MPAA Should Get with the TimesEditor: The adoption of a...


March 23, 1991

MPAA Should Get with the Times

Editor: The adoption of a new rating (NC-17) for the motion picture industry, a few months ago, has brought some questions to mind.

It seems to me that when someone screams ''censorship!'' in this country, everyone seems to listen. Most people are quite protective of their first amendment rights, so why hasn't anyone made more of a fuss over the ratings that are issued by the Motion Picture Association of America?

Haven't people noticed that this is an antiquated form of non-governmental censorship? Should a board of nine people (consisting mostly of parents between the ages of 40 and 60) decide for the public what is viewable for a general or restricted audience?

It seems to me that the MPAA is trying to act as a collective parental unit for the nation's youth, rather than allowing the thrust of responsibility to lie in the hands of the real parents. The MPAA, the Big Brother of the film industry, claims that its ratings are mere guidelines, but how many theaters have you patronized that will allow just any child into a R-rated movie?

There is no law preventing that child from entering at will, but the establishments are usually quite strict.

For over 20 years, the MPAA has been ''advising'' producers to compromise their art in order to make it marketable. In other words, the producers can either release the films as are, or they can edit them to suit the standards of the MPAA to attract an audience in order to make a profit.

Is this not hypocrisy? I mean, compromising the right of freedom of expression in order to make a fast buck?

I think that the motion picture industry has fallen prey to its own capitalist ideals, especially with the new NC-17 rating. It was adopted, in essence, so that producers would not have to edit as much as previously to release their films to the public in a tasteful manner without the stigma of an X ratings. All this with the assumption that most reputable theaters will show NC-17 rated films without the fear of deterring potential audiences that would not consider venturing into the sandy part of town, or the "adult" video stores to find the film as it might have previously received an X rating.

Having been an avid movie-goer for many years, I don't mean to attack the entire film industry. I simply want to suggest that the MPAA should get with the times and allow the public to make its own choices. Young people today do and know more at a younger age than the people who are rating these films #i viewable.

Who knows, I mean with the MPAA as a nice precedent, some radicals may even get the crazy idea to burn books, put labels on music noting explicit lyrics, or even label other fine arts as obscene.

Kathy Ratchford.


No 'Joy' for Him

Editor: President Bush spoke March 1 about the outcome of the Persian Gulf War. In his remarks he alluded to "the joy that all Americans feel."

Joy? Hardly. Relief that the killing is done. Yes. A deepening quiet, surely, that our men and women will be coming home safe and soon. But Joy? No, no joy.

This American feels no victory, no joy in the slaughter we called a war (100,000-plus to 105!). How in the world can this good nation, so adept in times past at building up nations and at finding patient, wise and long-term solutions to cruelty, ever find joy in 100,000 slain Iraqi people? How find delight knowing that many thousands more of "the enemy," men, women, children, will go on dying from starvation, ruined water, cholera and its pestilential cousins?

How discover joy in a nation laid low so we could get the "Vietnam syndrome" behind us? So we can strut again with renewed machismo on the world stage? Sorry, Mr. President, manhood and womanhood, courage and resolve, are made of sterner stuff. Smarter stuff.

No, Mr. Bush's 100,000 dead of a people against whom "we have no quarrel" (his words) in order "to kick the ass" of one ruinous dictator who still goes free, is no cause for celebration or joy, -- I get no kick from shooting fish in a barrel, do you?

I believe in the American people. I believe in our courage as I believe in our incredible genius and imagination. The president may have run out of ideas to correct the gulf injustice, but a lot of other American men and women did not. Our national wisdom could have found a way short of massacre to reclaim Kuwait from an enslaved nation run by a bully.

Frederick C. Ruof.


Gun Vote

Editor: The Sun has sunk to a new low in its ongoing attack on our Second Amendment rights. In their dismay that yet more firearms have not been banned, the editors of The Sun have personally attacked in the March 9 editorial, two of the senators who voted against the bill to ban military style rifles. Seven senators voted against S.B. 267 in the Judicial Proceedings Committee, despite intense political pressure from Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who was sponsoring this bill.

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