Though summer seems to have skipped Portland this year and spring turned instead to fall, the summer blockbuster season shows no sign of leaving us out of its tornado-like path. It's like months have no meaning anymore; each is characterized instead by a new most-anticipated-movie-of-the-summer release. Let's see.... there was The Matrix, Star Wars, Austin Powers 2, Wild Wild West and now Eyes Wide Shut. These and numerous other mindless celebrity vehicles with car crashes, gun battles, special effects, frontal nudity and well-muscled sub-super humans now fill theaters everywhere. The breakfast cereals can't be far behind. I can't wait to try Kidman Crunch.
The Best SEX of Your Life!!
In spite of its Kubrick pedigree, Eyes Wide Shut, the latest of these summer sleepers, was anticipated most for the reportedly un-steamy sex scenes between America's sweetheart Tom Cruise and his sweetheart Nicole Kidman. That some sex scenes had to be digitally altered to avoid the kiss-of-death NC-17 rating only fueled the fire. It's been a while since America got to see a SEX-y film.
Another film, South Park, Bigger, Longer and Uncut, was also originally punished with an NC-17 rating until director Trey Parker cut one minute of his very self-consciously naughty movie. The Motion Picture Association of America, which doles out the ratings, must have felt kicked in the gnads one too many times by South Park's brilliant social commentary, which amounted to this:
I had SEX with a Married Paraplegic!!
The MPAA has ruled that American culture shall exalt gun violence, brain splattered blood baths and expensive car crashes (PG-13 or R) and that normal human intercourse (NC-17 or XXX) shall be Public Enemy #1. Which has a lot of people wondering....
What's so wrong
with SEX anyway?
Is the sex act really so shameful, degrading and threatening that the mere sight of it will corrupt young minds for eternity? Perhaps National Morality (which is unlegislatable, so stop trying) will be so destabilized that the shit-fetishizing Germans will take over. Yikes! And while sex and nudity are vilified and sidelined as "abnormal," murder, betrayal, war and misogyny are viewed as hohum everyday occurrences. Heck, kids! They're even FUN!
Well, ladies and gentlemen of the MPAA jury, although the average American may be a gun-toting conservative-Christian wacko, the last time I checked sex and satire were legal, and spilling blood, brains and bullets everywhere were not. Exactly what logic do you use to deduce the moral reprehensibility of the sex act--or South Park--while approving countless scenes of deplorable violence for our country's impressionable young minds?
100 of Your Naughtiest SEX Positions!!
The worst part about this all-out scam is that vilifying sex as perverse is in fact very very harmful. Both sex and violence are natural drives. One is necessary for life and is considered normal. The other is considered violent and abnormal. Unfortunately, the MPAA seems to have got the two mixed up. Then again, the repression of sex often leads to violence, and the summer blockbuster cycle renews itself.
It's a good thing that no matter how virulent our diseased American culture is, other countries don't seem to catch on to our rigidly conservative and very repressive moral doctrines. You can still drive through the Italian countryside and see a nude woman soaping herself on a billboard. We all know Americans are having sex, even the wacko Christians among us. What's truly shocking is that in the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave, we can't handle a little visualization of the ol' in-out in-out.
Whatever. And thank GOD for South Park. Now pass the Kidman Crunch....I sure hope it's better than her acting.
SOCIAL SCIENCE CHALLENGE: Don't teach your kids what to think, teach 'em how to think.