You Can Teach Them to Hate the Things You Hate
This isn't really news, so much as it's an examination of the continuously remarkable levels of stupidity that people will go to when it comes to art, specifically movies in this case, that they deem offensive. It's no surprise that over the years, numerous groups, political, religious or otherwise, have raised a fuss over song lyrics, performance styles, films and television shows. The woefully misguided PMRC of the '80s made artists like 2 Live Crew, Slayer, and Public Enemy their targets, complaining of profanity and inappropriate themes. Of course, all this really did was help their record sales, and make kids who may never have heard of them even more interested.
Then it was sex in films. We all know that one of the great ironies in cinema is that you can show pretty impressive levels of violence before you get an R rating, while an NC-17 rating for an action movie is virtually unheard of. But sex? Oh, boy. Sex will get you an R rating faster than you can say "sideboob." Explicit sex and nudity is the kiss of death to films. You can shoot a man in the head, but trying to show two consenting adults having intercourse is strictly verboten.
Now, we come to the subject at hand. I suppose it was only a matter of time, but the crazypants religious folks are coming for our beloved comic book movies. Oh, before I go any further, please, spare me the tirade about how not all religious people are crazy. I know that. I have three uncles who are Anglican priests, OK? I understand. In fact, pieces like this on the same website as the article below, are kind of endearing. Still ignorant and misguided, but they're trying. Anyway, some of them are now targeting violence in cinema, specifically when it comes to kids. The current subject of their hand-wringing? Kick-Ass.
Like I said -- only a matter of time. Kyle, a friend and reader, sent me this link yesterday, that he came across in the course of his work-related internetting. It's a press release from the Christian News Wire, which I assume is some sort of link exchange/gathering of rapture-awaiting knobs who are eternally vigilant for things to get offended by. In this case, they've picked Matthew Vaughn's hyper-violent super hero fantasy, Kick-Ass (read our review here). Their contention is basically spelled out in the headline: "Help Stop Youth Violence By Saying NO to Kick-Ass the Movie."
It is, in the simplest of terms, fucking idiotic. It's so rampantly ignorant and foolhardy that I barely know where to start. Every time I started writing this piece, I started to lose my mind and ended up swearing furiously. So I figured I'd ease into it with a bit of history, a little backstory. Now comes the ranty part.
The film Kick-Ass teaches that shooting and killing people is fun and cool, and kids don't need to have Super Powers either because the kids in the film use real guns, knives, swords and more and they use it to kill people. But that's not all, the kids also use profane and obscene language in the film (like never before seen in a film that involves kids under 18), we believe this is cinematic-child abuse to the first degree.
No. No, it does not do any of those things, nor is it some abstract form of child abuse (I tremble with rage over the use of that phrase in this context). Listen, if your kid walks out of a movie, any movie, regardless of its themes or qualities, and thinks that, literally "shooting and killing people is fun and cool," then, and I cannot be clear enough about this: Either there's a severe chemical imbalance in your child's brain, or you are a fucking lousy parent. OK? Got that? You suck as a parent and should stop breeding. Stop blaming movies and art and music for kids being fuckups. Let me put it another way: Kick-Ass is 117 minutes long. That's one hour and fifty-seven minutes. If one hour and fifty-seven minutes is enough to actually change the way your child thinks, then whose fault is that? Because I assure you ignorant mouth-breathers that it's not Matthew Vaughn's. It's yours. It's yours because whatever lessons you've tried to teach your children have been severely fucking lacking in their execution. If a lifetime of teaching your kids what's good and bad can be reversed by a mere 117 minutes of cinema, then your life lessons suck. Maybe you should use puppets, or paint by numbers -- fucked if I know. Maybe you should abandon the idea of parenting, because you're goddamn miserable at it. Give your kids away to someone smart enough to teach them not to take their moral cues from a comic book movie. Director Matthew Vaughn, writers Mark Millar and Jane Goldman, and the cast aren't responsible for anyone's kid going crazy or getting bullied or not saying his Hail Marys at night. Vaughn isn't Franz fucking Mesmer. He's a guy who took a comic book and made a movie out of it.
