MPAA and Censorship

I read an interesting article today over at Ain't It Cool News, and since today seems to be OT day, I figured I'd continue the trend. (Yes, I do blog about things besides ColdFusion and my kids. ;)

So - the article talks about a new movie that investigates the MPAA. For those who don't recognize the name - the MPAA is the group that assigns ratings to movies. Many people have some issues with this group as their... um... "logic" seems to be a bit off at times. It seems like in MPAA-land, it is better to show a woman being killed than to show her naked. What that says about our values, or at least the MPAA's assumed values, is pretty scary.

So we could debate that all day - and I bet a lot of my readers will agree with me - the MPAA's values are not our own. (I must say though, I do appreciate the fact that they are being more descriptive now. In other words, they describe, briefly, the reason for the rating.)

What got me though was this quote from the director of the movie:

Kirby Dick agrees, "It is important that this film be seen by as many people as possible, as it deals with an insidious form of censorship resulting from a ratings process that has been kept secret for more than 30 years."

Last time I checked - a person who runs a movie theater has every right to show any film he or she pleases. Last time I checked - a director had the choice to not go to the MPAA. It is true that companies like United Artists, or Dreamworks, may require their directors to do so. However, a director need not work with these companies.

It is the same thing that gets me riled up about discussions on how unfair music companies are. Last time I checked - no one is forcing artists to sell out. Yes - if you sell out to a big company your changes of success are greater. Deal with it. If you don't like the terms, find another way to distribute your art.

You know - there are real threats to our freedom of speech out there. Look at how Bush likes to push protesters away from his speeches. Look at other countries which don't even have a freedom of speech written down in law. (I believe England is one such country.) When people throw words like "censorship" around I think they need to have some perspective.

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