Monday, January 17, 2005

A Different Type Of Comical

I've seen a number of regular references to CAP Alert over at Tom Peyer's place. I'd never followed the link; now that I have, I'm left feeling, well ... I don't rightly (yes, that's a pun ... you'll get it once you follow the link) know. Sort of a cross between icky and disturbed, I suppose.

How else does one react to a web site that describes The Incredibles, one of the most entertaining and sweetest films of the year in my view, thusly:
There are behavioral, moral and value implantation dangers in this film. It is, after all, rated PG. The exaggeration and unbelievability typically associated with animation are limited in this nearly "real-feeling" cartoon adventure into the world of crime-fighting and world-saving. Twenty-first century "adult" realities are thoroughly blended into the lives of the characters, giving this film an unusual feel for a cartoon. For the parent setting next to his/her child, that "feel" may not be comfortable. A reliance on much experiential maturity is obvious to even fathom some of the material in this film: a reliance on experiential maturity that, when forced upon the young observer, may cause moral confusion possibly leading to coping skill friction and decision making aberrations.
Good lord. Will someone please point out the part in the New Testament when Lord God Jesus says "Thou shalt take all the fun out of all shit in my name?" "Moral confusion possibly leading to coping skill friction and decision making aberrations"?? It's a friggin' cartoon, for Chrissakes. And I think Jesus gets the joke.

5 Comments:

At 10:08 PM, Blogger Charley Foster said...

I'm with you. But then, I don't get any particular "feel" when I sit next to my 7 year-old twins watching Ren and Stimpy or South Park either.

 
At 11:55 PM, Blogger Gene Corrigan said...

If he got that bent out of shape about "The Incredibles", I can just picture the reviewer's head getting ready to explode as he watched "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut".
http://www.capalert.com/capreports/southpark.htm

 
At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are missing the point of the site, which is unusual for one who seems to get the point of most things. It isn't to take the fun out of things, (where did they tell you, an adult, not to go to the movie?) but to give people (admittedly of a particular point of view) a place to find out about entertainment before subjecting either themselves or their children to it. At least on the CAP site, you completely know their bias and can assess their evaluations accordingly. This is a great use of the internet.

As for me, I wish I had seen the CAP site before taking my five-year-old, because I stupidly figured on something more like Monsters Inc, which was not nearly as sinister nor dark as Incredibles. She was terrified of the movie and we had to leave early. I did see the rest of the movie later and didn't find anything so "sweet" about it.

And for anyone who thinks watching stuff doesn't change how you think about things...well, if that were the case, then Madison Avenue has a lot of explaining to do for the billions they have bilked out of their clients.

 
At 8:05 AM, Blogger Everett said...

No, I understand the point of the site completely. It's clearly meant to offer guidance to those seeking it ... those who obviously hold a particular moral viewpoint. And of course I appreciate the role of context and message exposure, to a point. I do not believe that we're subjects to our environment, but that we're participants in it. If we were totally at the whim of media exposure and spending, well, then the political party with the most savvy media strategy would run the entire ... uhhh ... never mind.

I get your point. I and understand that some people ... possibly you ... find value in CAP Alert. But I'm also calling question on whether such granular and morally driven analysis doesn't encourage us to abdicate some of our perspective and maturity in how we judge media. (Not to mention the return on the investment. I mean, come on: Aren't there greater evils to fight, and greater media products to question, than The Incredibles?)

If anything, the point is precisely that language matters. Saying "fuck" matters. Saying "nigger" matters. And what's the consequence if we homogenize everything to the least common offensive denominator? It matters. It changes the system ... and in my view, not always for the better.

It's like the color beige. An interesting marketing fact for you: Least offensive color to most people--beige. Color people are least likely to note as their favorite color--beige.

I have to wonder if CAP Alert does not simply see itself as an "early warning system," but if it also sees itself as an advocacy effort. Is it saying "here's what's in the movie, Christian to Christian, so you know?" Or is it part of a larger discourse to say "Here's what's bad out there, and we need to fight it" ... of a larger desire to make the world beige.

Hey, if beige is your thing, more power to you. But not for me. I like my blacks and blues and reds and greens. Not everywhere, but at least out there in the world. And when I see anything that smells of squashing a system to the least of anything ... to making it beige ... well, it just rubs me the wrong way.

Differnt' strokes, I suppose.

One last thing: I'm sorry your five-year-old was scared. Not good for the child ... and a very young one at that ... and not good for the parent. But I have to say, it's a PG movie, not G (like Monsters, Inc.).

From the Motion Pictures Association of America web site "Movie Ratings / About" Page:

WHAT THE RATINGS MEANG:"General Audiences-All Ages Admitted."

This is a film which contains nothing in theme, language, nudity and sex, violence, etc. which would, in the view of the Rating Board, be offensive to parents whose younger children view the film. The G rating is not a "certificate of approval," nor does it signify a children's film.

Some snippets of language may go beyond polite conversation but they are common everyday expressions. No stronger words are present in G-rated films. The violence is at a minimum. Nudity and sex scenes are not present; nor is there any drug use content.

PG:"Parental Guidance Suggested. Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children."

This is a film which clearly needs to be examined or inquired into by parents before they let their children attend. The label PG plainly states that parents may consider some material unsuitable for their children, but the parent must make the decision.

Parents are warned against sending their children, unseen and without inquiry, to PG-rated movies.

The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated film.

The PG rating, suggesting parental guidance, is thus an alert for examination of a film by parents before deciding on its viewing by their children.

Obviously such a line is difficult to draw. In our pluralistic society it is not easy to make judgments without incurring some disagreement. So long as parents know they must exercise parental responsibility, the rating serves as a meaningful guide and as a warning.
"The theme of a PG-rated film may itself call for parental guidance. There may be some profanity in these films. There may be some violence or brief nudity. But these elements are not deemed so intense as to require that parents be strongly cautioned beyond the suggestion of parental guidance. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated film." Seems that's exactly what you got in The Incredibles, but I'm sorry your child was frightened.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger Everett said...

Sorry, left off the MPA link:

http://www.mpaa.org/movieratings/about/index.htm

 

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