Sanctions on the entertainment industry

And your point is? Are you suggesting that you are now more likely to use any of those techniques? Or that criminals were helpless before TV came along?

None of this stuff is difficult to learn, and that information has always been readily available to anyone who wanted to be a criminal. Sure it’s easier to find now, but so is information about anything else.

The question is not whether we’ve done some things that help empower criminals, but whether or not we’d be better off in general if we gave the government the power to prevent that kind of publishing.

The first thing I’d note is that in the age of the internet there can be no censorship of information. You can prosecute everyone in the U.S. who published pipe bomb info, but what are you going to do about the web site in Trinidad that publishes the same stuff?

The same will eventually happen with movies - technology is going to render the government obsolete at some point. The cost of movie making is going down, and access to it is going up. Tough noogies for the government nanny-state defenders.

Anyway, there is still absolutely no evidence that exposure to violence makes one more violent, or that exposure to porn makes one more likely to rape. In fact, it may be the opposite - these things may be cathartic releases for people who would otherwise have to act on their impulses.

Don’t know how old you are, but The Anarchist’s Cookbook has been around since at least the Sixties ( a friend gave it to my mom thinking it was…a cookbook). Information on how to make incendiary devices and how to foment a revolution has been around for a long time. Somehow, society still stands. Go figure.

Want some violence? Try Shakespeare.

No conspiracy theory, and no fear of “total control” here. Remember “Lady Chatterly’s Lover”, or “Ulysses”? Banned books. I don’t need the ruse of “total control” to object to others deciding what I will read, watch, or think “for the good of society”.

Oh, remember McCarthyism? Not too long ago. Think about what was happening then. People were being persecuted for their political opinions because those opinions were bad for society. Couldn’t happen here? Every now and then, I’ll actually think about that, not just remember that it happened. And it scares me.

“Sanctions” amount to censorship, and censorship is a bad idea. Who gets to decide what is acceptable and what isn’t? I’m sure we’re all familiar with incidents in the past few years involving banning the likes of Huck Finn from school libraries. Once we loose the Content Police, it’s big trouble, because by definition, their function is to find stuff to “sanction”. “Hmm, no movies worthy of sanction in the past six months? We obvioulsy need to look harder”. Do I sound paranoid? No more so than those peeing in their pants about violence in the media. It’s besides the point, but violent crime has gone down in recent years, even in the face of this poisonous onslaught of violent images (even if it had gone up, censorship is still a bad idea)

You think the violent content is harmful? Censor your own viewing habits and those of your children. Don’t call for the government to do it, at my expense, for your convenience. Is screening what your kids watch a pain in the ass? I bet it is. I don’t have kids, but my sister and her husband manage to filter what their kids watch. If they watch something inappropriate at a friends’ house, they get a warning. Further transgressions result in restrictions (friend comes to their house). It’s a pain, and difficult, but they do it because they care, and they realize it’s their responsibility.

I agree that a meaningful rating system would help parents.

[aside] Sam Stone - Do you have a little shrapnel in your knee? Did you get it in the prine of your life? [/aside]

Shaky Jake

Once again I will state that “sanctions” and “censorship” are two different terms. And perhaps sanctions isn’t the right term at all. I don’t know what Gore proposes. As for Tipper the best thing I can say about her is that she has at least been smart enough to keep her mouth shut during this campain which is more than can be said of some of the other wives.

I am absoulely not for censorship of any kind. Violence is a part of our nature. People did after all used to make a day of public hangings. They brought the kiddies and had a picnic.

Labeling is fine with me. I see no harm in knowing what I am getting. Food, drugs, many other products are labeled. As a consumer I should have the right to know what I’m buying.

I would participate in a boycott of companies that do not behave responsibly in their marketing practices. I think that might be the right way to go. We are the ones buying these products and so are our children.

And to even suggest that “Scream 2” is on the same level as Shakespeare is simply ridiculous. Perhaps THAT is what is wrong with our society. Some people actually think EMINEM is an “artist” on the same level as Mozart, Gershwin, or even Eddie Van Halen.


So what are you in favor of? Sanctions, but not “sanctions”? As I said, I’m all for meaningful ratings. Informed consumers can better make wise choices. “Sanctions”, however, implies some sort of punitive action. I am opposed to that. Certain restrictions on marketing? I could be sold on that - maybe. The precedent exists with the restrictions on tobacco advertising. The problem would be one of scope. I imagine some thirteen year olds and I watch the same TV shows. Do I have to stay up past 10 to see an ad for…whatever an “objectionable” film is? If I’m at a PG-13 movie, will I only see previews for “Toy Story” and “Babe”? Who decides? If you’re confusing “sanctions” with “restrictions”, then we may have ground for agreement.

