September 19th, 2005

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11:43 pm - on pertinent pediatric picture previews

Evelyn 2
Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
its been a while since I wrote a good pop culture rant. There's actaully a 1KWFFH that's been kicking around in my head for a couple days now, that should hopefully be making its appearance any day now. But for now, it needs to cook a little longer. In the meantime something happened this weekend that has kinda been eating at me the last couple days.

So I went bicycle riding with beststephi's family this weekend. Afterwards we had dinner at Kings Family Restaurant. While having dinner, Steph's sister-in-law informed me that they had taken the kids to see March of the Penguins. She said the kids liked it, but she was upset because they showed a Rated PG movie (Tim Burton's Corpse Bride). Her feeling was that only G rated previews should be shown during a G rated movie, since there are kids in the audience.

I tried to point out to her, that actually almost all movie previews are G rated. Movie previews are actually rated by the MPAA just like the movies they represent. When you see a trailer, and it starts with the little green screen that says "the following preview has been approved for all audiences, this film is rated whatever" that is your notice that the MPAA has rated the preview such that they think that its even appropriate for a three year old. If they don't approve of the trailer, it instead starts with a red screen that "the following preview is restricted has been deemded inapproriate for younger audiences. This film is rated whatever." She basically poopoo'd the concept, saying it was stupid because who gets to decide what the trailer is rated. I again pointed out that it was THE SAME PEOPLE WHO RATE THE FILMS!

The thing that really got me really upset was her excuse that she ended up making. She said that this was wrong because as a parent "what was she supposed to do? Keep the kids outside the theater until the previews were over?"

Excuse me for a moment...


This is the same reason I always get upset about people wanting to rip Howard Stern off the radio, or people trying to censor comic books or say that its wrong to show a little boobie during halftime at the superbowl or that you can't have some good old fashioned gay bashing, woman beating and iraqi sympathizers in good old monday night rasslin'. You know why I defend those things? Its not because I like them. Its because I'm a reasonable fucking person, and I know that things that I don't like, someone else probably does, and letting those people like them really doesn't affect my life all that much.

You know what I don't like? I don't like Monty Python. Don't really care for Dr. Who or the Rocky Horror Picture either. And I fucking hate the movie Dumb and Dumber. And you know how I avoid all of those things? I fucking watch something else.

I hate the assumption that just because something is Rated G, its got to be for children. G doesn't mean "for kids." It means "We don't think its objectionable to kids." The crux of Amy's argument was that since it was a G rated movie, and Corpse Bride is "for adults," the preview shouldn't be shown. Ok, first of all, I dispute that March of the Penguins is a kids movie. Granted, I haven't seen it yet, but its a fucking documentary. This is the same argument you hear for banning violent and sexual comic books, because they are "for kids" since they are comics. Second I think like many people she doesn't understand the meaning of PG. PG doesn't mean that kids can't come to the movie. In fact, PG movies are intended for children. The idea is that PG movies are movies parents are supposed to see with their kids, as opposed to G rated movies, which kids can see alone. R and PG-13 are the levels where kids shouldn't be there. And finally these are all just guidelines. The MPAA ratings are not a law. There is nothing binding about them whatsoever. It is simply by voluntary observation by the movie industry and the theater industry that the ratings mean anything whatsoever. In reality, if a 3 year old has the funds and wherewithal to buy a ticket to buy an R-rated DVD, the law won't do anything to stop her.

I was really shocked that my sister-in-law had this stance. This is a woman who won't allow her children (6 and 3) to watch Bugs Bunny cartoons. She has very specific ideas of what is and isn't appropriate for her children. Her kids don't really watch TV, they watch one of the same six or seven parental approved videos every night. If this the the case, I don't see why she would ever trust the MPAA or the theater at all. And really, that's the way it should be. I have my idea of what is and isn't appropriate, she has hers. The MPAA has theirs. The final decision for the individual kids is the responsibility of the parents. No one can force her to let her kids see previews for PG rated movies, so she shouldn't be able to deny that of other people.

So yes, she should take her kids out of the theater during the previews if she's concerned about it.

And don't let me get started on her stance with her kids and video games (the next topic of the evening).

I would like to point out that this is basically the entire reason I hate freedom right there. You see, in America, free as it is, people are allowed to have opinions that contradict the greater good. In a better nation there would be civil liberties given to the people by the divine decree of the benevolent dictator. There is but one man infallible enough to be that dictator. And that man is Dr. Victor von Doom. Unfortunately, doomworld, as great as he may be, is fictional, and therefore incapable of ruling you people with the iron fist, so I think its best that i do it. And in my world, where I am king there are going to be some changes. I'm not saying there won't be any freedom. In fact, there's going to be mandatory freedoms. But there are going to be mandatory obligations as well. In exchange for your freedoms, you are obligated not to be stupid. So please, next time you go to the polls, vote Maverick for Ruler. Really, it is for the best.

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]From: tmaher Date: September 20th, 2005 - 09:02 am (Link)
And finally these are all just guidelines. The MPAA ratings are not a law. There is nothing binding about them whatsoever. It is simply by voluntary observation by the movie industry and the theater industry that the ratings mean anything whatsoever. In reality, if a 3 year old has the funds and wherewithal to buy a ticket to buy an R-rated DVD, the law won't do anything to stop her.

