By Rachel Campbell
As a woman in want of children, I find myself a student of parenting. Often I observe parent/child interactions, determine what I would do in that situation, and then file the result in the recesses of my mind. On occasion, I will come across a parental fluke so atrocious that I feel compelled to comment.
I must begin with an explanation. There has been much controversy over the content of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, mainly in its appropriateness for children. Perhaps the simplest answer to this debate can be found in the Motion Pictures Association of America's (MPAA) rating of the movie: PG-13. In other words, "some material may be inappropriate for children under 13." If a parent is going to take their child under the age of thirteen to a PG-13 movie, then that parent should not be surprised if some (or all) of the movie's content is inappropriate for children. They have been warned; that is what the movie ratings were created to do.
Indeed, in my research on this topic, I have found quite a few movie theater employees that can relate at least one instance in which they had sold a ticket for a R rated movie to a patron with a young child in tow, only to be confronted by the same patron demanding a refund because the movie contained content inappropriate for children. They knew the rating; they had been warned.
This said, I move on to the disturbing parental incident that began this whole thing. While sitting in the theater waiting for The Dark Knight to start, a grandfather and a young couple with their four year old son sat down next to me. This couple began bragging rather loudly that their son had watched movies such as Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs, and several other gruesome horror movies, so Batman would not bother him at all. These people were actually proud of this. I was horrified.
When we saw a society allow our children to be desensitized by permitting them to watch content inappropriate for their age, it is no surprise that their concept of reality, their defining line between fiction and corporeality is so radically obscured.
We are responsible for rearing the children that will shape the next generation of society, so the question I pose to you is this: What kind of society do you want to live in?