Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Kids Are Alright (The Adults Are Another Story)

Monday I wrote that Congress and the FCC have kicked broadcast indecency where it hurts with hefty new fines.

I’m not a parent myself, but I’ve never been able to fathom the standards some people set for their children’s viewing habits.

Take for instance some members of my family. Their kids are in their mid to late teens now, but when they were younger their folks made some curious viewing choices for them.

Braveheart. Honestly, this slaughter-fest is the favorite of just about every consternative I know, including my family members. So, they let their young kids watch it. I have a pretty high tolerance threshold for disturbing movies, but after viewing just a small portion of this movie I turned it off. Too much wanton violence.

Ok, it also put me off because it was an ego project for Mel Gibson, who directed and produced and starred as the heroic martyr, but that’s beside the point.

The rationale for allowing the kids to watch this movie was that it was “historical.” I should have brought over my copy of Quills, about naughty writer Marquis de Sade, for the kids to watch. Historical – French Revolution, legendary writer – but also quite risqué, as is befitting the subject. How do you think this historical dandy would’ve gone over?

The real story behind the historical criteria became transparent when the kids were also allowed to add The Matrix and Spawn to their collection: Violence of any era is ok, profanity is frowned upon but fleeting, and nudity/sex are big no-no's.

Against my advice they showed their kids the brutal Starship Troopers, thinking it was a Star Wars-type movie. They all enjoyed the action/violence/mayhem but, as I was told later, they fast-forwarded through "the boobies." There is a coed shower scene in there, to my recollection, and maybe a bedroom scene or two.

I took the kids to see Black Hawk Down with their parents’ blessing, but when I took one of them, by then 16, to see V For Vendetta, that was a different story. For the latter, when I explained what movie we were going to see, the concerned parent seemed wary about the subject matter and R-rating, but reluctantly allowed me to proceed. (It if had been called V For Vagina, it would have been a guaranteed non-event.)

Black Hawk Down was a true story about heroes of the American establishment, while V For Vendetta was a satirical yarn about an anti-establishment “terrorist.” Both were quite violent. Both movies left the kids relatively unharmed, I might add.

I enjoyed talking about V4V with the kids in particular, as it allowed me to point out that both Jesus and the soldiers of the American Revolution were anti-establishment. It’s easy for patriotic Christians to forget these facts.

I don’t think I will ever understand the “logic” in allowing children to watch people causing each other pain, while forbidding them from watching two people giving each other pleasure. I’m not suggesting one should intentionally show sexual content to kids, merely that 1) it’s hypocritical (and unfathomable) to find one acceptable and not the other, and 2) that the kids will probably be ok if they see a breast or two.

The ideology thing, though, I disagree with, but get completely. It’s about maintaining the status quo and not challenging traditional ideas about what constitutes a hero and what constitutes a villain (as in V4V). Bad cowboys wear black hats and good cowboys wear white ones. And that’s how some people like it.

The people I’ve described here surely welcome the new indecency fines, based on their track record. They are birds of a feather with our elected officials, who seem to be preoccupied with the evils of human flesh, but not on the evils of destroying human flesh. Why should those with such incomprehensible, hypocritical and self-serving standards determine what I can see on TV?


Blue said...

David Attenborough has made similiar comments regarding nature documentaries. Its ok for kids to watch animals rip each other apart, but not to watch them mating.

Not that I'm promoting animal prOn you understand :-)

Pete Bogs said...

well, as long as all the animals involved are at least 18... LOL

Reverend X said...

Bogs I kinda see you point
I'll give ya mine if you pass the joint.
Modern Morals give me fits.
The shit is context, Let's look at tits.
Loved, embraced, gets an R award
Pg-13 if cut with a broadsword.
desensitized make better killers,
too bad we're psycho serial thrillers.
Police state to curb the violence.
train carred to war in utter silence.
They say that pride preceeds the Fall.
Proud parents with kids on zombinol.
Too much for just one of my rants
Here's your Invitation to the Dance

Jack K. said...

It has been a puzzle to me too. We worship at the altar of violence and wonder why people behave in violent manners.

All you need is love is playing as background for an ad on TV right this instant. I was thinking about the hippy generation and the so-called free-love movement.

I am also reminded of sitting in the living room of our friends in Dijon, France when a female product commercial began to play. They were showing the nude body of a young woman. (A beautiful study in the human body, btw.) As I recall there was a degree of embarrassment in all of us.

I also wonder if all the consternatives were bottle fed. Perish the thought that a baby should be that close to a breast. It could taint them for life. Who knows what kinds of phobias and unwanted behaviors they might develop.

Congratulations on taking the step to broaden the horizons of those kids. You will find that they will turn to you for more information in the future. You are in an enviable position. Keep up your good works.

Just some thoughts.

