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Feature: Ticket Booth Tyranny (Part Two)

JonKatz posted more than 15 years ago | from the Take-A-Geek-Kid-To-A-Restricted-Movie-Day dept.

Movies 459

Part Two: Time to fight back against ticket booth tyranny. Some ideas for circumventing fake piety, including making Labor Day "Take a Geek Kid To A Restricted Movie Day". This could be an annual event in the ascending Geek Nation.

How to strike back against the petty harassment of kids trying to see movies like "South Park?, " and the usurping of decisions that should be theirs and their parents?

- Hit them in their pocketbooks. " If movie chains are going to refuse admission to movies that contain explicit sexual imagery or profanity, MP3 them. Download the movies on ICQ or Hotline, or other sites where they are becoming readily available, just as many kids did with the postponed "Buffy" finale. Watch how quickly they'll lighten up on ticket-booth vigilanteism. Harmless, funny, or overtly rebellious and political movies - "South Park," "American Pie," " Something About Mary" - are not in any sense dangerous to kids over the age of nine, or probably, even under. They are bristling with outsider geek humor and nerd sensibility.

- Squawk. Complain to theater managers; call and write movie chains. Tell them we don't want them making moral judments about what kids should see, that adults ought not be forced to intrude on their children's privacy or buy tickets to movies they don't want to see because theater chains and film studios are too dumb or cowardly to stand behind the things they make and sell.

- Improvise. Remember that the restrictions on young moviegoers are usually led by teenagers themselves, the employees of the movie chains. No studio CEO would be caught dead near an actual ticket booth talking to kids who see movies. These adolescent guardians and the movie theaters they work at can be hacked. Tell them you're a priest or minister demonstrating the pervasive reach of evil. Tell them you have a stomach disorder and have to leave the theater frequently. Tell them you're a Balkan refugee who speaks no English and doesn't dare leave the theater alone.

Also remember that, being teenagers, they are easily distracted. The kids stationed outside theaters to keep children out invariably drift off, get a snack, yak with their friends. They don't really care about the dumb rules they're enforcing.

- Kids: Be patient. Hang near the video game and wait for your chance. Ask adults leaving the theater if you can borrow the ticket stub for the movie you want to see, so that once inside, you can show it if an usher demands it. If they notice it's for the wrong time, burst into tears, whine, howl. Demand that they stop picking on you. Businesses hate scenes, especially with kids. Or buy tickets for "Tarzan," then, when the ushers stop paying attention, dart into the verboten movie. If you get caught or expelled, tell them you made a mistake, go back into "Tarzan" and try it again.

- Or get a few of your friends together and demonstrate against especially rigid theaters. Write nasty letters about them to the local paper. The very idea of protesting these silly restrictions would make news. There is no publicity a movie chain wants less than to have local kids picketing them, charging violations of their freedom.

-- Adults: Fight Ticket Booth Tyranny. Observe Take A Geek Kid To A Restricted Movie Day this Labor Day. Find a smart 13-year-old who wants to see something off-limits and take him to a movie, or, once during that long weekend, go to a nearby movie theater and help kids trying to get in. Even better, volunteer to take kids you know, too. Buy a ticket to "South Park," walk them in, then watch for a half-hour. It's a funny, biting movie, and the ushers have usually wandered off by the time you want to leave. If they haven't, tell them you're a physician, you got paged and you have an emergency appendectomy to perform. Big corporations like movie chains and video stories (studios, too) hate trouble. They're restricting access to movies because they think it will shut block-headed politicians up. If movie-goers make more noise than the politicians, they'll fold, and quickly. If all else fails, then the Web will become the world's biggest movie chain, a process already underway. Note to entrepeneurs: Time to sell popcorn and Twizzlers online.

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Uhhh... no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780965)

Jon, usually I think you are right on the ball, but unless I missed some sarcasm here, I gotta say you blew this one. You say yourself that the decision should be up to a kid OR HIS PARENTS. And then you suggest that we hang out in lobbies and sneak strangers' kids into theaters with our ticket stubs or through other trickery. If I was a theater manager, I would have you arrested. If I was a parent, I would sue. What are you thinking?

Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780966)

Nine-year-olds have no business seeing American Pie or Southpark. Use some common sense! These movies aren't for children!

And what's the deal with all of this sneaking into theater crap? I don't want stupid little kids screaming and acting like kids while I'm trying to watch a movie.

"The ascending Geek Nation"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780967)

Oh, please.

Who nominated Katz the spokesman for "the Geek Community", anyway? I'm getting rather tired of Katz telling us (and others) how geeks do and don't think.

Re:Get lost Katz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780968)

Sheesh, being a geek is bad enough.. what's it like for Katz to be a geek wannabie.. :)

Seriously, I'm starting to get majorly aggravated by Katz taking any controversial issue and doing a square-peg-into-round-hole job of forcing it into a "Geek Issue". Well, it gets him what he wants -- attention. Not so much because he's "serving the needs and interests of geeks", but simply because it's a charged issue.

Okay, it was funny once.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780969)

I thought what Katz did was funny, and even admirable in some ways for standing up to what he perceives a broken system. If you want to do something like that yourself, fine -- more power to you. But trying to organize a national campaign around sneaking into theaters -- even if the cause is just -- strikes me as kind of childish.

You suck Katz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780970)

You are not a geek.
You are stupid to say that nine year olds should be brought to a movie like South Park. That's a movie that only people over 13 should see, as is Amercian Pie and especially Somthing About Mary.
You do not speak for anyone here, obviously everyone disagrees with you, and finally... is taking kids to R movies really helping anything? You're not breaking the law, and your only supporting the movie industry. Your suggestion to "MP3 'em!" shows just how little technical understanding you have. Get lost. We need a real colunisit here.

Isn't Katz contradicting his own argument? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780971)

I thought he was arguing not that children should have the right to watch movies unsupervised, but that parents should have the right to allow their children to watch movies unsupervised. Sneaking kids into the theater addresses the first issue but not the second -- unless you're sneaking them in with their parents' consent, which is kind of weird if you're not their parent.

Re:Restrictions on the adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780972)

"Old enough to die for your country, but not to buy tickets to a scary movie"??

Katz Quickly Running Out Of Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780973)

Surely you can think of better forms of social progress than taking an eight year old to American Pie.

Are we doomed to be lo-brow? What ever happened to protesting the banning of classic texts in libraries, freedom to obtain sex education...etc. Is the best we can do is protest access to South Park?

Then again, this is Katz. He's a decent journeyman writer, but he's not overly intelligent or resourceful on his own. That's why he is published in Slashdot as opposed to The Nation.

Re:Amazing dichotomy of opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780974)

I agreed with almost of all of Part I of this; now, I find myself disagreeing with almost all of part II.
Indeed. Katz should've stopped while he had a good thing going.

Re:"The ascending Geek Nation"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780975)

Yeah, he sucks. I say string him up!

Re:"The ascending Geek Nation"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780976)

Katz is a great representative of the geek community. You should see him bite the head off a chicken...

Katz - So Arrogant It Hurts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780977)

Thanks Jon for removing private parental authority. It would be nice to know that in your world my kids could just wait for someone to "pick them up" at a theater and bring them in even if against my wishes.

I would certainly love to see the anarchists who "pie" people have a whack at you. You are certainly reaching that level of pompous arrogance in your writing, and I'd love to see the wind take out of your sails publically.

Katz sucks Katz sucks Katz sucks Katz sucks.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780978)

Stop trying so hard to be a geek. Geeks do not support this anarchy you seem to think needs so much attention!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Take a Geek Kid to a R-Movie Day" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780979)


I like this plan! But even better, I like the idea of a "Take a Teenage Girl to a Dirty Movie Day". Do you think the wife will mind if I lurk outside suburban cineplexes and ask 14 year old girls if they want to see "Eyes Wide Shut" and maybe have some booze at my place afterwards?

