In other news:
September 11, 2000 10:42 AM   Subscribe

In other news: Al Gore introduces a new plan, which would involve the Ludivico Treatment. "We, as of yet, do not have a Serum 114, nor do we know exactly how we'll create it...; One thing parents should be certain of, we'll strip the very human out of your children, and make then into good malchiki and devochki"
posted by tiaka (15 comments total)
What does this have to do with Al Gore exactly?
posted by mathowie at 10:53 AM on September 11, 2000

Gore Attacks Hollywood

``It's hard enough to raise children today without the entertainment industry making it more difficult,'' Gore said in a statement from Chicago, where he is due to appear on the popular Oprah Winfrey Show later on Monday.

``We believe in giving parents better information and more tools to help them protect their children from inappropriate material,'' Gore added.

The FTC, in its report, concludes that despite existing voluntary rating and labeling systems, the film, recording and video game industries have enticed young consumers to buy products that are deemed inappropriate for children.

The federal agency said that they do so largely by placing advertising for these products in publications and TV broadcasts that appeal to children.

Gore called for a six-month deadline for the industry to adopt the recommendations of the FTC and enforce a voluntary, uniform policy that prohibits such marketing.

If the industry does not comply, Gore and running mate Sen. Joseph Lieberman (news - web sites) said in their statement they would support tougher measures to hold the industry accountable.

They said if the industry makes a promise not to market the material to children, but then does so, it could be found guilty of false advertising.

The Lion and the Lamb project, a pressure group campaigning to market the, said the report laid ``bare the dark underbelly'' of the U.S. entertainment industry.

``This new FTC report demonstrates all too clearly that movie studios, video game companies and music executives have abused the trust placed in them by millions of parents by marketing violence to children and young teens,'' the group said in a statement.

posted by tiaka at 11:01 AM on September 11, 2000

This is an outrage. If I am deprived of low-cost, violent entertainment products -- tools with which to train my ravening hordes of child-zombies, how then can I seize power and inaugurate the Murder Generation? Clearly the Murder Generation is a desirable outcome for all; let us take this opportunity to restore/enhance my access to violence simulators and cheap Disney products.
posted by aramaic at 11:26 AM on September 11, 2000

The federal agency said that they do so largely by placing advertising for these products in publications and TV broadcasts that appeal to children.

Oh, like comic books, and cartoons? I despise the ghettoization of some publications and TV shows as "kid stuff" that must be kept pure of nasty ads for violent movies and video games. I mean, I know lots of people-- myself included-- who are over 18 who read comic books and watch cartoons, for whom those ads are entirely appropriate, and to whom they are arguably pitched. Gundam is a fun show about big fightin' robots; adult anime fans watch it and it has a sizable adult following; but since it's a cartoon, only ads aimed at children can be shown while it's on? That's ridiculous. We all hate ads, but it's too often that these laws attack first the things we hate, then move on to apply the same principles to the things we love.

It really bothers me that some media are presumed to be "for kids" and therefore nothing aimed at adults is allowed into it. Both animation and comic books have been caught in this trap. Comic books are a perfectly valid medium through which any kind of story can be told, but back in the fifties, kids dug them, so the government cracked down on them and the publishers agreed to abide by a "comics code authority" that policed the content to make all comic books appropriate for children. Naturally this left behind the many adults who also enjoyed comics, guaranteeing that for years, comics would be for kids and almost entirely for kids only.

Even now, comics stores that carry adult-oriented material are raided and prosecuted just for carrying "explicit material" even if those items are kept in an adult section of the store. Comics are presumed to be the domain of kids and teenagers, and thus all comics must abide by standards of content that are appropriate for kids, which makes the medium a great deal poorer. It's as though all novels had to be age-appropriate for 14-and-unders. Sure, maybe you read the Harry Potter books and Shel Silverstein, but imagine if that kind of thing were ALL you could read because publishers had agreed to abide by a "novels code authority" that censored anything inappropriate for children.

Ah, well. Anyway. This is just tough talk from the Dems to wring more campaign money out of Hollywood. Out the other side of their mouths, they're saying "Of course, I could forget about all this nastiness after the election if I had your financial support..."

You know the drill: Nader, yadda yadda yadda.
posted by wiremommy at 11:52 AM on September 11, 2000

This also merits a closer look:

Music: Of the 55 music recordings with explicit content labels the Commission selected for its review, the Commission found that all were targeted to children under 17. Marketing plans for 15, or 27 percent, expressly identified children under 17 as part of their target audience.

So only 27% were actually intended to attract children under 17, but the Commission found that all were "targeted" toward kids because... why?

The documents for the remaining 40 explicit-content labeled recordings did not expressly state the age of the target audience, but detailed plans indicating they were targeting that age group, including placing advertising in media that would reach a majority or substantial percentage of children under 17.

So in other words, they advertised on MTV.

I seriously think that if you read between the lines, that's it. They advertised their MUSIC on MTV, MUSIC TELEVISION, which attracts vast amounts of teenagers with their current vacuous teen-friendly cult of personality.

