up everytime I turn on Netflix new releases—and I’ve also avoided Serbian Film.

    The censorship issue is a tricky one, and the ratings might be more valuable if they weren’t such deciders of success, as K-boom pointed out. Some of these more insidious movies werent made in the Hollywood system anyway, so any amount of censorship or targetting they receive (see Serbian Film) only grows their legend and their notoriety. I honestly wonder if anyone would have really had anything interesting to say about SF if it hadn’t included those taboo scenes. . So, they may gripe all they want, but I think the censors and the criticism of content helped/not hurt Serbian Film, which was never going to be some big moneymaker anyway. Same for HC and HC2—through notoriety those movies managed to get sold in Target and Walmart and distributed through Redbox and Netflix. That’s far and away better than they could have hoped for without the infamy.

    And in cases where Maria Bello doesn’t get to let it all hang out, well, did any of that really matter for The Cooler? Not really, no. Again, K is right—critically or financially it didn’t affect that movie at all. Releasing it unrated wouldn’t have been the end of the world if the filmmakers felt so strongly about it.
    Jarv, great article and awesome to see those little cartoon cats with their guilty signs. That’s an old Disney cartoon right? Was it Pluto or someone else who went to hell and was tried by cats?

    As for the Watch, that breakdown of the scene is insane. I saw the movie—it’s frickin terrible—and I most certainly didn’t catch any of that detail he mentions, and the scene isn’t that intense at all. I had forgotten there was even nudity, and those scenes where he speculates whats going on in the space below the screen, I think he’s just projecting. Really strange to see that level of detail expended. If he didn’t have a screener copy I swear he would have had to go to the film twice to even document all of that.

    • Jarv says :

      Yeah, it’s an old Disney cartoon. I thought it was appropriate.

      While I agree with you that the likes of HC2 exist to be provocative and intentionally annoy the censor (perhaps the argument is to ignore them), there’s in insidious creep of commercial driven homogenisation that I’m not sure is a good thing. Sure, it’s easy to rant about the extreme films, and I do, but the real creep is the devaluing of the ratings themselves.

      I feel sorry for the UK Censor, because even when the palpably do the right thing they can’t win- and I’m damned if I know what the solution is.

      • Jarv says :

        I love that stupid picture. Elephants: Bigger than the moon.

      • Bartleby says :

        well, yes, that’s sort of what I was getting at. They are used now as success points, although I will say this. I don’t typically jump on the nerd rant about PG-13 vs R. Sometimes, sure, it makes a difference when someone is simply gunning for cash with an R-rated concept, but the idea that either rating will yield a good film or a bad film just because.

        Greed drives the decision to make a Die Hard or an Alien PG-13 rated, because at some point tey have decided to neuter the original concept to get where they needed.

        Expendables 2 and Prometheus both toyed with PG-13 but at the end of the day–regardless of what you think of them as movies–they were allowed to be what they should be. R-rated summer entertainments. I believe the real issue is when any work goes gunning for a rating to the point where it influences the creativity or design of the film.

        Making showgirls to get an NC-17, or making Alien to get a PG-13 or making Serbian so it gets a ‘Charlie calls the cops’ aren’t usuallty going to result in something worthwhile.

        So, I like where you leave the article, and I’be interested in follow-up because I think you are right…the question is what do we do now? What role should a censor play?

      • Jarv says :

        I don’t honestly know. If the cinema going public weren’t such idiots and were able to vet what they should take kids to, then I’d reduce it to purely advisory status- I’d certainly do something about the makeup of the MPAA though.

        Cronenberg complained about the drive towards “family” films almost 2 decades ago, and it seems to me that it’s getting worse.

        All in all I think the BBFC do a good job, and I’ve no problem with a 12 year old not being able to see, say, Stake Land in the cinema. If people won’t meet the censor half way, then, damn, maybe some higher power has to intervene.

        I’m thinking about looking at a few films that were banned in the UK- why and whether they should have been and so forth. I quite like this subject.

      • koutchboom says :

        Prometheus was R? Heheheheh could have fooled me.

      • Jarv says :

        Still not seen that. Struggling to give a fuck about it, to be honest.

      • Bartleby says :

        it was more violent than either Alien or Aliens, if you want to be honest. Not as shocking, no, or as effective, but for viscera on screen, yea, there was more of it and it was technically more graphic.

      • Jarv says :

        Alien isn’t violent. That’s one of the strengths of it. The only really graphic scene is the chestbursting.

