Does anyone know the difference between nudity and brief nudity? Seriously, I’m stuck. Movie ratings are based on such things as how many naked body parts are accumulated in the entirety of a film, how many F-bombs are dropped during the dialogue, and whether sex is depicted as serious or frivolous. Why?

For as long as we have been able to watch a story on a screen of some sort, there have been people, usually power hungry hypocrites, defining what is acceptable for others to see. I’ve always wondered how this system originated.

This film has been passed by the national board of censorshipFor someone to determine what is harmful, he must view copious amounts of questionable material and then explain to the film makers what must be removed to avoid irreparable harm to the viewers. If he’s watching all this smut and gore, isn’t he being harmed? I also wonder how someone decides what to censor. We all see things that make us cringe but there is a wide disparity where individual tastes are concerned.

We identify certain things as unacceptable or questionable, and blindly determine an age, usually 18, when someone is mature enough to not be shattered by offending sights like extended views of quivering breasts. I’m zeroing in on my seventh decade and am still somewhat affected by quivering breasts. Besides, I can’t think of a single thing that magically changed for me emotionally when I turned 18.

Which brings up the other, more important question. Why naked breasts and butts? Since the big three monotheistic religions appeared about 5000 years ago, we have evolved into thinking that any view of female body parts entice menfolk into uncontrolled lust and dire behavior so terrible the world is at risk.

Before these now prominent religions were invented, many of the world’s beliefs were focused on women and fertility. Humans celebrated the very things most of the world now considers too controversial to even mention, much less treat sensibly.

We modern humans are also much more likely to censor sexual scenes and leave violence alone. One would think that exploding heads, slow-mo severed arms, and human bodies being torn into pieces by various evil creatures, would be much more harmful than watching a couple of pretty people commit a mortal sin in synchronized harmony with a peppy soundtrack.

Sex depicted in movies is as far away from actual sex as one can possibly be. The actors involved in a movie sex scene are much, much prettier than anyone most of us will ever have sex with. The vast majority of humans never see people that good looking, much less get intimate with them.

And the choreography; gee whiz. I’ve never experienced, or known anyone else that’s experienced, the slow motion dance moves involved in on-camera hanky-panky. I’m pretty sure that stuff is an actual crime against nature.

But I’m in the minority. Every ten years or so, we decide that pornography, nakedness, and prurient interests are going to destroy mankind as we know it. Greed, need for control, and stupidity have been with us since we first stood up and no one sees fit to place limits on those behaviors. Why aren’t we worried about repeated depictions of those behaviors harming our morality?

Has anyone watched Succession?

Image: This film has been passed by the national board of censorship is a frame of the old days and is in the public domain.
Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.