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1st March
2009
  

Professor of the Bleedin' Obvious...

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Youngsters who like sex also like pop music
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University of Pittsburgh logo Teens who prefer pop songs with degrading sexual references are more likely to engage in intercourse or in pre-coital activities, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Brian A. Primack of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine says the study demonstrates that, among this sample of young adolescents, high exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex in popular music was independently associated with higher levels of sexual behavior. In fact, exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex was one of the strongest associations with sexual activity.

Surveys were completed by 711 ninth-grade students at three large U.S. urban high schools. The participants were exposed to more than 14 hours each week of lyrics describing degrading sex. About one-third said they had previously been sexually active.

The study, scheduled to be published in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, says those with the most exposure to the lyrics describing degrading sex were more than twice as likely to have had sexual intercourse, compared to those with the least exposure.

The relationship between exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex and sexual experience held equally for both young men and women.

 

'tide of filth'. 'I do miss Alex,' says Duval with a hint of genuine sadness. 'Since his death, our profile in the Evening Standard has virtually disappeared.'

Walker's favourite ploy was to pen outraged reviews, claiming that the BBFC had passed material which was clearly in breach of its guidelines, or even of the law itself. Did such claims ever worry Duval? 'Well, I remember that in his review of Gone in 60 Seconds, Walker accused us of passing material which showed audiences in graphic detail how to break into a car. I hadn't actually seen the movie at the time, because the examining team had been clear that there were no problems whatsoever. But when the story came out, I rushed to the local cinema to watch it for myself. I was relieved to find that Alex was wrong and the examiners had been entirely correct.'

On the subject of pornography, Duval maintains a world-weary detachment. Having helped to establish a 'pretty specific set of criteria' which redefined the boundaries of consensual screen sex, he now exudes an air of depressed resignation about the mechanics of enacting such standards.

'No matter what anybody imagines,' he says, sighing, 'regulating porn is the least attractive and most exhausting task of an examiner at the BBFC. We have had to be vigilant that at no point should any of our examiners start to find themselves overwhelmed by this stuff. Nearly 20 per cent of all submitted porn has to be cut, and the reason is simple: the distributors have been using us as their editors. They save money and time on viewing their films by simply sending them straight to us. You ring up and say, "You do know there's bestiality in this film?" And they say, "No, we didn't. But thanks for telling us!"'

Less shocking, but rather more troublesome, is the issue of the 12A certificate which has presented some unforeseen problems. 'When we researched the idea of an advisory 12 category, 70 per cent of those questioned were in favour. And although we expected a certain amount of people to complain about five-year-olds being able to watch a James Bond film, we were caught off guard by complaints that those five-year-olds are so bored that they run up and down the aisles and disrupt the film for everyone else. Put bluntly, cinema staff are indiscriminately letting babes-in-arms and toddlers in to see 12A rated movies, despite a very clear understanding that it was not expected to accommodate very young children.'

So will the certificate be rescinded? 'No, I don't think so. But what might happen is that a formal lower age limit may be imposed, which is what they have in Sweden and Finland. But of course, that does to some extent undermine the whole principal of the 12A, which is asking parents to take on the responsibility to be media literate.'

For Duval, such media literacy is the key to the future of the BBFC itself. To his successor, David Cooke, who takes over tomorrow, Duval has this advice: 'Watch out for opportunities, because if you don't, you may find that the things you took for granted are going to slip away. The future

 

5th May
2004
  

The Sound and the Fury...

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Correlating violent lyrics with violent action
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restricted Gaspar Noe’s Irreversible – a film which I believe has yet to arrive in Australia – to festivals and academic institutions. However, Irreversible has been passed "18" uncut for cinema and video release in the UK and "16" uncut in France, and "15" in Sweden.

61. Is harmonisation at any level achievable? Well this is really part of a wider subject, which is to do with convergence. And that is intended for other and separate sessions at this conference. I do not want to overlap too much into that territory but there are a few things I think I can say.

62. In Europe, as the European Commission report this year found, there is in fact no desire for harmonisation even amongst the film industry or its audiences. At the same time, there is a lot to be said for diversity- which is the opposite of harmonisation and convergence. At its most obvious, the cultural differences between the nations of the world, which define who we are, are expressed and sustained by our different languages.

63. Harmonisation would progressively remove the present barriers which prevent Hollywood rolling everything out from a single matrix generated in Los Angeles.

64. It would considerably lower their unit costs and make them more dominant than ever before. Our different national industries, making films with different national languages, will be squeezed even further. Would they indeed survive?

65. And it is worth looking at the models available for harmonised regulation. There  are really only three ways of regulating films. One, the most common in Europe and elsewhere, is regulation by government department or at least by a body which reports directly or indirectly to government. The second is self-regulation by the film industry itself – indeed, the American model, represented by the MPAA. The third is the rarest: regulation by an independent body. This is very difficult to achieve. The BBFC in Britain is the only clear example I know of. Our independence of course is really an accident of our history rather than any deliberate act of policy.

66. So any future harmonisation, which by definition has to be international, probably only has two models that are pragmatically available: self regulation by industry and government based regulation.

67. It is difficult to see how this can ever work. In Europe, where we have economic union, and have achieved a degree of administrative harmonisation, there is no serious prospect of similar politicisation of cultural harmonisation. The British, the French, the Germans – to name but the three largest nations – would oppose it. Indeed, I do not believe there is any desire within the European Community for harmonisation of film regulation under a single body reporting to Brussels where the union has political headquarters.

68. That leaves only self-regulation. This already exists in Europe for video games. It is called NICAM and is based in the Netherlands. It is relatively new but should work for videogames because they are highly adapted to trans-national regulation. There is no problem with regionality of video games – the all (nearly) come from Japan and America and share a

5th May
2003
  

The Sound and the Fury...

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Correlating violent lyrics with violent action
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