      • Jarv says :

        Emailed you btw.

      • Bartleby says :

        Right, I wasn’t using the violence as a point to say one is better than the other, only to point out that Prometheus makes sense being rated R if the first two Alien films are as well.

        Prometheus was a fine movie–not fine as in quite good or really well done, more like fine as in OK–but it never uses anything in its arsenal half as well as the original or Cameron’s follow-up. I’d say it’s not really as effective as Fincher’s movie either. But it’s got some goo and gore. Not that any of it is very exciting.

      • Jarv says :

        Times have changed, sure enough. There’s an argument that lots of 1970’s films would not get the 18 rating now that they got in the day.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah don’t waste your time with Promo really, I feel in the end Ridley is to blame for Tony’s death because of it.

        Yeah it’s more R than any of the Aliens, but IDK the movie is barely an R for some blood maybe? Wrath of the Titans felt more R to me. I bet Promo was like a 2 second cut from being PG-13, I don’t even recall any foul language. Maybe I should check KID IN MIND!

      • Jarv says :

        Alien and Aliens are frightening though- which most modern films aren’t. It’s a context call- terror over overt gore.

      • Bartleby says :

        octo-baby, melted trash-heap of a scientist, flower snake thingee…I think it’s a fine line that defines it no doubt.

      • Jarv says :

        I’m looking forward to the PG13 Robocop. I won’t buy that for a dollar. Although I may steal it.

      • Anonymous says :

        i agree

    • koutchboom says :

      Yeah with the advent of Amazon movies whatever, and red boy and netflix. Pretty much any movie annoyed with the MPAA can just go through the instant at home viewing, which in the end is probably more porfitable for them. Because at least then you still have your buzz if you are able to release it right when the buzz about how “hard” your film is, then everyone interested can go and watch it right away and legeally. Instead of sitting around wondering if their theater will ever get a watered down version or not.

      And then if somehow their digital viewings = good money some theaters may even release the movie in their theaters. That’s just the biggest problem with movies that fall under censorship scrutiny, they typically fail to show any profits worthwhile for the big players. And yeah maybe the bigger statement is why are all theaters in the US owned by like 2-3 major chaines (pretty much the same for the UK), when it used to be owned by independent owners….but then again that’s also a bigger issue as well.

      And yeah a true NC-17 adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey will probably just wind up like Showgirls…it’ll be the highest grossing NC-17 movie but will still be a flop overall. Granted Showgirls became a hit on VHS.

      • Jarv says :

        50 shades will be R. Guaranteed.

        It’s nowhere near extreme enough for a NC17.

        I asked the missus and she laughed at the idea. It’s lame as fuck.

      • Jarv says :

        Also, I tend to agree with you. With the rise of the digital age, if something doesn’t get a certificate, then who gives a fuck? The censors are almost dinosaurs nowadays.

        The films that fall foul of the censor now are so repugnant (the bunny game actually burning the actress) that I can’t believe there’s any merit whatsoever to it- it’s almost how far can you go to intentionally piss off “the man”.

        I also agree with you about monopolies owning cinemas. This is a problem, and it’s going to get worse.

  8. tombando says :

    Censorship is cool! I like the blue box they stick over guys gnads goiyoinnnnggggggg!

    Noted_Sage Beavis, as always, had it right.

  9. Xiphos0311 says :

    I come down firmly on the side of non-censorship for a variety of reason the chief among them it’s never any good to let any government dictate what is in “good taste” they will always fail and steam roll everything good and bad under their power trips and stupidity. also the way to fumigate bad ideas and people is not by hiding then but letting the light and mocking ridicule they would receive do that work.

    Sure there would be some terminal maladroits that can’t handle that sort of liberty but they are mostly a small even miniscule part of the population and anyways this argument is as old as the hills. Music, D&D, funny books, Mad Magazine hell even pamphleteers and Greek poets have all felt the lash of government censorship and we are here and generally doing OK. The only new thing here is the speed at which information know flows. A person like Thomas Paine pamphlets would takes months to get the pamphlets into the Gen Pop. Now once you hit send or publish or whatever your words are out there for all to see.

    I have less then no use for the “its for the children crowd” Fuck you assholes you had the kids not me don’t restrict my accesses to things because you suck as a parent. anyways kids will find things or hear things about the subject anyways. Stop using your kids as political ploys or as a ways to get over you cock juggling thunder cunts.

    • Jarv says :

      I lean towards that viewpoint because censorship relies so much on subjective taste.

