Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"Editing" movies

OK, an interesting new day.

A federal judge has determined that it is illegal for a company to edit motion pictures and then rent the edited versions to people who are sensitive about language and violence and sex or who don't want their kyds exposed to it. Here's a story.

Now comes a commentary by Mark Moring at Christianity Today. He concludes that the decision is a correct one, and he discusses why, as a relatively conservative Christian parent, he thinks so. It's a good reflection, and he says most of the things I would want to say.

I heard a story on NPR this morning about the hubbub. And the illustration (maybe, "example" is a better word: it's hard to do an illustration on the radio unless you're Garrison Keillor) they used was an edit of a scene from Steven Spielberg's Munich. I was speechless that that movie would even be in the mix.

Munich is one intense movie, and there's no way that I'd allow my thirteen-year-old daughter see it -- even if she were inclined to ask to see it. But what the edit-rental place found distasteful was the language. They edited out the "f"-words (of which there were plenty) and I expect some others (at least according to the report). But that left unanswered my question: Where on earth would you start and stop editing Munich? The movie comprises, far more sinister than bad language, some of the most gruesome intentional violence you can imagine -- murder, bombings, mass murder, gratuitous sadism. Why would that edit-rental shop even carry the thing at all? What is in it that a sensitive parent would want her child to see -- about 3 minutes of conversation with Golda Meir?

It has seemed to me that lots of whom I consider to be misguided parents are absolutely pernikkety over the use of the Lord's name and scatological sexual references, but are blind to the violence contained in modern culture. That immunity and insensitivity constitute a much graver threat to the well-being of youth and adults than a few "f"s and "G-d"s.

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