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Diversity in Ratings

Scene Stealer - The Web Is Pouncing on Hollywood's Ratings - NYTimes.com

The standard Hollywood ratings -- G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17 -- must now compete with all manner of Internet-based ratings alternatives, some of which are gaining new traction through social networking tools.

SceneSmoking.org, which monitors tobacco use in movies, issues pink, light gray, dark gray or black lungs to films, depending on how smoking is depicted. Kids-in-Mind.com ranks movies on a scale of 1 to 10 in categories like "sex and nudity" and "violence and gore."

Movieguide.org issues ratings from a Christian perspective. A "+4," or "exemplary," means "no questionable elements whatsoever." A "-4," or "abhorrent," means "intentional blasphemy, evil, gross immorality."

The article goes on to talk about how people want to "fix" the MPAA ratings, according to various pet standards.


It seems like something great is happening. People that are passionate about different things -- and have different standards of acceptability -- are creating and disseminating their own ratings. Parents, or discriminating movie goers, who care about particular standards can use the ratings from a group that shares those same standards. There's absolutely, positively no way that Hollywood -- or the FTC -- can create a single rating system that represents all of those different standards.

There's a simple reason for that. One group of parents believes that nudity and coarse language is a natural and normal part of life. They believe that sex and nudity should be celebrated while their children should be protected from exposure to violence and aggression. There are other parents who would be horrified at the thought of their children seeing some bare skin but are perfectly okay with their children seeing movies that depict massive amounts of violence. Now, design me a PG-13 or R rating that makes both groups of parents happy.

I celebrate the diversity in ratings. I may even use one standard to evaluate which movies my children will be allowed to see and a completely different standard to evaluate which movies I'll see. Vive la difference!

Wizard Rock!


I could post today about the end of Atlanta football star Vick's sentence, or how the fubar state of New York is now considering a totally insane 57% tax on its highest-earning residents - but I really wouldn't be a friend to you if I didn't instead take this opportunity to instead inform you about the recent phenomena that is Wizard Rock.

I learned about this wondrous (dare I say "magical"?) music subgenre from today's _USA Today _article on the subject, which profiled no less than four of the Harry Potter-inspired bands, including pioneer group Harry & The Potters.

Bands describing themself as part of this new movement generally seem to be of the punk rock persuasion, stylistlcally-speaking. Their lyrics range from the touching and somewhat maudlin, as in this little stanza by Draco & The Malfoys:

_He never gave me the attention he gave Harry

He never showed an interest in me

I watched him from afar, wishing I had a scar

So he would see the great wizard I could be_

...on to the more energetic (by H & P):

_Dumbledore, we all fight for you tonight

In our hearts we'll never let you die

Your love is keeping us alive_

According to USA Today there are now as many as 500 of these bands churning out similar numbers - and counting. So if you were wondering just what new kind of music scene will emerge to dominate this next decade's charts like Hip Hop in the 90's...

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