Friday, January 12, 2007
The Dog Turd Analogy
I do not watch any Rated “R” movies in theaters. I will, on occasion, watch the edited version on TV. However, lately it seems the networks are cutting out less and less, so my tolerance for those films is wearing thin as well.
I recognize that the movie rating system is rather arbitrary – some GREAT flicks are rated R and some truly dreadful films with lots of borderline material is rated PG-13. So I can’t entirely rely on the rating system. But it is a starting point for me to at least screen out those films that are pretty sure to have profanity, violence, or sex scenes.
I am less offended by most sex scenes than I am by the blatant violence that abounds in so many films. Still, what ever happened to the good old days when people would look longingly into one another’s eyes and then have the camera cut away to the crashing waves or a fireplace? I assure you, I have a very vivid imagination. I can figure out what happens next. I really don’t need to see people get naked and jump on each other. Watching other people get it on just isn’t all that entertaining for me.
I really dislike the violence. So many movies are going for the gore factor - not just needing to show you that someone was killed, but making sure they maximize the shock factor with as much blood and twitching as possible. YUCK! Those who routinely watch that sort of thing get to the point of being pretty desensitized to it all - crash scenes and shootouts every few minutes until the audience becomes numb to it all, leading to an ever increasing effort on the part of film makers to create scenes more titillating. No thanks. Not for me.
What offends me the most is the profanity. I HATE listening to cheap, coarse talk. I’ve heard people say: “Oh, it’s a really good movie. There’s this one part where they use some bad language, but other than that everything is really good.”
I equate that to the Dog Turd Analogy. If you went to a fancy banquet, where there was a beautiful table set with fine china and crystal, piled high with the most exquisite foods you ever did see – yet there was one tiny dog turd on the side of your plate, would you continue to eat from it? Could you just scoot the turd out of your way and ignore it while you savored the rest of the meal? I don’t know about you, but I could not. I would consider the whole dinner contaminated.
Or how about if someone offered you a glass of fine wine that you saw someone place just three or four drops of urine or blood into. You probably wouldn’t even taste it. Would you still drink the wine? I would not. (Ok, maybe that one is cheating since I don’t drink alcohol of any kind ….but you get my meaning.)
I find profanity offensive. I have been known to resort to it on occasion, (like when I hit my thumb with a hammer) but for the most part it’s not part of my every day speech.
What I find interesting is the degree to which I have tolerated it in some of the books I’ve read. In print I seem more willing to just bleep it out with the occasional foul mouth character comes along. If the stuff continues to crop up I have been known to put a book down. Bad language is what keeps me from reading any more of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta novels. Cornwell writes some great stuff, but there is that one foul mouthed cop that keeps turning up and his language is beyond what I am willing to bear.
I find it frustrating that I have no indicator for books like I do for movies. I hate it when I get 2/3 of the way through a novel and am engrossed in the plot, attached to the characters, only to get smacked in the face by several pages in a row sprinkled with curse words. (Such as the one I recently finished, "The Book of Fate.")
Why do writers find it necessary to use that kind of language? I've heard some people use the argument "it's realistic!" Yeah, well so are hangnails, tax audits and diarrhea and I don't much want to read about those either.
Vulgar words are all a bunch of poop in my book.
There are so many more eloquent ways to express thoughts and events.
Oh - and for those of you who were totally grossed out by the picture of a pile of poop up top of this posting...it's actually FOSSILIZED POOP, Cenozoic coprolite, reputedly from a carnivorous mammal. The organic matter in fossil poop has been completely replaced by minerals, and has no odor.
Still not something I want on my plate at a banquet, no matter what sort of stone it has become.