In fact, let's just cut to the chase and have a "Get Young Girls Drunk and Bang 'Em Day". Then we can stop being geeks and start a fraternity!

Re:Ratings, Ratings, Ratings. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780980)

> Movie ratings are not law, they are guidelines
> for parents. If we don't stop treating them as
> laws, they will become laws.

I'm British, and here the board of censors classifies all films. Films with mild swearing are rated 12, films with violence are rated 15 and films with sexual content are rated 18. If you are younger than the appropriate age then you don't get to watch the film.

In England, we consider legally imposed age limits to be a fact of life. You can't buy alcohol until you are 18, you can't buy pornographic magazines until you are 18, you can't buy cigarettes until you are 16. Buying cinema tickets is similarly restricted, along with having a tattoo. There are moves to restrict body piercing in the same way. I don't see the problem with any of this. A fourteen year old kid is old enough to go to town to shop but not old enough to buy alcohol. Same thing applies to watching violent (or otherwise inappropriate) films.

You might argue about the age boundary, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

Nine Year Olds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780981)

While reading your remarks about nine year olds and movies like Something About Mary and American Pie, I must say you're dead wrong there.
I have a little brother who recently turned nine, and when I go home for a holiday, what do I do? I play descent with him (takes after me, yup), I help him beat games on his PlayStation, or we play a few rounds of chess. Sometimes we'll pull out the transformers and GI Joes I gave him, and we'll play with those. Then, if a movie is watched, it's one of his two favorites: Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back. (I raised him well... he's a regular me raised twelve years later)
The thing is, he's a very nice kid, and I don't think I know any of his nine year old friends who would even GET half the jokes in South Park, or Something About Mary (Haven't seen American Pie yet, I love college budgeting...) I think the last movie he really wanted to see was Wild Wild West, and that was only because of the cool spider.
Just as an opinion of an older brother looking at my little brother's life, it seems that at this time he's not interested in sex, politics, or any other sort of bodily humor (politics is FULL of bodily humor... Janet Reno... Need I say more?), but rather he's interested in really cool looking aliens and space ships and explosions on ID4, Aliens (yes, he has watched that, and loves it), and Blade Runner.
But that's just nine year olds. I think when I started my middle school years (grades 7-9 here) is when I really became interested in weird movies like those. If South Park was out then, there would be no doubt that I as a twelve year old would've been there, sneaking in anyway possible. As a nine year old, I would've been playing Metroid at home...

Just the thoughts of someone insane...

Sneak a child into the theatre? BAD IDEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780982)

That is unless you like being arrested as some sort of pedophile. If you were caught doing such a STUPID thing the possible misconceptions could get you in a LOT of trouble. NOTE: People extremely sensitive re: their children.

Let the kids sneak in on their own.

Christian Slashdot?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780983)

Sheesh. Exactly what is wrong with Christianity today. If you can't make people behave the way you want, at least isolate yourselves in your own little sanctuary.

I agree with Katz writing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1780984)

Because I'm a geek wannabe too, and I don't have the slightest idea of what I'm talking about!

Get lost Katz (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1781073)

First off, you haven't gotten it through your head yet, you are not a "geek". No matter how much you try to be one of "us" you are below the social status of "geekdom" and have fallen directly to the rank of loserville.

Secondly, those rules are in place so children can go to the theaters without parents tagging along. I should be able to drop my kids off so they can have fun without "dad" tagging along, and hopefully assume that the theaters are going to enforce the legal obligation they have to bar youngsters from R rated movies. This is not something they made up, this is law.

Why not suggest that 12 year olds should be able to buy cigarettes?

What a dumb jerk. This guy is probably the biggest lump of dead weight holding slashdot back from greatness.

Ratings, Ratings, Ratings. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1781074)

Movie ratings are not law, they are guidelines for parents. If we don't stop treating them as laws, they will become laws.

The next stop is your TV, were you will be arested because you didn't use the V-Chip to lockout Tom and Jerry's violent contenet.

See you in Russia, oh wait, we're already there.

Re:A parent's side [More MPAA Hypocrisy] (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1781075)

Thanks for that link to Screen It. I just thought I'd point out something that I found rather funny:

I haven't seen the Blair Witch Project yet. I'm planning on seeing it this Friday. I find it pretty amusing that, as scary as it looks, and as much as it will probably give your kids nightmares, it is only rated R because of language.

Pretty messed up if you ask me.

Amazing dichotomy of opinion (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1781080)

I agreed with almost of all of Part I of this; now, I find myself disagreeing with almost all of part II. Certainly, if the kids' parents come to the theater and say "Yes it's perfectly acceptable to me that my children watch this movie that I'm buying the tickets for", the theater has no business contravening that. I for one don't think that South Park is appropriate fare for the average 14-year-old, and probably wouldn't let my kids see it if I had any, but it's very much not my decision to make on behalf of anyone else's children.
What Katz is advocating in Part II, however, is exactly that - that we usher minors into the theater, regardless of whether their parents want them to see the film. It would be a different thing if he were saying, "Find someone whose mother wants him to see the movie, but doesn't want to watch it herself, and take him in (i.e. fulfill the "Guardian" part of "Children under 17 not admitted without Parent or Guardian" - which, were it applied rationally across the entire film spectrum, I would have no quarrel with), but by suggesting that we bring in random teenagers who are likely to be at the theater in defiance of parental order, we become guilty of the same offence as the system he wants us to flout.
I will, however, make a point of going to a non-General Cinema theater if I ever get around to watching the movie for myself.

Mmmmm.....crack (2)

Enry (630) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781097)

You never even watched South Park, did you. Or if you did, you never recognized the message that was throughout.

Thw whole point of the movie is that parents do not take adequate responsibility for their actions, or their kids. Had Stan's mom just said "these are the reasons why Terrence and Philip are bad for you" and outlined them, everything would have been solved. But the movie would have been about 10 minutes long and not that funny. But no, the "blame everyone but me" that seems rampant through the country is what made the movie so timely and funny.

The movie theater is trying to make a buck while enforcing the laws that let them operate. You may remember a month or two ago when Washington and the Movie Theater Lobby agreed on ID checks for R movies. Turns out South Park is the first movie that really falls under this since up till now, it's been the same ol boring "Notting Hill" and "Wild Wild West". Oh, and that Star Wars movie. As it is, the theaters barely make $1 off your $8.50 movie ticket. The rest goes to the movie house. That's why they're always willing to hand out free tix, and why the concession is always so darn expensive. Watching the movie in MOV or AVI format is not only (still) illegal, but won't really hit the theater all that much.

Jon, you are an insult to anyone with a technical bone in their body. All you're doing is providing fodder to RIAA and making those of us who actually own CDs and rip them for strictly personal use look bad. Thanks for nothing.

Please stop it (1)

/dev/niall (1043) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781105)

This could be an annual event in the ascending Geek Nation.

I read maybe one in three of your editorials. Each time I ask myself why I don't have you filtered out in my preference settings. I'm going to stop wondering, because right after I post this I'm going to edit my settings and rid myself of your inane prattle for good.
You are a the first geek groupie I've ever seen, and you make me sick. You have your head so far up the ass of the "community" you yearn to be part of you can't see what's apparent to everyone else:

There is no geek nation. There is no, one uber-community. There is no one definition of a geek.

What's pissed me off this time is your wannabe anarchic tendencies, as usual, fiercely misplaced.

I'd like to think we could live in a world without mandatory age limits on media, where parents or children themselves would have the right and responsibility to decide what they can and cannot see. If I didn't want my eight year-old daughter to see "Seven" (a particularly disturbing movie. In my opinion, an excellent movie; but very hard to explain to a child), I would tell her so, and I wouldn't bring her. I don't need the government, or movie industry to police me or my children, I've just done it myself.

