As with any movie, I journey to my favorite website, IMDB.com to check it out. After reading some of the news articles I stumble across a couple of different things that make me question the idea of exposure in general. I stumble across this article: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/03/20/hunger-games-common-sense-media/
Firstly, let me take a moment and apologize for actually putting a link to E! News on here in the first place.
Now this article has me thinking. "Bully" a film that really could teach kids a moral lesson about what it is to be bullied, and how to recognize yourself as one, and the consequences of it, gets a rating of R because of swearing. This of course, makes sense, since we all know that 13 year old's never EVER swear. Nor, do they have any experience with it. Exposing them to "Fuck" would be TERRIBLE. After all, it is a WORD and WORDS can really lead to moral decay.
However, the Hunger Games, a movie about kids killing other kids, that is okay for the 13 year old to see because it's just violence. For instance, in the book when a spear goes through another character's chest (if they keep this in the movie) that is totally fine for a 13 year old to see because we know 13 year old's penchant and their first hand experience of throwing spears through other kid's chests.
This also got me thinking about sex in movies as well. I, for the longest time, have had the complaint that I think it is absolutely ridiculous that teenagers can watch a guy get shot point blank in the face, but the fact that a titty might be on screen would send them into a tailspin of moral degradation and decay. I think the facts bear me out on this. Titanic came out in 1997 and the economy was good, life in America was awesome, no wars, everyone was looking toward a bright future, and then Kate Winslet's Tit came along and RUINED EVERYTHING. Damn you Kate Winslet, damn you and your fatty flesh that hangs from your chestal region, look at society now! How dare you expose your breast to everyone and ruin my childhood innocence. I am jaded, dejected, after seeing your breast. I know the minute, after I saw Titanic for the first time, I went out and just felt like I had snort Coke. Of course the image of the tit was still burned in my mind, the only option for me after the Coke was to inject myself with heroine. Still the image of her nipple was so burned in my subconscious, I JUST HAD to experience it first hand. So I hitch-hiked all the way to Vegas, living off blowing truckers in their cabs, until I could go and get enough money to purchase a prostitute. IT WAS STILL THERE! So, I had to chase the dragon. (Which is a snort of cocaine up each nostril, a syringe of heroine up each arm, followed by a "whicky stick", which is a cigarette dipped in embalming fluid. You'll fall asleep on Monday- won't wake up till Friday!) Still to this day I wake up in cold sweats, the image of her tit while lying on that antique bed burned in my memory from that dark day in 97.
Whereas when I saw "Poltergeist" when I was 9, and watched the guys face decay in front of the mirror, that scene was completely erased from my memory the minute I instantly saw it. No effect on me whatsoever. Nor when the skeleton came out of the dug pool. I clapped with glee and was overjoyed that it was finally able to breathe. I can only assume that this is the same case for all other kids born in 1982. After all that film was rated PG so it was easily watchable for a kid.
Now, it's not that I think that Kids should go around watching porno's, nor do I condone swearing in polite conversation with others who do not like or use those words. My point is simply let's take a re-evaluation of the rating system. I don't like the rating system. Who the hell are they to tell me what I can and cannot see when I am younger, and what a parent should or should not allow their kids to watch, ANY RESPONSIBLE PARENTAL UNIT WOULD WATCH A MOVIE FIRST THEN DECIDE TO LET THEIR KID'S WATCH IT! NO MATTER THE MOVIE!
However, since it seems like the rating system is here to stay for the time being, maybe we can examine the human social condition and behavioral modification and take that into account for what we allow others to see. Now it is human nature in teenagers to want to have sex. In the words of comic Louis Black, "When I was 13 my whole life was dedicated to seeing a tit". As was mine Louis...as was mine. I like many other males my age was a horny little bastard and would have had sex with anything with a hole in it. Watching a movie with a sex scene didn't make me that way. I can't remember watching a movie with any sex scene when I was 13 because my parent's just didn't allow it. Still I wanted sex, I learned about it on the playground like everyone else, and while I didn't know everything that went along with it, I knew I wanted it!
However contrast that with punching hitting and kicking people. That is a choice, a choice that we make. Now I had never had the gumption to pick up a gun and turn it sideways and fire it at people, however I have seen that many times, even when I was a kid. However, I knew it was cool and I wanted to do it. Not because it was ingrained in me, but because I saw it, and it was cool. I didn't know karate but damned if when I saw Ninja Turtles that I didn't bust out moves on my friend's the next day.
Now this could just be me, maybe I am the only one, but this shows me that I wanted sex without seeing it, but I didn't want to shoot a gun until I saw it. I am not making the argument that people who see violence will go out and copycat that, that to me is a bullshit argument. That's just as bad as outlawing video games, because a kid can beat up a hooker and steal a car with a chainsaw. I don't think a 13 year old is going to go out and do that either. What I am saying is that behavior is ingrained and taught. It is the responsibility of parent's for what to allow their kids to see not some bullshit rating system that purports moral fortitude. I think parent's need to re-evaluate what is really good and what is not. Do parent's honestly believe that a kid seeing someone shot, maimed, burned, is totally fine while seeing a nipple is completely and utterly wrong? Is seeing someone dead on the sidewalk fine but hearing the word "Fuck" is completely insane. I as a parent can explain that it is not nice to use to those words, and that they shouldn't be said, but I can't erase the image of what the child has seen from their mind. The problem is that people take this so seriously...that they think because a movie is R it is dirty, wrong, when it could provide a good moral lesson, which reminds me....
Maybe this will teach Suzanne Collins next time, not to pin a Mockingjay to Katniss's chest, but maybe a cross. Since it seems to me that parent's have a moral outrage of kids watching a tit and saying the word fuck but watching Jim Caviezal get beaten to within an inch of his life, blood flying everywhere, getting punched, kicked, whipped with glass, this is TOTALLY acceptable for kids to watch. Let's have church groups buy out theater's for special screenings to watch this. But the minute a piece of a costume comes off in the super bowl halftime show, that-apparently-is when it goes to far.
Damn you Kate Winslet...Damn you