Should real life be censored?

Society is full of shit. Seriously. Massive explosions, graphic violence, sumptuous sex, abundant blasphemy and perhaps a murder or three – cool, we dig it! Then: some foul language in an anti-bullying documentary, and we decide to become all prudish. Lame.

Bully is a high-profile movie directed by Lee Hirsch and produced by The Weinstein Company. It follows students from schools in Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, Iowa and Oklahoma during the 2009-10 school year, along with their families, in an attempt to reveal bullying as a problem that transcends geographic, racial, ethnic and economic borders. A particular focus is on the deaths of Tyler Long and Ty Smalley, who committed suicide after being bullied. The movie documents the responses of teachers and administrators to aggressive behaviour enacted by children

The movie has been censored with an R certificate. The reason: bad language. The problem: the movie’s target audience of under-17s can’t see it unaccompanied.

(Thank goodness the world is home to a few people with gumption and guts!)

Kudos to the Weinstein brothers who have issued a statement announcing the film will be released unrated. Damn strait Harvey and Bob!

The Guardian reports that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America ) has said that just a small edit to the language used in the film would have resulted in a PG-13 rating, allowing the film to be seen by its target audience. Hirsch argues “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there because it’s real. It’s what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days.”

The MPAA is undoubtedly pandering to a ‘moral’ public that abhors swearing and would be up in arms chanting “sue sue sue” if anything less than an R certificate was issued. The obvious irony is that all the Billy-Bobs and Peggy-Annes that the MPAA seeks to protect go to school everyday and most likely come into contact with the language and behaviour portrayed in the film. Protection my ass.

How is one supposed to report on the very real horror of bullying if content must be toned down? It’s an injustice to the bullied and an unfair acclaim to the bullies. If parents are not comfortable with their children watching the film, which is perfectly within their rights, then don’t let them watch it. But don’t infringe on an artist’s right to his creation, his comment.

Check out the film’s trailer (it’s typically sentimental but the message is so very relevant):

Visit Facebook.com/bullymovie and Thebullyproject.com to lend your support to the movie.

Source: Guardian.co.uk – “Weinsteins to release Bully unrated in protest at censors”

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