Now I have to worry about some depraved anarchic arsehole camping outside movie theaters, luring small children in to watch potentially mature content without their parent's knowledge, just so they can satisfy some sick need to feel a part of a non-existent community? Um, hate to break it to you, but you're the reason they're able to pass these stupid laws.

Why don't you go work for Matt Drudge or something.

Re:The solution (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781106)

But they'll catch on when it hits rental and therental places report that they can't get enough copies to fill demand for weeks on end.

As a side effect, maybe it'll send a message about theatre prices as well.

The solution (3)

sjames (1099) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781109)

Hitting them in the pocket is the only solution that will work. If you help kids get into the movie, you risk violating their parent's wishes.

Also, the managers win if you help the kids get in. That way, they get the money, AND get to claim moral superiority (right or wrong).

Protesting is too likely to get the wrong media spin with the manager portrayed as the victim.

What will work, is 100% legal, and runs no risk is for adults and kids to boycott the theaters that do this. If all of them do it, wait for the movie to come out on pay per-view or rental. Nothing speaks louder than a theatre full of empty seats. If they won't let you decide to let your kids see an R rated movie there, don't go there for ANY movie. After all, just because they're not causing a problem for a G rated movie doesn't mean their attitude has improved. Why support them at all?

Orderly picketing could work in conjunction with a boycott, but leave as soon as confrontation becomes an issue. The objective is to inform others, not cause a scene.

Lame activism (5)

CaseyB (1105) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781110)

- Hit them in their pocketbooks. " If movie chains are going to refuse admission to movies that contain explicit sexual imagery or profanity, MP3 them. Download the movies on ICQ or Hotline...

So, because the theatre won't let them in to see this great South Park movie, they should punish the creators of South Park financially. Am I missing something?

-- Adults: Fight Ticket Booth Tyranny. Observe Take A Geek Kid To A Restricted Movie Day this Labor Day. Find a smart 13-year-old who wants to see something off-limits and take him to a movie, or, once during that long weekend, go to a nearby movie theater and help kids trying to get in.

If you're got the time and energy fight for a "cause", then PLEASE use that valuable initiative to do something USEFUL, instead of annoying minimum-wage employees while they're working. Go volunteer at a shelter, pick up litter, anything.

This is the lamest rant I've ever seen. Did venting some frustration over silly policy at a theatre really require a two-part article on slashdot?

Re:People can be so lame... (1)

Gregg M (2076) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781119)

If I'm old enough to drive, I should be old enough to go into an R movie.

You know you right... you should wait till your 21 to drive! heh eh
If your old enough to go to war you should be allowed to drink!
Ok But first you have to go to war. We'll deliver the brew.

Sorry but as you *well* know you don't have to be responsible at 17 years, (judging from a recent outdoor concert!) but sometime, somewhere, some one should be. That should be someones parents.
We are always talking about movie studios making better cleaner, less violent movies. Why should they when we can't even stand up to 17 year old in a theater.

Re:You frickin geeks take things too literally... (1)

KevCo (2333) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781122)

No, it's just annoying to see someone making obvious technical errors on a "news for nerds" site. Just like suggesting that the movie be traded via ICQ? I can just see ICQing 200MB+ files to each other. Ha!

The fact is that American Pie and South Park have both been actively posted and reposted and reposted yet again on usenet for the past few weeks.

Call-Your-Movie-Theatre Day (1)

ultrapenguin (2643) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781125)

Hey, since Katz can do it so can I. I now pronounce today Call-Your-Movie-Theatre Day.

Tell them what you think, but by all means do NOT just follow the ravings of Katz. If you (like me) feel that the movie theatre's are actually right to not allow kids into these shows and the like, call them and tell them you agree!

If you want to get your kids into these shows without you, call and complain.

Whatever you do, don't try to fix the system by lying, cheating, stealing, or getting yourself arrested (or sued) by sneaking someone elses kid into the theatre to see soemthing they are really to young to see.

And on the side: Anyone interested in setting up a Christian version of Slashdot? Email me [mailto] .
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

Re:You frickin geeks take things too literally... (1)

Andrew Lockhart (4470) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781133)

Actually, when my friends and I lived in dorms we would ICQ large iso images of games to each other. But that's besides the point, the jest of what Katz said got across. No, he probably didn't mean that you could only use ICQ to send files to each other, but that's what probably first came to mind for him. Perhaps if he was a BOFH, he would have said scp/rdist/ftp whatever. Does this really matter. Hey, I used to be a nitpicky bastard like you. That is until I figured out that most people care less about the "how" than the end result. Katz isn't a technical writer/person. The sooner you realize this, the less time you'll be thinking of ways you can point this out to others here, and the more time you'll have for a real life.

MP3 'em? (1)

krital (4789) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781139)

Huh? How are we gonna manage to get video encoded in an audio format?

Back in the USSR? (0)

Ben Smith (5358) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781140)

Welcome to the 90's President Reagan.

A quote (1)

Ben Smith (5358) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781141)

I believe it was Thoreau who said "if a law or practise is unjust, you are morally obligated to defy it."

I think we would live in a much better world if all lived by that creed.

Breaking the rules! Egads! (1)

Ben Smith (5358) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781142)

Why if kids see movies that have pictures of people's naughty bits in them, what next!

They may end up going to museums and seeing painitngs of nude women or people copulating!

Oh the horrors!

Getting Arrested? (1)

Ben Smith (5358) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781143)

I would proudly go to jail in order to openly defy people who want to perverse the idea of 'morallity' as keeping kids from hearing naughty words. I think what these businesses are doing is much more immorral than anything they play in their theatres.

The idea that they can tell me what MY CHILD should or should not see is infuriating. It is my job to be parent. Not theirs.

ESR & Katz listen up: geeks != libertarians (1)

Nemesys (6004) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781149)

At least, not all of them!

Re:MP3 'em? (0)

ruud (7631) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781157)

MP3 audio files are a subset of the MP3 av spec.

Actually, MP3 audio files are layer 3 of an MPEG 1 stream.

Take a *geek* kid to a restricted movie? (2)

ruud (7631) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781158)

Take a geek kid to a restricted movie
Why only geek kids?

suggestions (1)

Quarm (9829) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781163)

I see all these people talking about how they hate Katz's writing (style) blah, blah, blah. While he may not be a geek himself, I noticed that he covers the high school aged people he's writing (mostly) about very well. I myself am a Junior in college, so it doesn't affect me all that much. But just think about if you were their age, then maybe you wouldn't hate him so much.

Anyway, some of these suggestions are rather lame, like the whole take a geek to a movie day?! How bout, just take a "shapable, formable, don't let him/her see that, young mind" to a movie day, to let them see what they are missing out on.

Picketing would always be a good grassroots way to go about it, and I'd consider doing something like that, except I go to MSU, and you know how that'd wind up?! In riots! :(

Downloading the movie isn't that bad either. Because first of all, the movie theaters don't own the rights to the movie, they just have the privilege to make some money off of it, and show it. Second of all, these large corporations own us any damn way. I don't care how much you protest that, the only way no one is owned is if they do everything, EVERYTHING for themselves. And even then you have to get natural resources, in which case the earth would own you. And doesn't the government pirate us everyday of our lives? Look at ECHELON for fucks sake. They aren't paying me to use me. Shit. That's just the way it works. And anyone who thinks this still isn't good enough, look at it this way. No one owns anything anyway. Property is theft. Once you die, it's not yours any more.

And fuck that copyright crap that your gonna throw in my face. The egytpians never had copyright, the latin speakers never had's just a pretentious lie created by the people in power. End of story.


Re:Its worse than you think (1)

sgifford (9982) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781164)

My girlfriend and I are 25 and 24, respectively.
National Amusements *still* wouldn't let us buy
tickets for friends that were meeting us there.

So much for corporate policy...

