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Should a movie be punished by an R rating simply because of an X number of F-bombs?

 
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 04:56 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

You are completely missing the point Finn. The way words are used is far more damaging than the vocabulary.

So that's you point. It hasn't been mine, but then I didn't realize we were all forced to respond to yours. If that's your only point then we need not continue...I agree with this statement. It seems though that another of your points has been that there is no harm in a five year old using profanity, and with that I don't agree.

First of all, five year olds all know the word '****' (I don't know if you have or have ever had a five year old). Five year olds have older siblings and cousins and they live with adults who are real human beings. And they teach each other. You put a group of 25 of them in kindergarten and all of them are going to be exposed to the word and most of them will use it.

If you actually read anything I've written on this thread, you would know that I have children. I have three, and they were all 5 once...in fact one of them was probably 5 when we first watched Monster Squad.

I have little doubt that most 5 year olds have heard the word "****," and most of them know what it means. In and of itself this means nothing in terms of what we are discussing. One of my concerns with 5 year olds hearing a 5 year old gratuitously using "chickenshit" in a movie made for children is not that their virgin ears will be exposed to the word for the first time, but that it might seem cute or acceptable to them.


The real question is about whether grownups can cope with reality. There are two ways to deal with these so-called "bad" words.

Who has that question other than perhaps you?

We can teach kids that there are "bad" words that should never be used. Clearly this is a lie. Kids will understand that you are teaching them hypocrisy. And of course, when you prohibit something, even for young kids, you make it desirable (anyone who has ever had a 5 year old knows how powerful this facet of human nature is at that age).

I'm amused by how constrained you seem to feel you are. You're relying on a false choice to support your argument.

We can also teach our kids that there are bad words which they should never use. This does not involve a lie. Children are perfectly capable of understanding that there is a clear distinction between how children may behave and how adults may behave, without sitting in the corners of their rooms fuming over the hypocritical nature of life and their lying parents.

We can also avoid using profanity around our children and so provide a good example and minimize any sense of inequity they may experience.

Yes, they will hear other people use the words, but so what? They hear people insult one another and see people hurt one another all of the time. You seem to be claiming that preventing such behavior by our children should be the focus of parents. I doubt you believe this is a futile effort because your kids see other people doing what you don't want them to.

I don't know whether or not you drink or smoke, but if you do, are you as sanguine about letting your kids drink or smoke? If not, then apparently you don't have a problem with the inherent hypocrisy of preventing them from doing something you practice.


Why not just deal with reality and focus on what is important. Prohibiting the language is useless, they will have to learn (just as we did) that sometimes swears are acceptable (i.e. with friends) and sometimes they are not (i.e. with grandma). Why shouldn't we, as adults, teach kids this?

Because in my reality and the reality of millions of other parents, it is important that children don't use profanity. I assure you that we can manage to hold many other values important as well and don't have to sacrifice thou shall not kill in order to keep little kids from cursing.

Prohibition is hardly useless since my kids didn't swear in front of adults, just as I didn't swear in front of adults when I was a kid. I know I didn't run ouside and fling curses around my friends just because I could and I doubt my kids did either. Prohibition of cursing in public assists in teaching children self-control which is something they had better learn to use when they are adults.


In my family we have the term "Grandma words" which my kids understand means don't use any words that grandma might be offended by. Of course they understand that in social situations thy need to act "maturely". With my three kids, this has never been a problem.

You're pretty lucky if you've never had a problem with your kids acting immaturely.

Kids can be quite cruel without using any swears. I teach my kids not to be cruel, and when they are I react strongly

Good for you. I taught my kids the same thing and still taught them not to curse.

Of course, you can use swears in a way that hurts no one. When this happens, I might mention is or I might not, but really I don't give a ****.

Within reason, you're free to raise your children as you see fit, as was I. You, however, seem to have more of a problem with my critique of Monster Squad and not wanting kids to curse then I do with your letting your kids curse.

