MPAA Bullies the Movie ‘Bully’

The MPAA is so completely antiquated and ridiculous it’s hard to know where to begin? This time they are slapping an R-rating onto the movie “Bully” which is a documentary exposing bullying with the intention of prevention. The reason? Coarse language–what the fuck?

Are we so behind the times that coarse language deserves an R-rating to begin with? PG13 was always a reasonable compromise because kids under 13 might be too impressionable for language or other situations that require parental guidance. Over 13 and usually it is the kids themselves that are using coarser language than any R-rated movie. This documentary is not some fiction piece where parent groups can say it does not accurately depict teenagers or provides inappropriate role models for teenagers that don’t cuss. It’s a documentary filming life in real time including the reality of swearing amongst kids.

I could have some sympathy if the movie depicted sexual acts or “Girls Gone Wild” type nudity, but this is language. Let’s get over ourselves. One of the harshest things kids deal with is bullying in Junior High and High School because they are virtually jungles often without adult intervention. Teenagers have herd mentalities, more so than adults, and will gang up on outcasts and those who don’t fit in or those who can’t fit in even if they try due to physical deformities or sexual preference.

I honestly would like to see the major studios take a stand and get rid of the MPAA. There’s no need for it any more. A ratings guide can be still be available and we don’t have to have such a subjective code. If a movie has nudity it can be slapped with an “N.” If it has language and nudity it can be slapped with “LN.” The idea is to show the content, not the perception if what is being depicted is appropriate. For example, a comedy like Porky’s (back in the day) would have been “LNS” for language, nudity and sexual situations. Any parent with half a brain can watch the trailer for Porky’s and understand it’s not for kids. On the other hand, Passion of the Christ would be rated “V” for violence (or “VS” for violence and superstition). The nature of the Biblical material would lead most parents to understand that younger kids should not see it alone, but for older kids it may be acceptable.

The great fear for moral zealots is that kids will get into theaters to see these unwholesome movies if there is no MPAA. Wanna know a secret? They already are. In my time, it was HBO or Showtime and I stayed over night at a friend’s house when their mom was gone. In the digital age, these movies can be seen on computers, mobile devices, cable TV, and by simply sneaking into a theater. It’s not that parents have to approve of their kids doing this, but the MPAA makes no difference and their decisions are often unfair and confusing. I’d rather my kid go to a theater and see the R-rated version of The King’s Speech then about 80 percent of the brainless material that plays as “family material” on cable TV.

We don’t need the MPAA to be a nanny. Theater owners can also be free to make restrictions of their own based on content. If a movie contains nudity or “N” then 17 and under not admitted. Oh no, we’ll have porn without ratings! someone is thinking. As if theaters don’t already cater to family going audiences and make decisions on the majority of tastes and what sells popcorn.

Bully could be made available for viewing in junior highs and high schools across the United States with viewing nights for parents to come with their kids or even for parents to sign permission slips for kids to see it by themselves and then discuss it with counselors. It is a great opportunity to make Hollywood work for families.

Harvey Weinstein is so pissed off that according to CinemaBlend.com he is considering a “leave of absence” from the MPAA. Some accuse him of doing this as a publicity stunt and I say, hey great idea. I’m all for bringing attention to the movie and the stupidity of the MPAA.

A petition has been started by Katy Butler at Change.Org to get the MPAA to switch Bully to a PG13 rating. Watch the inspirational trailer–does that look like an R-rated movie to you?

SIDENOTE: I’ve been reading quite a bit on violence as of late, everything from evolution and violence to serial killers, and the one thing that stands out is that when a child is bullied, beaten, or abused there is a strong potential for future criminal activity. The idea that “kids will be kids” is lazy thinking on the part of any educator. I personally feel public schools are unstructured and not goal-oriented (should be primarily vocational) and allow for bullying interactions. Morality and ethics could also be taught at this age since kids need to learn early on that to be successful in life you have to get along with others. Mentors are also important. I hated my junior high and part of my high school experience, as you might tell. Let’s stop fucking around with the lives of kids and recognize that they are adults in training. Being a kid is not an excuse to bully.

Cal Thomas Insults Maddow over Birth Control

The Huffington Post has an article on Cal Thomas, the conservative curmudgeon, at a CPAC conference in Washington where Cal basically says it would have been better if Rachel Maddow had never been born. Why? Because Maddow, much to her credit, has been exposing the new Republican agenda against birth control. And we’re not talking about handing out condoms to teenagers. If you’ve been watching the Maddow airings on this subject, it is about primarily healthcare coverage of birth control for women of all ages and government rules on who has to provide what.