My attack strategy would be to have your friends
show up right when the movie is about to start,
be surprised they have to wait through the line
to get tickets, and after the movie demand a
refund for their two tickets because the
unexpected policy change made them miss the start
of the movie.

It might not work, but it would be fun! :)

A parent's side (5)

lar3ry (10905) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781168)

I may not be as eloquent as Jon, but as a parent, it is *I* or my wife that makes the decision as to which movies my daughters (ages 10 and 11) can see. Right now, they'd love to see South Park, but my wife dislikes the show, so we'll wait for it to come out on video. They have shown no interest in American Pie, and they laughed at Something About Mary last year (they didn't understand some of the scenes).

Right now, we are kind of lucky in that whatever intrigues the girls is something that either my wife or I would like to see. Otherwise, we try to convince the kids to wait until it comes out on video... this is usually a short wait.

Will I take them to see Eyes Wide Shut? Perhaps not. We made a similar decision years ago with Sliver.

But in each and every one of these cases, it was my wife and I that made the decisions as to the suitability of a movie for our children. We don't necessarily trust an MPAA rating; they are inconsistantly applied. There are other services right here on the web such as Screen It [] which gives a lot more information about a particular movie than any single R or PG13 could do.

Perhaps Clinton and Congress are bemoaning the lack of parental responsibility in this country. I may be the exception rather than the rule in how I make my judgments; I cannot talk for other parents.

Having the MPAA's rating system "enforced" by theatre managers is silly, and is deserving of all the contempt you can give it.

However, Jon's suggestion that adults hang out and pick up minors to "escort" them to see a movie sends chills up and down my spine. If I were to see that, I'd probably alert the authorities.

That's just my opinion.

I'm not their Guardian... (1)

korc (11064) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781170)

There's no way I'm going to usurp a parent's prerogative and take their kids to a "restricted" movie against the parent's will. That's for the parents to decide. You are right in that theaters are behaving in a distinctly big-brother fashion and should be told by parents in no uncertain terms where to put their rules, but that's for parents of the kids affected to do, not me.

I don't have kids. I freely admit I'm an outsider on this issue, but damn, if I were a parent, I would do my best to make sure I knew what my child was watching at the theater. The MPAA provides a useful service to a degree[1] but the parent must do a little research (read a review?) to determine whether or not they want their child to see it.

This is not an issue for theaters to enforce, but neither is it ours to destroy, Jon. Let the parents guard their children, that's what they're for.

[1] The arguments about the MPAA are numerous and growing daily, thanks to South Park and American Pie (which took 4 tries to make "R")---suffice to say I think they should be stripped of any power to do anything except watch a movie and provide a summary of "offensive" behavior

Bonkers (1)

Bowdie (11884) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781177)

Go for it, sneak kids into movie houses, encourage piracy. Just don't complain when the people who you annoy doing this, the people whos earning potential you are directly affecting, decide to dig their heels in and really become arseholes.

There's nothing decent about helping kids whos parents don't want them to see a film sneak in and watch. They arn't your kids, it's not your business to "educate" them. I love going to the movies, I have a 5.1 home cinema system sitting in my living room at home, but nothing beats the big screen! (as a cinema house chain in England used to say) I'll disagree with anyone at the drop of a hat, but these people are entitled to raise their kids how they want. (however bad that may be) I don't have any kids, but I'd freak if I told my child not to do a certain thing (not that I can see myself ever doing such a thing), and then a perfect stranger helped them defy my wishes.

Under nine? (1)

Y (13582) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781198)

I have a sister (8) who I would not like to be seeing South Park. That being said, I think it's up to the parents to ensure that their kids have a sense of morals and that the child grows into a responsible adult. Blaming the media for violence is unjustified - the things that the 6 o'clock news and the tabloid TV magazines target - violent movies, music with dubious messages - are not causes but are sometimes symptoms of a larger problem, e.g., abuse, alienation. Young kids who face these problems and listen to industrial music or whatever do so because they identify with the message coming from the music, not the other way around. Watching a violent movie has never in and of itself led to a violent outburst in real life. People don't live in a vacuum.

I wonder if the media (news vendors) have ever stopped to think that maybe they contribute to the hysteria over school violence by covering the stories until the people immediately involved are tired of the privacy invasion and want to recover from the ordeal without the help of 20/20.

This is the real problem! (2)

Octorian (14086) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781199)

The problem isn't that little kids can't get into R-rated movies by themselves. Frankly, I agree with that point of view. The problem is that R is way to broad a rating.

"R" can mean anything from too interesting and mature for little children, to gorry violence with sex scenes. I used to see R rated movies with my father all the time when I was younger. And none of then had any content that anyone would feel funny about letting anyone see. They really need to divide the R rating so that most such movies can be viewed by anyone over 15. (without parents.) At 15, anyone is mature enough to see most R rated movies.

I was really ticked off by the theater when I saw Southpark with one of my friends. We both had to show ID (he's 17 and I'm 18) when entering the theater. Then, once seated, some guy came in to check our stubs! And we look our ages.

Re:The solution (1)

Dr Drew (15165) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781206)

The only problem here is that the message a theater full of empty seats sends is that the movie is a flop. This leads to these sort of movies not being picked up by hollywood because they are "failures" and the people who protested the movie in the first place win.

Re:The solution (1)

Dr Drew (15165) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781207)

Theoretically, that could work, since it would be a big deal if some movie flopped in theaters but made billions in rentals. The problems are: films would make much less money since instead of 5 people paying for their tickets, one guy rents to movie and they all see it, and that the media tracks success of a film by its box office success, and ultimately, the media is the driving force of the industry.

Don't contradict yourself, man (2)

Dr Drew (15165) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781210)

In general, I tend to agree with most of Katz' writing. But in this article, he first advocates "hitting them in the pocketbook", by NOT going to the movies and finding other ways of seeing them, claiming that this is a good way to fight back, since the declining profits would force theaters to take notice. Then he goes on to say "Take a Geek Kid to a Movie", essentially, "Give the Theaters More Business than they Legally Deserve". These points really conflict. You can't fight a war on conflicting fronts. If you are going to take a position and make a stand, that's fine, but this article falls apart in its attempt to show diverse methods of attack.

The other problem here is Quality of Life crimes. It's a big issue that at least the NYC government has been working to combat. It has been shown that turnstile hoppers, and guys who run red lights often have other criminal records. In other words, if someone breaks the law, they have a tendency to really BREAK THE LAW. Katz is advocating kids sneaking into theaters, taking stubs for other showings (not paying), and adults showing them that lying to break the law is a Good Thing. Since his recent theme is that parents need to show their kids the Right Way to act, and teach them to be Good People, this is completely against everything he seems to stand for. I advocate complaining, writing to congressmen, and making a scene, but blatant disregard for rules and the law is no way to teach kids the Right Way to live.

I urge Jon Katz to put a little more thought in before he writes his articles to make sure he isn't just writing popular ideas and reactionary statements, but really making a quality point.

Off-target (1)

Legion (15548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781212)

Nice ideas, man, but wrong target. As you say, the people working at the theaters & enforcing the rules are no older than the people they're pissing off. The people making the rules are the corporate fat-cats that own the mega-chains, and they're so insulated they wouldn't know a geek-boycott if it fell on 'em. These rules are low-IQ knee-jerk reactions to current event, and they too will pass. The REAL root of the problem here is just what Matt & Trey are the latest in a long line of moviemakers to cry foul about; Jack Valenti and his MPAA goon squad. These hypocritical, sanctimonious (oooohhh... big words) bastards feel compelled to 'protect' us from foul language & sex, while realistic ultra-violence and drug abuse is perfectly ok for kids of all ages. When I went to see 'Starship Troopers', there was a guy a couple of rows back with his daughter, who couldn't have been more than 8. I don't know if they stayed through the whole show, but that movie was damn disturbing, and got off much easier that South Park. Unfortunately, I can't think of any way to really affect the MPAA's stranglehold on America movies. Atleast Valenti's old and will probably be dead before my children have to suffer through his personal brand of 'morality'...

