Bloggernacle Classics: The R-Rated Movie

Bloggernacle Classics, a Continuing Series

It is time once again for the young students of the Bloggernacle to open their notepads and prepare for study, as I present the second installment of my fledgling series, Bloggernacle Classics.[1] You may recall the first entry revolved around the exploits of BCC’s own Aaron B., who has recently returned from the ranks of the Emeriti to grace BCC’s screen on a more regular basis. Today, my subject matter is the R-Rated Movie. However, the purpose here is history, not doctrine; therefore, the pros and cons, the virtues and evils, of R-rated movies will not be reviewed.[2]

Although it is not specifically mentioned in some of the seminal Bloggernacle literature, virtually all of the R-rated movie debates in Mormondom are a result of the following quote:

We counsel you, young men, not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. Don’t listen to music that is degrading.

Ezra Taft Benson, “To the ‘Youth of the Noble Birthright’”, Ensign, May 1986 (reporting the proceedings of Priesthood Session, 156th Annual General Conference)

Incidentally, this quote was used as a Friday Firestorm topic in August, 2007, and resulted in 183 responses, including a marvelous contribution from Ray, where he exhorts everyone to avoid turning the thread into a debate about ETB’s political views, then debates ETB’s political views for several comments, and then apologizes for doing exactly what he told everyone else not to do.[3]

The earliest post I found (admittedly, I didn’t get into the smaller solo blogs) which addresses the R-Rated Movie debate is a short-ish posting from Russell Arben Fox in February 2004. This post focuses on a newspaper interview in which BYU Religion Professor Robert Millet said that, while he usually does not watch R-rated films, he would be attending “The Passion of the Christ” with clergy from various religious organizations. Said Millet, “This isn’t Freddy Krueger. This is Jesus Christ.

Nevertheless, RAF’s post is also important historically for more than being one of the first posts to address this topic. It also introduces students of the R-Rated Movie debate to Bob Caswell’s take on R-Rated movies: “I always love discussing the ‘R’ rating even if in some aspects it’s been beat to death.

Indeed, Bob. Indeed, you do like to talk about this.[4]

While various other authors have contributed comments and posts on this subject, perhaps no single individual has weighed in as frequently, as passionately, or as creatively as Rusty Clifton at Nine Moons. In October 2004, just prior to several other posts centered on the Passion of the Christ, Rusty wrote the following:

I’m distracted. And a bit peeved. I’ve been working on a post for some time now. It has great spiritual significance to me and have been formulating it in a way that I hope makes sense for those who might read it. However, tonight something has come up.

It has almost zero spiritual significance to me (and most members for that matter) and I am barely going to spell check this thing before posting it. Why would I post this one over the other? Because I’m so bothered I can no longer concentrate on that other post, no longer concentrate on school, not on work, not on seminary, I don’t even remember my wife’s name!

I found out tonight that the bishop of a close friend of ours has committed all the men in the ward to … never watch an R-rated movie ever again. Also, to never watch a PG-13 rated movie without his wife’s permission…I vehemently object to A) the bishop committing members of his ward to the living of a non-commandment, non-church policy, non-doctrinal, non-recently-mentioned-in-an-official-setting-to-establish-it-as-anything-remotely-like-a-commandment,-church-policy,-or-doctrine…

…When did “no R-rated movies” become church doctrine, policy, or commandment?…My biggest objection to this whole charade is why didn’t the bishop commit them to something that could actually increase their spirituality rather than trying to help them avoid becoming “more bad”? Why not, “will you commit to finding someone to talk with the missionaries within two months?” or “will you commit to going to the temple once a month for the next six months?” or “will you commit to studying your scriptures every day for the next month?”

This post is fascinating for a handful of reasons. First, it touched on multiple popular subjects in the Bloggernacle, such as local leadership, revelation, Internet use (I omitted that part from the text above), and pornography. Second, it becomes clear as you read the comments what all the old veterans in the Bloggernacle mean when they say that the ‘Nacle was a tighter community–it seems that virtually all of the comments (over 100 of them) were made by 5-6 people. Lastly, the outright condemnation of Rusty’s blog because of his disagreement with the Bishop’s tactics shows how completely insane some people are.

More recently, Rusty received a coveted Niblet Nomination for his touching, soul-baring “A Note to My Buddy, the R-Rated Movie.”

