BCC Zeitcast 71: Two Brothers, One MPAA Rating System

Scott B. hosts the second of a two-part debate between BCC perma John C. and his older brother Robert. In Part 1, John and Rob debated the role of the U.S. Constitution in Mormon thought. In part 2, the brothers turn their attention to the steps of repentance for viewing a movie that has been rated R by the MPAA. John takes the position that statements regarding R-ratings are obsolete, and that the Church has intentionally moved away from such statements, emphasizing the need to use wisdom and discernment in media consumption, but that movie ratings are not good indicators of appropriateness. Rob takes the position that past statements from Church leaders regarding R-ratings are still valid, and that choices in movie selection should be based on a commitment to follow the prophet, rather than a quota for cuss words or visible body parts.

Links for your convenience:
1. John C.’s Movies, Mormonism, and Meaning
2. Scott B.’s Bloggernacle Classics post about posts about movies that are rated R
3. John Hatch’s old-tyme post about the same subject for BCC

Subscribe to the BCC Zeitcast in iTunes or through our dedicated podcast RSS feed.

Have feedback on the podcast? Please leave reviews/ratings in iTunes. Contact me at BCCZeitcast at ByCommonConsent dot com.

Comments

  1. nobody special says:

    “Rob takes the position that past statements from Church leaders regarding R-ratings are still valid, and that choices in movie selection should be based on a commitment to follow the prophet”

    They’re both wrong, but not because you simply just want to follow the prophet. Presuming you are desiring to avoid unholy and impure practices. Watching movies which depict unholy and impure things would just about cover avoiding nearly all movies. Not to say that I’m perfect, but I don’t seek to define what is wrong as good to excuse myself.

    It would almost seem if I were to actually live up to the covenants I made I’d become similar to one of those apostles who serve as full time witnesses of Christ and in effect become more like him. Perhaps that’s the idea!

  2. “Rob takes the position that past statements from Church leaders regarding R-ratings are still valid, and that choices in movie selection should be based on a commitment to follow the prophet.”

    That doesn’t have to mean one believes all R-rated movies much be avoided and watching one indicates not following the prophets. I can agree completely with the quote above, be committed to accepting prophetic counsel and still choose to watch certain R-rated movies – and choose not to watch many non-R-rated movies.

    Food for thought: Our 13th Article of Faith describes some R-rated movies. How many certainly is open to reasonable disagreement, but it absolutely doesn’t exclude all of them, imo.

  3. For the record and to be clear, I should state for those who don’t listen to the podcast that Rob also advocated using wisdom and good judgment in all movie choices–not just those that are rated R. I realize now that it kind of looks like it’s saying he has an R-filter and nothing else, and that’s not true.

  4. I got that, Scott, and I should have been clearer in my comment. Sorry.

  5. No problem Ray–I was actually responding more to #1 than to you. Anyway, I just wanted to make sure it was clear.

  6. Fletcher says:

    I am left unfulfilled at that ending. “Okay, I have the answer.(Keyboard cat music).” Very unfulfilling.

  7. Fletcher,
    The decision to cut off there was a matter of lengthy debate about our obligations or responsibilities regarding heresay/unproven information (even if they come from reliable/plausible sources) about Church leaders’ private lives.

  8. Fletcher says:

    Fair enough. Still, an automated voice telling us that would have been good. Then you could have done the keyboard cat.

  9. nobody special says:

    #2 Ray,
    You’re not going to tell me watching Schindlers list and that images of corpses piled on top of each other or a rape would qualify as lovely, and praiseworthy — even if it was done from the viewpoint of these things being wrong.

    There’s a lot I could show that’s wrong, and try to raise awareness about terrible life and people can truly be. But I don’t think I’d become a more holy person after watching it for entertainment. And I suppose that’s the key thing. Are you doing it for educational purposes or entertainment? I suppose if someone wasn’t aware of the holocaust (to use this particular example) you could argue you were educating them. But the question would still exist why you had to educate them in a manner that depicted reenacting something grotesque in a visual manner and then holding the imagery up to be lovely.

