05 October 2004

Head Games

As proof that the MPAA is morally bankrupt, consider the most-recent (and, at this writing, ongoing) controversy over the ratings system. It really should surprise nobody that the creators of South Park are involved. Consider this pairing:
  • In Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, one finds actual news footage of an actual beheading. This is not Hollywood special effects. MPAA rating: R.
  • In the forthcoming Team America: World Police, one finds footage of a wooden marionette dealing with head of a different kind. As one of the producers notes, "If the puppets did to each other what we show them doing, all they'd get is splinters." MPAA rating: NC–17.

Combine this with another "ratings" scandal—Kirkus's decision that now publishers can openly pay $350 to get a review, instead of the long-rumored under-the-table system, and even Sam the Eagle should begin to wonder whether there's something dishonest about the ratings and reviews systems. Or, perhaps, just that the people who assess the ratings are scared by things they've never seen before…

On the other hand, space cadets clearly have reason to be happy, after the successful trip of SpaceShipOne yesterday. Furry mammals have extra reason to be happy, as they're $10 million richer.