May 10th, 2007

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03:25 am - on MPAA ratings...

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on MPAA ratings... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 10th, 2007 - 04:35 pm (Link)
well, to be fair, yes I am pushing buttons. And yes I do understand that some people have different things that they object to than I might, but that's exactly my point.

To start with your definitions of the Flickr terms, your assumption seems very conservative. A fine way for you to feel, but won't accurately match up with the fickr community at large. It's not defined whether the terms are to protect workplaces or kids. You'd rate that picture Restricted but, its rated Safe. On Flickr that is probably correct. A picture with blatant female toplessness, then that would make moderate. A blatant penis would make restricted. If safe were relegated to puppies, kittins, etc, Flickr would be a VERY different place than it currently is.

Of course many people would make the assumptions that you made and be offended by my pic, or perhaps even ones even more tame. That's the flaw in the system. I find it really interesting that you refer to wine in your descriptions. That's a value judgement of your own that I don't think most people consider at all.

MPAA ratings are worse because they are auspiciously from the same source, but in practice are very inconsistent. The MPAA kind of rates things based on how they "feel" or how they think people feel. A kiss can occur in a G rated movie, a homosexual kiss can not. Sex is treated VERY inconsistently. Homosexual sex is entirely demonized, and in fact, sex between hetero couples who aren't white is judged more harshly than that of caucassian couples. It leads to a very confusing world where Two Girls and a Guy (which seriously, is a lot tamer visually than anything you might see on daytime TV or Gray's Anatomy) is judged NC-17, while the movie Wild Things with MUCH more explicit sex (inlcuding a drunken threeway), nudity, and violence got an R. Another favorite of mine 100 Girls is a movie about sex. It's light on the nudity, but has some, and has sex scenes. It scored a PG-13. As did all 5 American Pie movies, despite nudity, sex, and masturbation with pastries, underaged drinking, ingestation of bodily fluids and drug use while But I'm a Cheerleader was given an NC-17 because of a girl masturbating OVER her clothes. (That scene was later re-editted and that allowed the film to get an R, but the movie is still much tamer than any of the American Pie movies... you know, except for the fact that all the characters are *gasp* GAY)

The TV ratings system is a little better, since they have more published guidelines of how something becomes TV-Y, TV-14 or TV-MA, and there are more ratings to choose from, but its still not great. I'm much more fond of the Content Advisory System that the cable movie networks adopted in 1994. It doesn't have a simple rating since those don't make sense. Instead there's a full list of terms, and any movie is identified with which things it contains:
  • V (Violence): for programs containing intense violence
  • MV (Mild Violence): for programs containing mild dramatic or comedic violence
  • AC (Adult Content): for programs containing highly suggestive dialogue
  • AL (Adult Language): for programs containing coarse language
  • GL (Graphic Language): for programs containing intense foul language
  • BN (Brief Nudity): for programs containing scenes of nudity usually lasting two minutes or less
  • N (Nudity): for programs containing scenes of full-frontal nudity shown for long durations
  • SSC (Strong Sexual Content): for programs that contain a few or several scenes featuring sometimes graphic sexual acts
  • RP (Rape): for programs that contain intense depiction of rape

So a movie like American Pie will be listed as "AL, N, AC." Whereas Two Girls and a Guy would be "SSC" (it doesn't even really have foul language in it) and But I'm a Cheerleader would get an "AL, AC" The drawback to this being of course that you have read more than one or two letters. Sometimes as many as 10 letters! Instead, the films are simply given an R, and parents are meant to blindy trust that, even though most don't realize how incredibly inconsistent it really is.
[User Picture]From: beststephi Date: May 10th, 2007 - 05:27 pm (Link)
If I were in charge of the U.S., and had unlimited time and energy, I would replace the MPAA with the Content Advisory System you describe above for movies. I agree that it's a much better, more objective ratings system. Of course, a lot of people would want to know about the genders involved in the nudity and sex, but I personally don't care.

But before doing this, I would fix the jury system in this country. I think that's a MUCH more pressing issue.
[User Picture]From: beststephi Date: May 10th, 2007 - 05:29 pm (Link)
Oh, and use that for Flickr also. Then, each person could choose their own safety levels based on these points.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 10th, 2007 - 05:34 pm (Link)
well, you do choose your own safety level. They just reserve the right to review and override you (and have for many people).

But the ratings are very vague because they didn't want to make artistic judgements. I think if they were more specific like the CAS (nudity, blood, sex, whatever) it would have worked better though.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 10th, 2007 - 05:32 pm (Link)
actually, the MPAA isn't run by the government. There's no laws governing it whatsoever. It's a common misconception that it is. The hollywood film industry runs the board itself, and many decisions that it makes are clearly financially motivated. I didn't get into it above, but its commonly believed that hollywood films (American Pie) are given more leeway than the independents (But I'm a Cheerleader) for that reason. I know you saw the movie and know this, but I thought I'd mention it for anyone else reading the comments.

I'm actually against the government regulating the film industry at all. (or the literature industry or any other media) It's clearly a violation of free speech to do so. The CAS I might be ok with, because its more a statement of fact. There are no opinions. Either there is nudity in something or there isn't. I'd likent it FDA info on the side of food.

what's wrong with the jury system? I mean, what specifically do you want to fix when you rule the world?
[User Picture]From: marsinthestars Date: May 14th, 2007 - 12:19 pm (Link)
Yeah, the ratings might be conservative, but like (I think) I said, I'm looking at this as a "safe for kids" thing, not as a "safe for work."
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: May 14th, 2007 - 01:43 pm (Link)
looking at which? Movie ratings, your ratings or flickr ratings?

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