    And Schindler’s list was made to combine both entertainment and education – combining art, story, drama, characters, lighting, advertising, promotion, awards, etc. It wasn’t just to show the terrible things people can do, but to draw the viewer into the story through drama — entertainment. It sounds terrible to call such a somber movie entertainment, but that’s a large part of what it was.

    But I truly am a hypocrite in this regard as I’ve seen it and others… I just don’t hide it under the guise that it’s a lovely or of good report type film that makes me more holy after watching it.

  10. Hmm, well that’s an interesting take on Schindler’s List.
    Would you also equate the biography the movie is based on as entertainment?
    Does storytelling by written word have less negative impacts then visual storytelling?
    I am honestly curious in your opinion on the matter.

  11. Steve_G says:

  12. #9 – Just curious: 1) Why do you think that particular movie even crossed my mind? 2) Do you believe that there are no R-rated movies that don’t fit the description of the 13th Article of Faith?

  13. Delete “don’t” from that last comment. I’m tired.

  14. Oh, one more thing:

    If something shouldn’t be watched because it has elements that are not lovely and praiseworthy, many of the movies that the Church produces should not be watched.

    Please read my initial comment carefully. I used specific qualifiers and modifiers intentionally, and your comment seems to ignore that.

  15. I’m sorry Scott, but I have to say it: still a pretty damn tired debate.

  16. Russell,
    1. I didn’t pick the topics.
    2. No one made you listen.

  17. True.

  18. If you’d like to suggest some topics that would be more to your liking, and help me find people who are willing to talk about them, then I’m all ears. As it is, I’m limited by who will agree to record a podcast and what they want to talk about.

  19. Kristine says:

    WaMo, I’m interested in the sharp distinction you’re drawing between education and entertainment. Is all art “entertainment”? Is it wrong that the scriptures use poetry, drama, parables, metaphors, etc. to teach truth? Was it wrong for Jesus to describe the sins of the Prodigal Son, or the beating of the man the Samaritan helped?

    I think I understand what you’re getting at, but I don’t think the distinction between education and entertainment does all the work you need it to in your argument. It could only work if all truth were merely factual, and there were effective didactic mechanisms that didn’t draw on some of the features of art.

  20. Kristine:

    I’m a little puzzled at your response to me, I was referring to nobody special’s comment about the film Schindler’s List not being virtuous, lovely or of good report.

    While that may be true, I would also argue that descriptions and depictions of the Haun’s Mill Massacre also do not pass the “VL or GR” test either.

  21. Kristine says:

    oops, so was I. Sorry WaMo.

  22. I like what “nobody” says. It’s honest. He says almost all movies portray unholy and impure practices, therefore, he believes he shouldn’t watch almost all movies, but still confesses he saw Schindler’s List, but feels bad about it.

    Everyone must have their own boundaries, and I respect them. Personally, I think it’s sometimes good to see unholy and impure practices, as long as its not pornographic or merely to feast upon our lusts. Movies allow us to vicariously experience the lives of others, both good and bad, and there is so much to learn. I am grateful to some of the rated-R movies I’ve seen for giving me a portrait of the violent and deeply traumatic lives that our Savior came here to save and heal. It brings me closer to Him to experience what He experienced vicariously by taking upon himself our pains and sufferings.

    I follow the “good report and praisworthy” rule by generally only watching movies rated 90% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes. Arbitrary, I know, but it’s been a pretty good predictor of quality, and generally weeds out purely sensationalist material. Some great Rated R movies which have also affected my soul in profoundly beautiful ways include: “The Lives of Others” “Crash” and “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

    I know some prophets or apostles might disagree with my boundaries. But we have freedom to chose, and I personally have made my choice, and feel blessed by it. Others will be blessed for their sacrifice not to watch Rated R movies.

  23. Thomas Parkin says:

    For me the question isn’t the rating. The questions are: what is the area of the film covers, how truthfully is it covered, how artfully is it covered, and how important is it for me, personally. Will it tend to expand my soul, or shrink it.

    The distinction between education and entertainment is a false one. Being educated is pleasurable, and therefore might smack of entertainment. There is a whiff of “mere entertainment” in saying “entertainment.” There is plenty of time wasting not really art that doesn’t contain a heartbeat of impure but is so vapid and unrevealing that it is mere entertainment, however wholesome. (The recent Disney flick “African Cats” is a good example. Outside the lovely visuals, – which may well make the movie worth seeing,- it was utter twaddle. But 15 seconds of grown-up thought earns you a PG, at least.)

