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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Interplanetary War On Sex

When you hear the word "adult", what comes to mind?

Career insecurity, workplace conflict, caregiver woes, taxes, bills, bills and more bills?

No. Somehow the term "adult" = sex and violence.

OK, maybe we should protect innocent young kids from the harsh brutalities of the grown-up world.

(Not that I'm personally familiar with that concept, since I was never innocent. Contrary to popular belief, the kid's world is no less harsh and can be equally brutal.)

"Oooh we must keep all this sex and violence away from the fragile minds of our precious children! What if they learn horrible things from TV?"

Then why is violence always favoured over sex?

I mean, when children grow up, they will eventually have sex.

Or so we hope, else the human race is doomed.

But we hope they will never blow someone up or hack someone to death.

So it makes more sense to shield children from violence, right?

Yet that's not what I experienced as a kid.

Turn the clock back to the year 1992, when a happy, teenaged me was looking for nice movies to watch.

There were two "epic" movies that year, 1492: Conquest of Paradise and The Last of the Mohicans.

Both were rated PG, thus basically suitable for kids of all ages and certainly OK for teenagers.

Let me tell you what I saw.

In the Conquest of Paradise, there was a scene of a person slowly strangled to death using one of these delightful contraptions:

I shall describe in graphic detail what happened, because it's still quite fresh in my mind after all these years.

Bear in mind that the below scene was deemed suitable for children of all ages.

The victim was tied-up and in tears. The garrote was rotated by the executioner, one turn at a time. With each turn, the rope around the her neck tightened. As the rope started to asphyxiate the victim, she began to struggle, kicking her legs around frantically. Her tongue stuck out in a desperate attempt to catch one last breath. Slowly her head slumped to one side.

And then her eyes were stilled.

Not shocking enough?

How about watching a guy get his heart cut out of his chest?

In The Last of the Mohicans, an elderly European general was caught by tribal warriors. They cut him open (off camera) with a knife and ripped his heart out. You can see the dying man on the ground with a bloody hole in his chest, and a warrior raising his bloody heart high above his body.

I didn't expect so much violence - it was almost a heart-stopping shock.

Suitable for children!??!

Now fast forward five years later, when I watched my very first R-rated movie, Stealing Beauty, starring Liv Tyler.

What gave it the R-rating? Two nude scenes, totalling a few minutes of screen time.

Oh and a few seconds of Liv Tyler popping out a boob while sitting under a tree.

That's IT??? I felt seriously underwhelmed.

This sort of unequal affection towards violence is also seen in the regulation of computer games.

Take the Xbox/PS2 game Red Ninja, for example.

In this game, the main character has a wire weapon called a Tetsugen. She uses it to decapitate her enemies, or even slice them into two. Throughout the game, heads and body parts are often sent flying with blood spraying everywhere.

Yet it is approved for sale here.

So when the new Xbox 360 game Mass Effect ends up getting banned in Singapore - was it because it featured excessive, graphic violence?


This is the official reason given:

The "Mass Effect" game, a futuristic space adventure, contains "a scene of lesbian intimacy... as such the game has been disallowed," the deputy director of the Board of Film Censors said in the statement.

But how can it be a "scene of lesbian intimacy" if one of the game characters is an alien?

(What about a "scene of bestiality" instead? Can you consider an imaginary alien species to be an animal?)

The authorities state that:

Under local guidelines, video games sold in Singapore cannot "feature exploitative or gratuitous sex and violence, or denigrate any race or religion," the official said.

Well, that must be some torrid, spectacular love scene in order to warrant banning the game.

Thus, Fresh Brainz is happy to bring you that forbidden scene of "exploitative or gratuitous sex"!

Warning: Prepare to be underwhelmed...

They banned the game because of this.

I don't get it.

*17 Nov 2007 update: Mass Effect has been un-banned by the Media Development Authority. It will be released under an M18 rating.


Teh Si said...

:) heard its being unbanned... :)

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Thanks for the update!

Lab Rat said...

At least someone in MDA is thinking (be it they truly want to be more open, or just to save face). Yay for another baby step towards a more progressive society.

I am soooooo looking forward to the ST letters from the pro-377a crowd complaining about this. I mean, gasp, it promotes a xenoerotic lifestyle and our impressionable young kids are going to start flagging down UFOs and make out with hot alien chicks. Tentacles and all. Tsk, tsk. :)

Lim Leng Hiong said...

I mean, gasp, it promotes a xenoerotic lifestyle and our impressionable young kids are going to start flagging down UFOs and make out with hot alien chicks. Tentacles and all. Tsk, tsk. :)

That sounds so wrong. Which is why I'm going to steal it for my running quote up there ;)

On the upside, by pro-377A standards it's perfectly OK for me to flag down a UFO and make out with a hot alien chick, since I am male. HAHA! :P

Anonymous said...

Won't really matter if you're female either. That section is only for males...

Lim Leng Hiong said...

To Anon 3:39,

Yes, you're right.