Of course they are not “on the same level”; it was meant to be ridiculous - with a point. The point was not to equate the two. I merely point out that violence has been part of the media since, well, there has been media. The sky has been falling for a few thousand years. Some of the subject matter in Shakespeare, or Oedipus (violence AND incest!) is not suitable for children. That doesn’t mean we need to sanction it. To those who would argue that Oedipus has a “message”, and that is what separates it from the gratuitous violence in [fill in name of movie/book/TV show], my question is, again, who gets to decide, for all of us, on the appropriateness of the “message”?

Perhaps what is wrong with our society is that some people don’t understand a “violence in Shakespeare” remark in the context of a “violence in the media” debate. :wink:

And of course there has never been an artist reviled in his own time who was later elevated to the level of visionary. (I don’t even know who EMINEM is, outside of hearing his name in the media, so don’t jump on me about him)

Shaky Jake

Actually I have no idea why we are arguing about this…I think we agree. I do not advocate sanctions/censorship in any form. How’s that? But I do take issue with the idea that to regulate or control something must always ultimately lead to a complete ban. If we want to draw parallels to this then alcohol and tobacco might be good examples. They are regulated, sold to only the proper individuals, those we deem old enough to use them properly (cough) and I don’t think we are in any danger of having them banned. (although tobacco is taking quite a beating these days) Do you see what I mean?

I’m also a little confused on what people consider freedom of expression. Do video games fall into this category? I know literature, films and music do. But games, aren’t they really more of a product, like a toy? Or are they now considered an art form? Here I am second guessing myself again…But would society really be harmed, would the 1st Amendment be violated if we fined stores for selling graphically violent video games to young children? Just hashing this…what do you think?


This is just one of the things that come up during elections .
These kind of things (remember cop killer by 2 live crew?) are easy for the pols to talk a good game but they do very little about it. Which I quess is better than not even talking about an issue and and doing very little about it.

I worked in movie theatres for years and I can tell you a rating system that would be far better.
There should be a 1 - 10 scale for;
Language (south park gets a 10)
Nudity (Boogie Nights or uncensored Eyes Wide Shut a 10)
Violence (Natural Born Killers a 10)

After a while people would get used to how this system works and would know what to expect in a film.

Minors need a parent to accompany them to the cinema period. (this is because they behave like animals during the film)
Seriously anything which gets higher than a 5 in any catagory needs parents permision to see the film. Most parents were not concerned with their kids watching people pretend to hate each other but people pretending to like each other a whole lot was ‘bad for the children’.

I meet people who didn’t watch any R film because they didn’t want to watch the violence. So they miss out on films like Stand By Me. The current ratings system gives no information to consumer and THAT is all the consumer needs. INFORMATION Let them make an informed choice and let the chips fall where they may.

BTW How many of you as adults saw ET? Do you know what ET was rated? PG… Do you know why? It was rated PG because they didn’t want a G rating because live action G films don’t do as well so they wrote in the “penis breath” line for Elliot.

sorry for the rambling

I do remember that back in the 70’s and early 80’s there were a lot more topless women in films. Many of these films were rated PG. (with no PG-13 there was a long way to R) In fact the movie version of Tommy was rated PG. It has sex and drugs and violence and Tina Turner scared me shitless. (I was in 2nd grade when I saw it) But I haven’t been convicted of any crimes yet!

All of the things you mention can easily be learned from books. Do you think we should ban books?
Also there was a large amount of violence in biblical times. Was this because of the media?
I seem to remember hearing a story about this young guy named Cain who killed his brother Abel…

Any attempt to censor something “for the sake of the children” always backfires.

The kids can still get hold of the material through back channels, and the fact that it’s “forbidden” just makes it that much more enticing. (“Psst! Joey! Look what I found under my dad’s bed! An old Death Commando video game cartridge! Let’s see if that antique Nintendo 64 in my garage still works!”)

I think the concern about these sanctions stem from the fact that movies have been censored and alcohol has been banned.

I’m not saying that Gore’s suggestion will lead to this, but people tend to be wary since censorship happened once in this country, it can surely happen again.

Actually, stores and theaters are not allowed to release R materials without parental permssion to children. However, I’m not sure if this is a form of the industry censoring themselves, or if it’s actually a law. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’d be a constitutional law or not.

I just realized that sounded like I was talking about modern-day censorship. To clarify, I was refering to the Hayes Commission of the 1930s and 1940s and Prohibition.