Here’s why I feel bad for you, R-rated Movie: You have been made a scapegoat. Because we can’t measure our levels of charity, forgiveness, judgment, kindness and love—you know, the things that Christ droned on about ad naseum—and because we CAN measure how many R-rated movies we are not seeing, as a tangible measuring stick you’ve become the biggest jerkwad in the room. I’m sure you’ve noticed that we are attracted to commandments we can live perfectly like tithing (on gross of course), half of the Word of Wisdom, monthly home teaching and avoid R-rated movies. Being charitable? Uh…I’m working on it. Forgiveness? I try. Love? I’m doing my best. But let me tell you about the difference between ratings in America and Europe…

It is nevertheless important to note that Rusty (“… frankly, violence doesn’t bother me that much … and I don’t want to see man-parts in my entertainment.“), Bob Caswell, and others don’t necessarily hate the MPAA, but rather view it as an unhelpful guide to spiritually safe media consumption. Some bloggers have attempted to frame the battle over R-rated movies as class warfare between the elitists and the rednecks.[5] One thing is certain, however: To proclaim loudly that certain movies are not appropriate in the Bloggernacle is to CALL DOWN WRATH!

Now, this is obviously not an exhaustive accounting of the movie ratings debate among Internet Mormons. In October 2004, Kaimi Wenger responded to Rusty’s post criticizing the commitment to not watch R-rated films with a T&S post titled “(When) are bloggers permitted to criticize church leaders?” Hidden near the bottom of over 300 comments, Aaron B. made a comment that characterizes much of the difficulty in establishing a true and living record of the Bloggernacle’s arguments over movie ratings:

273. Aaron Brown
Thousands of years from now, when the Morlock and Eloi historians are reviewing the ancient T&S Archives to figure out how early 21st Century Mormons felt about R-rated movies, they’re going to have a real difficult time finding this discussion by looking at the thread title. What a shame. Let’s hope they have the technology to search the comments.

Although there have clearly been many posts throughout the ‘Nacle devoted to R-Rated movies, Aaron B.’s comment underscores the reality that many of the great debates and gems in the Bloggernacle are the result of threadjacks, and cannot be found simply by scanning post titles, as fights over the weightier matters of cultural Mormonism and the Gospel manifest themselves in unexpected places. I trust that the commenters will supply any noteworthy firestorms I’ve omitted.

___________________________________________________________________________________

[1] This should not be confused with the unethical and nefarious use of this spoken-for title by some crew of “BT Editors” in recent days.

[2] If anyone from the SMC is reading this, let me just get on the record as saying that there are no pros or virtues to discuss. Please contact me at your earliest convenience for a complete list of every Bloggernacle participant who has admitted to watching (and enjoying!) R-rated movies.

[3] I wanted to do a Bloggernacle Classics post featuring this sort of phenomena in comment threads, but it became apparent that Steve Evans was the most prolific at this sort of thing, and I’m scared of him.

[4] Little-known trivia: Only(!) about 12% of Bob Caswell’s posts at BCC were about R-rated movies, but a full 100% of his comments throughout the Bloggernacle were about R-rated movies. I might be making that last part up, but after researching this topic, I’m not actually sure anymore.

[5] The women at Segullah weighed in on this issue recently as well. You have been warned.

——————————–

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Comments

  1. I was just thinking how nice it was that so few were talking about R-rated movies these days. Oh well. Our bishop made a comment at stake conference this past week referring to the For the Strength of Youth, essentially saying that since it didn’t specify that the guidances found therein were exclusively for youth, it applies to all. He didn’t mention ratings, but the universal quote now referred to made by President Hinckley.

  2. Hey Daniel,

    See footnote #2? You’re going down, buddy.

  3. Scott,

    I wasn’t discussing the pros and cons. I was noting a recent example of the discussion on the ratings of movies. You’ll note in my comment, I do not indicate whether I agreed with the bishop or not. I was merely making a historical note, just as you were. :)

  4. Wow, just the other day I was thinking, “I wish someone would compile a list of all the R-Rated movie posts ever written”. Thanks, Scott, this is great. I look forward to reviewing the links at some point.

    AB

  5. “… essentially saying that since it didn’t specify that the guidances found therein were exclusively for youth, it applies to all.”