0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Dec, 2010 05:13 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Quote:
A five year old may know the word, but he doesn't need to be taught that it's acceptable. If I heard one of my kid's friends using that language, I wouldn't want my kid hanging out with that loser

This reminds me of the time Mo came home from school and used the word "nigger". I went bat-**** crazy. That is most certainly a word he never heard at home. He had no idea what the word meant, only that it was an insult. I had a thread here about it (but I can't find it now) where I asked how someone should talk to their kid about this word. I got some extraordinary advice.

I put "faggot" in that same category -- words we simply never ever use because their sole intent is to hurt and insult.

We don't cuss at home and Mo isn't allowed to cuss but cuss words don't make my head explode like some words do.

Would I let him see a movie that used the word "nigger" or "faggot"?

It depends entirely on the context.


It's not an issue of prudery, and it's rarely a matter of context when it comes to the issue of allowing kids to curse.

In what context might Mo use the word "****" that wouldn't concern or upset you?

Using inappropriate words in a way that is intended to hurt someone is a combination transgression, and so if you were forced, for some silly reason, to rank using these words, "nigger" would most likely be ranked worse than "****." Mo, however, came home and spouted "nigger" without any idea of what it meant. If on the other hand he dropped a cookie and said "****!" he would be using the word with understanding.

I curse, and I am very rarely offended when I hear someone curse. If curses, or words like "faggot" and "nigger" are properly employed in a book or movie, I'm not going to be offended. If they are used gratuitously, I don't know that I would describe my reactions as offended as much as angered or disappointed...or possibly even bored.

Using anything gratuitously is sloppy. I don't appreciate sloppy writing or film making.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 09:58 am
@tsarstepan,
tsar, I just came across this documentary and thought you might be interested...

Quote:
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
2006NR90 minutes
Kirby Dick's provocative documentary investigates the secretive and inconsistent process by which the Motion Picture Association of America rates films, revealing the organization's underhanded efforts to control culture. Dick questions whether certain studios get preferential treatment and exposes the discrepancies in how the MPAA views sex and violence. Interviewees include John Waters, Darren Aronofsky, Maria Bello, Atom Egoyan and more.

sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 11:59 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
You didn't ask me, but since I have a kid of a similar age:

Finn wrote:
In what context might Mo use the word "****" that wouldn't concern or upset you?


Pretty much anything that wasn't intended to cause hurt.

For example, "And then her little sister was making up a rhyme and accidentally said '****,' but she didn't even know what it meant, and everyone started laughing and she was like 'what? what???'."

In actuality, if she said anything she'd probably say "the f-word," as she really dislikes saying "bad words." She knows them all though and is evidently seen as something of an authority by her friends. ("No, that's not what it means, it means ___.")

We've explained this stuff as it's come up. I don't swear much in front of her (usually it doesn't get much worse than "crap," and she doesn't even like that), but "bad words" are everywhere, if only in sanitized versions. ("What's the f-word?") She's known pretty much all of them for a while, not much explaining anymore.

She used to be somewhat neutral but in the last couple of years started to REALLY dislike profanity. She likes Monty Python and we tried "A Fish Called Wanda," which I'd remembered as being funny, but we had to stop after a short while because the f-bombs and sexual situations were really bothering her.

I used to be more laissez-faire about sex (kissing and double entendres, not actual naked sex-sex), it's recently started making her more uncomfortable though so I'm being more careful about that.

(We watched a bit of some ABC Family movie yesterday, it was really stupid but we got sucked in somehow, and it was ABC Family, right? Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez, we expected something nice and squeaky clean. It was NOT! We had to change the channel like five times.) (We kept coming back to it though for some reason. It really sucked. Terrible message.)
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 12:18 pm
@sozobe,
Holiday in Handcuffs (2007) (TV)
Melissa Joan Hart ... Gertrude 'Trudie' Chandler
Mario López ... David Martin (as Mario Lopez)

Quote:
A struggling artist working as waitress kidnaps one of her customers to bring home and meet her parents at Christmas.