      However, what I do think is that if you are going to have a rating system where a film is “Restricted” to those below a certain age, then for fuck’s sake do actually enforce it. If people didn’t suck so badly (especially as parents) then this wouldn’t even be an issue.

      I did try to get that point about civilisation not collapsing across in the violence section, as you’re totally correct.

      What I do struggle with, is that there’s clearly a line, and the likes of the Bunny Game where they did actually brand the lead actress should surely be discouraged.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I agree that if you have a system in place then yes enforce it but most employees at movie theaters, in the States at least, are teenager/early 20’s most of them don’t care and/or are afraid to do it so really its an unenforceable mandate.

        Don’t know what bunny games are but it should be held up to ridicule and abuse if its that around the bend. Squirreling it away especially on the internet draws attention to its existence and makes it more then it really is.

      • Jarv says :

        The Bunny Game is a psuedo art torture porn effort that was banned in Britain. It’s not a case of holding it up to ridicule, because there’s nothing you can actually take the piss out of. Everything I’ve seen on it praises the performance of the actress for it’s verisimillitude, but considering that she allowed the actor to burn her, you would think she should manage that.

        This is the problem, if it was enforced properly by the cinemas then it would be fine. It isn’t, and that’s why I’m not totally anti-censorship.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        the actress allowed herself to be branded for “reality” purposes? jesus what a dope I bet she gets passed around like an tray of snacks

      • Jarv says :

        I do wonder about her mental acumen. But this is the point, if that’s acceptable in a film (I don’t think it is), then we’re getting into seriously dicey areas.

        Silly fucking cow. Frankly.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        how is it dicey though? I assume the actress is a legal adult if she decided to do something dumb for her “art” that isn’t illegal and she wasn’t forced to do it then its just dumb nothing more.

      • Jarv says :

        Legally you can’t consent to that sort of thing. Well established- see R v Wilson.

        If it was real, the cocksuckers involved need charging with GBH. Not sure how it works in America.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        In the states if she volunteered to do it and signed some sort of release it wouldn’t be a problem most likely.

      • Jarv says :

        I’d be very surprised. US law is in part based on UK law, it’s just the question of whether it is worth prosecuting them.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        its a voluntary action on her part she isn’t being attacked or forced to do it. There is a whole subset of the tattoo losers that went past piercings into ritual scarification and other unsavory(and unhygienic) activities. The only breaks on them are from city or state ordinances.

      • Jarv says :

        Doesn’t work like that. There’s an upper limit of what you can and can’t consent to. I will bet large amounts of cash that Branding is way beyond it. Also, they take the motivation into account for doing it. In the UK, the disclaimer would be worse than worthless.

      • Jarv says :

        Also, where would you draw the line? It has to be drawn somewhere as people can tend to self harm, particularly those that are stupid enough to think they need to method act being burned.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        That’s the UK though. Not so much in the America. In fact among Black athletes/Black fraternity memebers branding is somewhat common especially at black universities. Its some sort of weirdo desire to regain power or something over slavery or what not. Mostly its fucking dumb since they weren’t slaves thier parents weren’t slaves their great grand parents weren’t slaves etc.. also scummy tattoo parlors offer ritual scarring and branding service mostly in places like San Francisco.

      • Jarv says :

        I know what you’re saying, what I think is that it’ll be that nobody has actually prosecuted it.

        What I would suspect that if someone did book the director for the bunny game, then they’d have to try to establish consent as a defence, and he’d be fucked because it was for a film and therefore unnecessary. Whereas that fake tribal shit is culturally sensitive.

      • Bartleby says :

        ‘Squirreling it away especially on the internet draws attention to its existence and makes it more than it really is.’

        As the other spambots here have said ‘Agreed completely’ Xi.

        This kind of stuff is exploiting the ratings hysteria and repulsion of the censors to generate the juice that keeps them running.

        Without exception, it seems most of these ‘hard-edged’ or ‘brave’ (if one more fanboy calls some TP brave I will scream) are just creatively bankrupt excuses for noobs to find an inroad to notoriety.

  10. tombando says :

    Besides, its prob not a good idea to burn the master print of Serbian Film; better yet beat cretins like Harold and Beaks over the heads w bags of shit for raving about, praising, pimping and enabling garbage like that. Harold esp. Deserves it.