    One of the many, many, many odd features of the R-Rating Debates in Mormonism is the tendency to pretend that there’s something morally dubious about distinguishing between cinematic fare that should be avoided by just children or youth, and fare that should be avoided by everyone, adults included. I don’t even believe people when they make this claim, it is just so silly.

  6. Daniel, you misunderstand. The link in my comment is included in the list I’ll be sending to the SMC so they can have you ex’d for watching Goodfellas, you vile sinner.

  7. ah, forgive me.

    I knew I shouldn’t have watched Goodfellas that day…

  8. The R-rated movie “debate” was already old my freshman year, 1987. It hasn’t gotten any fresher since.

  9. Just finished watching Moon with my kids. Excellent R-rated movie, I highly recommend it. Hurt Locker and Inglorious Basterds were excellent as well. Enjoy.

  10. I still haven’t “told” anyone that I watched “The Passion” especially as I am the Gospel Doctrine Teacher, but I come from a State where we were told explicitly not to read the Twilight series (I’m not trying to threadjack with the book comment).

  11. I meant Stake, not state in #10.

  12. Russell, R-Rated movie debates are like fine wine or French cheese. They get better with age.

  13. The R-rated movie “debate” was already old my freshman year, 1987. It hasn’t gotten any fresher since.

    You’re exactly right, RAF. That is why I find the fact that it takes up so many bytes in the Mormon blogging world so fascinating–it’s the same stupid arguments over and over and over and over.

    Aaron,
    I just remembered that I left one of yours out. Here.

  14. How can you have a historical post about r-rated movies discussed on the internet and not include Orson Scott Card’s essay:

    http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-r-rated-movie.html

    Now it is complete.

  15. Movie ratings…

    Yawn

  16. Great fun, Scott B. I was around way back then, but missed some of those gems. Thanks for the work compiling must have taken.

  17. Wow, not to self-promote, Scott, but my old post asks some good questions, yet it only got 18 comments. Shame on the whole Bloggernacle, myself excluded.

  18. That is likely more a function of T&S’s dominance at that point. BCC was young and most comments were from the permas. Repost it now, and you’d see better response.

    Except from RAF and Hemi, who would probably yawn at you.

  19. For better or for worse, I rarely know the rating of any movie I go to anymore. I do look through some reviews to make sure it’s worth my time, but that’s about it.

  20. So what’s up your sleeve next Scott? Polygamy posts? Gender roles? Why you should never, ever discuss breastfeeding on blogs?

  21. Thanks for these historical compilations, Scott. They’re wonderful, and I was able to catch up on a couple that I missed. I just love a good r-rated movie discussion.
    :-D

  22. Good question, mmiles. More are coming down the pipeline, but they’re not really high in priority relative to some other things I want to do, so we’ll see what happens. I think that a post about the emergence of the women’s blogs would be interesting–not mommy blogs, but blogs like fMh, Segullah, etc…

  23. ……as long as someone doesn’t try to determine the rating of Chicago Blackhawk hockey games.

  24. Latter-day Guy says:

    9: Meh. Inglourious Basterds was so-so. I mean, I enjoy “Nazi snuff” as much as the next guy, but what was the point? I will admit that Christoph Waltz was infectiously gleeful, but I wish there had been a better context for his performance. Interestingly, in my film class last week, somebody floated the idea of Tarantino having Asperger’s. I have no idea if it is true, but it might explain his fixations with film and violence and the turgid dialogue in is screenplays.

    So R-rated films, huh? There was this documentary I saw about the appropriateness of breastfeeding during screenings of the Passion of the Christ in polygamous communities, and how it affects the perception of gender roles and pro-choice/pro-life political dialogue (within the context of the whole “women and the priesthood debate”), but it kind of lost its way when it brought up Ezra Taft Benson’s involvement in the John Birch Society, in spite of the tangential but fascinating discussion about the nexus of right-wing tea-bagging and Marriot Hotel porn… but I didn’t like it as much as Twilight.

  25. Latter-day Guy says:

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    Why, of all the fascist––! Has Steve ceded control to Il Duce?

  26. LDG,
    You used the words breast, porn, Nazi, and Basterd in the same comment. Filters pick up on this sort of thing.

