Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why nudity and swearing is banned on American TV but gore isn't.

If it a kid hears a swear word on TV, the kid might swear themselves. But if the kid plays a violent video game like Call of Duty, 99% of the kids don't pick up a real gun and shoot someone.

Most people won't experience gore in our life time. So it remains a fantasy and something you only see in the movies or on TV. But swearing and nudity is something almost everyone will experience in their life time. It seperates between reality and fantasy.

When you watch a movie and it shows a breast, that is a real breast. But if you see someones head get chopped off, it is special effects and we know that.

Real gore is censored for children and is considered very explicit. A real picture of someones head chopped off is considered more explicit than a picture of breasts.


  1. I understand that logic, but I don't agree with it. Look at Law & Order SVU, a show that's on free tv no less. I've seen a dead womans body with blood coming out of her v-----. That is more disturbing for a young child to see. When compared to the use of a four letter, which they will hear in everyday life such as at school.

  2. Woeful logic, and highlights the strange dichotomies found in the US. News services have plenty of instances of bodies and 'real' dead people to be seen.

    I'm a bit lost as to why because children will see nudity and hear swearing one day (and let's be frank, very early these days)this is in some way more confronting than imagery of dead people.. Honestly it just doesn't gel. What about the butt 'crack' that seems to get a silly amount of censoring too.

    It's really because a large proportion of the US are fiercely religious and this influences what can be seen by the general public..

  3. It is very weird from an outside POV. Things that would be OK in moderation on an equivalent British show often never appear on any but the most risqué American ones. We don't blink at the odd f bomb, and words like shit aren't all that unusual - not in kids progs, most likely, but in a police procedural or a drama, no problem.

    NCIS is a show I'm very fond of, but nevertheless sometimes it makes me laugh with what is and isn't OK. They rarely go a show without a corpse, usually more than one, sometimes a dozen, and they don't shy away from torture, beatings, sexual assault, people being disembowelled... But they have to cover up the genitals on corpses in autopsy, and female corpses are generally open or covered, because apparently a nipple would be far more disturbing than an open chest cavity with Ducky rooting around inside!

    Swearing wise, I don't recall in the 8 series I've seen any character coming close to saying or even implying the f word, and only a couple of times has it been implied someone was about to say or write shit - I don't even think crap is a regular visitor. But wanker has shown up. I don't recall an instance of bitch - but bugger and bastard are OK. Bugger and wanker in particular seem very strange words to OK in a society that's so prudish about sex!

    And at the same time, there is some paper thin innuendo that no one seems to have an issue with. I recall one particular episode with Gibbs introducing a love interest to working on his boat with hand tools. She's in his arms, they're pressed close together, and as they plane the wood, Gibbs says "Can you feel the wood? You don't get that sensation with power tools!" Now, I personally don't find that offensive, but you'd have to be a real innocent not to see the double meaning. It is very weird to me!

    No question, the British system is far from perfect, but the balance between gore versus language/sexuality seems to be much more sensible.

    I recall hearing on the commentary that the British movie The King's Speech was initially released in the US on the same certificate as the concurrent Saw movie in 3D. How a few f words in a therapeutic context can be as offensive/potentially damaging as torture porn in three dimensions I can't begin to imagine! And TKS's rating was lowered after a few of the Fs were muted out. So it is OK to use it a certain number of times, in a therapeutic, non sexual, nonthreatening context, but too many times, and it is on a level with a psycho making people into mincemeat? Seriously, I read half the description of a Saw movie once, and it made me feel ill. A few swear words seem to me comparatively innocent.

    I don't claim consistency - personally, I don't like the f word at all and avoid using it as much as possible. I do find how much gore, death and violence is OK in American TV/movies versus how little sexuality is acceptable to be very strange indeed. In all honestly, the "you know the gore isn't real" argument doesn't cut it for me.