Wednesday, March 30, 2005


I was reading some articles on Safe that have made me reconsider my view of the ending a bit. Originally, I saw it as a really dark ending, that she was retreating further and further from the world, and now that she's in this bubble, there's nowhere left to go. However, what I failed to realize was the fact that throughout the film, she blames all her problems on society, the chemicals, and never actually looks at herself. Look at the psychiatrist scene, where she barely speaks. So, here, isolated from the world, she no longer has any excuses. There is no one there but herself, and when she looks in the mirror, maybe she'll finally see what she's become. Rather than being a retreat, what being in the igloo might force her to do is confront her problems, and then re-emerge, reborn and ready to face the world again, having taken care of her own problems. But, that's not definitive. It's definitely ambiguous, but there is an alternative explanation. That doesn't change the fact that I don't think Wrenwood works, she does have to confront the problem, and being at Wrenwood is running away from it. Maybe being in the bubble will let her finally confront herself.

Completely different topic. I was in the computer lab, reading my New York Times when I come across an article about the new head of the FCC, and how, backed by the Parents Television Council, plans to increase the power of the FCC, possibly to include ruling over cable channels. Now, this Parents Television Council is a pretty ridiculous organization, they're the people behind nearly every "indecency" related scandal you run in to was motivated by them, not masses of common people who were actually offended by something. This is an awful organization, attacking two of the most important things in the world, free government and free art.

I myself am a creative type, and a huge fan of TV and films, and I deeply value the crative autonomy of filmmakers, including those working for television. One of the shows that has been most attacked by the PTC is one of my favorite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was a show that portrayed the dark side of the world, and had many violent and disturbing scenes, but it is also a show that has deep moral convictions and a commitment to doing the right thing, something that is clearly missed by this group. Even though they've clearly watched many episodes, as you can see by the list of objectionable content the show contains, on their site. But they don't seem to get that when the show has a violent sex scene, like Buffy and Spike in "Smashed," it's not there for shock value, it has reprocussions that are addressed explicitly in the next episode and also throughout the rest of the series. The violence on the show is frequently disturbing, as in 'Dead Things,' when Warren attempts to rape, then murders Katrina, but they acknowledge that it's disturbing. That's the line, many shows present violence as consequenceless, here there are always consequences to violent actions, be they physical or emotional. Thus, even though it treads on the dark side, the show in fact has a deep sense of right and wrong.

But, to take it more general, the PTC has no right to take away creative freedom in order to protect 'the children.' If you want to see the extent of their bizarre campaign, check out this clip," in which we can see that they have combed over hours of TV programming to find the most offensive bits. It's odd to think of some guy sitting alone in a room watching tapes of Nip/Tuck and just marvelling at the immorality of it all. I wonder if sometimes that filter cracks a bit, and even though they started watching out of hate, they eventually get caught up in the story, and the exploits of Mcnamara/Troy.

So, stop trying to control other peoples' lives. If you don't want your kids to watch something, keep an eye on them, but there's no reason that challenging programming shouldn't be available for people of all ages. Maybe worry about whether a show is creatively fulfilling rather than how much violence or language is on it. 2001 and Irreversible are both great movies, one is rated G and one is NC-17, and both have an equal right to exist.

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