  27. 100% of my comments, huh? Well, it feels good to be remembered for… something, I guess. :-)

    Looking back, I think there was a lure because, for whatever reason, a discussion about r-rated movies inevitably led to what you said: “…shows how completely insane some people are.”

    I might say it differently, but your words work well. Basically, the ratio of triviality to passion comes through the most having this topic as a starting point. This ratio is unmatched in any other Mormon topic (in my opinion). And that fascinated me (and still does, though to a lesser extent now).

    Take another triviality: Coke. You start with this, and the conversation will fizzle out pretty quickly. But you start with a rated-r movie topic, and you’re likely to see someone’s belief in avoiding Coke come out in ways previously unimaginable.

  28. Latter-day Guy says:

    Ah. Well, yes, that explains it. (Not to mention “Twilight”!)

  29. Eric Russell says:

    “it’s the same stupid arguments over and over and over and over.”

    Scott just coined the Bloggernacle motto!

  30. I think it’s about time for another post on hotel porn.

  31. Ignore the yawners, Scott. An historian is rarely appreciated in his own time.

  32. I have decided to take the notion that adults should be restricted by limits we set on children and apply it to all aspects of my life. My wife does any cutting necessary in the house, because I can’t use knives or scissors. She has to drive and she has to vote. Also, I’m not allowed to wear big boy undies for fear of spoiling them.

  33. Don’t get me started on Marriot and P*&^

  34. My wife did a term paper on “Midnight Cowboy” (the book) for an English class at BYU. What a treat. This was when the movie had an X rating. The prof. commented something like, “Wow, at BYU!?”

    Is there a difference between books and movies?

  35. StillConfused says:

    I am with #19. I don’t even look at the ratings. I decide for myself what is appropriate for me to see. I did not see the Passion of the Christ not because of the rating but because that would have been too intense for me. But I loved The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption.

  36. Scott B. = the Bloggernacle’s own B.H. Roberts

  37. Mike Parker says:

    Recently the LDS Media Talk blog linked to Steven K. Jones’ “The Good List: Using Movies From the Lord’s Side of the Line.”

    Jones’ list of recommended films is filled with both classics and eye-rolling family fare, but his comment on the 1962 film “The Longest Day” disturbed me:

    “The bravery of soldiers portrayed and the tragedy of war documented without resorting to graphic violence and gore.”

    It seems to me that war movies that don’t include graphic violence are whitewashing history, and contributing to the general public support for war because it’s seen as a bloodless, noble affair.

    Personally, I think “Saving Private Ryan” and “Black Hawk Down” should be required viewing for all teenagers before they enlist in the armed forces. There’s nothing wrong with military service; I just think there needs to be some truth-in-advertising beforehand.

  38. And yet my comment last week including a link to a South Park Butters video clip (during a discussion of Sen. Buttars) gets censored from the blog. And that was only TV-M!!! The hypocrisy!

    (24) LDG
    How dare you criticize Inglorious. It was the best kind of dumb fun – the kind where Brad Pitt has a bad accent. So enjoyable.
    I will however concede that its insane that its been nominated for an Oscar.

    Not that I’ve ever seen an R-Rated movie.

  39. Bob Caswell (27.),
    Had I known you were going to make an appearance, I would have adjusted my estimate to something more conservative like 96%.

    But you are absolutely right–while reading the threads included in this post, I came across some of the greatest defenses of nothing I’ve seen in a long time.

  40. Eric Russell says:

    Personally, I think “Saving Private Ryan” and “Black Hawk Down” should be required viewing for all teenagers before they enlist in the armed forces. There’s nothing wrong with military service; I just think there needs to be some truth-in-advertising beforehand.

    LOL Mike. Don’t worry, everyone’s seen them. And in fact, it works the other way around. Guys join because they see those movies and then are disappointed when (with few rare exceptions that make movie material) it’s actually nothing like that.

  41. 2 Cents Anon says:

    Avoiding R-rated movies has never been a problem. I just don’t watch that many movies. I saw Up and Star Trek last year at the theater and I rent 2 movies a month from Netflix. My rational is: 1930-2010 is 80 years. Even if each year only produced two movies I would want to see that’s still nearly seven years worth of movie watching without repeats. Also I don’t agree with any arguments along the lines of “Your life will never be complete if you do not see this film”. They said that about Titanic 1997? and I am still waiting for my life to be blighted.

