A journalist’s critique of a consumer’s critique

TRAVIS LEFEVRE

Managing Editor

 

About two weeks ago, The Leader received a letter from a self proclaimed prophet and authorized Bible historian known as Ebenezer. It is essentially a wall of words titled “Conduct Unbecoming For a World Leader: A Consumer’s critique of the U.S. movie industry.”

He goes on what appears to be a rant about how movies shouldn’t contain foul language or sexual content and how such content is destroying this country. As a fan of movies and as someone with an understanding of human nature, I naturally disagree with this call to action.

Inscribed in his handwriting, it says “free for media use.” Well then, let’s use it.

As a member of the media, I will share what I saw as the most significant points and rebuttal with my thoughts. This is an opinion piece, after all.

“. . . There are standards of decency in our society. Call them unwritten rules if you will. Foul language is not spoken in the White House, not publicly; not in Congress, not in the classroom…”

He’s right, our President would never curse, swear, or refer to other nations as “shitholes.” Really though, have you never walked down a sidewalk and listened in to conversations? Have you ever been to a high school where the teacher wasn’t a nun? Maybe you took one too many smacks with a yardstick, but people swear everywhere, all the time.

“. . . But our movie industry is the exception . . . What the consumer gets 70 percent of the time today, is a statement in a tiny corner by the publisher of the movie which says, ‘There is dirty language and sexual content in this movie.’ There is no apology to the millions of us who will be offended by that component of the content.”

They put those warnings there so parents can monitor what their children are watching. It’s the same concept as an ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating on a video game. If you see a show is rated R for strong language and sexual situations, all you have to do is change the channel. Don’t attack the entire movie industry because you don’t know how to work the remote.

“. . . The Supreme Court of the U.S. has ruled that it is not lawful for anybody to publish a value-based statement which is offensive to another citizen. Wherever such statements have been found and challenged . . . presiding judges have ordered them to be removed.”

He makes a halfway decent argument in terms of libel, but here’s where he went wrong. It IS lawful to publish a value-based statement even if it offends another citizen. If that offense due to libel or slander, that’s one thing. But if the offense is due to the fact that someone says “shit” in a movie, please pull your head out from the mud and realize that that’s literally how people talk on a day-to-day basis.

“Every actor who utters a rotten word or stirs up the sexual urges of a person which can lead to adultery, fornication, divorce, rape, murder, or the sexual abuse of a minor, is guilty.”

Did you actually just blame sex scenes for causing rape and murder? Is that really the only thing you could come up with? To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Boy, that escalated quickly.”

Like it or not, sexual content and foul language are a part of everyday life, and you are 100 percent in control of how much of it you see or don’t see. No one is strapping you into a chair, prying your eyes open and playing the sex scene in

“Dallas Buyers Club” on repeat. You have the power to not indulge in that content, just like I have the power to willingly watch films that aren’t sugar coated.

I know I’m flinging a bit of sarcasm around, but here’s the main point I’m trying to make. Things like profanity and sexual content may not be the most appealing, but they are all part of what makes us human. We swear, we engage in other extracurricular activities and the consciousness to decipher right from wrong is what sets us apart from the other species that roam this earth. I’m not insinuating that you expose your children to every rated R movie ever conceived, but at the end of the day it’s on the parents to look out for their children, not the movie industry.

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