05 January 2018
My Father vs. The High-Tech Spectacle
Gomel says this was a popular view in the 1960s and 1970s, but it definitely lasted until the 1980s, because it was seemingly my father's point of view. We were perennially frustrated as children about what works of television and film we could not access because they were "inappropriate." In the first grade, I suspected I was the only child in America who had not seen Home Alone, and I suffered for it. As an adult, I feel like the only thirty-something in America who never really watched The Simpsons, because during its formative years and mine, I was banned from watching it. (We didn't have cable, otherwise I suspect there would have been a lot more I couldn't watch.)
When we were watching films as a family and a sex scene unexpectedly came on, we would be sent out of the room until it was over. (I think this happened with The Cider House Rules, for example.) Except my father had a bad habit of hitting PAUSE on the VCR remote rather than STOP, meaning that in some cases, the nudity, rather than being banished, was held in place!
I don't remember exactly when I was allowed to break out of this. Perhaps I'm still not allowed. I do remember being seventeen and having friends over, and we watched one of the Alien films in the basement. After my friends left, my father asked what it was rated; I told him "R" and he told me I should have asked permission. I argued that we were all old enough at 17-plus, but was informed that in his house, his rules went.
I did finally see the full Monty Python and the Holy Grail: when we watched it in high school English class in high school during a unit on Arthurian myths. My father had higher standards for inappropriateness than Catholic schoolteachers.
#317: Do you play violent video games?