    Most of us can’t tell the difference between being uncomfortable and losing the Spirit. Partly because we’ve never learned to distinguish the Spirit from nice emotions. This because we’ve been taught that is how we distinguish it. Therefore we are incapable of “feeling the Spirit” when the truths the Spirit wants to communicate to us make us uncomfortable. This is also why so much art designed for Mormon consumption is so kitschy. Because we’re big babies. When I was a child I thought as a child and spoke as a child and took in childish art – but when I grew up, I put away childish things.

    I think the 90% RT rating Nate proposes is a good one. I’d personally drop mine down to about 80% for Rs and 65% for PGs – but the idea is solid. You’ll also save yourself from wasting your time on innocuous but shlocky shlock.

  24. I must say, i personally might not have the most ‘unbiased’ opinion on this topic, as film is something very close to my heart. I am possibly the least intelligent person on this board, and most likely the least versed in the gospel. But hopefully I can contribute some valid points to the debate.

    One thing that we need to keep in focus here, it is the reason why we watch films – to be entertained and to have an experience. So the base argument here is what entertains us? If we choose to entertain ourselves with foul language, sexual content and graphic violence then what are we saying is important to us. I think to church leaders, it is a concern as to how we use our ‘spare’ time. If you chose to be watching a film instead of serving or studying the scriptures – is it in anyway worth your time? We all need some R&R, so what is it we do in this time, and is it detrimental to your overall outlook on the world?

    For me a prime example is this. I recently watched The Hangover Part 2. And it really really was not in any way a positive experience for me. I did not heed the words of my leaders, and the outcome was that I felt disappointed with myself and lost 2 hours of my life when I could have had a good experience as opposed to a negative one.

    I agree that the rating system is a good indicator for content, and thus R rated films (18/15 in UK) are generally not going to contain spiritually beneficially subject matter. But i totally disagree that the ratings are in any way an indicator of subject matter. And i think this is the issue here, does a film make you feel ‘dirty’ or ‘empty’, does it put ‘thoughts’ and ‘images’ in the mind that can be detrimental to the spirit?

    Just because a film is violent it does not make it evil or impure. If we take it on this marker, then kids should not be watching Harry Potter or Star Wars, would we consider this to be negative material? I would personally be quite comfortable watching Star Wars with my 6 year old niece….maybe outer darkness awaits me :) But at the same time it is definitely down to personal boundaries. The whole ‘R debate’ is clearly a marker for the church so that we as a body of saints (those who need clear statements) can have an outright decision pre-made for them rather than finding our own way.

    For me, i find that most people who do not regularly watch films there is pure ignorance about a films content. So i think the R debate is most relevant for those people, as it sets out something straight away. When they go to the cinema they can straight away cancel out all R rated films, and then the chance of watching something risqué is drastically reduced. However, for those who read up on a film or use a website such as common sense media, balanced with our own boundaries we can make an informed decision. For example, i recently watched a film called ‘Hanna’. This was a 12a in the UK, and a PG-13 in the States. The film showed very little blood, had no sexual content and had minimal foul language, which made it ‘suitable’ for 12 year olds and above. But the tone was dark, seedy and really felt violent. In my mind, this made this film easily something that would fall into the R rating situation – as it has no discernable positive impact on my life. It provides a negative and provocative outlook on the world. So here, the film’s rating was completely unhelpful. What had to come into play here was my own discretion, and relationship with the gospel and the spirit.

    As a film purist i find it appalling that people re-edit films to suit a younger or morally responsible audience. If a film has content that is not suitable for our values – for example Kings Speech – i do not think it is anyone’s responsibility to cut out the bad stuff at risk of spoiling the film. As was agreed, the swearing scene is integral to the development of the character. It has specific purpose in the film. Rightly or wrongly, if a film has content we feel uncomfortable about then we simply should not watch it. We cannot cherry pick bits from a film we like. If it has two minutes of something we are not happy with then the whole film needs to be written off. This is simply a case of deciding on our values and sticking by them. This is something I need to improve in my own life.

