Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Facing the Moral Midgets

These Baptist preachers made a movie about a football team that wins because of their faith. Hollywood rated it PG. Some are not happy about this -- here's the LA Times:
WASHINGTON — A low-budget, inspirational football movie made by Baptist pastors in Georgia has triggered a flood of attacks by Christian groups that accuse Hollywood's main trade association of penalizing the film by giving it a PG rating.

In the last week alone, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which oversees the rating board, has been swamped with more than 15,000 e-mails arguing that "Facing the Giants" deserves a more family-friendly G rating. The complaints — the number of which may be 10 times the previous record for reaction to a ratings decision — say the movie is being unfairly targeted for its religious themes.

The filmmakers say they were told that those themes had prompted the PG rating. MPAA officials deny that was the reason. Christians on Football Film: Give Us a G!

Well, they can deny it, but the fact is, nobody knows how they decide what rating to give a movie. It's a big secret.

Remember, "PG" stands for "Parental Guidance." They don't turn anybody away, they're just giving parents a heads up.

Let me tell you a true personal story -- I'm going to be vague in case anyone thinks they recognize themselves here. A while back, my daughter was invited by a neighborhood friend to go spend a summer week at a cabin at a lake up north. We'd met the other girl's father before, we didn't know him well but he seemed all right, so we said OK.

Well, guess what -- all the way there, my daughter said, she got lectured about how rotten she was because of her "liberal upbringing," and how she was going to hell because of her not-born-again parents. And when they got to the cabin, the dad made the kids watch a video about how evolution was a big fake, and only sinners believed in it ... and it went downhill from there. It was nothing but preaching, day and night, trying to get my poor kid to let Jesus into her heart.

My daughter called us in the middle of the night, and we had to arrange an escape. I was going to drive up, but a sympathetic family member agreed to drive her to the airport, and we flew her home.

It was no place for a child to be. My kid was scared, and I was concerned about what might happen.

That was a situation that called for Parental Guidance. Majorly.

Listen to these guys:
Across the Internet and on talk radio, religious groups and conservative commentators have seized on the rating flap as evidence that Hollywood is anti-Christian. And the third-ranking House Republican has written to MPAA Chief Executive Dan Glickman demanding answers.

"This incident raises the disquieting possibility that MPAA considers exposure to Christian themes more dangerous for children than exposure to gratuitous sex and mindless violence," said Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

The problem is, these guys are used to having their way, and they're shocked and offended when the system serves any reality besides theirs. America's Taliban expects to dictate how movies are rated.

And when it comes to education, same thing -- they are offended if we don't hand them the right to decide what will be in our kids' classrooms.

You can't fight it, but you can laugh at it occasionally.

They're so used to controlling what the rest of us see and do that they are outraged -- oh, it's proof of a conspiracy against them! -- when other people turn it around and say, we don't want our kids or ourselves ambushed by your brainwashing.

Can you imagine sending your kids into a movie theater, and then when you pick them up you find out that the heartwarming football movie was really two hours of Baptist proselytizing? The theater manager would hear from me if that happened to my kids.

That's why they put the PG on there, so parents can exercise Parental Guidance. People who want to see that stuff can Guide their children toward it, the rest of us Parents can Guide them somewhere else.

They think these ratings exist only to enforce their puritan standards. No, sometimes they're a warning to the rest of us.


Blogger JimK said...

I'm going to go eat a donut.

... You see, that's a step in the right direction. Not a hot dog -- a donut ...

Joking aside, I imagine that is a kind of shocker. Somtimes you have to go back and think through everything all over again, because assumptions you made originally turned out to be incorrect or incomplete.


June 22, 2006 2:28 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

The ratings system is odd anyway. Of course, this is using my own value system- I like to actually think about what I or my kids are seeing. I don't think PG or PG-13 or R means bad- it can mean serious, dramatic- or it can mean scary, violent, bad language or sex(I don't know why violence gets a lower rating than nudity- but that is the US). You might need to think if you wanted to see a G film- "suitable for all ages" can also mean boring or immature. But I forget this is not about people who want others to think- just sheep.

June 23, 2006 12:21 PM  

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