The reason it “came up” (pardon the innuendo) is Rick Santorum moving ahead in the polls and Maddow showing what Rick actually believes. The man does not like birth control as it leads to sex outside of marriage and is not healthy for society. As if married women don’t use birth control? This isn’t the old Republican ploy for abstinence education. Rick really believes birth control is dangerous and refers to it as “the whole sexual libertine idea.” In other words, people are using sex for fun and they’re not having kids. Whoops, prolifers beware, biology is being usurped–God’s control of the womb is being usurped!

This is 2012, why are Republicans walking backwards? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this bad? Birth control is now a controversy? How can anyone consider Rick Santorum a viable candidate with a personal issue made public like this? Do Republican women hate Obama so much that they’ll vote for a guy who thinks birth control is a bad thing? Birth control is responsible for freeing women from the confines of “domestic bliss” with the only choice of raising kids or being single. And if you think this is an issue of religious freedom, consider that not everyone who works for a religious employer is of the same faith or even believes in God (a Catholic hospital for instance). It’s a basic female health issue to be covered for birth control.

Now Cal Thomas, by indicating that Maddow’s parents should have used contraception, is trying to be funny and he obviously knew his target audience. Basically he could have also said, in reference to Maddow’s past TV special and spots on anti-abortionists, “I wish Maddow’s parents would have aborted her.” …Not as funny, but implies the same thing–he wishes Maddow was not among the living. It’s hard to fault Cal for some mean-spirited humor–the opportunity for sarcasm was there. But what are Cal and the other Republican pundits standing up for? Are they saying Rick’s views on birth control don’t reflect the overall Republican Party? Why is he ahead in the polls? Are they saying it is reasonable for religious institutions to exclude birth control for women from their healthcare benefits? Isn’t it time for us to step out of the dark ages?

What women do you know that don’t use birth control or are against it? Usually they are either pro-life extremists or they are male dominated. Birth control is a nonissue. I don’t care what religion you are, if you’re providing healthcare it is reasonable to allow for coverage for birth control. For Christ’s sake, the Catholic Church can accept the theory of evolution, but they can’t accept birth control? I want to respect separation of church and state but not at the cost of female health and commonsense. Should religious institutions be allowed to not cover certain procedures because they believe prayer should be used instead? There has to be some compromise based on sound medical advice and the fact that, again, we’re living in 2012!

Psychic SEO People, Stop Asking Me for Links

Would you give personal information to Dyami to read your fortune?

I don’t claim to be famous, just one of many gadflies on the web who draws enough cartoons to relevantly upset and amuse in order for people to repost or comment on, so it seems reasonable to me that before a SEO person submits a link request that they simply Google my name or my site or at least read a little bit of Freethunk as part of the background research before making contact. Instead, I get compliments on how good Freethunk is and, oh, by the way, can you add our link to this “Psychic Support” website? I can’t stand psychic scams! Jesus Christ, Almighty!

I’ve gotten two requests in the last week. The first one I replied to the SEO contact with, “Are you effin’ kidding me?”  and the second, “You should have predicted that I would turn you down on this scam.” My wife said I was being mean, but I think I was being pretty nice considering these sites con hundreds of people every month out of their hard-earned cash.

I realize these are probably generic email templates slapped together for SEO fishing expeditions, but it also shows poor judgment on the part of whoever is doing the SEO work and doesn’t understand what my site or someone else’s site is about. I always thought smart SEO was to find like-minded websites to gain links from, not just an old website simply because it’s been around for ten years or more (maybe it no longer matters?). What’s worse is these kind of sites try to leave template style comments on my posts with their URL which I have to delete. If they were smart, they would read one of my articles that might have some association with their supposed profession and make a unique comment. I would actually consider allowing them the URL in that case, just as I allow any religious website to leave their URL if they make a legitimate comment (negative ones included).

And just how do you become a “psychic expert” like Dyami? Is there a 4 year degree program? I can tell you the idiot in marketing doesn’t have an expertise degree. I’ve been watching the Discovery I.D. series “Wicked Attraction” about couples who murder and Dyami looks like every serial killer featured from the seventies.

Megadeth is for Rick Santorum

I was listening to the evil NPR radio affiliate and heard a discussion about how Megadeth was endorsing Rick Santorum. What? Okay, it doesn’t surprise me since I’ve known that Dave Mustaine turned Christian some years ago, but is struggling to balance that with his rocker identity. But Rick Santorum? Apparently, Dave backed off on confirming he was “endorsing” Rick, but here are his comments from The Huffington Post article:

“… You know, I think Santorum has some presidential qualities, and I’m hoping that if it does come down to it, we’ll see a Republican in the White House… and that it’s Rick Santorum.”

