This Column Is Not Yet Rated
by Matthew Chase
Hello again to you all! You know, its funny how things can go awry at the last minute isn’t it? I had an article all set to be posted and wouldn’t you know it, I got all sorts of busy at work and left with it still on the screen! So my co-worker, quite by accident, forgot to save it. I lost all the material with no time to compose my article again in order for it to be posted after the “Super Bowl”. Just insanity I tell you! I worked during that time and failed to see the commercials or the game itself. Which I heard was quite exciting. The last time I saw the “Super Bowl” was also, funny enough, the same night I saw Janet Jackson’s boobie. Wasn’t there a whole lot of attention drawn to this small infraction? It was shown at about eight thirty or so if I recall correctly. If I’m not mistaken that was about the same time in the evening that we used to be treated to a myriad of “Butt Shots” on shows like NYPD Blue, or even a racy episode of “Law and Order”. I suppose my question at this point is: “What in hell goes on in the minds of the ratings people?” It seems to me that there is a HUGE enormous problem with the ratings for some videos, movies, and television programs. For example let’s just take the video “Alien vs. Predator” and one of my personal favorites: “It’s My Party”, and compare the films and the ratings they were given.
I suppose my question is which one would you rather a 13 year old watch? Personally, I think I’d rather them watch the film about life, and love, and relationships. I believe that the two ratings should have been reversed. I encountered a similar problem when I realized that the Oscar nominated “Brokeback Mountain” was also rated R for sexuality. Does this mean that if a film is gay in nature that it is inappropriate for our young adults? I understand that the two sex scenes in the film might just be enough to warrant a rating of PG-13. However the situations depicted in the film are similar to many romantic dramas that have a man and a woman as the main characters. Most of those films have severely more nudity, and more graphic sex scenes.
This means that if I was a young gay male of about 15, (which at one point, I was) I would not be able to see the films about gay lovers, however most of my friends could watch films loaded with half naked chicks screwing reasonably attractive actors onscreen.
There seems to be a great lack of consistency in the ways that many films are rated. Many horror films that I have seen lately have been rated PG-13. Are we that desensitized to violence, and yet overly sensitive about loving one another? When did we begin thinking that it is ok to show our youngsters how to make a pipe bomb in order to defend against a giant bug, and yet attempt to shelter them from any growing feelings of attraction they may have for someone of the same sex, retarding the social growth of some young boys and girls destined to grow up gay? It seems to me that any diversity in character development on film is restricted to the adult audience over 18 years of age. A shame really. I recall growing up watching shows that had characters expressing feelings grief, love, hate, and joy. Whereas today it seems many people feel sexual attraction, violence, and never really take much time to develop any other real human characteristics. I think that when I become a parent I will be screening everything my kids want to see. And I think I will most likely allow them to see many films not recommended for them by the film ratings administration. While depriving them from some films that society deems acceptable… While it may be time consuming to screen all of the material that will enter my kids’ brain, I think it is every parent’s duty to ensure a well rounded child. If the parent does not consider the future of the child, and allows them to hate, be prejudiced, or a bigot, than it is the fault of the parent. Not the child. Though later in life, the child will be responsible for his/her own actions. (Another lesson many parents seem to fail at.)
To close this week, I just have to say that my faith in the people who rate television and film is gone. Despite all the political correctness in ratings lately, it is, and will always be, up to the parent to know that is going on. Relying on someone else to dictate your children is irresponsible, and careless.
I hope you find joy in the week to come, and happiness in the quiet times shared with loved ones. Don’t worry about me, I’m a drag queen, what do I know?