This [Movie] will never be rated
The documentary this week was an investigation of the shadowy top secret cabal called the MPAA. For a long time i've seen those during previews or film trailers and never really thought much about it. I assumed that the ratings were prescribed by some technocrats that followed strict rules about what is and what is not allowed.
What is at issue is that the film industry, in the 20th century was under pressure by the government and social groups to cut down on the content in films to adhere to conservative standards of the day. So the film industry got together to create the Motion Picture association of America, in order to make it at least appear that they were regulating themselves. Perhaps this was to head-off government intervention.
Jack Valenti, the long time leader of the MPAA and former LBJ and Nixon underling, claims that the MPAA ratings are a transparent process where real parents of young children come to a general consensus about what is acceptable to children.
I was really surprised that instead it was a largely subjective endeavor that is done in the presence of elites within the industry that is supposedly self-regulating. The problem with the ratings is that the difference between R and NC-17 can be millions of dollars.
About a half dozen unelected raters watch every film released in the United States. The names and biographies of these people are kept top secret, as are their criteria and their processes. After much investigation we learned some information about those who rate the movies. It turns out that only one of them has young children, most were in their twenties and one apparently had none at all.
Over all the people interviewed in the film were all against censorship. One 1st amendment lawyer interviewed talked about a process with no precedents and only one appeal. Some suggested that the ratings be based on the criteria of Europe where less violence is tolerated and more sexuality is portrayed. I agree with that, violence destroys life, sex on the other hand might even create life.