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not sure I understand...

Let me get this straight: Bono saying "fucking" (one word, one time) during a presentation of music awards is retroactively declared to be "indecent and profane". Janet Jackson baring one breast (no nipples) is so "indecent" that not only she ends up apologizing profusely but makes future music shows be censored in real time.

Now, Jackson's "indecency" comes in the half-time show of a game that is one of the most violent in the world, all the while in the previous months news coverage has treated viewers world-wide, at all hours, day or night, to scenes of senseless slaughter, war, and destruction. The attack on Baghdad, one year ago, was broadcast live.

Then I remembered that when Stanley Kubrick's fantastic Eyes Wide Shut came out in the US, much was made in a famous "orgy scene" which was in the end censored (blocking the "offensive images" digitally) to slip by with an 'R' rating (When I came to Europe I could finally see the uncensored movie, I could finally see that what had caused all the trouble were just a few seconds of images that were not meant to be "sexy" at all). But a movie (also good) like "Saving Private Ryan", which depits the horrors of war in graphic detail, has no problem at all in obtaining that same rating. Similarly, the excellent Mulholland Drive by David Lynch contains a single sex scene and less than 5 seconds in which digital effects were also applied to obtain something that would allow the movie to get an 'R' rating.

So, tell me again why does it seem that...

...a live feed of bombs falling on a city, or images of war, conveniently sanitized to avoid seeing the suffering it causes on all sides, are fine, but a woman's breast is indecent?

...interrupting programming to display the gruesome images of the broken bodies of terrorist victims is allright, but saying "fuck" is a big deal?

...there is no problem at all with depicting violent death, torture, and destruction, but the slightest mention of sex fires up the censors?

Yes, the US is currently going a lot further than before (and than most other western countries) in all of this, but let's not kid ourselves: everyone does it.

And I still don't understand.

Posted by diego on March 20 2004 at 1:42 AM

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