    What is clear from the podcast, and what this really does boil down to is following the prophet. The whole President Eyring quoting Black Hawk Down thing is quite interesting. As in this general conference Dalin H. Oaks in his talk ‘Desire’ mentioned Aron Ralston and his experiences in Utah mountains. Although he did not reference 127Hours, he clearly is informed on the subject which means he either watched the film (which i doubt) or read the book. In turn, the council we receive covers films, music, computer games AND books. Whether you watch someone cut their arm off or read about it, your mind is still receiving an R rated image. For elder Oaks, he clearly was comfortable enough with his own boundaries on violence to absorb and then impart this information to others. So for me, i feel that the prophet has given us direct council in the past which we should pay attention to. “Use your judgement and other things”, i think this is something we can all take from this. We know how the prophet feels about this, so it is up to us how we move forward.

  25. Kevin Barney says:

    I saw Schindler’s List in the theater. It was so moving to me that I didn’t rewatch it for many years. Just recently I had the opportunity to see it again, this time with my son.

    In my book anyone who says that film isn’t virtuous, lovely or of good report is bonkers.

  26. I always go back to this experience from my mission when I decide how I want to experience art (we always talk about film, but really that’s just one segment of a broad spectrum of story-telling we can experience.)

    I served in London and for Christmas, our whole mission went to the musical Les Miserables. Now there are certainly some things in that performance that are not “spiritually uplifting” and our mission president said as much in a meeting prior to going. But he said it is a reflection of life and as in life we should not dwell on the negative and should focus on the positive because there is so much good in the message of Les Mis.

    When we went to the theater, I found I was sitting just in front of area president Jeffery R. Holland, who as we know would become an apostle.

    He sat through the whole thing (including “Lovely Ladies”) and joined us in a standing ovation at the end.

  27. Fletcher says:

    I took a date to see Schindler’s List. We ended up making out throughout the movie. My mother found out and was not happy with my lack of respect for the movie.

  28. Eric Russell says:

    “Now there are certainly some things in that performance that are not “spiritually uplifting” and”

    Why “certainly” WaMo? I see nothing certain about it.

  29. Kevin Barney says:

    Fletcher, that was a classic episode!

  30. Eric Russell, maybe the presence of lovely ladies is what he’s talking about.

  31. Eric Russell says:

    Thanks, Scott. My point was simply that there is no such thing as certitude when it comes to “spiritually uplifting.” There are many reasons why Fantine’s descension into prostitution can be considered spiritually uplifting. A few off the top of my head:
    – We develop sympathy for Fantine and the desperateness of her situation, which softens our heats.
    – The parallels between those seeking the prostitutes and the foreman at the factory and the poverty among the women in both situations identify a parallel between sexual and economic exploitation, and invite us to recognize the ways in which we might be exploiting others, even if we are not literally seeking prostitutes.
    – The shared music between “Lovely Ladies” and “Turning” at the end speaks to the suffering – the unseen suffering of women in particular – and invites us to recognize the unintended consequences actions can have on others.
    – The scene provides a direct set up for a situation that introduces Valjean’s compassion and Javert’s demand for justice and the many subsequent lessons that brings.

    The broader point here is that all this talk about things that are spiritually uplifting or lovely or praiseworthy or of good report as objective things whose objective reality simply needs to be discerned is all nonsense.

  32. Jacob M says:

    My first thought about the impurities of Les Mis was “Master and a half!”

    But maybe that’s because I’m male, and am partial to . . . uhm, male jokes.

  33. Eric Russell (31),
    No doubt–I would call Les Miserables absolutely spiritually uplifting, and Fantine’s experiences are certainly a big part of that. However, the specific lyrics of “Lovely Ladies”–taken by themselves–are kind of crass. Not anything obscene at all, but just the sort of lyrics that probably couldn’t be characterized as “spiritually uplifting” by themselves.

  34. Amen, Eric.

    In Sunday School a few weeks ago, one of the men in my ward mentioned how much he loves Les Miserables – and especially the story of Fantine’s stubborn refusal to let the uncontrollable events of her life rob her of faith and the willingness to do whatever she had to do to care for her daughter and pray for a better life for that daughter than she had. He ended his comment by saying that he believes God has a special place in Heaven for those who suffer as she suffered and that he was convinced the entrance to Heaven of “a prostitute like Fantine” will be heralded more jubilantly than ours who were sitting comfortably in church that day.