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0938666/

IMDb User Review:
Quote:
Hoepfully nobody has the keys to these handcuffs, 11 January 2009
1 out of 10 stars
Author: tstyles1 from United States

This is garbage. First off, it's not for kid's under thirteen unless you want to have to feel uncomfortable watching it and wondering what is going through their mind. Secondly, Mario Lopez is a reject. Why do you think he was on Dancing with the Stars. Keep it away from the kids. Watch "It's a Wonderful Life" instead. That is a time when creative people knew how to make entertaining movies for families.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 12:21 pm
@tsarstepan,
Yeah, that one.

"Go ahead and kidnap a cute guy at gunpoint, he'll fall in love with you and it'll all work out in the end!"
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 12:25 pm
@boomerang,
I've seen the doc. It rips the MPAA and in fact this documentary itself got a NC-17. The director and producers chose to ignore the film rating as they are in fact a voluntary system and they choose to go with the NR or not rated rating.

The only good thing about the MPAA rating system, which was created in 1922 in order to keep the federal government from regulating the film industry, is that its voluntary. The problem comes when most of the entire countries movie theaters refuse to screen NC-17 and NR rated films so the filmmakers are stuck with the lesser of two evils: severely edit their films to get a lesser rating or not get their film nationally screened.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 12:55 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

You didn't ask me, but since I have a kid of a similar age:

Finn wrote:
In what context might Mo use the word "****" that wouldn't concern or upset you?


Pretty much anything that wasn't intended to cause hurt.

For example, "And then her little sister was making up a rhyme and accidentally said '****,' but she didn't even know what it meant, and everyone started laughing and she was like 'what? what???'."




I relate to everything you wrote following that quoted above, and therefore question your response to the question posed to boomerang.

I don't know if your example is meant to be a quote of what your daughter might say but I wouldn't be all that upset with it either. I wouldn't like the fact that she actually voiced the word "****" in front us though, and I would tell her so. The same story can be told utilizing "the f-word" instead of "****."

If on the other hand she came home and said

"And then her ******* little sister was making up a rhyme and accidentally said '****,' but she didn't even know what it ******* meant, and everyone started laughing and she was like 'what? what???', and I said 'You mean What the ****?' and everyone laughed even more."

Nothing intended to harm with that, but still it would not bother you?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 01:04 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
It wouldn't bother me, no (except that it'd be extremely out of character and so I'd worry a bit about that -- but in and of itself, no).

My standard spiel on these things is something like, "Papa and I really don't care about what you say... it's not a big deal to us as long as you're not using those words to purposely hurt anyone. But these words can really bother some people, so keep that in mind before you use them." With more detail according to what word it is.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 01:14 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

It wouldn't bother me, no (except that it'd be extremely out of character and so I'd worry a bit about that -- but in and of itself, no).

My standard spiel on these things is something like, "Papa and I really don't care about what you say... it's not a big deal to us as long as you're not using those words to purposely hurt anyone. But these words can really bother some people, so keep that in mind before you use them." With more detail according to what word it is.


If you say so, but somehow I think you would be more than a bit upset if your daughter started speaking extremely out of character and adopted a truck driver's vernacular in which to communicate.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 01:18 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
To fine-tune a bit -- your second example seemed to be emphasizing my daughter using the words herself instead of just quoting someone else saying them. In that sense, it wouldn't bother me much except for it being out of character. The use of the words themselves wouldn't be the problem.

However, the last bit (her saying "don't you mean What the ****?" at someone else's house) would get a reaction from me, because of what I said in the standard spiel part. There are things she can say at home that I want her to be more careful about elsewhere, because of differences in how that would be received.

When she was littler she had a friend whose parents didn't allow her to say "butt." We thought that was weird, but the understanding was that sozlet, as a respectful guest in their house, wouldn't say "butt" when she was there. She was allowed to say "butt" at home though.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 01:21 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Well, no, I wouldn't. Laughing (I wonder who knows me better, me or you. Hmmmmmm....)

I would start trying to figure out the out of character part (was she hanging out with new friends? did something happen at the playground?) but if she decides to use those words at home and it's not hurtful and it's only at home, ok. Whatevs.
Ticomaya
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 01:44 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Well, no, I wouldn't. Laughing (I wonder who knows me better, me or you. Hmmmmmm....)