So far the debate has mostly been about books and films. SO Hollywood is the marketing violence to children. Why would Hollywood market violence to children. Where in the hell are children getting all this money? If a child gets into a violent film, a)somebody gave him the money and b)somebody took him. This happens a lot. I can’t tell you how many adult-themed films I have been to where someone has brought a child in. If children are being exposed to violence, then it’s their parents fault.

IMHO, there will be no sanctions (thank God). Gore is taking in a lot of money from Hollywood and he is not going to alienate his meal ticket. And Hollywood knows this, so they keep the dough coming. Gore can spout all he wants about how those evil films are corrupting American youths and sucker in a few idiots. All it will accopmlish is annoying a few life-long Democrats like me.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Violence in the media is NOT the cause of the violence in our society! We are a violent species, despite the fact that some of us have kept a lid on our violent tendencies and love peace. Read yer history books if you don’t believe me. Caine rose up and slew Able and there was no one who put that idea in his head. There was a long line of vicious, violent people long before their was a media to blame.

Qoute from Needs2know"? Or “How to be a Hit Man”. I would never say that a normal person who did not have serious problems that need to be addressed would use this material in a wrongful manner."

That case really chapped my hide. How can they claim that book was responsible for the murder? Do they really believe that this man would not have killed that family if the book had not been published? Christ, he was a hired thug and career criminal with long rap sheet. He killed for the money, not because he got the idea from book.

It is my position that no book, film, song or TV show can get anyone to do something they would not do otherwise. They just provide someone with a scapegoat.

Hey…I might have mentioned before that I am a big fan of John Douglas (he is a little arrogant but that doesn’t make him stupid). I’ve read a couple of his books on violent criminal behavior. And ultimately people commit violent acts because they CHOOSE to commit violent acts. I think I’ve stated that before.

As for the “Hit Man” and “Turner Diaries” thing it is very unfortunate that people do find access to such materials and it aids them in their crimes. Should the producers be held liable? Well, the law does say that an otherwise protected material is liable if it INCITES a criminal act. I looked it up yesterday. Found something on that “Nuerenburg Hit List” website where the abortion clinic doctor was killed and then crossed off the list almost immediately. Anyway, the guy that runs that publishing house, the one that produces the “Hit Man” book, he’s scummy, but he’s not breaking the law. And yeah I never said that family would not have been killed except for the book, they would have. The guy just used the scenerio from the book almost letter to letter. Very unimaginative assasin I’d say.

We’d be banning plenty of books…“Catcher in the Rye” was found in the possession of serveral serial killers including the Crown Prince of Psychopaths…Ted Bundy. Of course I bet there are a lot of guys that still have their copy. “Crime and Punishment” is about a guy who decides to kill so he can be “free from the constrains of society” and become a “great man”. Problem is he turns out to have a conscience which is more than can be said for many.

I pay attention to what my children watch. And no, I’m less worried about nudie stuff than I am graphic violence. Nudie stuff embarasses my little boy, graphic violence gives him nightmares.

I would like to see a better rating system devised for films. Unless I’ve seen the preview or the review it’s often hard for me to tell which movies are acceptable. And I don’t often get to check on these things first. The kids and I very often go to the movies on the spur of the moment. We don’t see everything that comes out.


It hasn’t even been proven that violence viewed by children causes them to be violent. It’s all correlational, and no direct cause has been found.

I grew up with an older brother, in the typical middle class white neighorhood. We both played the violent (original)Nintendo games, fought in the backyard, watched movies like Bambi, and Aladdin, all which have violence. I have seen some violent movies when I was younger, and so has he. I’ve read Crime and Punishment, among other books, which still haven’t influenced me. I listen to Manson, NIN, and The Cure, among other bands. I’m considered a “goth,” by many though I don’t wear all black. My brother listens to Rage againist the Machine and Limp Bizcuit, and dresses as a prep. Yet neither of us have yet to have violent urges to kill anybody.

The politicians need something better to do, if they want to complain about something violent, they can watch the news. They are the people that showed Columbine footage nonstop for like a week after the shootings, and they show the man stabbing his wife multiple times, but no one seems to complain about that. Sorry. Done bumbling.

I’m curious - how do you Gore supporters defend this? Now Gore has said that he’s giving the entertainment industry six months to ‘clean up their act’, and if they won’t, he’ll go to ‘phase 3’ and start paving the way for government regulation.

Does this not frighten any of you? Do you really think it’s appropriate for a Presidential Candidate to start giving ultimatums over free speech? If he’s just doing it for political gain, isn’t that just as bad?