    Yes, those words in the 13th Article of Faith are subjective. I believe part of the beauty of life is finding pearls among the refuse – but, unfortunately, it’s easy to forget that to be in the world but not of the world we actually have to be in the world. The world is messy, and if we don’t get messy quite often, I don’t think we really are living the Gospel that Jesus actually lived and preached.

  35. Eric:

    Good point.

  36. Eric Russell says:

    Scott, I see no reason to believe that ‘crass’ and ‘spiritually uplifting’ are inherently contradictory, if that’s what you are suggesting.

  37. Eric Russell,
    That may be true, but I think the burden is on the crass to prove it’s spiritual merit, and not the other way around. In the extant scenario, I’m willing to consider an argument that chortling about the size of a john’s genitals or clever locations for sexual intercourse is spiritually uplifting if you’re willing to make one.

  38. Kristine says:

    When are we going to get over the fact that God made people with genitals? Sex is funny; humor is an important element of art. It creeps me out that Mormons are willing to countenance a great deal of violence and the kind of vapid mediocrity that characterizes most PG-13 movies, but somehow any and all depictions of sex are considered vulgar. (Not willing to make the argument for that scene in Les Mis, particularly–I think it could be left out without damaging the story line much–but for sexual humor and even erotica more generally). Levi Peterson makes the argument elegantly: http://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V20N04_124.pdf

  39. Eric Russell says:

    I don’t believe that there’s any burden on the crass to prove its spiritual merit. That’s not what’s at stake. Crass jokes may not posses spiritual merit in of themselves, but lots of things don’t possess spiritual merit. Most jokes of any sort don’t posses spiritual merit. Most plot progression points and scenes establishing the setting generally don’t possess spiritual merit.

    The question is not whether a given element, such as a joke, possesses spiritual merit in of itself, the question is whether its presence nullifies the spiritual merit of the material that surrounds it.

  40. If a non-uplifting part of a whole which is otherwise uplifting disqualifies the entire whole from being prasieworthy and lovely and of good report – then I and every person I know are not praiseworthy or lovely or of good report. Neither is the LDS Church itself.

    I understand that some might say that’s an argument that can’t be made reasonably from the comments (an unfair extrapolation), but it gets to the heart of what I see as one of the worst mutations of our striving for perfection. It is a horrible unintended consequence of the pursuit of a noble ideal, and it affects far too many of our conversations in the Church, imo.

  41. Kristine,
    What are you talking about? I made a statement about a very specific set of lyrics in a specific song–which you yourself say that you’re not willing to defend. How does any of that translate to an inability to “get over the fact that God made people with genitals” or a defense of violence in media?

  42. Eric (39) & Ray (40),
    Let’s back up a little bit here, mmmkay? I said very clearly in 33 that I think Les Mis is spiritually uplifting (it better be, since I’ve paid to see it 4 times!), and that is plainly applicable to anything else of the same qualities. I also agreed in 37 above that crass and spiritually uplifting are not mutually exclusive.

    I have no dog in this fight–I just offered a possible explanation as to what WaMo was referring to in 25 when Eric asked for details as to what WaMo meant.

    Now, all of that aside…Eric, please reconcile these two statements for me:

    Why “certainly” WaMo? I see nothing certain about it.

    Crass jokes may not posses spiritual merit in of themselves, but lots of things don’t possess spiritual merit. Most jokes of any sort don’t posses spiritual merit. Most plot progression points and scenes establishing the setting generally don’t possess spiritual merit.

    Don’t those two seem a bit contradictory?

  43. I think I perhaps misused the term certainly. There are things in the musical that are crass, but I think there is a point to those things because they show a contrast between the innocence of Cosette and the world her mother is trying to keep her from.

    Great works of art typically have contrasting themes and usually must show the dark so we can appreciate the light.

    Schindler’s List is not all dark. It’s not some kind of “Saw” like slasher film that has no existence but to show pain. It tells us about a man who saved hundreds of people from a horrible fate because he was willing to risk his life for them when he could have easily just went along the many of his countrymen.