Jon, Jon, Jon.... (0)

Ripp (17047) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781216)

My advice to you is this: lay off the pipe, man.

With all of the other interesting things you could write about, do you really have to advocate film piracy? Breaking the rules? Jiminy Crickets... This one takes the cake.

In a word, childish. This is what kids do when there's rules that won't let them do what they want. *waaaaaah* That's life. Cope.

Isn't this how it all started? (2)

Pope (17780) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781218)

Squawk. Complain to theater managers; call and write movie chains.
Tell them we don't want them making moral judments about what kids should see

Buuut...didn't this whole thing start when the "right-minded"
decided that they didn't like what was possibly going on
(god forbid they actually see the offending movie) and start complaining to the theatre owners,
movie studios, etc.?
How useful is complaining when the fools have already had their say
and the studios et al are knuckling under?
This whole "protect the children" crap has gone too far, and most theatre owners
would probably deal with not letting kids in than having the local PTA/church/whatever
keep hounding them.

But, by all means, go for it!

Hell, I got carded when I went to see Heat for god's sake!
Not only was I 24 at the time, but I was seeing it out in the sticks (some mall in Oshawa, ONT).
If I had seen it back in Toronto, there was no way they would have looked twice at me.
So, carding has been in place at some theatres, apparently.


I need my sarcasm detector recalibrated (1)

m_vand (18198) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781219)

because I keep rereading this, and it looks like he is serious when he suggests that we violate copyright law, and serious when he suggests that adults expose themselves to lawsuits filed by children's parents.

It is not a decision that parents and children should be making for themselves. It is a decision that the parents should be making. It is most definitely not a decision that Katz should be making.

These sorts of antics are the reason why the theaters feel the need to resort to the "tyranny" that Katz describes. If a teenager tries to sneak into a movie theater, that's civil disobedience. If Katz takes my child into an R rated movie, that's actionable.

My daughter is an intelligent, well-balanced 7 year old. I may delegate to her the decision to see more adult movies when she is older, yet younger than 17. It will be decided by my wife and I, not Katz.

Re:Take a *geek* kid to a restricted movie? (1)

m_vand (18198) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781220)

Because by using the work geek, and (improperly) referring to MP3s, it somehow makes it on topic for /.

Too Far? (1)

digsean (19076) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781224)

Im sorry people. I TOTALLY agree with what Katz said in his first essay. But some of the things in this are just not the right way to do things.

If you do any act of protest, do it within the rules.

Picket Line = Good
Complaining = Good
Sneaking in = BAD!
Copy = BAD!

Stay within the law!!

Re:but there are two sides (1)

Lucifer (19222) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781225)

Eyes Wide Shut:

According to an NPR story, Mr. Kubrick did the editing while he was still alive. "I promised the studio an R rating, and they are going to get an R rating."

Is NPR lying? Enquiring minds want to know!

Re:Get lost Katz (2)

Lucifer (19222) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781226)

Actually, it is NOT the law. The Motion Picture Association ratings system is a set of guidelines, not a part of U.S. law. You can't get arrested for going to a movie you don't aren't old enough for. The worst they can do (if you have at least bought a ticket to SOMETHING showing at the theater) is to make you go to the movie your ticket is for. If they should decide to eject you from the premises, they must refund the purchase price of the ticket!

Re:[OT]MP3 'em? (1)

QuMa (19440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781227)

What does layer 3 really mean? Is it just another /codec/, or does it mean something else? COULD video be encoded to mp3, or would that be mpeg with an mp3 audio stream? Any pointers, url's, hints, braincells appreciated.

Katz, you need to pause and breathe for a minute (1)

Jim Morash (20750) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781238)

"Take a Geek Kid to a Restricted Movie Day"??

Please be so kind as to avoid trying to speak for a group of people as diverse as /. readers. I'm getting sick of your self-promoting opportunism.

I think censorship is wrong. I think parents should be allowed to let their kids see what they want to, provided that the parents talk about it with their kids afterwards... the South Park movie is a great example of something that's disgusting, ridiculous, and violent, but also hilarious, clever, and thoughtful. Kids could learn more from it than just the words to "Uncle Fucka".
But you're not addressing that at all. In your usual style, you're making vague, poorly-worded pronouncements and calls to arms - and in doing so, insulting the people you used to ride to fame.

What is it about "geeks" that you find so attractive? Why do you try to hard to wedge your way into this community despite your obvious lack of any of its defining qualities?

And why should only "geek" kids be taken to see supposedly inappropriate movies?

Is this going to work? (2)

Floris (21037) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781240)

Is this going to work? I can tell you right now that a lot of people in the "geek community" are only idealistic to a certain point - and I'm not certain it extends all the way to "Take A Geek Kid To A Restricted Movie Day", petitions and demonstrations.

Movie ratings just aren't oppressive enough to anger people. We're lazy about this sort of thing.
A shame, really.
We should fight all forms of opression, and be fanatic to the point of being unreasonable about it. Maybe then we'll be heard. They sure listen to other fanatics. (see "decency guardians")

Dunno what yer complaining about (1)

Ratface (21117) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781241)

In the UK, Southpark (which hasn't had it's release yet) will almost certainly be rated 18 (and quite possibly be cut to pieces as well, making a mockery of the title no doubt). 18 means EXACTLY what it says - no kids at all, even people who are old enough to reproduce and marry will be barred from seeing the film.

(Disclaimer - I'm no longer in the UK, so I'm not sure what the actual rating will be - but my guess would be 18)

To hear that US kids can get to see a film like SP or Eyes Wide Shut even WITH an adult sounds like a pretty good deal to me. If I were a kid in the UK, I can imagine I would find it pretty hard to get to see this until the video release.

damn... (1)

Misha (21355) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781246)

every time i think that the people whose opinions i read have sunk to the absolute zero of intelligence, they go on and write a part two of what might have been a good article on an important issue. and totally make an even bigger fool of themselves.

if (me.isGeek() && me.isAnarchist()) {

Re:Uhhh... no. (1)

jslag (21657) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781248)

I think arrest/lawsuit would be going a bit too far, but other than that, you make a good point. The last thing that we need to be doing is further undermining parent's abilities to make decisions regarding the raising of their own children.

Re:Uhhh... no. (1)

bliss (21836) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781249)

Real mature get someone of that stature busted just to serve an injust law. Sounds quite similar to the reactions of southern whites to actions of the Freedom Riders, etc.

Re:A quote (1)

Madduck (23916) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781252)

What Thoreau said was

"Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?....I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves abolitionsists should at once efffectively withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them....Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors, consitutes a majority of one already."

Restrictions on the adults (3)

JatTDB (29747) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781268)

Yesterday, myself and 2 coworkers of mine wanted to go see Blair Witch Project. One of the guys was taking a training class that was only a mile or so away from the theater, so he went to go pick up tickets for all of us (it's been sold out constantly around here). They told him he couldn't buy multiple tickets because he's only 20, and they had just instituted a policy that you must be 25 or older to purchase tickets. Never mind that he was buying the tickets for people older than himself (I'm 22, the other guy is 23). Being quite angry at this, we started looking for ways around it. The theater was too far away to possibly make a lunch-hour ticket run.

We called up Moviephone, and purchased 3 tickets with absolutely no problem in 1 order. Anyone with a credit card could do this. At the theater, they asked for the ID of the guy who ordered them, but didn't ask to see my ID or the ID of the other guy I was with. And we weren't too obviously together, we had stood aside while he went through the line to get the tickets.

Now you're probably saying this is all fine and dandy because we were able to see a movie we were legally allowed to see without too much more trouble. And I'd agree. Except that Moviephone charges a $1.50 service charge _per ticket_. Yeah, that's not a lot of money, but it's the principle of the thing. We had to pay extra to see something perfectly legal and allowable for us to see because of a damn stupid rule.

