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Cause and Effect Don't Matter When the Result Is Good

Good news out of Hollywood: explicit sex on the big screen is decreasing. However, some observers' explanations point to an important aspect of the cultural divide:

Hollywood's diminishing appetite for sex is partly attributed to the influence of a more socially conservative government under George Bush, the president, and his attorney general, John Ashcroft, a member of the Pentecostal church noted for his moral certitude.

Paul Verhoeven, the director whose film Basic Instinct drew more attention for Sharon Stone's risque leg-crossing scene than it did for the quality of its plot and acting, told Premiere magazine: "There's a drip-down effect of this government's position in the film industry, so you will see much more other things than nude scenes on your screen." He added: "What do you expect with Ashcroft who is an ultra-Christian puritan?"

Notice who's missing from this explanation? Why, we sheep-like masses, that's who. I don't mean to suggest that the leaders of the country don't matter or influence the culture — they do — but I can't help but wonder whether these sin-sellers of the silver screen ever consider that the conservatives in office are, themselves, an effect of a more-conservative populace.

The fact that the answer appears to be "no" suggests two important insights: 1) Despite all of their rhetoric, liberals don't care for people except as pawns or propaganda. 2) The point of view that, even in our representative democracy, the leaders dictate the ethic of the nation may be one reason that liberals are willing to do or say just about anything to regain power. (It's certainly in line with their tendency to work toward placing power in the hands of a few, whether judges or socialist dictators.)

Posted by Justin Katz @ 12:53 PM EST

1 Comment

Paul Verhoeven doesn't have a clue as to how Hollywood works. The reason that there are fewer R movies has nothing to do with Bush or Ashcroft, who have no way to influence what movies get made. The reason is money, pure and simple, the one thing Hollywood puts before all else. R movies on average make less money than PG movies. Michael Medved first pointed this out a few years ago when Hollywood made more R movies. Since then, they've been making fewer R and more PG movies - and I think the earning gap between R and PG has even widened. All that other rationalization is just that.

Why the Scotsman couldn't figure this out displays shocking ignorance on their part. But then they are confused about Halle Barre and her "sexually explicit" scenes. In Swordfish, she just sat there topless while reading a book -- in Monsters Ball she had a sexually explicit scene with Billy Bob Thornton.

Kevin Murphy @ 06/18/2003 04:08 PM EST