Does Dave also support Rick’s stance on birth control? From Rick in a 2006 interview:

“I don’t think it works. I think it’s harmful to women. I think it’s harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young. And I think we’ve very, very harmful longterm consequences to our society. Birth control to me enables that, and I don’t think it’s a healthy thing for our country.”

Now unless Rick Santorum needs to qualify this statement by saying that all birth control is not bad if used in the proper context (the marriage bed) he seems to be generalizing contraceptives as a bad thing. Women need to take note, especially Republican women. Mitt Romney may not be the greatest choice since he bends with the wind, but I don’t think he’s going to be this extreme.

Part of the controversy has to do with new government requirements to provide for birth control even if you are a religious institution–in other words, healthcare  requirements violating religious morality. To compromise on this, an exception has been made and the burden of contraception will be shifted to the insurance companies who may not mind since in the long run it saves them money if women are planning for children they can afford.

Honestly, if religious institutions do not want to provide for women–which is what we’re really talking about here in terms of birth control–then so be it. As long as they’re not taking government assistance or affiliated with the government in any way and are completely private it should be their choice to stay in the dark ages. Maybe this will wake many women up as to how sexist their religion is. Or maybe, under Obama healthcare there is no option to remain completely private from Government? There will always be some government regulation. I can’t claim enough expertise to know how the new Obama healthcare laws will affect private institutions in that regard (feel free to comment if you know).

As a society, while the majority does not rule per se, birth control is no longer controversial. It’s mainstream and having to provide “faith-based” exceptions, even for the sake of private businesses, is appalling (abortion I can understand, but birth control?). It’s true, I may agree with allowing for exceptions because sometimes the free market has to allow for stupidity, but let’s call it what it is–appalling stupidity! Catholic women use birth control as well as other Christian women who find it is better to control their biology then let it run amuck. The only ones who tend not to use birth control are religious anti-abortion zealots and these are the people most mainstream religions distance themselves from.

As for Dave Mustaine, you can listen to his music for the sake of nostalgia, but his Christianity is hard to take seriously which also makes his music hard to take seriously. I would love to see him open for Santorum (who would have been on the side of the PMRC in the eighties trying to ban his music).

Cleavage Versus Christian

As the security guard suggests, it’d probably be better to just walk on by, but if there is going to be a confrontation there’s nothing better than cleavage versus a Christian…fundie that is. There’s some truth to this scene in that American society is both afraid of tits and obsessed with tits. Possibly this appears immature to some, but considering the argument about women being submissive and considering that in some other countries women are asked to cover up for the sake of men and religion, flashing some cleavage may be the correct way to protest.

Rethink Buying a Barbie Doll: Iran Says You Shouldn’t

From Voice of the Copts, a site exposing religious bigotry, comes an article on Iran’s objections to Barbie in all her blonde, accessorized glory. Why? Well, the usual feelings towards a doll promoting the clothing of loose moral values, but more importantly Barbie represents the Western ideal woman…or so they think. Barbie has been just as contentious for Western feminists as she has been for Muslim clerics. However, the average American woman and apparently the average Iranian woman don’t really have a problem with the poseable gal. Barbie has infiltrated Iran to the extent that she has become a concern for the government and religion (often tied together in the Middle East).

Feminists, or rather I should say hardline feminists as feminism has diversified since the bra burning days, may want to rethink Barbie. Yes, she’s an unrealistic woman, but then she’s also a toy. The question is, what do Muslim clerics find threatening about Barbie? So much so that the goverment of Iran has come out with “Sara and Dara”, appropriately dressed dolls for little girls, one of them wearing a head scarf.  Voice of the Copts quotes a press release from the Islam for Today website saying the dolls promote traditional values (sound familiar?) and pro-family backgrounds. In other words, Sara and Dara should tell little girls their goal in life should be to get married, keep house, produce babies and probably not question male authority.

Barbie in comparison, looks like a powerful woman. She drives a car, plays sports, wears the newest fashions, dates Ken and other men of her choice, and can have a career if she wishes. She is an ideal no Western woman can live up to, but most women settle for part of the Barbie dream. Her toy selection does include “domesticated housewife” kits, but the point is that Barbie can choose. Some women want to stay at home, others like the hustle and bustle of business and others want to juggle both.

I think if Barbie scares Iran, as well as other countries like Saudia Arabia, there’s more to her than shopping and beautiful hair. She seems to be a woman in control, for better or worse.

SIDENOTE: Check out one of Barbie’s careers at Barbie.com: Architect Barbie. Seems like the blonde is expected to have a brain now. Good! Brains and body, a perfect mixture. When are they coming out with Astro Physicist Barbie?