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August 30, 2011

Lets talk about sex…

Filed under: Observations — Tags: , , , , , — sbj @ 8:44 pm

nc17First of all… this is not a breaking story. It’s not a bent story, its not even a slightly askew story… instead its a straight as an arrow and old as dirt story.

(that’s funny cause… ya know… “bend don’t break…” or at least it would be if I were funnier and cleverer than I actually am… but now you know the kind of goofy joke that goes through my mind as I write :) ).

“Old” being a relative term in the movie industry, the story is from last fall/winter, when the movie Blue Valentine was purchased and its NC17 rating was disputed (successfully… but that’s unimportant for the purposes of this conversation) drawing attention to the scene in the movie that was the primary cause of the rating. Specifically, oral sex performed upon a women by her husband.

This is not about the MPAA and its rating system, I was actually pretty chill with the original NC17 rating, and am also just fine with the revised R rating as well (although I think I prefer the NC17 for that movie as well as… say… the Hangover; elevator scene during the credits, I’m looking at you! Except… I’m not… cause… ewwwww).

But again… I digress…

Here’s my question*, why would you give an NC17 rating (read: additional “protection” for our kids) to this movie – and that action – while routinely giving R ratings to movies with violent, often graphic, rape scenes? How is an intimate encounter between to consenting (and married) adults conceivably worse than a physically abusive intrusion upon a persons… well.. person?

I guess can hear one argument forming, something to the effect of:

In movies where a rape is depicted, it is always clearly indicated that it is wrong, the person committing the act is properly villianized and in the vast majority of the cases, is punished (usually in the form of a grisly death). In other words, the lesson is that if you do bad things, you will be recognized as doing so and treated accordingly. In short it is a little dash of “don’t do it.” Whereas, for those who find oral sex (or at least the depicting of it) morally objectionable, the scene in question does no such thing. In fact, if anything it is an endorsement of the behavior and perhaps a “gateway scene” to more pornographic dalliances in our movies. Children watching a movie with a rape scene will be admonished by the consequences to not do such a thing, children watching this movie could very well be encouraged to go out and have oral sex. Etc…

Having carefully considered this position… I have come up with the following prepared response:

Bull shit.

(No rights reserved… you may quote me on that if you like… no charge.)

That is a lovely way of excusing and empowering the grist mill of crap that the general public eats up (and even demands) as part of their cinematic experience today; but really… what is the value in seeing the 4th rape scene in the last 8 action movies you have watched?

Researching this topic I found this list today. Let me tell you a little story about the first movie on that list (thereby skipping the obvious point about there even being such a list). When I was (a freshman or sophomore) in college, for some reason completely foreign to me now, I rented that movie. I sat down to watch it with my poor unsuspecting uncle… he made it about 5 minutes; I, possibly 10. It was horrible, violent, and lacking an any discernible value. Every person I have ever met who has seen it has the same thing to say about it – “worst, most disgusting, movie I ever saw.”

Scan down the list to number 14 (scan quickly… you are not going to miss anything of particular value)… same movie, 2010 remake. Seriously… this movie needed to be remade? (as an aside… several of the ’70′s genre movies were remade in ’09 and ’10… really? really???) The 2010 version of the movie’s MPAA rating – R (same rating it got in 1978). “An aspiring writer is repeatedly gang-raped, humiliated, and left for dead by four men” is okay for an R rating, but the scene in Blue Valentine required an appeal to get its rating reduced from NC17?

Maybe I am missing something, maybe there is some logical path to this rating and the society that seems to silently accept it. Any ideas? Please… I need someone to help me understand how this makes sense and how as a society we can find this acceptable…

Because if not, perhaps our society and its “norms” and levels of acceptability is really what should be getting the NC17 rating… I don’t really want my kids watching and learning from a society that is okay with that kind of moral disparity… do you?

* note – this is not actually my question, it was actually brought up to me in conversation… and resonated enough for all of this blather to happen!

August 25, 2011

Women’s work

Filed under: Just life,Observations — Tags: , , , — sbj @ 5:52 pm

we can do itLast night I had a meeting. It was a school fundraising meeting which means that, like most school related meetings I go to, it was one part Soren (man) and several parts woman.

Women work differently than I do, and different than groups of men that I work with do. Not just the group last night, but almost all of the groups I work with that are mostly women. It’s pretty remarkable to watch, actually. This was especially true last night as this particular group was a bit more focused, motivated and driven than some groups I have worked with before.

So many times throughout the night I wanted to pull my hair out, I had to bite my tongue because I wanted to scream… “We aren’t doing anything here, we are talking around and around and around the issues but not coming up with any plan, any todo’s… any-THING!!!” They bandied far flung (and practical… and everything in between) ideas around; laughed about them, weighed their merits talked about how cousin Betsys daughter would love that one in particular etc. etc. etc. However, whenever it came time to nail down the idea, concept, plan, whatever… the topic just switched to something else… and we (read: they – both my mouth and mind are far too slow to keep up with a fully charged estrogen enriched brain storming session) chatted up the next concept, and so on… I seriously thought I was going to explode…

But then, at the end, as I have learned it always does… the magic happened.