You know you better than me as well.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 01:51 pm
@sozobe,
Quote:
I would start trying to figure out the out of character part (was she hanging out with new friends? did something happen at the playground?)


Did a new air ticket show up on her drivers license?
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 01:51 pm
@sozobe,
I think the question comes down to how comfortable parents are with the message a movie is sending. Do children hear this stuff in everyday life? Of course. Do we want to stop in the middle of a movie and explain why we don't approve of the words the character used? Not really. I think Max's example is illustrative. If a movie five year old called her older brother a faggot, what do we expect parents to do? Pull their children out and explain that it's wrong and hurtful? Save it for later? Ignore it and hope they don't use it the next day? Why couldn't the writer just use another word that gets the same meaning across without yanking our focus off of the movie and onto the language? Is it fair to warn parents through the rating system that a movie contains strong language? Sure, why not. An R doesn't ban parents from taking their children, only warns them that some research might be in order. Different parents have different thresholds for language so you see some young children at R rated movies. Fine. I really don't see an R rating as a punishment, so I don't see what the concern is.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 02:38 pm
Quote:
In what context might Mo use the word "****" that wouldn't concern or upset you?


Like I said -- we don't cuss at home and Mo is not allowed to cuss at home. If he said "****" I doubt I'd be too concerned or upset in nearly every circumstance. I'd just remind him that we don't talk like that.

He has a couple of friends that cuss like crazy in front of their parents but those kids know they aren't allowed to talk like that at our house.

However, if he said "his ******* little sister blahblahblah" I'd get upset because that is intended to hurt. I don't like insults. I don't even let him say "Soandso is stupid" but he can say "Soandso is acting stupid".
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 02:41 pm
Has anyone seen the movie "The Fantastic Mr. Fox"?

They replaced all the cuss words with the word "cuss". "That cussing son of a cuss....." Hilarious!
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 13 Dec, 2010 08:09 pm
@boomerang,
Wes Anderson is one sly director and filmmaker. Gets the essence of the character's anger across but does it in a gentle humorous way.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  0  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2010 08:58 pm
I will try to bring the thread back to my original intent one more time before euthanizing my own thread and voting it down - that of a criticism of the MPAA (not just the sensitivity of children and exposure to dirty language).

A Film Unfinished is a documentary on the Holocaust. In this critically well received documentary, there is no sexual content, no foul language, and the violence depicted was necessary for the viewer to learn a lesson of the past (rather than violence for gratuitous enjoyment of the viewer).

But still, the MPAA gave the documentary an R rating. One of the marks against the film? "Disturbing images of Holocaust atrocities, including graphic nudity...."

http://www.jewishjournal.com/film/article/a_film_unfinished_receives_r_rating_20100806/

Quote:
The rating, which prevents anyone under 17 from watching the film unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian, will not block the commercial screening of the film in theaters scheduled for later this month.

However, the designation will prevent the film from being shown in high school classes as an educational tool, to the disappointment of its creators and backers.

http://jta.org/news/article/2010/08/10/2740435/r-rating-sticks-for-a-film-unfinished

Quote:
Certification:
USA:R (original rating) | USA:Unrated (rating surrendered) | Canada:18A (Ontario)

Ticomaya
 
  0  
Reply Wed 15 Dec, 2010 09:37 pm
@tsarstepan,
What's the criticism? The rating correlates with the desire of most parents to limit what their young children are exposed to, including bad language, nudity/sexual themes, violence, and "disturbing images" -- the kind that might give young children nightmares.

Any film maker must be aware of the MPAA rating system, and the inclusion of nudity may bring an "R" rating. If you don't want an "R" rating, leave out the nudity. You couple nudity with disturbing images, and your chances of an "R" obviously increase.

Interestingly, I was watching "Roots" the other day on DVD, and was surprised to see nudity in the opening hour of the movie -- since this was a made for TV movie, that must have been broadcast on television back in the 70's. Perhaps the difference is one of degree? Roots did not have any "graphic nudity," and while it certainly contains disturbing images, maybe they were toned down in comparison to the movie to which you are referring?
 

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