  42. Am I the only person around here who doesn’t watch rated R movies? (And also doesn’t think I’m missing anything worthwhile?)

  43. Don’t worry, everyone’s seen them.

    Oh huh! I’ve never seen the first 5 minutes or the last 10 minutes of SPR, and I’ve never seen any of BHD. So there.

  44. Scott, this is pure genius! I loved your Bloggernacle Classics when you did an Aaron B. retrospective, and I love them even more now.

    I think the point Aaron made about some of the most interesting discussions not being on the topic of the original post is a great one. I’ve often thought that the Bloggernacle needs a good index, so if I were looking for that old 2006 discussion that ended up being about breastfeeding in a stall in the bathroom, I could find it even though it appeared in a discussion following a post about Mother’s Day.

    But then, I guess if you keep this up long enough, I won’t need an index because you will have created one, and a beautifully annotated one at that!

  45. Am I the only person around here who doesn’t watch rated R movies? (And also doesn’t think I’m missing anything worthwhile?)

    I’m with you on the first half of that, Susan M. However, I can’t keep a straight face if I try to argue that I’m not missing some great stuff because of the media filter I’ve employed up to this point in my life.

  46. Wow, Scott, nice round-up. I don’t know if it’s an honor to be quoted so much or an embarrassment. Either way, I have nothing more to add (I guess I’ve said everything…)

  47. (42) Only? probably not. Minority? Probably.

  48. Ziff,
    The only downside to this sort of activity is that, while researching all of this kind of stuff, I’ve discovered that about 90% of the posts I’ve considered writing in the future have been written 6 times by other people…

  49. No Susan- I may watch one now and then, but mostly I don’t think I’m missing much either. Now when I go back and watch movies I used to love before a decade ago, I’m kind of shocked at the violence and assault to my senses some of them are. This makes me not care to seek them out. Also, I didn’t have little kids back then, so it was easier to see things that I wouldn’t waste my time on now.

  50. (48) Scott

    I’m sure most things have been discussed 6 times by other people. On the other hand by posting on the same topic anew, it gives us Noobs a chance to enter the dialectic and form our own opinions. I’m reading a number of these articles and commentary, and it makes me want to jump into the discussion . . . that happened 4 years ago.
    At any rate, thanks for the collection you’ve posted, it’s helped me waste the better part of a workday.

  51. “the media filter I’ve employed up to this point in my life”

    Scott, you are obviously a judgmental, self-righteous prude, and I hate you.

  52. Patricia Lahtinen says:

    While substitute teaching, overseeing a class studying the IMF, I have been valiantly trying to contain my mirth. Thank you for this post, Scott B.

    Steve G. (#14), Amen! OSC’s post was/is influential.

    Anyone else here working with youth striving to not be hypocritical?

    Now back to the World Bank…

  53. Eric Russell says:

    Scott #43, I mean everyone who’s not a civilian.

  54. Scott, you are obviously a judgmental, self-righteous prude, and I hate you.

    Aaron, I have never claimed to be something other than a judgmental self-righteous prude. You gotta bring more than your C-game to hurt my feelings, pal.

    Scott #43, I mean everyone who’s not a civilian.

    Oh. Shoot.

  55. Scott, I agree with 152. I often have the same thought that everything I want to post on has already been done (and better!) by others. But then I’m reminded that, other than exceptions such as yourself, our collective memory is no more than a couple of weeks. So the old can always be new again, and pretty quickly.

  56. Ziff, I don’t think anyone has ever done a post about homosexuality. You should do one.

  57. I remember that sequence of comments. Thanks for bringing it up again. :)

  58. reader Rachel says:

    This is great. As a relative newcomer to the Bloggernacle, I’d missed a lot of these posts. As for my movie watching habits, I just try to watch good movies. As a result, I watch almost nothing rated PG-13.

  59. Susan M (#42): “Am I the only person around here who doesn’t watch rated R movies? (And also doesn’t think I’m missing anything worthwhile?)”

    I am with Susan. Of course, I do not watch a lot of movies these days and when I do it is with my children (oldest 9).

