December 28th, 2003

little review

Poem for Sunday

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The most exciting thing I did yesterday, aside from taking my kids to get haircuts and dropping off the van for an oil change before we drive it to New York for New Year's, was to scan a bunch more gratuitous Paul Bettany pictures from magazines. Hence, no report on my day yesterday. *g*

Still not sure about today; older son wants to be taken to Toys R Us to spend the gift card that's burning a hole in his pocket, younger son wants to be taken to Target, same thing. We might go see Peter Pan. My mother is making noises about trying to get discounted tickets to Camelot at Arena Stage. Both my horoscope and my tarot card of the day, not that I believe in either of these forms of prognostication, warn me not to make plans since challenges awaite me. So I am in wait-and-see mode.

Am thinking of making a web page on the proper use of the term "censorship." It is censorship when the government bans the dissemination of documents on the grounds that they may inspire violence or sedition, or when a school prevents students from reading books whose content varies from an approved curriculum. It is NOT censorship when a film ratings board decides that a movie is violent enough to warrant a rating that may affect that film's box office and distribution because theater chains that cater to family audiences won't risk diminished returns by giving the film the widest possible release. It's a somewhat more complicated matter when a large chain refuses to play a certain movie at all on the grounds that its content may be offensive, but in theory, in a capitalist society, if there is enough demand for a given form of entertainment, the demand will create the marketplace for it.

I've never advocated censoring an artist or filmmaker, but if you think I'm going to give my money to people making films that offend me personally (and that I will not allow my children to see until they are old enough to make informed and intelligent decisions about the nature of the violence and how closely it parallels reality), or if you think I should feel sorry for a filmmaker asked to cut a scene of extreme violence by a studio that has invested tens of millions of dollars in a project whose overall reception will depend on its accessibility to the widest available audience, you are sadly mistaken. If it's a filmmaker's goal to work utterly free of constraints, he or she will surely know to avoid studio money and interference, work with independent investors and film festivals and not worry about the MPAA rating. But if the goal is to get the movie seen by the broadest possible cross-section of the filmgoing public, or by people like me who have very few limits on acceptable sexual or theological content yet won't sit through one more bloodbath in the name of realism -- even if the film's about Vietnam or the Holocaust -- then make a movie that doesn't feature violence to such a degree that I have no stomach for watching it, and don't bitch at me that I'm a censor if I refuse to patronize it.

Pennsylvania Post-Sunset