  11. thetunguskasecret says :

    when they saw that there wasnt going to be any good to come from the interetn they mae it so jesse helms kid and conrad black go up to them and r like dont do this cool thing and then they sent the daughters over to marky mark and waynbze gretzky to be made into bombshell mcgee for palm springs weekend. they send the sons over to darkon to get turned into larp and that guy boogie on youtube. And then once they have they are like go over to get ikead and they work at their desk all day and no time to try to ban the bag\

    • Droid says :

      I’m assuming you need to be privy to the details of “the tunguska secret” in order to understand this post. For the time being, I remain in the dark.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        The “tungska secret” has to with the Tunguska explosion in Siberia circa 1908. Various conspiratard theory have sprung up around it it was an alien space ship, The Russians detonated nuclear bomb (but never did another one until ’49, right?), Tesla had a death ray etc. I’m sort of thinking this bot originated from Russia

      • Bartleby says :

        Xi, I knew it! The Tungaski Secret IS tied to the portrait of alien Chimp Jesus.

      • Bartleby says :

        The only thing they have in common is likely popular internet search words. Tunguska Secret is popular amongst X-Files style ranters and possibly regularly searched. Everything there is some kind of poorly translated ‘keyword’ strung together to form some bare sembllance of a human sentence.

        In a less obvious way, I think the guy who responded in supposed detail to you about different types of censorship is also a form of spam, in the form of pre-concieved message aimed at any post regarding the topic of censorship.

      • Jarv says :

        I had a look at the site- and it seemed to be pretty innocuous. (I do with all of them, because I’m nosy).

      • thetunguskasecret says :

        makieng silly terms about being troll and spam is the canard of the soft brainmeat kirkland jeans wearing male put down your video game controller? cant have that says conrad black get him another case of game fuel and cheetos while we give his girlfriend the marky mark conrad black treatment he wont mind giv ehim the dirty dishtowel to clean her up afterwards sorry to hear it omega males and incels lol lmao

      • Jarv says :

        What are Omega Males? I’ve never heard that term before. Not taking the piss, but I presume you mean at the bottom of the heap?

      • Jarv says :

        Also, I’m not sure you know who Conrad Black is. Do you mean the ex-News Mogul who went down for fraud? Anyway, he’s got nothing to do with Marky Mark.

      • thetunguskasecret says :

        helo jarv and thank you for your response an omega masels is the lowest of the pecking order from the female perspective for mating (wayne greztky and marky mark being the top followed by conrad black and his cash and gray old weinerslololo) but are the best at maintaining civilization it is dark times ahead thats why u escape into larping and watching video game reviews on youtube with that fat guy named boogie ‘the raid boss’ because otherwise you might notice the daughters of men think your crepey and gross but your not you are a hero of the caliber of charlesmagne and avicenna its conrad black and the kardashians that have convinced women otherwise.

        prayers and love to you son of man.

      • tombando says :

        Tunguska Secret: 200′ Boris Yeltsin Bots turned the Aral Sea into a slurpee, downing it in one fell swoop, o.d’ed and revealing the rather shrivelled up corpse of Amelia Earhart on the bottom. Somewheres the sounds of fapping come from Harolds basement when he learns of this.

        ?…You were saying?

    • Jarv says :

      Er?

      Yes.

      or maybe No?

      You’ve stumped me mate.

    • Bartleby says :

      ‘sent over to Darkon to get turned into larp’….god,I’ve had almost personal experience with that one.

      • Droid says :

        What’s your padded weapon of choice?

      • Bartleby says :

        I like a simple, tasteful duct-taped tire-iron of wounding with a+9 against basement dwellers.

      • Droid says :

        My weapon is cool-aid. Gallons of free, cold, tasty, thirst-quenching and did I mention FREE cool-aid. Enough for all!

      • Bartleby says :

        ahem…if I must call that miserable urchin wretch Tintin then you must call it Kool-Aid.

      • Droid says :

        Any similarities of Droids’ Cool-AidTM to other product, real life event, persons named Jim Jones, or flying saucers is purely coincidental.

      • Bartleby says :

        Silly robot to be turned into fail with Taylor Swift and Power Puff Girls in accordance with the retail value of properties and foot fetish in receipt of the Dark Knight’s supply of Tunguska Secret.

      • Jarv says :

        Why do you need to go to Darkon to Larp? can’t you do that from the nearest green space to your basement?

      • Bartleby says :

        sigh….Jarv,you don’t go to Darkon to larp…you go there to beTURNED INTO larp…

      • Jarv says :

        I feel I’m missing something. Maybe if I manage to decode the Tungawhatever secret I will be able to understand.