“Okay, so…” (which I think is some sort of secret girl code for “abra cadabra”, “shazam” or “expecto something-or-another”) is the queue, and is followed by “I’m going to do X, Heidi you will handle Y, right? Melissa, you’ve got the “Z” and Mandy can you fit “B” into your schedule this week”… “yep” “got it” and “planning on it” come right after that… notebooks are closed, bills are paid, tables are pre-bused and hugs are in progress. I… as usual… am trying to figure out what just happened.

How were they all on the same page? How did they all know what each of them were going to do; how the work was going to be divided etc.??? I’ve been doing this for years, it is still a mystery to me.

I’m not saying women are better at planning than men (I’m not saying they aren’t either)… but it is nonetheless amazing to watch how it comes together; and I’m pretty sure, based on my experiences over the past several years that no valid case can be made for women being at least equally capable of pulling off big projects, making the big decisions, or any of the other half-baked ideas that created a glass ceiling for them for so many years (centuries?).

My guess is those ideas came from some guy who attended a pre-historic PTA meeting… but got overwhelmed, didn’t stay for the end and missed the magic. Too bad for him… it really is pretty impressive.

August 17, 2011

Think. Then speak.

Filed under: Observations,Values — Tags: , , — sbj @ 5:34 pm

remove all doubt

Last night, while browsing my facebook feed before bed I saw the following post from a friend that cracked me up:

Arugula is the Muhammad Ali of lettuce.

Everything was good until I saw the following response:

does that mean it wont fight for its country but it will for money?

To which I quickly retorted:

Interesting interpretnation of “its country” I don’t recall Muhammad Ali’s country being attacked…guess I better bone up on my history…

I’m not going to address the response to that for several reasons, the most significant of which is this: his reply would not have existed had I followed one of the foundational tenets of the value system I have tried to instill in my children since they were born, in three words: “Think. Then speak.”

Had I taken responsibility for my actions before running my mouth (fingers?), I would not have elicited a response laden with personal attacks and non-veiled (but somewhat amusing) threats. The fact of the matter is, I would not have elicited a response at all.

Now, before I go to far down this road, and as an aside, I stand by the intent of my comment. I do not believe it is okay to run someone down behind their back (especially years after the fact, with a false accusation on the side). Further, if you are willing to make fun of someone behind their back, you really shouldn’t be all bent if someone makes fun of you to your face. What that commentor posted, was, in my opinion, wrong on numerous fronts and standing by idly letting it go is tantamount to endorsing it, in my opinion, and not something that would be easy for me to do under any circumstances.

However, my sarcasm wasn’t necessary, and picking a fight on a friends wall is certainly inappropriate under any circumstances. I know these things, but, in failing to think before I spoke; the filter, intrinsic within that knowledge, never had a chance to vet my words. As a result… in short… I was an ass.

It’s such a simple rule, really, “Think. Then speak.” But sometimes, being human, it is hard to do.

I have apologized to my friend (publicly on his wall), and extend the same apology here in case he is reading. The remaining task is to decide if there is a family values learning experience here for the boys or if this story of a parental slip-up is best left untold…

August 12, 2011

Michael Buble – did he change my mind???

Filed under: Observations — Tags: , , — sbj @ 3:44 pm

Michael BubleWith regard to my opinion of his singing ability, nothing has changed… I don’t think there is a chance in the world that Michael Buble could win on The Voice, American Idol, or even Americas Got Talent. He can sing, and, given how immensely clear it is that every word of every song that he sings is coming directly from his mouth (without even the benefit of a back track) that is something; but, he’s not that great at it (not bad, just not great).

However, if I knew he was coming back in three months, I would purchase tickets for the show today. Yep, I said it… I’d go again.

Why? Because the guy is an entertainer, and a good one at that. Granted I went to a concert and most of the entertainment I got was from a comedian (him), but I really don’t care about that. The guy was hilarious, filled the stage and the room completely and made good on his opening promise of “whatever you guys give me, I’ll give back to you 10 fold” (he might have given the sometimes slightly stoic Boise audience more than 10 fold, actually). He swears, offends, and even had cause to call him self “such an asshole” for one of his antics… it was fantastic.

Picture the class clown from high school (with a bit of an edge), who also was a soloist in the school singers (I think they call it Glee on tv); combine the best of these two personas and throw them on stage with a very capable band… ladies and gentlemen… Michael Buble.

PS… If his stage presence is anything like his real life personality, I’d hang with this guy in a New York minute.

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