Censorship is nothing new, not by a long shot, but there once was a time when it was all in the name of protecting people from harmful or questionable material, particularly the young. Doing it for the good of society, that’s what it was all about, or so they say. Portrayals of such, like in Footloose and Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, are tame when compared with reality, but those with the matches and the gasoline, those with their hands on the radio knobs, always did what they did to protect. In the last, say, fifteen years, however, everything has changed.
Remember Tipper Gore? Good. Thought so. She’s a perfect example of what fear-mongering censors are like. People like her, they believe that the world’s all too real horrors are caused by things like rock music, comic books, and horror films. They think that if we simply rid society of these things then everything would be all rose-tinted and smell like cinnamon buns. Never mind that she’s the one who didn’t listen to the Prince album before giving it to her daughter who maybe shouldn’t have been listening to “Darlin’ Nikki.” Why should people be active, responsible parents when we can just censor, maybe even ban, some stuff? Problem is, like Tipper, those who slap down the ratings are still clinging to the excuse that it’s all in the name of protecting the children, but what they really care about isn’t children. No. What they care about, it’s the Benjamins. And Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut proves it.
Because Kubrick died after completing the film, nothing could be done to stop the studio and a very helpful MPAA from censoring the film. I guess the secret society masquerade orgy was too much for them, yeah. Then again, no matter how you slice it, Eyes Wide Shut is a film for adults. By censoring it and lowering the rating from an NC-17 to an R, those responsible not only failed to protect the impressionable youth of this great nation, but they also showed their hand. The money grubbing one.
Since multitudes of theaters refuse to screen NC-17 films, and because Eyes Wide Shut was never going to be a box office smash, censorship was their only shot at raking in the receipts. So what if someone here and there brought their five year old with them. No biggie. Only the sanitary orgy sex was left intact. When it comes down to it, the people in this world who censor are hypocritical with the morality they hide behind.
Adults are seemingly not allowed to enjoy content that is adult in nature because such things rarely line anyone’s pockets, unless, maybe, it’s porn, but no one cares about porn because, hey, all that’s practically invisible, thumb drives being a million times more inconspicuous than a stack of magazines. On the flipside, children and adolescents are not only welcome to the sorts of things that promote gender inequality and objectification, their parents, the very kind that sit on the ratings boards, are forking over the cash for said items. After all, the road to riches, it’s the road of Spears, Meyer, and James. Not Kubrick.