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

great to have the rappin' revvy back!

again parents want the STATE to babysit their children. why not exercise some alpha status on the kids and prevent them from watching the idiot box to begin with.

now a bunch of parents want buffet style cable so bad sex channels cannot come into their homes. what they dont get is how much more expensive that will be when each home receives ths or that channel and not the packages. dolts. all because they do not put the time in to parent.

but nobody wants to hear anything like this from a puppyless dog. ever.


Bird said...

i cannot support animal porn, but animal erotica ... that's a different story.

we are inundated (sp) with violence - we get used to it.

we are also inundated with sex and sexual messages. it's all around us. what's fascinating to me is that sex that reflects a loving, healthy relationship between two people (or even just a caring one, 'cause i don't think you've got to be in love to behave sexually) is taboo in our culture, but sex that reflects manipulation and exploitation is common and no one says boo.

warvigilent said...

been thinking about this topic myself,
but yah its odd how we disaprove of "naughty" content yet allow incredible amounts of violence. but bird does have point in that sex is still there but it is a subtle kind. just look at spears and simpson, their whole careers are built on sex appeal, how many products are advertised with a sexy model showcasing them, even video games are marketed with sex, look at tomb raider or even E3, chock full of sex appeal.

but one could suppose that the sex present in media isnt exactly the good type. sex is simply a lure rather than showing a healthy, mature relationship.
the only attacks ive seen on violence in media have been on video games but even that movement comes off as poorly reasoned as the anti- D&D movement of the 80s.

but really why is it so bad to see someone with their pants off but is ok to see them with their head off

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

for me the debate is not the content itself but at what level content is controlled. less is more. we have got to get this gummit monkey off our backs!

warvigilant and bird -thats right! you, us, -individuals teach children what sex is and its beauty along with an instructional course on how it is used to manipulate and sell. start early.


Paul said...

Congress fails to understand that parents and individuals already have the TV ratings and content-blocking tools to make and enforce TV viewing decisions, both for their children and themselves. This makes government regulation of TV unnecessary and undesirable.

Check out TV Watch, at, for a common-sense voice of reason in this debate.

Reverend X said...

Content Control. What bothers me is the level of unregulated control from the Corporate media.In '97 no entity could own more than 7 of any media. Clinton and ole Newt Gingrich axed that law. That Law should have been a Constitutional Amendment rather than a statute. At the time of it's inception the people of our gov. knew the importance of a free and independent media to assist a well informed people for the protection of Democracy. What they did not forsee was themselves being followed by the modern Politician. "Sell the country for a free round of golf and hot wings... done and done." Then with one side of the information sphincter tightly closed, those same Politicians get a frosty beer to wash down those wings just for making sure their end is tight too.

Pete Bogs said...

rev X - you go, boy!

war - good point bringing up the D&D... same thing with Judas Priest lyrics causing suicide in otherwise happy (right?!) kids... this argument had come around several times in my short lifetime and I am already way sick of it... no parental or individual responsibility....

Paul - exactly... this post was longer than most of mine, but would have been a book had I added in the facts that 1) TV, DVD, cable, are all choices you bring into your homes, and 2) you have control over them at all times - volume control, power control, channel control... you don't even have to OWN a friggin' television! then there are the ratings and PARENTAL LOCK...

let me ask you all, how many parents would prefer legislation over learning how to use the parental lock feature? their lazy asses prefer the former, it seems... and the overall point of the post is, why should THOSE PEOPLE get to decide what we all see?

Bird said...

hahahah - we used the remote control lock. there comes a point where you run out of codes (pre-teens and teens are excellent code breakers). and then you just have to trust that you've done your job relatively well - by that point - your kids are old enough to handle a lot of questionable material - IF you've made it ok for discussion about that material to occur in the household. we had some pretty bizarre discussions round the dinner table when my kids were growing up - not your normal dinner-table content.

CROAK said...

I agree with everything you wrote Pete. Violence watching teaches that that is the way you solve disputes. Like some programs on TV that portray people as being sarcastic and name-calling as a part of getting the better of someone. That is far more a 'lesson' on how to behave than anything portraying sex could ever be. If you make sex 'dirty' as a parent the kids will always see it like that. as a parent my kids were taught from year dot about making babies, then making love then having sex as they matured. As long as the sex is not mixed up with violent depiction they were allowed to watch, with me, to talk to them about it.
Violence was definitely a no no.
They are all pacifists. But two of the three are doing martial arts.
I find that an interesting twist.
Don't understand about 'animal porn'. Animals copulating is what life is all about.If you lived on a farm you would see it from when you could see as a child. No worries there.
Great post.

Pete Bogs said...

martial arts is about defense and not attacking people, so there's nothing strange about pacifists practicing... it's also a mental exercise in concentration...

animal porn? no! animalistic porn? yes!


thanks, all...

Pete Bogs said...

croak - I almost forgot... you're a way-cool mum!

video games consoles said...

Hi there Blogger, a real useful blog.Keep with the good work.
If you have a moment, please visit my video games consoles site.
I send you warm regards and wishes of continued success.