The Censors Strike Back
I’m finishing The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, Jonathan W Rinzler’s recenty released document on everyone’s favorite sequel – it’s everything a nerd could hope for, by the way – and I came across this quote, which seems to pretty well describe the mentality gap between the US and Denmark:
The sequel was also number one in Tokyo, Japan, for at least four weeks, but in Denmark, Empire was ruled off-limits to children under 12 (as was Star Wars, Close Encounters, and several other films).
“Children are not allowed to see a film that desenitizes them to violence, to suffering,” says Dr. Jørgen Bruun Petersen. “They must not see a film if we feel they will get [from it] less ability to feel pity.” On the other hand, children were allowed by the Danmark censors to see sex on screen. “I don’t think children will be harmed if they see two adults going to bed with each other. But only if they express love for each other, do what they do with feeling.”
The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, p336.
That’s not to say I agree with him on the violence (much to my moms dismay, I raised myself on RoboCop and Alien), but this schism is inherent in our culture – we released porn before any other country – which makes it so absurd to us when a nip-slip causes most of the US to dive into a frenzy, while happily enganging in wars across the world.