"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, June 15, 2007

"Hating the Ratings" By Mark Harris

I just finished reading a commentary by Mark Harris in the June 22 issue of Entertainment Weekly. The basic idea is that because Hostel: Part II was rated R (rather then X I guess) the system must be broken. As he states "Dump the NC-17 rating completely. It protects nobody and preserves the illusion that R-rated movies like Hostel II are okay for kids."

Basically, after reading the article, one thought came to mind "What a stupid little shit!". Its morons like him that allow for broken systems such as ratings system to exist. If your going to fix something like a rating system, do it for good reasons, not stupid ones like his that lay the research feet at everyone but those that should truly matter in the decision making process - the parents.

Now I do believe the ratings system is broken and needs to be fixed, but those problems are because some horrible film like Hostel. Its fundamental problem is its controlled by the studios, so right there you have a business motivation for ratings. On top of that is board is shrouded in mystery, there is no transparency in the process, no rules and regulations, just general guidelines. Guildlines that change based on who is in charge and making a vote that day. The boards treats studio films differently then non-studio films. Basically the votes are based on business needs and opinions. There is no regulation from within or without and no attempt to change it. Its a secret club and only a few are invited.

But Mark Harris's thesis is basically...the ratings should tell the parents what to do. If a parent makes a movie decision for their kids exclusivily off of ratings that is big problem number one. All its takes is a half-assed internet search to know that regardless of ratings, Hostel II should not be seen by kids. Its attempts like this, to make the job of parenting the purview of faceless strangers, that seems to be the root cause of many problems. You want to fix what ailes society, its real simple...make parents do their job. Anything other then that is a band aid and stupid little shits like Mark Harris just excerbate the problem.

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