I wish that were as simple as you make it out. A number of theater chains will ID young-looking people for admittance to R-rated films. I know Wal-Mart IDs people for R-rated videos and "explicit lyrics"-stickered CDs. Additionally, a number of theater chains simply refuse to carry NC-17 films, a problem New Line ran into with the latest John Waters movie. They'll also refuse to carry indie films that aren't MPAA-rated.

"But Tom, you crazy-yet-lovable freedom-hating cumguzzler", you might say, "why can't people just go elsewhere than Wal-Mart or large chain gigundaplexes?". In a lot of places, that's not an option. Wal-Mart _is_ the place where you can buy a DVD, and Lowes _is_ the only theater for 50 miles. The MPAA is this non-governmental trade group which has become the movie morals police. It's less repressive than the bad old Hayes code days, but it's still a de facto restriction.
[User Picture]From: nlanza Date: September 20th, 2005 - 12:29 pm (Link)
Does Wal-Mart even carry explicit-lyrics CDs? I thought they were one of the major purchasers of the bowdlerized clean versions.

Also, you're right -- "if we upset Wal-Mart nobody will buy our product" drives a lot of entertainment-industry decisions these days. It's unfortunate.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: September 20th, 2005 - 01:59 pm (Link)
hmmm... well the website seems to only have editted copies. Its amusing. Target sells the explicit versions but won't sell cigarettes. Walmart will sell cigarettes but not explicit music. This is the reason that I think both liberal and conservative politics in this country are fucked up.

Interestingly, if I remember correctly, I believe that steph's brother and sister-in-law are anti-shopping at Walmart, because they don't like their business policies.
From: wooble Date: September 20th, 2005 - 03:50 pm (Link)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: September 20th, 2005 - 05:35 pm (Link)
well, all the big songs have clean cuts for radio anyway. It actually doesn't bother me that Walmart as a private institution chooses to only sale clean cut albums. And I think its just fine for an artist or label to agree or refuse to make a clean album edit to be sold at Walmart. What I would have a problem with would be Walmart arguing that the artists shouldn't be allowed to have the explicit cut. To the best of my knowledge, they've never done that.

But that's my problem with the FCC, and the PTC and similar groups.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: September 20th, 2005 - 01:43 pm (Link)
sorry, I think you misunderstand me. I actually don't have a problem with Wal-Mart refusing to sell R-rated movies to minors. I realize that they (and most stores) won't sell them to minors. What I meant was that it isn't a law. Its a self-restriction, and as such its kinda broken to throw your support behind one half of the policy but be upset at the other half.

On the other hand, I guess if you want things done, complaining is the way to do it. That's what I do.
[User Picture]From: thwomp Date: September 20th, 2005 - 12:07 pm (Link)
Well, if you only let your kids see G rated movies and a PG preview is shown during one of those G movies, your kid now has the idea that "wait, there exist PG movies, and this one in particular looks very appealing to me" and now you have to deal with your kid naggng you about seeing a movie that you think is unfit based on ratings.

So really, the answer isnt' to not show PG previews at G rated movies. The answer is to keep your kids living in total fear of your insane behaviour so that they never question you when you tell them "no, we're not seeing that". I reccomend keeping a taser strapped to your belt.

I am full of bad ideas.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: September 20th, 2005 - 02:09 pm (Link)
well, see, I'm of the opinion that if your kid is that interested in the movie, then maybe you should respect his individualty and rethink your totalitarian control over his life. Especially with PG movies, since they are FUCKING DESIGNED FOR CHILDREN!!!!

I dunno, I guess I just don't like over coddling children. I understand the reasoning, but I also think that its hampering to their development. Being 6 years old and no knowing who Bugs Bunny is ridiculous.
[User Picture]From: gigglefaerie Date: September 20th, 2005 - 06:48 pm (Link)
I'm with ya bud.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: September 20th, 2005 - 07:34 pm (Link)
thing is, with my way of thinking I'm going to have kids who are throwing all night kegger sex and drug parties by the time they're 8.

But at least they'll be independent and strong minded!
[User Picture]From: mokatz Date: September 20th, 2005 - 02:55 pm (Link)
See, when you and Steph get married, you will just have to be the cool Uncle that takes his nieces and nephews to all the R-rated films, and buy them beer. ;-)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: September 20th, 2005 - 03:05 pm (Link)
oh, well that was one of the coolest parts. Ethan (the 6 year old nephew) and I were talking over dinner and he was asking questions about the tattoo on my shoulder, so much to his mother's dismay I was telling him he'd look really cool if he got one too.

When he's older, maybe I'll take him out cruising for chicks. Like when he's 10.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 21st, 2005 - 02:16 am (Link)
Must remember to protect the children.
They have tender sensibilities to be protected
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: September 21st, 2005 - 02:37 am (Link)
weird... the images show up in the copy in my email. But they aren't showing up in the browser. Ah well.

You need a "my kid can shoot your honor student" bumper sticker.

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