Fucking MPAA

MPAAAccording to the MPAA, “A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating.” This is just a really fucked-up way of saying that in a PG-13 film, you can say “fuck” once, but only if you use it the way it is almost always used: the way it wasn’t first used. They say it must be used as an expletive. That would mean it can only be used as when a bullet rushes past the hero and he says, “Fuck!” But this isn’t the case, based upon actual films. For example, in the PG-13 rated Bourne Identity, Bourne says, “Fuck it!” In that sentence, fuck is clearly a verb, even if the clause serves as an expletive. It is not shocking that the MPAA is ignorant of basic grammar; they are ignorant about just about everything.

The only way that you cannot use the word “fuck” in an PG-13 film is as what Ruth Wajnryb, author of the excellent Expletive Deleted: a good look at bad language, calls its referential sense. That is, you cannot say, “I want to fuck you.” Why? Who knows! It makes no sense. Wajnryb, in particular, would likely be very unhappy about this. In her book, she spends a lot of time lamenting the fact that fuck has all but lost its referential base. It’s used in many and various ways, but increasingly not for the act itself. And the truth is, we don’t really have any good replacement for it. “Make love”? A lot of times, people are just fucking. “Having sex”? That’s awkward. And why not just “fuck”? Everything else is either too clinical (coitus) or too silly (hide the salami).

But the MPAA continues to hold onto its power: restricting children from seeing homosexual kissing, doing drugs, and saying bad words. But most of all, children cannot see realistic depictions of violence. What’s left? Idealistic depictions of violence where children can learn that guns are safe and they just cause people to fall down. Thanks a lot you fatuous, ignorant, conservative bastards.


I highly recommend Kirby Dick’s great documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated. Check it out!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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