Earlier this year, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) faced harsh criticism from Hollywood elite after multiple movies released received ‘R’ ratings merely for the excessive profanity. The criticism reached a new level when the recently, limited-release documentary “Bully” originally received an ‘R’ rating. Popular personalities including, Justin Beiber, Johnny Depp, and Martha Stewart joined the campaign in protest of the ‘R’ rating. One high school teen lamented that “Bully” could “literally save thousands of lives,” if only the MPAA would relent their strict rules. It has since been adapted to fit the standards of a ‘PG-13′ rating.
Bully focuses on the lives of various families, from those reeling from the suicide of their own children to children who face daily trauma at their school. However, what had critics most distraught over Bully’s ‘R’ rating wasn’t the lack of sympathy among school age children, but rather the MPAA’s refusal to grant a rating lower than the dreaded ‘R’.
I hate to sound like my grandmother, but sex, violence, and drugs have become a plague on American culture. We have a new culture that has become so tolerant of everyone and everything, that in reality, it’s intolerant of anyone who disagrees. We’ve hit on the “Free Love” culture before, when Bryana Johnson wrote an article criticizing the music of Lil Wayne. Now, by watching anything from MTV’s “Engaged and Underage” to “Teen Mom,” we have reality shows that depict young children engaging in adult relationships, and its considered normal! The liberal media worships Hollywood, only fueling the pop culture status of socialism. So while Hollywood calls for reform of the MPAA, I’m calling for reform of Hollywood.
I might sound a bit out of touch, in fact, I know I will and I know that my readers will leave comments criticizing my small town nativity, but I think we need a cultural overhaul with less sex, violence, and drugs. Where do we start? How do we erase years upon years of harsh reality that has led people to believe there is nothing sacred? Let’s start with our language.
Hollywood may want the MPAA to be more accepting of their passé vulgarity, but even in the most dramatic moments, other words can suffice, especially around young children. When we begin to degrade others, children take notice, and for that matter this can greatly explain the premise of Bully. Children learn bad behavior from not only the adults in their lives, but the culture that surrounds them. When adults include children in grown-up situations, whether knowingly or by accident, children begin to feel they are adults without having the capacity for adult issues, emotions, and situations.
Last fall, Time magazine released an article claiming that children exposed to profanity, specifically through the media, are far more likely to become aggressive. Use of profanity, whether in the media or at home, portrays certain values on a child. Children take these values to school, and in return, the aggression can cultivate into bullying. This might not be the only cause bullying but it is certainly one, and if we begin to take notice, we can begin to rectify the harm it has caused.