Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and the Latest Loss of Childhood Innocence

I suppose it started with the Comics Code Authority in 1954. For those of you who don’t know, this was an industry self imposed set of restrictions on comic book content established to avoid government regulation by The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, which was set up specifically to focus on comic books (this during The Cold War – you’d think The Senate would have had bigger fish to fry. Like Joe McCarthy). Yes, to protect America’s tender, impressionable youths from lurid, immorally seductive images and ideas conveyed by fanciful cartoons drawn and pressed on paper. If you want the details look it up – it’s every bit as absurd as you might imagine.

Then came the countless studies that continue to this day on the terrifying impact that television is having on youthful minds. Television romanticizes violence, sexuality and drug use. Television reduces intelligence. Television causes autism. The Red Chinese use television to brainwash political prisoners. Tinky Winky is gay. It’s inevitable that television will at some point produce a generation of homicidal, crack smoking, homosexual, idiot-savants that will destroy the country, if it hasn’t already happened.

Need I mention rock ‘n’ roll music, which was leading our impressionable youth into Satan worship, drug abuse, and suicide in the 1980's? That one landed in The Senate as well, thanks to our latter day hero of the centrist-left Al Gore. If he’d spent that energy on environmental politics maybe people would have started listening sooner. Anyway, as Gene Simmons pointed out, had subliminal messaging in rock ‘n’ roll music worked his would have been, “Buy more KISS records!” I venture to say he’s not alone in that sentiment.

Now video games are the bugaboo. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wouldn’t have shot all those people at Columbine High School if it weren’t for the nefarious influence of violent video games in their lives. Nor would the handful of school shooters since. Pre-existing mental instability, unchecked bullying, and poor parenting didn’t enter into it at all. It was that one last round of Doom that pushed them over the edge. This is proven by the fact that the millions of teenagers out there playing violent video games are even now oiling their carbines.

This brings us around, of course, to movies. In 1930 The Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association (now The Motion Picture Association of America) adopted The Production Code to avoid any “lurid” content from making it into films (again – look it up). This was a little different in that it was intended to protect EVERYONE from the profane and vulgar imaginations of the riff-raff involved in the motion picture industry. In 1968 The Production Code was abandoned for the (now) MPAA’s film rating system, designed to keep “morally questionable” content out of films. This had more of a focus on children, arbitrarily deciding at which age a child was capable of safely absorbing which kind of content. The holds, of course, slipped here with the advent of cable television, video cassette rentals, and the DVD revolution. Still, no rabid hordes of bloodthirsty nymphomaniac teenagers running wild in the streets. At least, as in the cases mentioned above, no more than usual.

Which brings me to my point. Kevin Smith’s new movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno has raised something of a furor. Several TV stations, newspapers and cable networks are refusing to screen the ad. The City of Philadelphia has ordered all poster ads pulled from its bus stops, and The City of Boston is considering doing the same. Fox Sports has agreed, at the team’s request, to not show the ad during Dodger’s games as the ads damage the Dodgers’ “family friendly” image. Kevin Smith had to beg the MPAA to drop the film’s rating from “NC-17”, a box office killer, to “R”. Why all the hubub, bub? The last word of the film’s title. Yes – “porno”. This five letter word is now the overwhelming threat to the morals of a new generation. It doesn’t matter that the movie isn’t a porno, or even a sex comedy for that matter. It has the word “porno” in the title.

And I thought the 1954 Senate being scared of comic books was absurd.

3 comments:

Emily said...

Amen.

leigh said...

as an avid worshipper of kevin smith, i cannot WAIT to see this movie. ass to mouth, baby, ass to mouth!

MiseryCreek said...

Won't ANYBODY think of the CHILDREN?!?