Thursday, November 11, 2004

Censoring Ryan's Privates 

I reckon I sort of agree with the ABC stations that are pre-empting the network's broadcast of Saving Private Ryan at 8 tonight -- but my rationale for it seems to be different than theirs.

The stations are focused primarily on the film's language, citing the tight-assed puritanical tantrum the FCC threw when Bono said "fuck" at the Golden Globes. I, on the other hand, would defend this decision based on the violence, which seems to me to be a secondary concern to them.

I disagree 95% of the time with language censorship. Bono said "fuck" to make a point. Let him, and let others do the same. Even if it's a hail of swears, like in SPR, it can be OK if it's in context and not gratuitous. Swearing just isn't a threat to our way of life. After all, there's a reason most of us do it: they're damn good descriptive words and they're often irreplaceable.

I also think nudity shouldn't be regulated, or hardly at all. Not pornography, mind you, or even sex necessarily. Just naked people. Put them on TV and stop making such a fuckin' big deal out of it, and right away we'd see very positive cultural changes. It works nicely in....well, every other civilized country on Earth -- all of which seem to have lower sex crime rates than we do.

But I've always felt that violence should be somewhat monitored on TV. I recall that D-Day scene at the start of SPR as being terribly gruesome. I think it gave me nightmares, so I can only imagine what some 8-year-old would think coming upon it by accident at 8:05 in the evening.

I guess the bottom line is this: every time we hear about something bad that was "caused" by something on TV or a video game, it's always something violent. We never hear: "Damn, because of TV my kid got the idea to climb a tree to check out the naked girl next door!" We pretty much figure that out on our own. Swearing -- same thing. Violent acts can be prevented, at least to some extent, by making guns and violence a less pervasive and acceptable part of the culture.

Overall, though, it's still another sign that the country is moving further and further to the right. The movie aired in 2001 and 2002 -- pre-"wardrobe malfunction" -- without any complaints.

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