The children don't need any protection mandated by government or corporations. If you don't want your kids to see it, that's fine. If they manage to see it anyway, then you need to work on your parenting skills.

Nine?!? (2)

Bob Uhl (30977) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781273)

I have seen There's Something About Mary and South Park. I didn't really like either; the laugh-to-groan ratio was way too low (much like the latest Austin Powers flick; nowhere near as good as the first). The real issue, though, is when Katz states that they are fine for nine yr. olds.

Pardon? I don't think that a nine yr. old needs to see a fellow jacking off, or Saddam Hussein waving penises at Satan. Granted, I can see little wrong with letting a sixteen yr. old in; by the time one hits that age one is pretty used to the world. But nine is way too young. Hell, when I was nine I still thought girls had cooties (man was I wrong...).

For that matter, I didn't need to see them. I watched TSAM on a trans-Atlantic flight, so it was basically wasted time anyway. SP was just a complete waste of time and money IMHO. I've enjoyed the show (Heidy-ho Kyle! Respect my authority! OMGTKK! YB!) to a certain extent, but the movie was a) over the top b) inordinately crude and worst of all c) just not funny enough. I can forgive just about anything if the movie ends up being funny, but SP just wasn't. I realise that I am in the minority here.

But back to my prev. point: kids twelve and under shouldn't be let in to see R movies. There's generally a reason why they're R. Granted, some movies get the wrong rating, but I cannot recall the last such one.

The idea that a movie cannot harm is false for several reasons. The biggest is this: GIGO. Yes, just like a computer, our own output is a function of the inputs we have received over the years. If we've grown up watching our fathers beat our mothers, we too are likely to do the same (or poss. become extremely non-violent; the point is that it affects us). If we grow up watching propaganda we are likely to believe it (e.g: how many people now believe that the Serbs are a) evil and b) allied with the Nazis in WWII?). If we grow up watching violent movies filled with filth, gore, perversion and debauchery, then our threshold for that sort of thing is raised.

No, going to see Pulp Fiction does not make anyone (well, hardly anyone--the mentally unstable are another matter entirely) a murderer. But it raises the threshold just a hair. Add that up over the years and you get a very definite coarsening effect.

I may sound ridiculous. Ask any parent about how kids behave after seeing a movie. Even teenagers get more or less agressive for days to weeks after seeing movies. I am not advocating a ban on movies. For all sorts of reasons that would be a bad idea. But a reasonable sense of restraint is in order.

Jon Katz seems incapable of exercising that restraint.

Part 1: Good. Part 2: WTF? (3)

Patman (32745) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781284)

OK, Jon, Part 1 had a good point - that movie theaters were restricting kids who obviously had parental permission because they weren't following some silly rule.

However, in Part 2, you lost out. What kind of crap is this? Take 13 or 9 year olds to movies like SP or American Pie? Kids - lie to anyone and everyone! It's OK! Parents - lie, cheat and steal rather then spend time with your kids. Here's a clue, Jon - just because a kid WANTS to see something doesn't mean that he or she is mature enough or ready to see it. That's one of the reasons that these restrictions are in place - to make sure that parents know what their children are watching, so that they can keep an eye on them. You've got this idea stuck in your head that people are mature enough from Day One, or that somehow, people become mature at a young age, like four. That's absolutely nuts. And, what is this crap about lying to get into the theater? What the hell kind of moral message is that? "Here, kids, it's OK to do whatever you want to get whatever you want! It's OK! Adults! Lie as well! Pretend you're a priest! Or a doctor! Hell, pretend you're a cop and arrest them! That'd be a great day!" C'mon, Jon. This has got to be one of the dumbest things that you have ever written. If kids want to see a film, and their parents won't let them, who are you to decide they are wrong? If the parents do care, they can sit through the movie for a couple hours. Yeah, it'd be spending time with them, which a lot of parents today would rather pull out their teeth then do, but maybe, for once, they could actually find out what their children are really like.

is katz an Ontological Anarchist? (1)

nmarshall (33189) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781288)

never would have thought that katz, was into ONTOLOGICAL ANARCHISM...
dude jon, have you been reading Hakim Bey's T. A. Z. [] ?
cause this sound just like something bey would say. hmmm, guess jon has grown out of 'trying to be geek' to 'trying to be hip'? or am i insane?

#include "standard_disclaimer.h"

Re:How old are you?? (1)

DaPhreaker (33196) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781289)

The whole point to his article is it does not matter what you think. It matters only to the parents and the kids. Basically if it is not your kid then shut up.

That's what it is in Canada (1)

MatriXOracle (33400) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781290)

Up here, South Park and American Pie are AA-14, "adult rccompaniment required under age 14." Eyes Wide Shut is R, which is "no admittance under age 18." We don't have an NC-17, which means that the uncensored Eyes Wide Shut orgy scene would have been allowed here, but because Canada is considered part of the US movie market, we got the censored version, just because you guys can't figure out a goddam ratings system that works.

You frickin geeks take things too literally... (2)

MatriXOracle (33400) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781291)

He means bootleg the movies in whatever format you want to... just like making an MP3 of a song and putting it on the net is bootlegging. He's not suggesting you put the movie in MP3. Frig, you people have narrow, literal minds...

Anti-parenting? (4)

El Volio (40489) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781307)

that adults ought not be forced to intrude on their children's privacy
Does anyone else see a problem here? Isn't that sometimes a parent's job? IOW, there are times when a parent has to "intrude on their children's privacy" to assure that their kids are being raised the way they see fit. My parents restricted what I could watch when I was a kid (I'm 23 and married now), and I'm glad they did -- it showed me they cared.

So let's see, Katz now advocates illegal acts (like copyright violation and illegally sneaking into movies) as well as a hands-off parenting approach? Doesn't sound like libertarianism, sounds like anarchy.

JonKatz: get a grip. (1)

rjh (40933) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781309)

1. Every time you use the word "geek", I have the sudden urge to throw myself into the middle of traffic. Not everyone is a geek. Hell, most of the cool people in the world aren't geeks. There are people who are exquisitely cool who are complete computer illiterates; what, should we ignore them? "Take a Geek Kid to a Restricted Movie Day". Good grief.

2. You're actually advocating theft of intellectual property just because you feel like being petulant? You're the journalist, so you should be able to answer this question: who does it hurt? Does it hurt the theaters, or does it hurt the studios who make the movies, and who have nothing to do whatsoever with the policies of theaters?

If you make it unprofitable for networks to show Buffy (because everyone's downloading bootlegged videos off the Net), then the networks will simply stop buying Buffy altogether... in which case, there'll be nothing left for "geek kids" to download.

If you make it unprofitable for networks to show South Park -- same reasoning -- then the theaters will just stop showing South Park and use that screen to show the latest chintzy Nicolas Cage action film. The theaters won't get hurt; the creators of South Park will get hurt. Very ethical and highminded of you, you know, hurting people who haven't done anything wrong.

3. You are taking this waaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. There are a great many social and societal ills out there, and you're encouraging us to petition movie theaters about their enforcement of the R rating?

Isn't it the MPAA which assigns R ratings? Why aren't you encouraging people to petition the MPAA to get with the times, instead of encouraging people to harass pimply-faced sixteen year olds working at the theater who are just trying to make an honest buck?

If you must spend your efforts and energies in a futile "Damn The Man!" protest against the movie Powers That Be, then for God's sake, become a Big Brother to some disadvantaged kid. You can take your Little Brother to all the R-rated films that you want, and you might actually make a difference in his life instead of only making a difference in your vague ideology of First Amendment freedoms.

4. Take a Constitutional Law course, for crying out loud. THIS IS NOT A FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUE. Don't make it out to be some horrid infringement of your civil liberties when you don't even know what your civil liberties are, and are not.