    And the awful scenes in the film are necessary because they are telling us what actually happened so we as humans will know what genocide means and so we can prevent it in the future.

    It is a redeeming work of art for me and I would be happy to tell the Lord that I watched it.

  44. Steve Evans says:

    “I’ve paid to see it 4 times!”

    That’s the most crass thing you’ve said so far. Les Mis is NOT THAT GREAT, people. Yes, it’s not Andrew Lloyd Webber, but there are better musicals.

    re: countenancing violence but not tolerating crassness/sexuality, well that’s Mormonism for you Kristine. We’re a violent but chaste sect.

  45. Eric Russell says:

    Not contradictory. I think we have a language miscommunication. Perhaps it’s best to create three different categories : spiritual merit, spiritual demerit (whatever that may be), and spiritually neutral.
    My comment, “I see nothing certain about it” was in response to the statement, “there are certainly some things in that performance that are not “spiritually uplifting.” Now I am assuming that when we use the phrase not “spiritually uplifting” we are referring to some kind of spiritual demerit. Technically, it’s true that it could be referring to anything that is not spiritually uplifting, but that turns the statement into tautological nonsense. A significant portion of any work – to include the scriptures – includes spiritually irrelevant aspects, things that are spiritually neutral. When we use the phrase not “spiritually uplifting” we’re not talking about things that literally lack immediate spiritual value, we’re talking about things that are spiritually degrading.

    Now one could make an argument that the jokes in that song are spiritually degrading, but I think you could also justifiably claim that those jokes – especially within their context – are not spiritually degrading. It is thus uncertain.

  46. Eric Russell says:

    Les Mis is NOT THAT GREAT, people.

    Go to hell, Steve Evans.

  47. That’s the most crass thing you’ve said so far. Les Mis is NOT THAT GREAT, people. Yes, it’s not Andrew Lloyd Webber, but there are better musicals.

    I exaggerated. I’ve seen it 4 times, but only paid once. Still…what Eric Russell said.

  48. Steve Evans says:

    It was better than Cats. I could see it again and again.

  49. Fletcher:
    “I took a date to see Schindler’s List. We ended up making out throughout the movie. My mother found out and was not happy with my lack of respect for the movie.”

    This is the exact plot to a Seinfeld episode.

  50. Scott, my comment was not directed toward you in any way. I actually agree with what you said in #37.

  51. Ray,
    My bad–I thought it was because of your Amen to Eric’s reply to me.

    Jacob S,
    Let me know if you want me to delete your 49 when you get the joke. :)

  52. it's a series of tubes says:

    When we went to the theater, I found I was sitting just in front of area president Jeffery R. Holland, who as we know would become an apostle.

    A bit of related fluff: upon his return to the States from England, President Holland’s dog, Bingley, was left with a member family who fed me often as a missionary. Quite a spiritual giant, that dog – during prayers he would lie quietly, chin on crossed paws, and then bark an “amen” with everyone afterward. President Holland had trained him well.

  53. Sometimes I skim too quickly, I suppose.

  54. Thomas Parkin says:

    Please don’t use the words “prostitute” or “genitals” on a Mormon blog. I prefer “fallen women” and “sacred place.” I can’t overestimate the importance of forgetting that some things exist. Our language should strive to help us forget many things. When it comes to things like anger and insacred thinking and our bodies, we should work to desire unknowledge more and more.

  55. Aaron B says:

    boobies

  56. Thomas Parkin says:

    Aaron,

    They really are, aren’t they.

  57. britt k says:

    I really like a way of evaluating media presented in http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Jefferson-Education-Generation-Twenty-first/dp/096712462X

    There are three categories:
    whole-good is good, bad is bad and good wins
    broken- good is good, bad is bad-bad wins
    bent-good is badf, bad is good

    Actions. not people. are what is being judged.

    I’ve never seen the movie schindler’s list because my mind sucks up images like crazy. I did read the book. I was highly impressed with the author’s ability to tell an amazing and inspiring story about a normal man..with faults. The faults weren’t excused becuase of the amazing greatness, nor were they swept under the rug. I wasn’t made to feel that if I like Schlindler and was inspired by his list than I must approve his adultery.