      • Droid says :

        I think you may have had to have actually been on the spaceship to understand it.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I decoded the tungska deal for you above.

      • Jarv says :

        Yes, so you did. Apologies.

        I’m still lost and not sure what Siberia has to do with Darkon and larping.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Siberia is where the Tunguska blast happened I figure the bot sending out the replies here is located there.By there I mean Russia somewhere.

        The funniest thing about the bot is that he keeps referencing Kirkland jeans the house brand of COSTCO. that bot has a hard on for then for some reason.

      • thetunguskasecret says :

        helo bartleybees thank you for yours repaonse it is measured well., as you can see they want you to be into larp and wearing kirkland brand jeans and fat like that guy boogie on youtube because otherwise you might get pissed off that the only women around you are too busy getting the marky mark and wayne greztky treatment courtesy of conrad black from his fortress in stygia and you might just get mad cant have that thats why its mountain dew for you not a wife and children.

      • thetunguskasecret says :

        it is abrusrd that u woluld believe mne to be a bot bots have no ability to reply kirkdland jeans are rthew mark of the larpifiued omega male who has given up on life while his daughters get sold to ron jeremt for pennies on the dikkar come to my webzone to discuss and ask any questions you have i have demonstrated my politewness here but in order ri protect myself from them i must shroud myself in an aura iof harmlessness. an idiot is not feared by conrad rhymes with gonad black they dont even notice i am winning againstb them. men were born to be free if i must suffer for the freedom of the sons of man fair trade bruce willis in sin city

        come to my webzone to discuss and ask any questions you have i have demonstrated my politewness but thisis not mt website lol!

  12. Scott B says :

    There are many forms of censorship. Movies and formal print are just one of perhaps the most visible examples. There is also a great deal of de facto censorship of speech, thought, and expression that takes place on the Internet — more specifically, under the aegis of Chat Room bans that have serious financial and other implications by virtual businesses like MMORPG and online wargaming companies who create pretexts for censoring free speech and suppressing criticism, and even undertake to fabricate perceived violations of legally non-binding contracts and EULAs in order to seize real assets worth real money without the benefit of any form of due process or legitimate appeal I have a blog called “WorldOfClanks” on WordPress that treats of one such matter. Please feel free to peruse if if you have the time and any interest in doing do.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Scott B My man private enterprise can censor what ever the hell they want on its boards because they own them it’s their property if they want to kick somebody off that’s their right. What we are talking about is the larger way more important way more dangerous issue of GOVERNMENT repression of Speech. You are showing the typical pig ignorant understanding of what the bill of rights generally and the First Amendment specifically is all about, limiting the power and reach of the Federal government. Christ on crutch learn the basic before you start running your soup cooler.

      Also dude you’re bitching about dungeon and dragons or whatever? here’s a suggestion stop cramming your face with donuts, gallons of pop, sticks of butter and french fries, wipe the cheeto dust off your face lose a 100 pounds, move out of your parents basement and then actually TALK to a girl NOT related to you

      • Jarv says :

        What I dislike, though, is private enterprise censoring before it gets anywhere near to the government. Cronenberg is excellent talking about this.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I think mostly they do it on advice of lawyers to limit the possible actionable offense from assholes looking for a pay day. Then again it is a privately owned board so how they run it is their business even if conducting business in that manner is short sighted.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah but Cronenberg’s a bit of an idiot these days, saying Rises isn’t a work of art. Dumbass.

  13. Jarv says :

    I’m thinking about making this a whole series- looking at the various flash topics each week-

    So next up, I’d do violence, then sex, then swearing.

  14. TheGuyLeftBehind says :

    A very great blog sir! Keep this things coming! 🙂
    Try visiting mine too! http://theguyleftbehind.wordpress.com/
    I would really appreciate it, thanks! more support.

  15. It's only P! says :

    Yeah, a bit long. What was the point you’re making? 😉

  16. Jarv says :

    I’m definitely going to do this as a series I think. If I do the three big causes for censorship (Sex, Violence and the rest) then review some of the films Britain has banned.

    So, I can do Emmanuelle (crap film), Reservoir Dogs, Driller Killer, and so forth.

  17. TF700 Price says :

    My five year old is playing game she shouldn’t, and of late is now saying things that he shouldn’t, censorship is essential no?
    Thanks for sharing and congrats on the FP! 🙂

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      No censorship is most definitelyNOT essential its not up to everybody else to raise up your whelp that’s your job buckaroo. Be a man raise your own kid YOURSELF, stop looking at other to do your work.

