Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Their enhanced lusts

One News Now had an editorial about censorship the other day. Only they didn't call it censorship. They called it decency.

Writer Marcia Segelstein laments that "Our expectations have been lowered to the point where we expect crude language, immorality and disrespect for religion and family." She calls for Christian organizations to put together boycotts of "indecent" films and television programs.

She also goes into a rosy-eyed overview of the Hays Code, the filmmaking production standards from the 1930-1960s that placed strict rules upon what could be shown, said, and even implied. By her description it was a golden age of deceny.

She cites "the children" as the impetus that must be followed to force the "return" of decency to the screen.

I'm not too sure what to think about this. I have two opinions, one as an artist and one as a viewer.

First, as an artist I am actually leaning towards this sort of restriction. I am a firm believer that the best art comes out of overcoming obstacles, so if you add more obstacles you will get better art. I mean, Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil, Ben Hur, The Twilight Zone and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre all came out of the production code eara. Sure, sometimes it leads to crap because the production code, as Segelstein fails to mention, also mandated that the good guys win and evil always be punished by the final reel.

Second, as a viewer and critic, I'm against it totally. I'm of the school that says the more variety the better, and you just have to know what you're watching. That's why I think the current rating system is good for describing what content is in films, and the unrated DVD system finally allows filmmakers to release alternate versions if they censored themselves for financial reasons.

So it's an interesting question, that deserves a more thoughtful consideration than simply "these darn kids and their sexy movies have got to go." A less rose-colored view of the past would be helpful as well. It is also interesting to note that in discussing the abhorence of modern film and television, once again sex and language take all the heat while the excessive violence gets a pass.

And I'd be remiss not to mention the comments for this post, since some of them are priceless. Two gems:

"Some like to say - we can just turn off the TV, and/or not attend the movies. That may be true. But then we are subjecting our children to attending school with those who DO watch such filth, and they WILL perpetrate their enhanced lusts upon our children!"

"I curse the NYT and Washington Post they are a fig tree with no fruit, and may no one enjoy them again. In Jesus name I include the TV network news. Please see and watch as these towers fall. Praise God."

Good arguements. That'll win over skeptics. Thanks for a great post title.

(One News Now - Perspectives: Hollywood --Clean up your act!)

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