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– Violence & Moppets

There is nothing more equally fun and unsettling than seeing an activist group or one lone trailblazer condemning the entertainment industry. For those with too much time on their hands, making signs and picketing the films and television programs we produce every year is a good exercise. But are there attacks founded? Is Hollywood actually getting to the point where its images are corrupting the minds of our society? This is a question on many an inquisitive mind.

Of course, none of this outrage over violence, sexuality, and other salaciousitems is new to the public. Harold Hill made Iowans gasp at the idea of their children playing pool, for crying out loud. People burned Beatles records after an offhand comment about being bigger than Jesus was made by one of its members. So no matter what the period, no matter how our collective values change, there has been a consistent need to label entertainment as being somehow seedy.

As far as violence is concerned, I think Americans are much more accepting of guns and explosions if they’re not accompanied by a couple rolling around under the sheets. I grew up being allowed to rent such films as Robocop 3 in elementary school (admittedly not a good idea in hindsight), but for some reason sexuality was much more taboo. Maybe parents give their kids enough credit to not imitate violent acts they see in films and on television, but not enough to not be spurred by sex? Even in our modern world, when we’re supposed to be beyond the reserved and suppressed views of our ancestors, a silly thing like Janet’s nip or a bare back in a Super Bowl commercial can somehow send us into a scandalized tizzy.

I’m going to go out on a limb at this point and simply say it is the parents’ job to monitor what their children watch. As an example , I was once told a story by a theater employee about a complaint they received. It seems a mother, bearing her toddler-aged moppets, stormed the concession stand in a fit of rage. She apparently had not realized The Texas Chainsaw Massacre would be so gory and graphic, and was angered by the effect those elements might have on her offspring. What would your reaction have been if you had been this theater employee? Surely, to keep your job, you would have smiled and apologized for the inconvenience, but really, what was this woman thinking? Can the film be blamed for her complete lack of intuition?

Younger children sometimes have troubled discerning between fantasy and reality, that’s for sure. This is why it’s imperative for the parents to define those lines so their kids grow up with a stable view of the world. When this doesn’t happen, we are met with kids who watch The Matrix 20 times or break their sibling’s arm trying to be a latex-sporting Power Ranger. I realize parents can’t monitor their kids 24/7, but that doesn’t mean we should limit Hollywood to certain areas of entertainment. So stick in a Wiggles tape, put Bad Boys II on a higher shelf (or in the garbage can) and stop complaining.

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