Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

...with your host, Binty McShae - whether you like it or not!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sense or Censor-ability!

Anyone who has watched the excellent Thank You for Smoking may remember the end-credit sequence where William H. Macy's character, Senator Orton Finistirre, is spearheading a campaign to digitally remove all scenes of cigarette smoking from old films. According to the Senator he prefers not to think of it as changing history but as "improving" it. Oh, how we all chuckled at how ludicrous such an idea is...

Ludicrous? Stop chuckling and read this article - in a nutshell, some (although to be fair, not all) smoking scenes are to be edited out of Tom 'n' Jerry cartoons. Now, whilst I understand the sentiment and the fact that these cartoons are, naturally, aimed at a younger audience I have to ask - where will it stop? Will we end up with classic films butchered to appease our modern sensibilities? Will Sandie choke on a stick of gum in the pjama party scene of the "improved" version of Grease? Will Bogey puff away on one of those white plastic Nicorette things? And why stop at the smoking? Let's get rid of all scenes of gratuitous violence from the T 'n' J cartoons... oh, wait. That would only leave the scenes of the black maid standing on a chair afraid of the mouse, which would of course also need to be removed on the grounds of overt racism and sexism.

Television and film are the cave paintings, scrolls, works of art, first folios of the 20th Century. They depict who we were at a particular moment of time, in all our glory and in all our disgusting, violent, bigoted filth. If these cartoons are no longer suitable for kids then don't show them any more, create new works which better reflect our modern times, but have the decency to allow our history to stand. But having said all that how about we step back for a moment, stop viewing the situation through adult eyes, and give kids a little benefit of the doubt... do we really believe that a cartoon will make a 5 year old smoke? Kids may be (mostly) innocent but generally speaking they are not fucking stupid!

Now, I know an 8-year old nicotine addict who smoked since he was 5, but was it cartoons that got him started? Of course not! It was a combination of family situation, pressure from older kids he hung out with, and a variety of other social issues. To be honest even at 5 he would probably have described Tom 'n' Jerry as "wanky kids stuff", preferring to watch Schwarzenegger films and the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Parenting issues, yes. A cause for censoring - sorry, 'improving' - televisual history? I don't fucking think so!

This is not the first time retrospective censoring has been considered in the UK. A couple of years back the BBC were looking at editing classic sit-com Only Fools and Horses to remove a handful of references to "Paki's" or "Poof's". Yes, these terms are offensive. Yes, they grate with me when I hear them used in these programmes. But that's the point - let me be reminded of what life was like for the non-white and gay communities in the UK only 20 years ago, and let me see that despite my own personal attitudes differing there are still many who would happily still act in these ways. It's one of the ways in which we learn and move forward.

So listen up, Ofcom, and put your fucking scissors away. Let's be frank for a moment - if you follow through with this plan you are just one step away from Nineteen Eighty-Four's Ministry of Truth.

Cheers m'dears!

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At Wednesday, August 23, 2006 2:35:00 pm, Blogger Sarah said...

too fucking right.

my niece is 4 and gets pissed off at her ma (grandma) for smoking. what about spongebob and his bubble pipe?? i mean.. really, that fucking sponge is still smoking. how do we know what's in the pipe?

what's the matter with parents filtering content? why do we need the government to decide what's fucking best for us or what we need or don't need to see. frankly, i don't give a fuck what they think. i grew up watching GI Joe, did it make me into a foaming at the mouth military war mongering idiot?
ok.. so i'm an american, that might be debatable.

my point being.. and i do have one and you do already know what it is.

fuck that. bastards. and it ain't just Ofcom. we've got our censors here and the fucking FCC. the safe-harbor zone between 10pm and 6am where "adult" subject matter can be on the air. adult hell! it's ok to show violence but not sex?? that makes a lot of sense! i'd rather my kid see fucking than fighting. at least one of them is moderately peaceful.

you can kill the puppy but you can't watch it be made!! fucking puritan prude motherfucking assholes. burn the witch.

ok.. i feel bad for writing all that in a comment, it's long enough to be a post.

At Wednesday, August 23, 2006 5:41:00 pm, Blogger Philip said...

One of these days, Nineteen Eighty-Four will be banned for failing to endorse doublethink, Newspeak and government-approved torture.

You just can't let people see that kind of stuff.

At Wednesday, August 23, 2006 7:13:00 pm, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

Good-truth bedamned!
Just TRY to get the Curious George book where he gets high on ether at the hospital.

At Wednesday, August 23, 2006 11:55:00 pm, Blogger SheBah said...

Binty - this is our fault. Our apathy (mine included) allow these Ministry of Job Creation fuckers to get away with it. We laugh at the sheer lack of logic and stupidity, then go back to our comfortable lives and hope somebody else will take up the cudgels on our behalf.

At Wednesday, August 23, 2006 11:55:00 pm, Blogger SheBah said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Thursday, August 24, 2006 12:09:00 am, Blogger Dr Maroon said...

Thomas! Thomas! Where is that cat?

At Thursday, August 24, 2006 3:54:00 am, Blogger Kim Ayres said...

Whenever I hear Tom & Jerry mentioned, I can't help but think of El B's take on it:
Tom & Jerry - Nazi Propoganda

At Thursday, August 24, 2006 6:54:00 am, Blogger ill man said...

OFCOM is run by thick bastards.

Well meaning thick bastards. This is what makes them truly dangerous.

At Thursday, August 24, 2006 6:55:00 pm, Blogger Peter The Great said...

This is not the first. Do you remember the time they airbrushed Isenbard Kingdom Brunel's cigar out of the photograph on the front of a school textbook?

Now that's sinister.


At Saturday, August 26, 2006 7:26:00 am, Blogger Foot Eater said...

It's all such a lot of fucking bullshit it makes me want to cunting fucking swear.

Not your post, Binty, the censorship thing.

At Sunday, August 27, 2006 3:02:00 am, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

We should make an anti-censorship shock troop. We can go defecate on the desk of anyone attempting to censor anyone about anything and then scrawl profanities on the windshield of their cars.

At Monday, August 28, 2006 7:24:00 am, Blogger Dr Maroon said...

Fuck safet, i wish with all my heart i had a half ounce of what you're on.

At Monday, August 28, 2006 2:33:00 pm, Blogger Sarah said...

holy fuck McShae, you're nearly as bad as i am when it comes to consistency.

At Thursday, September 07, 2006 2:28:00 am, Blogger happykat said...

(stands and claps)


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