Why the rating system stinks!

By Tim Loughner
web posted June 1999

I am a strong advocate of personal responsibility and freedom. I believe everyone should be held accountable to what they do and have the judgement to manage themselves in a manner that is appropriate and acceptable to their own standards, not mine not yours or anyone's. I feel that, if given the chance, people will do what is right for themselves and the good of society without regulations and excessive laws and most importantly, raising children.

America as we know it today is full to tens of thousands of laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances that not only cover trivial things such wearing a seat belt, or things like assault and battery to outright ludicrous laws such as the American Media Rating System.

Most people are familiar with our movie rating system which was founded in 1968. This rating gives us such great titles as PG, G, R, NC-17, and so forth. We can't avoid it and for any movie to get into a theater, you need a rating. So what is my problem with it? It does more harm than good.

Recently, Clinton pushed an effort to get movie theaters to pledge to starting checking ID of kids trying to get into R rated movies. So what is my point? The rating system was founded 31 years ago and now we are enforcing it? Don't you think we are a little late?

But movies are not the only thing to be rated and are sure to not be the last. In 1985, the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was founded to go after music bands who weren't fitting the loving image that the founders, Al and Tipper Gore, thought that they should be. Tipper wrote the book "Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society" where she blasts cool musicians such as Frank Zappa, Ted Nugent, the Dead Kennedy's and even Prince!

In fact, the PMRC's persecution of the Dead Kennedy's (punk rock) led to a huge court battle in which the band faced a $2 000 fine and a year in jail for a poster contained in the record "Frankenchrist" which was of an H.R. Geiger (most famous for designing the creatures in the movie "Alien") painting depicting what appeared to be penises as tower's. It was pretty abstract to begin with, but nonetheless, the battle ensued. The Dead Kennedy's won the court case, but decided to remove the poster to avoid any more problems as the prosecutor vowed to move from a civil to a Federal case which the band simply could not afford. Consequently, this also led to the band's breakup.

What the PMRC has done is brought in the onslaught of "voluntary" warning stickers on records that contain explicit lyrics or violence or anything else deemed as "bad." Now, shock-rock band Marilyn Manson as been targeted as the current violent and evil band. What is silly is that these people who go after such bands have never actually read the lyrics or in some cases, listened to the music. While people like Marilyn Manson are seen as violent, their actually strong promoters of non-violence and anti-war.

This same uneducated persecution does not only go to the "immoral." It also attacks the great Rush Limbaugh daily. Most liberals you talk to say "I hate Rush, he is a bigot." But, ask them to give an example of why they hate him 99.99 per cent of the time they cannot give you one. Why? Because they have never listened to him. They just assume that he is evil and we all know what happens when you assume!

TV is no exception to this mindless rating system. You cannot watch a show anymore without this stupid little rating in the corner appearing. How many people actually read that? And how many care? And how many people, even when they do care, act on it? The numbers are surprisingly low.

So why have a rating system at all? It is really simple, once a rating system becomes so engraved into our society, it will be that much simpler to promote censorship which ultimately leads to molestation of the first amendment. Still not convinced that the rating system stinks?

If you ever have had kids, you know they like to push buttons especially in their early to mid teens. You know that if you tell a kid to not do something or to act a certain way, they do it anyway. Ever heard of the "Preacher's Kid" syndrome? If any of you had a punk rock kid, you know that the more you yell at them to change their clothes, quit dying that hair and yes, quit listening to that dang music, they will do it even more just to spite you. And if any of you have waited long enough to let the kid grow up before strangling him, you know that when you start ignoring it and let the school year run out, they grow out of it.

I know, I was a punk rocker! Now I wear ties, work in a hospital and run a Libertarian-Conservative magazine. Go figure!

Well, immature adults are no exception to this rule and in fact, they push buttons harder than any kid.

If you have noticed, violent movies, sex on TV, and profanity in music has only really gone up since the late 60's when the rating system took effect? Why? Because it sells! If a person knows he can get away with so much to make an R-rating, he will push that envelope until the seams burst. Likewise with TV which has gotten more racy and violent since within the last ten years right when the rating system was first started for television.

Still not convinced that the rating system stinks?

One of the biggest concerns today is that violence in media (movies, music, etc) has led to an increase in violent activity among youth. Some people event attribute the shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado to such supposed "violent" bands as Marilyn Manson (they are the newest scapegoat). In fact, both liberals and conservatives are out to get this supposed "problem" because the liberals want government to control everything and the conservatives want to dictate morals to the world.

But they are both wrong, my friends!

According to a statistic published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime has actually gone down in the last 30 years, not up. The murder rate in the 10 most violent cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, are at an all time low. However, the media coverage and hysteria of violence is at an all time high.

What does this tell us? That we are not as corrupted as the mainstream collective would like you to believe. Perhaps the violence in TV and movies is used as an outlet for aggression! But I would think not.

I think it has nothing to do with it because the statistics say otherwise!

Wake up America! You are a lot smarter than the government is allowing you to be! You have a clue and can make better decisions for yourself than some uptight D.C. committee can. It is your life and your taste and even if you have the worst taste in the world, you should be guaranteed your right to choose your flavor!

Tim Loughner is the editor in chief and founder of Right Magazine. This piece is part 1 of a series.


Current Issue

Archive Main | 1999

Musings - ESR's blog

E-mail ESR




1996-2020, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.