An incredibly violent, bloody movie? Absolutely. But it's not intended to be a life lesson. It's not an after-school special. In fact, if you want to get technical, it's not supposed to be viewed by kids at all. That's why the MPAA gave it an R rating. This isn't a goddamn Disney film. It's not Percy Jackson. It's not even Twilight (which is probably far more corrosive to youthful minds). Which brings me to this:
DO NOT LET YOUR KIDS or GRAND KIDS WATCH THIS FILM when it comes out in the theaters on April 16th.
That shouldn't be difficult, since it's a hard R action movie that's not intended for your "kids and grand kids," and that's on purpose. Yes, it's about kids. That's part of the allure to adults -- the juxtaposition of children thrust into an adult universe. But at the end of the day, it's still an R-rated movie, which means that your kid shouldn't be watching it. Now I know that kids will see R-rated movies if they really put their minds to it. But they have to really put their minds to it. Which means, yet again, that you've failed to instill in them the values that you hold so sacred.
When I was a kid, my parents didn't want me to see R-rated movies until they'd seen them first, and if they deemed it was appropriate, they'd take me to see them. But they also understood that they couldn't completely control what I saw, heard, and experienced. I was going to see R-rated movies, and listen to rap music and death metal and all that fun stuff that kids do. So you know what they did to counteract those terrible, child-ravaging cultural demons? They raised me. They taught me about right and wrong. Yes, they did it without using the fear of God, but each their own and all that. And you know what I've never done despite countless hours of watching horror movies and action movies and listening to lyrics about death and murder and human sacrifice? I've never killed anyone (commanding zombie minions to do it doesn't count). Would you like to know why? Because I have a basic intellectual grasp of right and wrong. Because long ago, someone taught me not to.
You see, here's the thing, you sanctimonious, misinformed morons: You spend more time with your kids than anyone else. Or rather, you should. And since some of you are home-schooling your kids in the hopes of making them complete fucking social pariahs, you're spending more time with your kids than the average parent. You're feeding them, clothing them, taking them to church and bible school and Super Christ God Is Great Let's Hate Jews Day Camp. You should be teaching them right and wrong. You should be teaching them that killing people isn't "cool." You should also probably be teaching them that they should follow the rules, like not watching R-rated movies, and not drinking alcohol, and not having pre-marital sex...
... Hm. OK, so maybe that part's harder than I think. The point is, stop blaming movies for your failings. Don't blame movies, or the government, or teachers or the ACLU or the President for kids being assholes and psychotic malcontents. Do any of those people or groups have an impact on the fragile little psyche of little Jim Bob? Possibly. Hell, probably. But to think that any one of those things, even a combination of those things, can somehow lead your children to be corrupted and turn this nation into some sort of four million square mile Gomorrah is so staggeringly asinine that I don't know where to begin.
I don't know why I bother. People who read the Christian News Wire and their collected idiocies aren't reading Pajiba. Hell, our readership is intelligent, and has proved time and time again that they're capable of mature, interesting, intellectually stimulating discourse. Norton O. Rodriguez, who wrote that press release, can't even form a coherent sentence. Let me help you with a couple of things, Norton:
If we do nothing now, worst films will come down the pipeline, in fact, the producers are already planning a Kick Ass Part 2.
First of all, your punctuation sucks. Secondly, it's "worse," you overly indignant cockroach. Oh, and while we're at it?
And we are holding the producers and director of Kick-Ass "publicly accountable" for the youth violence this film may create in the near future.
Good luck with that. And finally -- you don't use quotation marks unless you are actually fucking quoting something.
Christ's Godtopus' sake, didn't your parents teach you anything when they were home-schooling you?
TK writes about music and movies. He enjoys playing with dogs, raising the dead, and tacos. Every now and then, he loses his goddamn mind. You can email him here.