    I read kiterunner as well. It’s not a movie I would want to see. Reading it was difficult.

    Sometimes I’d like to just be innocent…but that can take away from developing understanding and love. Some level of detail is frequently needed to move someone from pity to helpful action.

    That said…my kids and I have been talking about dead seas recently. How we can become dead in that way if we take so much in and never give..never act. Movies can have that potential. If we watch and watch and watch and it never changes our actions…all the violence, sex and whatever else that could inspire us…instead can be stilting.

    i get rather verbose before everyone wakes up. carry on with the talk of boobies being hilarious.

  58. Someone please make a note to nominate #54 for a Niblet – or #54-56.

  59. I don’t understand why it’s considered wrong by some members of the church to see a movie with an R rating, but reading a book telling the same story in graphic terms is considered acceptable or even laudable. What is it about rendering the same story or scene into images on celluloid that changes it from good to bad?

    If we limit ourselves to only “uplifting” content in our media, we will miss a lot of valuable things. Most of the content of the vast majority of media is spiritually neutral, and a lot of media cannot be judged as “uplifting” or not without experiencing it.

    Are you going to be “harmed” in any way if you avoid all R rated movies or other media that is rumored to be of the non-uplifting variety? Probably not. You may even receive some spiritual benefit. But you will also lead a bland, boring and less full life. Are you going to be harmed if you exercise discretion in media habits and experience some R rated movies and other non-uplifting things occasionally? Possibly, but the harm will be insignificant, and will be more than offset by the benefits of the more interesting life you will have.

    I would rather err on the side of experincing more of life and art, even if occasionally experience things that are not uplifting, because it’s much of what I find enjoyable about life. I don’t think we are truly intended to be insulated from the non-uplifting. I also don’t believe the Church (or the current prophet) is really interested in drawing a hard line on this issue.

  60. britt k says:

    MCQ, since I mentioned reading but not seeing Schlindler’s list…I’ll take a stab. My mind is visual…extremely visual. I dream very vividly. I have nightmare’s enough that I considered it a wonderful tender mercy that when set apart for my mission my Stake President blessed me that I wouldn’t have nightmares..I didn’t for my whole mission.

    Let’s take nazi germany. Surely one can read Anne Frank, The Hiding Place, Schlinder’s list and various other books and gain some understanding of the Holocaust. Imagine seeing the movies…it would be impossible to have one of those movies not show images that would just sear into my brain. You know the kinds I mean.

    Do you see a difference between reading it and seeing those images? Is it possible to have an understanding without seeing those images?

    Can you see any sort of difference in reading..say…an anatomically correct discription of sex or watching one? purely educationally ;).

    A picture really is worth a thousand words.

    How about Last of the mohicans…when the indians kill a baby. That stayed with me…but can you imagine seeing it? I can’t remember the words used to describe it, but I can remember the general idea. Had I seen an image, it’d be right there.

    I remember watching a movie…can’t remember the name. A Western in which some bad guys hang a dad and give his young son a bullet with which to shoot down the rope…he’s young, it’s harder than it looks to shoot a gun…and it pulls low becasue he is simply not strong enough and doens’t have the experience. He shoots his father. That scene…ugh.

    you can call me a wimp. but uninteresting, bland life., maybe it’s just a different life. ..I just don’t want some images in my mind. I know my brain too well, they will come back when I don’t want them.

    Maybe images don’t affect you similarly. I don’t know.

  61. I think your brain converts the words to images anyway. that’s how you remember the scenes in books. You don’t remember the words, you remember the scene how you imagined it. It’s probably less graphic in your imagination than it would be on film, but maybe not, depending on how it’s filmed.

    “Can you see any sort of difference in reading..say…an anatomically correct discription of sex or watching one? purely educationally ;).”

    I think they would both qualify as pornographic. Or they should. I’m not sure why there should be a difference.

    I also don’t think nudity, by itself, is necessarily pornographic or harmful. We have hangups on nudity and sex that are just plain silly.

  62. But you will also lead a bland, boring and less full life.

    Yeah, I totally disagree with that, even if I agree with the value that can come from a film independent of its rating.

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