Sometimes I think I am living in a nightmare. All about me, standards are collapsing, manners are evaporating, people show no respect for themselves. I am not a moralistic nut. I'm proud of the X-rated movie I once wrote. I like vulgarity if it's funny or serves a purpose. But what is going on here?What's going on here is that people think that because they can do something they must. Artistic freedom has been confused with wretched excess... the dumbing of America continues... lowest common denominator....
Oh, yes, I was on a roll -- but, once I got to the office, I was swept up in the turmoil of a number of end-of-the-week crises and I never had the opportunity to finish my essay and inflict it on the Blogosphere.
And aren't you grateful.
But I brought home the pullout Weekend section from the Friday Sun-Times, the section containing all of Mr. Ebert's reviews. I had a premonition I might need to cite the Step Brothers review.
I figured Youngest Son would be the one who'd lobby to see it first, since 15 is about the upper limit of the mentality that such a movie aims for.
But, as usual, I was wrong. Sunday afternoon Younger Daughter said she had made plans to see this movie with some friends. I pulled out the review and read it to her... and to an increasingly horrified Long Suffering Spouse.
The language used in the film, Ebert wrote, "would seem excessive in the men's room of a truck stop.... In its own tiny way, it lowers the civility of our civilization." And Mr. Ebert was equally as enamored of the violence in the film as he was of the language.
Long Suffering Spouse, as I'd hoped, put her foot down: Younger Daughter would not be allowed to go see this movie. The Death Glare from Younger Daughter did nothing to sway either Long Suffering Spouse or me. Middle Son and Youngest Son both tried to lobby on their sister's behalf: They were interested in seeing the movie, too. But we stood firm. A few minutes later, after Long Suffering Spouse left the room, Younger Daughter tried to bargain with me: If we would let her go see it with her friends, she said, she'd promise not to like it.
The bottom line: Younger Daughter did not go see Step Brothers yesterday. I have no illusions: I'm sure she'll see it at some point; she just won't tell us about it. Middle Son will see it too. They are both past 17 and can see R-rated movies whether we like it or not. But we struck a modest blow for civility yesterday and the children may -- some day -- come around to our point of view.