I watch racy, vulgar, f-bomb-filled rated-R movies all the time, and guess what?
I’m not morally bankrupt — not even a little bit.
There is a big, fat, insulting lie that lingers in our society. The lie is we are hopelessly, utterly and directly affected by the things we see in movies. So affected, that is, that even watching a movie involving morals and ethics that don’t aline with our own can change, or should I say tarnish, our very character.
I don’t buy it.
I’ve watched “Pretty Woman” at least 73 times in my life, and surprisingly enough, I’m not a prostitute yet. I loved “Superbad” when I was a teenager, and I somehow refrained from teenage sex, repeated f-bombs and underage drinking. “The Wolf of Wall Street” is currently my favorite movie, and even though it’s filled with behaviors I don’t agree with (drug use, objectifying women, adultery and fraud), it does not mean I must shut myself off from everything that disagrees with my moral compass.
I could argue that movies with behaviors I don’t agree with could actually have the potential to strengthen my opposing beliefs. For instance, seeing the adverse effects of drug use will strengthen my opinion that drugs are harmful.
I want to know what has happened to critical thinking. I want to know why people are so easily influenced. If people say the media are going downhill and dragging members of society down with them, then I blame the members of society. It’s people’s jobs to keep guard of their own conscious, of their own sense of right and wrong. It’s their job to think critically and fully about everything they are exposed to.
Movies are artistic messages, and we can entertain the concepts the movies share without accepting the concepts as our own.
I’m not going to try to convince you that all rated-R movies are fulfilling or artistic. I mean, come on, “Superbad?” That is one of the most superficial movies I’ve ever seen. But I will argue that there are many rated-R movies that are value-laden and fulfilling.
It’s our job to have our eyes open, our heads on straight, and listening ears on. We can’t and shouldn’t avoid coming in contact with things and situations that disagree with us. However, we can choose to question and learn from everything we see and hear.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it,” Artistotle said.
I think Aristotle was saying that we don’t have to digest everything we chew. So I encourage you to chew on things you disagree with. Just because a movie is rated R and shows a nipple does not mean you should avoid it like the plague. Trust yourself enough to entertain thoughts that aren’t natural to you.