Book Ratings and Censorship

I grew up in the nineties and my parents restricted what movies I could watch. However I was always more of a reader than a watcher, and not once did my paarents question me about the books I bought or read. I had free reign over my reading material which could have been subject to a whole lot more violence and romance than the movies I had to wait to see until I was older.

With the intense nature of The Hunger Games trilogy and all the bloodshed, many people have questioned the YA genre it has been placed in. Especially now that the movie has been released. There were some rather offending images left out of the movie that are present in the book. In order to appease the MPAA to get a PG-13 rating in the US they resorted to shaky camera action and only split second shots of deaths. In my mind this lessened the effect and importance of the deaths, as well as making it difficult to see what was actually going on anyways. I also hear that several seconds more were cut from the UK version of the film to get a more YA friendly rating.

Which begs the question : if we’re so focused on regulating movies to protect our youths ‘innocence ‘ then why isn’t there a formal rating system for books, which are often times more descriptive and mature than movies?

Perhaps there’s the assumption that if they’re reading then they’ll be more mature and able to handle it. Or that every parent will pre-read the books before their kids in order to monitor the material, which some do for many books. Or maybe they even assume if the material is too mature then the reader will simply put the book down. Who knows?

I personally don’t think there should be such a rating system for books, however I was raised making my own literary choices as no one else in my family actually read. My parents didn’t restrict it but they brought me up with certain standard in my everyday life that not only did they trust my maturity, but I did as well. But, as stated before, my movie selection was almost always restricted. Then again the ratings were a bit more lax then as to what was allowed in a PG rated movie(several swear words and smoking from what I recall).

So where exactly is the line drawn in the ratings game? It seems that movies are often more harshly judged but I can’t imagine why. Especially when I was reading books with war, violence, death, and swearing well before I could watch it on a screen. (I don’t know about you, but I was required to read Where the Red Fern Grows in middle school and all I can remember is a distinct visual of a mauled dog with guts hanging out of it. Again, required reading for me as a 10 year old.)

So I ask you all, perhaps especially with children, should there be an MPAA style of ratings for books as well? At the age of 21 I’m still carded for buying rated R movies from the store. Should I also be carded for buying books with enough graphic material to be an R rated movie? Please share your thoughts!

Advertisements

Paige: An Introduction

This piece is quite different from what I usually write.  It’s one of many short writings that I plan on eventually accumulating into a novel of sorts.  The story of Paige is loosely based on myself, even her name coming from what my parents almost named me.  So, I write about Paige when something significant or striking happens, or almost happens, to me.  This has been left unedited intentionally because I wish to preserve the short stories as they are until I finally compile them and can edit them as one.

Also, I realize the majority of people, aka, everyone who has subscribed so far, who read my blog, are pretty much the opposite of my intended target audience for this.  But on the off chance you like it, feel free to let me know. 🙂

**********

There is a rumor that your life flashes before your eyes when faced with death. For Paige Macintosh, however, that time came sooner. Although she was in no real danger of dying, life as she knew it was indeed ending. Paige was sitting on a ratty brown couch picked up while dumpster diving. Her soon to be ex-boyfriend was currently pacing a hole in the carpet in front of the couch. His ranting words were lost on the girl who was preoccupied by her own life story.

Age 4: She watches enviously as her brother gets to hold the puppy on the ride home. Age 9: The room is filled with laughter as her cousins make fun of her. Paige would never care for them again. Age 15: She’s sitting on the curb with her mom, watching the tow truck pull the car out of a ditch. Results of her first driving lesson. Age 18: The dorm room is impossibly small to be sharing with the wild room mate she just met. Age 21: Looking at the letter of dismissal from the college. Enter depression. Age 22: Paige’s boyfriend gives her a big hug after they finish moving boxes into their new apartment.

Now: She’s getting dumped. Again.

“I don’t know what more I can do Paige. How am I supposed to keep looking after you when you won’t let me and refuse to do it yourself? I thought things would change but apparently I was wrong,” Alex said, finally standing still and looking at her. The movie reel of her life ended. Everything culminated to this very point in time and she wasn’t even paying attention. She didn’t need to. Paige knew full well what was about to happen, why her mind replayed every significant memory. Realizing this, she faced Alex for the first time since he started talking. “Well? Aren’t you going to say anything?”

“I’m not sure what to say,” her voice was quiet and timid. Alex looked at her incredulously. Paige averted her eyes. “What? What do you want to hear from me?”

“I don’t know…something! You sit there silently, as if this doesn’t even matter to you anymore.” He waited for her to reply. When she didn’t say anything he threw his arms up in defeat. “I give up. I’m done with this. Paige, you’ve become impossible to deal with. I’m leaving.” With that Alex grabbed his jacket and headed for the door.

“Wait! Alex…are you breaking up with me?” For the first time in three weeks she actually cared about what the outcome was.

“Yeah, I guess I am,” he said, before slamming the door behind him. Stunned silence followed.

All her hopes, dreams, and happy memories shattered like a wine glass in the wrong place on moving day. Paige could see her fragmented thoughts imbedding themselves into the carpet, where just minutes before her boyfriend had stood. Time didn’t stop, but Paige’s life was stuck on this singular frame. Minutes passed into hours as she sat unmoving. Her mind was numb, unwilling to process what just happened and what it meant for her. Instead, she sat there, going over all the now broken memories she shared with Alex. What were once beautiful scenes were reduced to shards, threatening to cut through her heart if she dared tried to put them back together. She didn’t dare.

Her life was sitting before her in ruins, and she didn’t have the will to put it back together. Was there even a point to try and fix things? She was estranged from her parents, didn’t have a job, and had dropped out of college. Not only that, but her boyfriend just walked out on her and the apartment they shared. How would she pay for it? If he came back and kicked her out then where would she live? Paige suddenly imagined herself selling all her possessions, moving to a big city and either becoming a crazy homeless person, or a prostitute.

The horror of her prospective future catapulted her mind back to the present. It was almost dark out, and had been at least an hour since Alex had stormed out of the apartment. He had to come back at some point, and when he did, Paige would be ready. She started rehearsing what she would say to win Alex back. Becoming a crack whore was not an option.

%d bloggers like this: