19 December 2007

The MPAA, Our Delicate Sensibilities, and Censorship

This story from Variety comes by way of Jörg Colberg. It is quite simply astounding. The Motion Picture Association of America, the industry censorship agency, has told multiple documentary film-makers that they cannot use images of hooded "prisoners" in promotional materials for their films on the BushCo torture policies. The films in question are Taxi to the Dark Side and The Road to Guantanamo. In each instance the MPAA censors have claimed that the hooded figures shown in the movie posters are "not suitabale for all audiences." (Read: we need to shield our children from these adverts.)

You'll excuse me if I say that this is fucking unbelievable. The MPAA seems animated by a desire to avoid offending anyone's political sensibilities. Let's set aside the sort of violent crap many kids encounter every single day on video games and TV and in movies. The filmmakers are quite clearly correct that treating their films like horror movies instead of like documentaries is a massive, idiotic category mistake. What parents in the U.S. ought to be scared about is not that their kids might see this poster; what parents should fear is that their sons and daughters might ask them "what did you do while the President was telling soldiers to torture innocent people?"*
* Taxi to the Dark Side has won several awards at film festivals; it details how an innocent Afgahni taxi driver was tortured and died at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

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Blogger AMEN said...

along the same disturbing censorship talk lines, the current issue of the utne reader has an article calling for the censorship of internet sites, such as blogs and youtube. it attacks these sight and google with claims of insensitivity for allowing white supremacists and neonazis to publish and show their beliefs online.

now, while i loathe neo-nazi beliefs, i loathe censorship more. what is happening to the intellectual community?

20 December, 2007 03:43  
Blogger Stan B. said...

What I've come to realize only too slowly is that we only had a window of about a decade last century in which any of this would have been considered unbelievable in this country...

20 December, 2007 15:04  

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