My first change is subtle and nuanced, but the decision to alter my thinking regarding the type of media I watch is a change I’m looking forward to. To understand the change that has happened, reading this post on my media standards is essential. In short, I’ve decided to watch my first R-rated movie. (I have watched “clean” version of R rated films like Amelie, Memento, Man on Fire, but those are difficult to find because movie studios have said they don’t want people editing the films to clean them up.)
I was reading through the things I wrote previously, and when I say out loud that I’ve decided to watch R-rated movies now it sounds much more dramatic than it is. My standards for violence, profanity, and sexuality haven’t changed all that much. What is dramatic is that I’ve decided not to worry about what is said in the Strength of Youth pamphlet when I choose what to watch. Previously, I read what was said about movies (or other things in that pamphlet) and made my list of what I should or shouldn’t do, and that was it. Now, I make my own list.
You know what I’ve always wanted to watch? Schindler’s List. But I never did because it was rated R, and I wanted to hold on to the statement that I had never seen a rated R movie. Not because I thought it made me “better” in some Mormon sense, but because I wanted to be able to tell my kids that I had done it, and they could to. Now I guess I will tell them that I’d like them to follow my example through high school, and that I think they will likely be better off for it, but once they are in college and developing their critical thinking skills it’s up to them.
I think if I were to write out my new media standard now, it would be that I want to try to focus my media consumption on things that I feel broaden my worldview in some way. I’ll probably apply this most stringently to movies, though I’d like to take a closer look at the tv shows I watch while I cook because time spent watching Drop Dead Diva could be spent watching Ted talks (Biggest Loser will always be on my playlist though, because I’m such a sucker for these personal stories of triumph, no matter how short-lived they may be). I want to go through the DVDs I own and get rid of those that don’t fit with my goals (maybe I’ll do a big giveaway and send them off to you guys? ), and when a movie comes out instead of immediately searching the Rotten Tomatoes page for the MPAA rating I want to look at the synopsis and the number of critics who liked it and think about what the movie means and how it could make me think.
I’m still going to keep using the site Kids In Mind, because I’m worried about desensitization. I like that I don’t swear, and I think it would be easy for me to start slipping and doing so when angry, frustrated, or surprised if I was consuming a lot of media that used such language frequently. And that’s certainly not the type of sounds I want filling my son’s sweet little ears. I don’t really want to a lot of nudity, frankly because I like that those things stay out of my head when I’m being intimate with my husband. I don’t want images of unrealistic, jealousy-inducing bodies popping up in my head during those times. Violence has always been the area where I am the most lenient because of the ways it does (/not) affect me, and will continue to be so, largely because I don’t have any intention of watching movies that are violent in an attempt to celebrate violence (a la horror films). I’m thinking more along the lines of Saving Private Ryan (I realize that’s the second Spielberg movie I’ve named in this post, I think it’s because these are movies I’ve been intrigued by for a long time, hearing my friends talk about them when I was a teenager, but have never allowed myself to watch), a movie which, based on the synopsis, may will help me think about war and move closer to understanding what war is and how it affects those who fight.
As for some of the things I named in my previous post, pornography is still out (for the reasons mentioned above). Same standards for music. Interestingly, we ordered some Friends DVDs via Netflix, and I just couldn’t get excited about watching them. I think I loved that series so much because of the way I shared it with my college girlfriends. Now, I love 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation because I watch them with That Husband.
I actually have a fun request for you. Now that I’ve opened myself up to new possibilities, what do you think I should watch? I’m still kind of puzzling through exactly what do and don’t want to watch, I think it will be a process that ebbs and flows over time. Currently on my list are:
Passion of the Christ
Taxi to the Dark Side
I opened up The Sweet Hereafter and Ides of March from Netflix this morning, though I’m still not sure what I think about the latter as it is really profanity-laden. We’ve considered a ClearPlay player to allow us to eliminate the profanity from movies like Ides of March if we wanted, but I’m not sure what we’ll do yet.