Everyday there are children being bullied. Most grow up unaffected by it, a few are affected, and a smaller number unfortunately don’t get to grow up, taking their own lives to escape the bullying. Anything to reduce the threat of bullying, and thus the danger of loosing daughters and sons has to be a good thing. Especially if it is a documentary made specifically about the subject.
In the United States, the land of the free, whose 1st amendment garuntees the freedom of speech, the infamous Motion Picture Association of America, the organization that places a rating on movies, has chosen to give a new documentary addressing the issues of bullying a rating of R. A rating of R means that no one under the age of 17 may view it without being accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. This means that the documentary may not be shown at the ground zero of most bullying, the school.
As mentioned in a previous article (Which is worse? Sex or Violence) the MPAA are a clandestine organization who refuses to disclose who are the actual people who rate movies. They constantly claim that they are defending the average family from anything offensive although how that actually works in practice is debatable at least. Sex is consistantly treated more strictly than violence or profanity.
A visit to the MPAA website (http://www.mpaa.org/) gives the expected page for how the ratings work, how important movies are, but strangely enough, details about the chairman of the MPAA, Senator Chris Dodd. The dedicated webpage not only lets you read his speeches from around the world but also allows you to download a high resolution image of him. It is unclear why anyone would want this.
To stop a movie being shown to the audience it is intended for seems to be more an act of control or censorship rather than anything based upon protecting the average family. The apparent issue is the language featured in the movie, language that has been recorded from a school, spoken by school children, which is obviously too much for school children to hear, while sitting in school.
Bullying is an epidemic that needs to be stopped before more lives are lost and anything that is available to fight this battle must be used. To stop potential bullies and their victims the opportunity to view the documentary based at stopping bullying is a bizarre decision and one that perhaps speaks to the larger issue of secretive organizations deciding what is allowed for the masses. As soon as a process fails to be transparent, the potential to corrupt and distort the product becomes every more likely.
In 1949, a book written about a dystopian state in the future, where the controlling heavily censors what it’s citizens may read and see. The book, named for the year where the story takes place, has been made into a movie as well as being rated as one of the most important books every written. The author was H.G. Wells and the book, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
At time of writing, The Bully Project, or simply Bully as it is now named, has not been rated by the Ontario Film Review Board has not given the documentary a rating.