Wednesday, January 24, 2007

This Blog Is Not Yet Rated

Standing there with Mister Rogers looking out at Madaket Bay so many years ago,I never would have guessed that one conversation about depth and substance would lead me rethink so many concepts that I held to be self evident.

Take choice.

I just finished watching "This Film Is Not Yet Rated," director Kirby Dick's exploration of the MPAA's rating system.

The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is a non-profit trade association based which was formed to advance the interests of movie studios. They're responsible for the well-known film rating system: G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17.

The difference between an R or NC-17 rating can make or break a film. The criteria upon which films are rated, however, is secret. As are the voting members. As is the distinction between blood and gore rating PG, and sex rating R.

And get this.

The MPAA's members consist of the "big six" major Hollywood studios: Disney, Sony, Paramount, Fox , Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. Which is really ABC, Sony/BMG, Viacom, Newscorp, GE, and Time/Warner.

The big six corporations represent 90% OF ALL MEDIA.

How on earth can there possibly be a marketplace of ideas in America if six companies control 90% of newspapers, telvevision, cable and film content?

The older I get, the further I walk down this path Mister Rogers set me on (or, if I know him at all, this path that he knew I was staring down, and subtly encouraged me to travel), and the more I learn, the more I think this whole thing -- American democracy -- is a farce. Do we really have any choice at all? Lucky Charms or Frosted Flakes? Coke or Pepsi? Twinky or Ho-Ho?

We have plenty of choices, but they all promote tooth decay.

1 comment:

Linda said...

As they rolled the list of members and their affiliations, I was amazed. I always thought the raters were average folks outside of the industry. Not exactly surprising, but a bit disappointing. I guess politics are politics.