Why The MPAA Sucks At Its Job, According To Science

The Motion Picture Association of America has never been the most popular corporation. Not only has it provoked the ire of some of the greatest directors to ever sit behind a camera, but audiences often find themselves bemused by its choices too. And now, according to a brand-new scientific report, it turns out that there actually isn’t much point to their efforts anyway.

The University Of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center conducted extensive research that has proven parents become more and more desensitized to the sex and violence that they see in movies. This includes people who work for the MPAA. It’s now been speculated that employees of the MPAA have become so numbed because of their profession that films that were rated R a few decades ago are now less violent than today’s PG-13s. The published study states, "People who rate movies for the MPAA, who are themselves parents, could be subject to the same desensitization and thus more likely to be lenient when it comes to evaluating the appropriateness of such content for children."

The MPAA has yet to comment on the matter. However, the study did offer a helping hand, suggesting that "interventions to prevent desensitization" should be conducted, while more raters should be recruited, as well. The report indicates that when parents first see a film scene that includes graphic sex, they decide that it is suitable for children who are under 17.2 years of age. Those who participated in the study also went on to state that when parents see a scene with excessive violence, their initial reaction is that only children over 17.0 years of age should be allowed to watch. The case went on to prove that as they watched more and more sex and violence unfold, they started to become more lenient. Eventually they concluded that 13.9-year-olds could watch violent scenes, and 14-year-olds could watch sexy time unfold on the big screen.

But who were the people that were asked this hugely important set of questions that now mean children and adults don’t ever have to pay attention to the Motion Picture Association of America ever again? It was 1,000 parents, each of which have children that are aged between 6-17. They were then forced to watch an array of films that ranged from the sublime (Casino Royale, the first Die Hard, and The Terminator) to the simply awful. I’m looking at you, Live Free or Die Hard! Why oh why do you even exist? You managed to make John McClane look as intimidating as Justin Long. Justin frigging Long! I’m sorry I need a moment to weep.

OK, where was I? Oh yeah. The parents also watched Collateral, Taken 2 and Terminator Salvation, and these specific pictures were chosen because: "They include sexual encounters that leave little to the imagination, executions that come by surprise, and battles between humans and robots that end in the graphic ‘death’ of the robot." You'd like to hope that the MPAA would study these findings and learn from the systematic mistakes that have clearly seeped into their organization. It's not as if this is really their fault too. It appears to have simply just been an error that humans couldn't help but commit. Now that they know of it though they should take steps to correct it. However Hollywood is full of stubborn fools. And it will probably take a huge mistake that results in hundreds of complaints for the MPAA to actually stand up and take notice.

Gregory Wakeman