This proposed deregulation of film censorship has its obvious benefits and flaws. Of course (assuming that the Irish Film Censors Office will follow suit, since that’s the way things usually go with us and them) it will finally give mature adults freedom of choice to view what we like and to make our own moral judgments about it, and it will clear up such niggly, totally arbitrary quirks like the 15 cert (since when is 15 such a benchmark age in childhood development?).
On the other hand, less (or lack of) regulation will mean it will be much easier for children to get their hands on material that they are simply not mentally or emotionally mature enough to handle, in particular (often gratuitously) graphic depictions of sex and/or violence. An advisory ratings system may be seen to work fine for music, but music is a totally different medium; it’s not nearly as visceral as the moving image. For example, the new Eminem album: the standard CD has the usual parental advisory label, but the DVD video version was banned here last week due to its (presumably gratuitous) graphic content (in the UK it has an 18 certificate). It’s all fine and dandy to put the onus on parents to regulate what their children have access to (indeed, in a perfect world this would be ideal) but a grim fact of life is that a lot of parents just don’t give a fuck about what their kids do (and then have the gall to kick up a stink after little Johnny brings home the new Slipknot album or whatnot).
We sell videos and video games at my store (most music stores do). We have to be vigilant at all times, since it’s illegal here to sell any video to anyone under the age specified on the certificate. If regulation goes out the window, what are we to do? I mean, would I have the right to refuse to sell, say, Cannibal Holocaust to a 12 year old because of what I think about it? And if I did sell it, what would I do if the angry parent or parents of said child came charging in demanding an explanation as to how my store sold their innocent little baby such vile filth, etc. etc.? It’s hard enough as it is sometimes, even with music, what with the popularity of nu metal amongst the kids today and all (although in my opinion, swearing is nothing compared to seeing someone being raped or shot in the face).
I’m all in favour of a relaxation in censorhip laws – adults should be free to make their own decisions as adults – but surely we still need a solid structure in place to protect children (at least up to the age of 15) from things that they are just not ready for.