This will blow over (1)

teepee (47012) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781333)

Just like every other knee-jerk reaction to some tragedy, the "new" enforcement of age restrictions will blow over. Give it 6 months, and the rules will still be on the books, but nobody will be paying attention.

Re:MP3 'em? (0)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781334)

um, no? mp3 is MPEG1 Layer 3...not MPEG a matter of fact, I don't even think there IS an MPEG3. MPEG4 is maybe what you're thinking (audio/video good stuff).

Re:Lame activism (1)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781335)

"So, because the theatre won't let them in to see this great South Park movie, they should punish the creators of South Park financially. Am I missing something?"

No. You go see it at another theater. Or rent it. The offending theater just doesn't get any money. Anyway, most of their money comes from snack sales.

"If you're got the time and energy fight for a "cause", then PLEASE use that valuable initiative to do something USEFUL, instead of annoying minimum-wage employees while they're working. Go volunteer at a shelter, pick up litter, anything.
This is the lamest rant I've ever seen. Did venting some frustration over silly policy at a theatre really require a two-part article on slashdot?"

What are you doing wasting your time posting on slashdot? Shouldn't you be volunteering at a shelter or taking in stray cats? The "cause" here is that civil liberties are chronically being erroded by a vocal minority. That is unacceptable. Fighting for this cause, and any other cause are not mutually exclusive. duh

Re:You frickin geeks take things too literally... (2)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781346)

"No, it's just annoying to see someone making obvious technical errors on a "news for nerds" site."

As the previous poster said, and perhaps you didn't get, he *probably* meant it "let's MP3 'em", using the noun MP3 as a verb to indicate what MP3 is doing to audio recording..."let's Microsoft 'em" might mean "let's spew FUD and sell free copies of buggier products"

Re:Kubrick (1)

quadong (52475) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781351)

Wrong wrong wrong! Why don't you pay attention sometimes? Kubric wanted the movie to get the R rating in the states and made the changes himself. It was not done after he died or behind his back by greedy, frightened executives. If you don't believe me, call up NPR, which did a report on Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut just yesterday, and ask them about it.

Re:Anti-parenting? (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781353)

>>that adults ought not be forced to intrude on their
>>children's privacy

>Does anyone else see a problem here? Isn't that sometimes
>a parent's job? IOW, there are times when a parent has to
>"intrude on their children's privacy" to assure that their kids
>are being raised the way they see fit. My parents restricted
>what I could watch when I was a kid (I'm 23 and married
>now), and I'm glad they did -- it showed me they cared.

I think you're reading too much into this. Sure, a parent at times needs to invade a child's privacy to make sure things are going ok. But some parents do have some respect for the privacy of their children, and are willing to let them make their own decisions when it's something that's not harmful.

A parent that does not involve themselves with their child's life demonstrates a lack of caring or interest. One that is constantly involved and makes most/all the decisions for the child demonstrates a lack of trust/a desire to control.

His point is that if an adult doesn't want to invade their child's privacy, why should they be forced to? Do they deserve to be told that their method of parenting is totally wrong and harmful?

Re:A quote (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781354)

>I believe it was Thoreau who said "if a law or practise is unjust, you are morally obligated to defy it."

>I think we would live in a much better world if all lived by that creed.

I have to disagree. Simply because people have different feelings about what is just and moral. What about those who think it's just to kill homosexuals? Or those who think it's just to abuse minorities? Following this logic would suggest they go right ahead and beat and kill those they don't like.

This is a blanket statement that cannot be applied to everything because to do so will lead to problems somewhere.

What kind of suggestions are these? (4)

Saige (53303) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781355)

While some of them are perfectly good suggestions, I REALLY have to question some of what's being said here. DOWNLOAD the movie? Advocating pirating a movie just because a theater won't let you see it on the big screen? Sneaking into a movie you haven't paid for?

There are much better ways to handle the situation. Ones that aren't illegal. If a theater won't let the parent leave the children, talk to the manager, and let them know you're not returning if they keep this up. And be loud when talking to them so others know what's going on. Make people aware that the theater is being like this, then go elsewhere.

If no theater will let you do this, just wait a few months and purchase the video/DVD. And make sure to write the offices of the theaters and complain, and get others to do so.

Look, it's just a movie. There are limits as to how far this should be taken. And none of it is worth breaking the law.

I do like some of these, however. I can only smile with the thought of a group of people picketing a theater. I wonder how long it would take to get them to do something - I'm sure they wouldn't like that publicity.

Katz, get lost (1)

Enoch Root (57473) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781370)

Katz, I realize you're probably a good writer outside of Slashdot, but here, your attempts are pathetic.

Before claiming the right to proclaim what is geek and what is not, why don't you study your pet subjects a little more? Right now, you sound to me like a clumsy suit trying to appeal to what he thinks is an undiscovered market. But make no mistake: you are not a geek writer, and possibly even not a writer for geeks.

South Park is filled with geek sensibilities? It was funny as hell, yeah, but I fail to see what was geek about it. Oh, yeah. The scene when we see Cartman's mom in a German sex movie on the Internet.

A good example of a geek writer is Neal Stephenson. Contrast In the beginning was the command line with Katz's writing and see what I mean.

"There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

Katz is way the heck out there... (1)

jplan34 (58271) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781372)

I sincerely hope that Katz is being incredibly sarcastic here, because if he's not, than he is just incredibly wrong. It's one thing to bring kids into the movie. That one particular case was okay Jon, but to organize some kind of ill-conceived campaign to bring children to movies that they have no business seeing is just plain idiocy. I did not see South Park, but two of my friends did. I figured that they would like it more than I would, so I prepared to take what they said about the movie with a grain of salt. However they came back and said it was the worst movie that they had ever seen. They also mentioned that it had scarred them for life. Obviously they were being a bit sarcastic, but the movie apparently had just too much useless and gratuitous sexual content. Before anyone mention their "sheltered" background, I would like to mention that they attend the University of Michigan, a very large public university, and so in fact they are hardly sheltered. What is the point of bringing a twelve year old to such a movie? Arguments to the effect of "they hear it all the time in school" or "they know about it anyway" are just plain bullshit. What kind of logic is that? Example: Junior hears about calculus all the time freshman year of high school, so why don't we just teach him it? Easy you say, he is too young to fully grasp it. That is exactly my point. The children are too young to fully grasp the complexity of some of the themes from South Park. All that is going on is warping of their view of sexuality and the like. People wonder why our society is so immoral, well surprise surprise, maybe it has something to do with what our children are getting exposed to. Well enough of my rant. I know that these views are going directly against some other views of people here. I am open to others, so please feel free to consider taking children to movies. In my opinion, however, doing so is incredibly foolish. For shame Katz, you are a confused person, who obviously has not thought out the implications of what you wrote. Your one action with the 3 kids was fine, but on a grander scale you are headed for trouble.

A little too much... (1)

uberfunk (60264) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781374)

Typically, I agree with Katz.

But a world of typicality (is that a word?) soon becomes boring. I have to say you're wrong on this one, friend, even though I know the flames will probably pour in as a result of my saying so.

I read a comment yesterday that claimed that an adult should be allowed to make the choice for their child to see an R-rated movie, claiming that only that adult would have to put up with it. That is not so... in fact, that is an arrogant and eliteist claim. We live in a society which demands social interaction, and it is rude to place yourself above that at the cost of society. Sure, I'm probably a communist, but an open source advocating communist at that :).

I will firmly state that not only should children not see movies like SP, Something about Mary, Debbie Does Dallas, and Star Wars: Phantom Menace (only because that one SUCKS); but furthermore, these pieces of trash with no social value should not be made. In fact, the directors who concieve them should be ashamed that they ever dreamed of such a thing. These movies insult art.

