Saturday, May 11, 2013

Why does iTunes censor adult material?

I got into Breaking Bad a couple of weeks ago. I'd just finished The Walking Dead and needed something to fill the void. I loved Breaking Bad. The writing, the characters, and the plot was all truly excellent. I watched it on iTunes because we do not have Foxtell and regular TV does not offer dark, well written dramas. Everything on free-to-air has to be family friendly. There is never anything good on early in the night. It's nothing but reality TV. Stupid, boring, reality TV. The Voice. Celebrity Splash. My Kitchen Rules. Master Chef. The Biggest Loser. My husband and I are so sick of reality TV. There really is nothing else on. These shows are terrible. We hate how they try desperately to make things suspenseful. The shows are clearly scripted and people clearly are paid to pay a part in them. The people are actors. They have to be. At least in most of the shows. My Kitchen Rules is very fake.

To watch anything good you have to stay up until at least 9.30pm or 10.00pm. That's when things like Family Guy and the Cleveland Show and Nurse Jackie might be on. Because these shows air so late we miss most of them. I don't know if Breaking Bad aired on free-to-air. It might have...but we did not see it.

This is where iTunes comes in. It's a great way for us to catch up on awesome TV shows that never got shown a decent time on free-to-air or even at all. What's annoying about iTunes is how conservative it is. Breaking Bad is clearly for adults. It's about a man who starts making meth to provide for his family. And yet iTunes blurred out a naked woman's breasts and in another scene blurred out the letters UC in Fuck.

Firstly...why just the letters UC?

Secondly...why are they censoring women's breasts and the word fuck in a show that shows lots and lots of death and its central theme is the production of meth?

This is a show for adults. I can understand censoring a show that a child might watch - like the Simpsons. But this is Breaking Bad. Why shield adults from boobs and swear words? What are they doing? What makes those things so shameful but the killing of children is okay?

It really annoys me when iTunes does things like this. I am a grown adult. I have purchased a show for ADULTS. Please do not censor it. Or at least give me an option to purchase the non-censored version. Come to think of it why isn't there a non-censored version of TV shows and movies on iTunes? There are "clean" versions of music.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Should teenagers be able to read whatever they want?

When I was in high school I would spend a lot of my spare time reading. I loved science fiction. I think I must have read dozens of Star Trek and Star Wars books. Around the time I was 15 I started reading crime. Eventually my mother handed me a romance novel and I started to read those. I always had the freedom to read whatever I wanted. No one ever said to me "Marisa that book is not appropriate for you" or "Marisa you are too young to read that book" I was given the chance to make my own decisions and explore fiction and decide what I liked.

A teacher in America has gotten in trouble for ordering Fifty Shades of Grey and giving it to one of his students after he requested to be able to read it at school. The teacher has been suspended and is claiming he did not know what the book was about. A lot of people are asking "How could he not know what THAT book was about?" and they do a have a point: did he not look at the front cover or read the book of the book before he bought it? He made a mistake, that much is clear. But I believe him when he says he did not know what the book was about. Perhaps he does not read erotica. It would make sense then that the book might have passed him by.

A lot of people are saying that Fifty Shades of Grey does not belong in schools because of it's content. This disturbs me...because as I said above growing up I had the freedom to read whatever I wanted. I do not like the idea of restricting what books young people can choose to read. Why shouldn't teenagers read erotica? Kids are curious about sex and porn. Wouldn't giving them an erotica book be kind of...harmless? They are curious. They are horny. Let them read the book.

I can understand some people not wanting their kids to read the book. The teacher should have asked permission.

I've been thinking about it and I think FSOG might actually make an interesting teaching tool. Think about it...older students could read it (16 or 17 and up) as part of an English class and discuss the quality of the writing, the strength of the plot, how it compares to Twilight and the relationship between the characters. Think of all the discussions that could take place!

It will never happen though.

What's interesting about books is that they do not come with age restrictions on them. It would be weird if they did. Until they do (and hopefully they never will) it isn't actually illegal for teenagers to purchase FSOG and read it. I think that's how it should stay too. Parents really shouldn't worry if their kids are reading erotica. There are so many other worse things they could be doing. Erotica is harmless. Let them read FSOG. If they're anything like me they'll soon realize that it's a steaming pile of shit.