Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Regarding Censorship and Next Week's Film

Hello Friends,

This is Jason Pyles, the man who couldn't be more pleased with the spirited participation of the intelligent people who contribute to this blog. This post will address the question of my censoring the profanity on the blog with asterisks, and I need to talk to you all about next week's film:

Addressing the latter first ...

Andy Howell selected F.W. Murnau's 1927 film titled "Sunrise" (aka "Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans") for next week's screening. Nice.

When I had access to UVU's library, I used to be able to rent films from the pioneering days of the cinema, but now that I'm in Wheeling, W.Va., things are different.

Neither Netflix nor my local video stores have "Sunrise," so I'm not sure that I'll be able to screen it. Do any of you know of any Web sites that enable one to watch films like this online? If so, do tell.

Are any of you having trouble getting a copy of "Sunrise"? Let me know.

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As for censoring the dialogue of this blog ...

I'm thankful you felt comfortable enough to ask about it.

My fervent goal was to have as few rules as possible on this blog. It is true that one of those very few rules was that we would avoid typing profanity, even though many of the films we'll be discussing are replete with profanity.

I can see where that wouldn't make sense.

Here are the reasons for my request:

1.) In July 2009, I'm "releasing" a movie review yearbook called "Considering the Cinema 2008." As part of the addenda-type back matter, I'm considering including some of the debates from this blog (crediting you, of course, with your permission), and I don't want profanity in my book.

2.) I am a newspaper man who is striving to adhere to the Associated Press Stylebook. I like to incorporate AP Style in my writing about film because that's a necessary part of my film-writing career, so I'm learning how to do it now. In AP Style, "obscenities, profanities, vulgarities," if printed in a newspaper, are usually printed with hyphens (not asterisks) replacing the letters. I looked it up again for this post, and I was mistaken; I thought it was asterisks, and I should have used hyphens. See? Still learning. So, though I don't edit anything else you write (I wouldn't dream of it), I'd like to refer to the AP Stylebook when these issues arise.

3.) My third reason will probably upset some people, but it's the honest truth: Many LDS people don't watch R-rated films. I'm LDS and I do watch R-rated films. I never try to persuade an LDS person who chooses not to watch R-rated films to watch them. Indeed, much of the content of R-rated films (including profanity) is offensive to me. But alas, I am a movie critic. Nevertheless, I think many R-rated films have substantial merit, and I think it is regrettable that everyone cannot comfortably choose to enjoy any film. Therefore, in an attempt to discuss these great films with LDS people and other conservative film lovers, I hope this blog can be a way for those people to engage in those kinds of films. In short, I don't want to alienate those who avoid profanity. And those who wish to convey profanity are not alienated, either. They still can, but hopefully, they will through the AP Style method. And yes, anybody can plainly understand what is meant by a--hole, but the point is, my site doesn't actually have the word itself, and will not therefore come up on search engines. In other words, I don't want my blog to pop up anytime somebody Googles the "F-word."

4.) Lastly, and this could be debated till the cows come home (which, presumably, is pretty late), but I give it strictly as my opinion that there is a level of professionalism associated with those who can communicate effectively without such color metaphors (which is not to say that people who swear are not intelligent). But this group of contributors is remarkably scholarly, and quite capable of vigorous writing sans swearing. Yes, there are times when we'll need to quote from a film laced with profanity, which is fine, because the AP Style method allows us to sufficiently portray the quote.

5.) And I would note that I was never critical of any of you who have already posted or quoted profanity, I just quietly (though incorrectly) changed it with asterisks, preserving the original concept evidently, though not precisely. My censoring isn't meant, in any way, to be judgmental. Naturally.

I hope that answers your question. As always, feel free to comment and disagree.

4 comments:

Andrew James said...

#@#*%)$#@%*%$**@!&~ !!!!!

Grabloid said...

Regarding "Sunset"...I plan to check it out at UVSC, they have 2 copies. Perhaps Torben and I could check them out (as we are both UVU students), and share one of them with someone else living in Utah. Or maybe several of us could get together and watch it...Andrew???, Torben??? (these are the only contributers that I personally know AND that live in Utah...others are invited as well). I think that could be a good time. How about it? Obviously we will save any in-depth discussion for the blog...

Also, the Orem, Utah library has one copy...it is currently checked out, but the website says it is due back on Friday, August 8th. SLC library does not have a copy.

Jason...I'm not sure what to say about your predicament...what about local rental stores or libraries???

Regarding your reasons for censoring: I totally understand and respect that.

Jason Pyles, Movie Critic said...

Andrew, that's hilarious.

Travis, thanks for looking into "Sunset" so thoroughly. You're the best. I'll scramble and see if I can't find it in Pittsburgh or something. Thanks again.

Jason

Torben B said...

here here!