  60. @42, @61: I’m in the same boat. I choose not to watch R-rated movies, and I honestly don’t think I’ve missed a whole lot. As an adult convert, I saw my share of them before my conversion, and most of them just wouldn’t sit right with me now that I’ve made some progress in the gospel.

  61. @62,

    Like I said before (45), I don’t understand the argument of a person who doesn’t watch R movies and claims to not miss anything. I don’t watch R movies–that’s a fact. But I totally know I’m missing some great films. I object to content, I guess, and have thus far in life been satisfied with that reasoning, but I’ve never tried to convince anyone that I wouldn’t totally love to see a lot of the movies I’ve skipped.

  62. @63 so I guess I should elaborate a bit. I probably *have* missed some wonderful stuff. Along with that, though, I have undoubtedly missed a lot of spirit-numbing garbage. My experiences lead me to think that I have difficulty distinguishing between the two in some cases, and that many other suffer from the same problems. So, I should say “I’m not missing anything irreplaceable” or something to make it more clear.

  63. My experiences lead me to think that I have difficulty distinguishing between the two in some cases

    Bingo. That is, in my opinion, the best, most coherent, least judgmental explanation on the market.

  64. Mike Parker says:

    @Scott B. #63:

    I guess the argument I would make is that the R-rating doesn’t discriminate between trash and treasure, the T&A flick and the great historical drama. There is a vast difference between, say, Schindler’s List and Hot Tub Time Machine.

    There are some great and important films that display violence or other coarse material, not for the pleasure of the viewing audience, but to portray authentic history. These are somewhat like some of the more graphic stories in the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon, where David cuts off the foreskins of 200 Philistines as a dowry for Saul’s daughter, or Ammon dis-arms the Lamanites who attack the king’s flocks.

    Personally, I’m completely opposed to titillation, whether it comes from the use of sexuality or of violence. But the R rating doesn’t tell us if a film is meant to titillate or inform. I would argue that there are many PG- and PG-13-rated film that are not worth our patronage, and that there are some R-rated films that are.

  65. Mike,
    I’ve read your comment a few times, and I still can’t tell if you’re repeating what I said in 63 or mistakenly disagreeing with it. In the event that you’re disagreeing with it, let me restate what I meant in 63: I use the R rating as an input, but 100% concede that it doesn’t “discriminate between trash an treasure” and hence, never try to convince myself or others that I’m not missing out on some treasures. I know I am.

  66. Mike Parker says:

    Then why do you choose to miss out? It would seem to me that selective viewership based on careful research beforehand would be preferable to strict adherence to a flawed rating system. (At least that’s how I see it; I’m interested in your take.)

  67. Then why do you choose to miss out?

    Me personally? Or someone else on the street? I personally think that the portion of 64 I quoted in my 65 is the best response to the “careful research beforehand” argument, but it’s not my issue.

    My personal explanation for not watching them is much simpler: Despite obvious irrationality, traditions are not easily dispensed with.

  68. Well I have weird taste in movies. I personally don’t think I’m missing much by not having seen Schindler’s List or Saving Private Ryan, the two movies people seem to reference the most in trying to prove to me that I am missing out.

    I caught part of Saving Private Ryan on TV and…blah.

    Schindler’s List is what, 3 hours long? My biggest peeve in movies, making them so long.

  69. Mike Parker says:

    @Susan M #70:

    I take it you’ve never read the Old Testament? ;-)

  70. I agree with the comments made around 62-69. My attitude towards R-rated movies is like my attitude towards most other cultural interpretations of the core of the gospel. I think the R-rating means absolutely nothing about whether or not I should see a film, but I believe God gave me a mind to make that decision for myself. If a film is a good film, or historical, or whatever, but is rated R because of a word or two that I probably hear everyday anyway, I’ll likely end up seeing it. At the same time, if there is a PG or PG-13 film meant to titilate, I’ll skip it. Going to a site like imdb.com will literally list every swear word in a movie, everything about nudity, drinking, etc. (Click on the movie name, then go down past the cast to the “parents guide”) It’s much more helpful than some arbitrary rating.

  71. I love SPR. I sob through much of it.

    I think that we use ratings as a tool. In general, I do not watch R-rated movies because the rating tells me enough about the content (and I know that my wife will not like the content, though I do not really care). It is much like the fact that I rarely vote for somebody with an R after their name. People seem to get upset about that, too. I am pretty sure, however, that I know more than most on the topic.

