Charter Member of the Sub-Media

March 02, 2005

Decency Standards « GWOM »

One of the problems with having a default "Adult" setting for entertainment that parents must preview and/or restrict access to for their children is simply that we get a separate "Kid-Friendly" entertainment.

When I was a kid, I watched The Magnificent Seven and Rio Lobo and A Bridge Too Far and Kelly's Heroes and M.A.S.H. and The Walton's and The Carol Burnett Show and Star Wars. These were all made for adults, but were family-friendly.

Got that? Made for adults, but without graphic sex and profanity and violence. So there was no need to come up with anything else for the kids.

What was the greatest travesty foisted on an unsuspecting public in recent years? It's probably a toss-up between Caillou and George Lucas' kid-oriented Star Wars prequels.*

Point being, when you set out to make something for kids, you get lots of fart jokes and a fear of showing people use guns. And everything works out as long as people share. And no one gets a spanking, even if they really need one.

But if the adult entertainment remained suitable for an entire family, then you wouldn't need to come up with a secondary category for kids, and you wouldn't end up with dumbed-down entertainment. One of the best things about Pixar (which stands in stark contrast to anything else put out by Hollywood) is that it writes stories for adults, but puts it in a medium that kids will enjoy just for itself, even if they don't get all the jokes and the subtext and deeper meanings.

Heck, a thought just occurred to me: I grew up before dumbed-down children's entertainment became a big thing. I didn't have to suffer through Scrappy-Doo and Care Bears and GI Joe (where millions of kilotons of ordnance are set off weekly and no one ever gets even a splinter of injury). Is my taste deeper and more mature because I wasn't raised on crap? Do we actually teach our children better taste, better humor, more complex issues of life, and so forth, when we don't have Children's Programming, i.e., when the stuff adults watch is okay for kids, even if not aimed at them?

Don't get me started on why putting the tag "Adult" on the front of entertainment usually means "gratuitous at the level a 14-year-old appreciates most".

Again, this is all rant and emotion against the people who condescendingly refuse to acknowledge that they aren't actually advocating a lack of censorship, they just want it to be automatically set at their desired level of immaturity. Their logic isn't internally consistent: if you can always turn off stuff you don't like, and it is the job of parents to control their kids viewing, than there truly is no reason not to broadcast XXX sex shows and snuff films on broadcast television.

I want the default setting to be "child friendly" while still aimed at entertaining adults. Sexual and Violent situations can still be addressed and included, but not during primetime on broadcast or cable, I say. There are good and logical reasons for that view that should be obvious.

*yeah, that was snark

Posted by Nathan at 08:13 AM | Comments (5)

Okay, with this expansion and context, I think I get your point. And generally, I agree with it -- all of us desire censorship in any form to be specific to our own personal desires. Not that my agreement (or disagreement) probably matters a fig to you, but there it is. When we're right, we're right...

I will still respectfully disagree with your analysis of Titanic though. That movie was good, darn it! It was good, I say, good...


Posted by: Morgan at March 2, 2005 08:41 AM

Heck, now that I am "grown up", I can't believe my mom let me watch M*A*S*H, LOL

Ever watch Rugrats? My Godson watches it because it's a cartoon. I watch it to see how many references to David Bowie lyrics I can find. ;)

Posted by: Jo at March 2, 2005 09:31 AM

Yeah, in retrospect, my inclusion of Titanic was a cheap shot on the basis of taste, not standards. I can write a post of why I don't like Titanic for you tear apart later, if you want. [grin]

Posted by: Nathan at March 2, 2005 09:59 AM

Believe it or not (given our disagreement above), I agree with 98% of this post.

Posted by: R. Alex at March 2, 2005 11:02 AM

I do get more reasonable after I get my emotional rants out of my system! [grin]

Posted by: Nathan at March 2, 2005 11:07 AM
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