When did people lose the ability to recognize satire and humor? In all fairness, satire is a little tricky to spot. Still, humor certainly is not hard to spot, or at least I always thought so. Maybe, it really, is too difficult to spot and that is why so many people are taking funny things serious?
Even comedy movies are getting the serious treatment. Yes, funny movies, which serve no purpose but to make us laugh, are coming under fire.
Take for example, the recent flap about the Ben Stiller movie, Tropic Thunder. In this particular movie, advertised heavily as not only humor, but also a satire to boot, Stiller plays a vapid, clueless actor.
No, that isn't what people fail to see as funny. What has them all up in arms?
In one scene, Stiller's character utters the word retard. That's right, one word, in one scene of this movie has a group demanding that the film be re-edited to remove the offensive word.
According to the group, they believe the use of retard is offensive. This word has become one of those, not to be used words. They contend that having this word used once in the movie will give kids everywhere the idea that it is okay to use this word.
Imagine the power Ben Stiller possesses. One word from his lips and children everywhere are ready to run out and use this word repeatedly.
The group has taken their protest directly to the studio. Where in an amazing move, the movie people responded by saying the movie is a satire, the character is a moron, and the use of the word proves he is a moron and it should stay.
Do I think that word is an outdated description of people with a host of neurological problems? Yes. There was time when this word was an accepted medical description, no longer. Medicine has come along way.
People still utter this word everyday. So what? As with any naughty word, the more forbidden it is the more fun it is to use. Heck, even a non-derogatory word can be mean and vile if said with the right inflection.
Will removing this word from a movie prevent kids or adults for that matter from tossing this word around? Probably not. People spend entirely too much time trying to sanitize things.
Remember the purge of images of the twin towers from movies and posters after 9-11. As if removing the images would change the fact that there was a horrible act committed there.
To me the bigger issue is that this movie is R rated. An R rating means no children under 17 should see this movie, unless accompanied by an adult. My question is what adult would take a kid to an R rated movie in the first place?
Kids shouldn't even be in this movie to hear the character utter the naughty word.
That is the reason the rating system exists, to prevent kids from hearing or seeing all manner of nasty things.
As a parent, I am all for rating books, movies and video games. Since, I don't want my kids accidentally viewing a movie that contains adult themes; I use the movie rating system and other methods to determine if it is appropriate.
Anything that helps parents stay informed about what a movie, book or game contains is a good thing. Every little bit helps.
If as a parent you still let your children view something that clearly is too mature for them, then you are at fault. It is not the responsibility of the entertainment industry to sanitize every product, just so your kid can watch something inappropriate for him in the first place.
If a book or some other type of media is mislabeled then we have a problem. You will certainly find me complaining, rather loudly, if the G rated movie I take the kids to contains lewd scenes or swearing.
Purging offensive things from media will not change the fact that people will still use these offensive things as weapons. Offensive things pass from generation to generation. People are always developing new ways to hurt one another. No amount of sanitizing will change that.
Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.
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