    That said, I do read Eric Snider. It helps me know which of the non-R-rated movies are worth watch. Ignoring Eric’s advice is a lot like not listening to the Spirit. It leads to suffering.

  72. One of the pleasures of living in an open society is that all things can be explored. I have read very graphic stuff about all sorts of things. Novels where the F word is common and sex explicit. I am reading a history where torture is described in gruesome detail.

    I have watched documentary films about all manner of things. I have read Kinsey reports, sex manuals, etc., etc. I have read psychology journal articles about bestiality.

    So does watching an R rated movie with a serious intent really make a much of a dent in all of the other stuff?

    (One could easily make the argument that the sublimated sexuality from the movies might actually be a positive effect on one’s personal life, that is, if sexuality is important.)

    If serious things are important then we should take serious things seriously. I do not read trash, listen to trash, watch trash. I can tell the difference. If ETB has to tell me what is valuable I am in trouble indeed.

    A great difficulty is that by driving a stake in the ground, like a blanket prohibition of R ratings, it makes people uneasy. If ETB had said something like, “be sensible and do not go to movies which appeal to your base nature,” it would have been easy. Few people would disagree with this statement allowing the burden of choice to be retained by the membership.

    Why take divisive stands when a broader appeal accomplishes more and is, in stead, unifying?

  73. Mike Parker says:

    @Chris #73:

    Except in those not-too-infrequent films where the MPAA caved to a major studio, who was shooting for a specific rating. And so we have Latter-day Saints who cheerfully saw Titanic, wherein the heroine was seen topless and the hero was shown experiencing sexual climax, while refusing to see The Passion of the Christ, a film that portrayed the crucifixion of our Lord much more accurately that the relatively bloodless stuff churned out at BYU on behalf of the Church.

    This Film Is Not Yet Rated documents the secrecy and unreliability of the MPAA ratings board. (Ironicly, the film itself chose to be released with the suicidal “Not Rated” rather than accept the MPAA’s unfounded NC-17 stamp.)

  74. My two favorite movies are R-Rated. Maybe my three, if Tootsie is R-rated. I love Shawshank Redemption & Children of Lesser God.

    For years I didn’t watch R-rated shows or drink caffeinated drinks. I still, every dang time, feel a little guilty if I have the occasional Pepsi.

    When I really think about it, I realize how crazy it is to feel that guilty about coffee.

    I’m a discriminating R-rated movie watcher now. I have no trouble turning them off as soon as I realize they’re crap. The problem is that sometimes, the crap part is in my head before I turn it off. And then I feel like I need to take give my brain a hot bath. I hate the sex parts.

    But I really have to be the look-out for Bill. Because he will just sit and watch crap. He’s really awful at turning off the TV or changing a channel. Once I do it, he sort of shakes himself and thanks me, but he’ll just sit there and let the crap flow over him.

    You know, I thought unrated meant, like G. Big mistake. I can’t remember which movie I was watching like that and I got a shock and turned it off. Who knew?

    My neighbor, the patriarch, doesn’t watch anything like that anymore and he’s a very spiritual sweet person. No caveats for what I should do. I have mixed emotions there. Because if I stuck to the rigid policy, I’d have missed Shawshank. On the other hand, I’d have also missed Seven, which boy, took a long time to get that out of my head.

  75. This post is just R-Rate movie discussion bate disguised as a historical reference list.

    That way you can jump on people for going “off topic” while commenting on the topic, even though you know deep down it’s what you want, even if you don’t know it (what does that mean). Admit it! And I’m falling for it. You’re good at this…

    But really avoid R-Movies, and at various times in my life I have cleaned up my library, which meant ditching everything from Megadeath, Sepultura, to Troy and and Harry and the Hendersons. — well not really Harry, who could get rid of that one.

    But I think the generally if we’re admonished to keep our homes and our body like a Temple we should refrain from doing, seeing, listening, reading, watching, thinking things which drive away the spirit. I’ve attempted this at various times as I’ve asked myself, what if I tried to really live the Gospel and embrace it completely.

    Of course I always fail, and I think I can blame it on those damn Rocky movies– they’re not even R!. Maybe if I get rid of them in my next purging things will work out better.

  76. Hey Scott B, drop me an email will you?

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