Besides, I don't think that ratings should prohibit you from marketing your products to kids. The ratings are a warning to parents intended to help them decide what their kids can buy, do, or see. If the parents allow their kids to partake of those R-rated items (or don't care enough to keep track), then the kids can buy/do/see it. Plenty of parents are permissive enough to let their kids play violent games, watch violent movies, etc., so why should marketers be prohibited from marketing to these kids whose parents will let them buy this stuff? ANNOYING.
posted by wiremommy at 12:05 PM on September 11, 2000

This is, unfortunately, the logical next step down the Slippery Slope, since nobody tried to stop the authorities from demonizing Joe Camel as being aimed at kids since, you know, it's a cartoon character.
posted by aaron at 1:56 PM on September 11, 2000

And, you know, I thought the whole point of Tipper Gore's "Parental Advisory/Explicit Lyrics" labelling plan was to, you know, warn the parents. But now that we see that her plan didn't have its truly intended effect, that of stopping adolescents from obtaining such music at all, they must move on to the Next Step.

Rather like gun control, eh? ;)
posted by aaron at 1:58 PM on September 11, 2000

I know that's supposed to provoke me, aaron (Don't Feed the Liberals!) but actually, I don't favor gun control. I favor enforcing the laws we have. The most stringent gun control law I'd feel comfortable with would be a license for gun ownership, obtained in essentially the same way as a driver's license, and even that I would hesitate to support-- I don't own or use guns, I'm not interested in guns, so I don't feel like gun control is something I have an informed opinion about. Sorry not to rise to your bait. Maybe next time.

I can complain about censorship and the pointless child-proof-ization of media all day, though, so feel free to goad me about that if you like. After all, "protecting the children" and "protecting family values" through repression and censorship are conservative talking points, and by piping up with this criticism, Gore is only showing how compliantly he can follow the conservative agenda. Tipper's PMRC was backed by the religious Right. Ideologically, this ball is in your court.
posted by wiremommy at 2:40 PM on September 11, 2000

I personally don't think children should be advertised to at all. Sounds crazy, I'm sure, but I think it would be a good idea. They're too impressionable, and I honestly would rather a child watch all the nudity and cursing in the world than have their minds polluted by commercials.

Sort of off topic, but hey, we've already devolved into gun control discussion.
posted by Doug at 3:13 PM on September 11, 2000

Frankly, I don't see why anyone is surprised that Al & Joe think that their judgment is better than the millions of parents who allow their kids to play violent video games, watch violent movies, etc. Doesn't shock me one bit.
posted by Dreama at 3:35 PM on September 11, 2000

I don't think it is that they believe their opinion is better. But I believe it is an easy political soundbyte that goes right to the heart of overworked parents who worry about what happens when they are not supervising their children.

It frustrates me that some parents would rather put software blinders on their children instead of keep them company as they develop good study skills. From talking with others parents I get the impression that there are more who purchase filtering software instead of subscribing to Limiting speech is a cheap feel-good solution in the short term, but it is better to offer more and better options instead of constricting the children's life experience.

Try as he might, Elvis didn't corrupt the world, nor will Eminem or game designers. It is up to parents to educate and expose their children to a diverse society instead of demanding the society grow safe and homogenized. If the children are properly educated they will survive Eminem, much like grandma survived Elvis.

posted by Sqwerty at 4:43 PM on September 11, 2000

Elvis was benign. Mr. Mathers ups the ante a little.

Elvis: You ain't nuthin' by a houn' dog.
Eminem: I am a houn' dog, and I'm gonna kill your muthafugin houn' dog and rip off its head and have sex with it in front of your children. Right, Dre?
posted by lileks at 6:45 PM on September 11, 2000

an easy political soundbyte that goes right to the heart of overworked parents

Why overworked? Simple. Overtaxed. If various levels of government weren't confiscating nearly 50% of everyone's working wage it would be easier to do the parenting we feel in our heads and hearts.
posted by netbros at 9:06 PM on September 11, 2000

wiremommy, the ball can't be in my court if we're both on the same side of it, which we are. I'm completely against censorship, including the above. About the only thing you said that I disagree with is that "protecting the children" is a concept owned by conservatives. Everyone uses it on both sides, because, unfortunately, it works. To say you want to do something "for the children" instantly puts any opponent on the defensive, making them look like the bad guy. (Rather like jblock's and your attempt to do similar. ;) )

The gun control line is purely a note that it's a similar tactic. Slow and steady wins the race. I have no desire to start a gun control debate, believe me.
posted by aaron at 9:29 PM on September 11, 2000

Oh come on lileks, Elvis the pelvis was seen as a threat to proper values in his day too. Granted Elvis eventually wore out his appeal, but at one point in time he was filmed only from the waist up because his lewd dancing was too scandalous for good middle american television viewing habits.

Al Gore is exploiting an obvious parental vulnerability instead of encouraging them to assume responsibility for actively monitoring what their children's experience. Censorship of advertising campaigns simply does not replace parental involvement. It is little more than a psychic bandage for overworked parents.

I don't want anyone (even a fellow liberal), to dictate what is appropriate media for anyone's consumption. I don't think the music industry has been harmed by Tipper's trivial labeling scheme. But I find it questionable when any parent blindly drops off their kid at the multiplex for the latest G or PG laugh fest and complains bitterly that children have access to R rated films. They really can't blame an industry for their decision to not supervise their child.
posted by Sqwerty at 8:25 AM on September 12, 2000

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