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers TF-

      Just out of curiousity, how did your 5 year old get hold of it? Because I’m going to have to heavily prune my DVD/ games collection when I have kids, as it’s my job to make sure they don’t watch something like Henry: Portrait of a Serial killer.

  18. nadiaelde says :

    Interesting post! I don’t think that violence on TV desensitizes people or makes the more violent, but I’ve always wondered why people enjoy seeing violence. Why would anyone want to see a maniac saw someone’s leg off while the victim screams for mercy? I’ve personally never been able to take these kinds of movies and so I’ve always been curious as to why anyone else could be. I’d appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks!

  19. Richard McCargar says :

    Too many people in too many places trying to decide how other people should be able to live their lives. Great post.

  20. mandyf says :

    Reblogged this on Stuff I Write and commented:

  21. thespacebetween2 says :

    Good article, but not my take on it. The film serbia on drugs that you referred to was not one I had heard of, but I kind of wish that was the same way now, wish I had not heard of it. Please check my blog out.

  22. Continentalop says :

    Good article Jarv. Too bad I saw this only know, because for once I might have actually had something to ad to the debate.

    But probably not because you covered it pretty well.

  23. kgburt says :

    I appreciate the article and a great deal of thoughts came to mind. If I may, I wish to speak to U.S. history as two warning signs were made prevalent in the 1950’s thanks to Edward R. Murrow.

    A well-known radio host who always signed off with the phrase “Good Night and Good Luck”, warned Hollywood that the media must always be a reflection of society, it must never allow society to be a reflection of it. Needless to say, we can all agree, society is a reflection of what we see and hear. Your article made reference that producers feel more graphic/adult situations can be shown as the public is less sensitive to them. Has our own volition lead us to be not as sensitive or has sensitivity become numb as we see it over and again?

    The 1950’s were tumultuous with the fear of Communism. Senator Joe McCarthy will always be known for his witchhunt against suspected Communists in Hollywood. These hearings did not proceed well and in the end it is questionable as to what was really accomplished. Reflecting back on this, not that I was alive during that time, I wonder if the Government’s failed and misguided attack on media allowed it to be what it is currently. Potentially believing that the government would not be able to recover from its attacks, did Hollywood set out to defy in search of how far they could push the line of what is and is not acceptable?

    • Jarv says :

      Thanks for the comment KG-

      I agree that the media should reflect society, but in reality it merely tends to reflect the most vocal members of society. It also has massive power, particularly news media, and as such can arguably shape society as well.

      Whether or not this is a good thing is open to question. The example you give of McCarthy is pertinent here, because he was a modern day Matthew Hopkins- a state mandated finger-pointer. I have also wondered whether the censors stance in the past has led to what it is today.

  24. davewakefield says :

    Didn’t get to read it all in my break but will be back, funny as piss writing style cool post!

  25. davewakefield says :

    Enjoyed the topic, great read.

  26. ThereWolf says :

    The answer is to stop excluding people with the rating system and gear it more toward making sure folk see the movie most suited to the individual. I don’t know how to do that though.

    The thing I still can’t get past is having to rate make-believe; none of it is real – but we’re not allowed to see it. Yet, early evening, when I sit down with my dinner I switch on the telly and see starving, fly-strewn children – sometimes dead, or blood spattered dust-blown streets littered with bodies… “Some viewers may find the images in this report distressing…” Yeh, well don’t show it till the late news then coz kids are probably still up. When do we start rating the news?

    I did see a report by someone blaming the violence in ‘Batman’ films for the events in Aurora. I only read a paragraph and stopped. People still look for a reason rather than face up to the truth; we’re a nasty species and some individuals are capable of unspeakable evil (and also heartbreaking beauty, I should say). It’s like we can’t accept that of ourselves, so we’ve got to blame something else.

    The bottom line is it’s not acceptable for a panel of no-marks to decide what I may or may not watch.

    Anyway, superb piece, not ‘too long’ at all. Great to see all the ‘Likes’ up there, you deserve those, Jarv.

    • Jarv says :

      Cheers mate.

      The actual problem, as Trevalyn (Censor in the 70’s said) is that in an ideal world people wouldn’t be fucking cretins and actually look at the guidelines then it wouldn’t be an issue

      At the end of the day, who cares what the likes of me and you watch? And nobody should. It’s nobody’s business but ours.

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