Wow. I'm a fascist communist now. Remember that I am speaking of ideals and not legislation here... I don't think it should be illegal for these to be made... I am only stating that I wish there was enough integrity and righteousness in the world that these movies weren't made. I would rather have a million crap films made a year and be able to say what I want to say... but if I'm wishing, I wish that I could still say what I want to say and NOT have to put up with this pulp fiction which demeans the very being of art.

So, I'm a fascist communist who drifts too much in thought. What I'm saying here is do what you want, say what you want, let your kids get screwed up as you see fit. But, please keep others in mind when you do so. And when you hit the "Reply" key to flame me, try to remember to convince me why I should let my (future) children grow up any faster than they have to.

Wow. Do you ever get the feeling that you have said a lot of words, but not said anything? Sorry I can't make a better point for what I believe. I guess I'm just a fascist communist who's thoughts drift and has no eloquence.

Bite me. :)

Re:Kubrick (2)

gnarphlager (62988) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781379)

So after 6 years of being VERY verbal in interviews (though not telling anything about the movie, as with the lost AI. I was impressed) he changed his mind at the last minute? It's possible. But he often said he wouldn't edit it to avoid a rating. If you want I can post the interviews (I'm sure I could find them again). That leads me to believe that he buckled under pressures of his production company, or distributor. And from what I've been told, they removed ONE scene.

Which goes back to my point. Why is it acceptable for European audiences and not American? Because we don't want to parent. And we don't want to have to police every theater every day. Maybe the facist/nazi film patrol will allow MORE films to be made with art in mind rather than popular aceptance. But I doubt it.

Oh, and I do pay attention, but only to the information I see. I can't know EVERYTHING ;-)

but there are two sides (5)

gnarphlager (62988) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781380)

What about the non-consenting parents? That's the issue at hand here. Everyone has to suffer because no one wants to parent anymore. I snuck into movies when I was a kid. I saw alot of stuff I prolly shouldn't have, or should have had a parent there do discuss it. But my parents didn't care, and I ended up an anti-social geek posting irrelevant comments on /. ;-)

Sure. Take a geek kid to a movie. But make sure the parents decide they should see it. And make sure they understand what they saw. Some 13 year olds can handle it. Some cannot. It happens that way. I wish it didn't, but it does. And I couldn't morally be in that position to say.

Take for example, Eyes Wide Shut (ha! I knew I'd get a chance to discuss it!!!). If Kubrick was alive it would have gotten the NC-17 rating in the States because he was very adamant about not editing the film. But it was edited. Because theatres don't want to be responsible for 13 year olds with tickets to Tarzan sneaking in because of the higher rating. They don't want to be responsible for children watching it WITHOUT their parents consent (you remeber the Showgirls mess? That was icky EVERYWHERE). I saw the movie and I loved it. Alot of 'adults' didn't understand it, and I can see how the symbology and metaphors would be LOST on a 13 year old. So what would the point of them seeing the movie be? It was a film written for adults.

South Park is an exception. It was written with 13 year olds in mind. The humor, despite it's wide appeal is very juvenile. And the vulgarity was thrown in to appeal even MORE. The point is, a 13 year old could get MOST of it. But I still maintain that the responsible parent should discuss the movie; see what it means to the child.

I don't mean to sound preachy (I realize I do). Take the geek kid. I'm behind that. But be sure it's not behind the parents back. And if the parent doesn't want to discuss it with the kid, take that role too. Who doesn't like discussing movies? It's not the film that causes children to shoot thier classmates; it's the presentation.

Its worse than you think (2)

ostiguy (63618) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781383)

I am 20. One of my best friends is 20. We made the mistake of going to see Eyes Wide Shut at a national Amusement theatre. Because we were both under 21 (!!!!!), we could not buy any additional tickets for a friend who we were going to pick up. Their corporate policy is that to buy more than one ticket for a R movie you have to be over 21. I asked, what if I am a parent and want to bring my kids to the show (highly likely in this day and age, and pertinent because R is 17 unless accompanied by parent or guardian). I also asked how could they stop me from charging the tickets, as any 18 yr old can get a credit card. These queries left them dumbfounded, naturally, leaving them to parrot on about corporate policy.

I haven't formulated my attack yet tho...


Re:MP3 'em? (1)

garster (64867) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781385)

MP3 audio files are a subset of the MP3 av spec.

I know you've got to have better judgement (1)

-=albert (67747) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781390)

Ok, first you mention the

>usurping of decisions that should be theirs and >their parents?

admitting the fact that Parents have a responsibility to monitor the influences that are acting on their children and then a couple paragraphs later you say

>that adults ought not be forced to intrude on >their children's privacy

You've got to choose one or the other. Or maybe you meant adults in the sense of theater managers and their in the sense of the parents. But you're the professional writer and I this is either very unclear or an outrageously stupid statement.

Of course adults have a right to intrude on their children's privacy. Just because a kid wants to see a movie doesn't mean that they have an implicit right to go see it. That's why they're kids. I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to advocate here.

And then of course, theres this gem:

>Harmless, funny, or overtly rebellious and
>political movies - "South Park," "American Pie," >" Something About Mary" - are not in any sense >dangerous to kids over the age of nine, or >probably, even under. They are bristling with >outsider geek humor and nerd sensibility.

What in the hell is geek humor and nerd sensibility? The only line in South Park that could be considered a geeky joke would be the part where they shot Bill Gates. Of course the whole South Park craze began on the internet but it's hardly limited to what you would call geeks. Something About Mary had nothing to do with "geeks", neither did American Pie. It's really getting kinda old seeing you throw in lines like this in every piece, obviousely trying to "get with" what you percieve as some kind of grandiose counter-culture. Stick with what you know.

What is this need to identify things as "Geek"? (1)

RyanMuldoon (69574) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781394)

I fail to see the logic of people (not just Jon Katz) rallying around all things "Geek". Non-Geeks enjoy movies. Geeks aren't subversive revolutionaries. Geeks are people who bite heads off of live chickens at carnivals. In today's slang, a Geek is basically a loser with a lack of social skills. I don't know why someone would be proud of such a title. If you are discriminated against for being a geek, you shouldn't empower your geekdom - you should learn how to go outside and talk to normal people, not shun them. Geeks aren't always technically inclined, nor do they see our technology-enhanced future any better than non-geeks. They are, in essense, people who can't function in normal society, so they write here as if they wield great power to make up for a feeling of powerlessness. That is fine, but don't aggrandize it. Geeks don't have any magic abilities that are making them more useful in modern society. People who are smart, or are technically inclined do. If you want to cal them nerds, go ahead. But realize that rallying around a derogatory description of yourself is foolish.

kind of silly (2)

Kook9 (69585) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781395)

I thought the first part of this article was interesting. It *is* ridiculous when a parent can't make a decision about what his or her child is allowed to see. But I don't see where sneaking
other people's kids into R-rated movies is a righteous act.

I think what we need is a slightly different system. Movies like South Park and American Pie are vulgar but not truly adult. They would be better served by something like a 14 or 15 rating (no children or preteens allowed), whereas films like Eyes Wide Shut are very much adult and should be restricted to those over 18. And any parent should be able to take their child to any movie they see fit (of course, it gets tricky when you start taking 10-year-olds to see anything in the EWS -> porn spectrum).

Kook9 out.

Re:You frickin geeks take things too literally... (1)

nutty (70104) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781396)

Its called an OC3 aka 155MBps aka The big friggin cable that runs through your office...

Then its called a CD Burner. Once 1 copy is out in CD format, distribution is exponential...

Re:Take a *geek* kid to a restricted movie? (1)

Bud^- (70689) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781400)

What about nerdy kids? Normal kids are no good, drop them off at a church.

Man-Boy-Love (1)

Rabbins (70965) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781403)

Sorry if this is a waste of space... but this comment made me laugh. HARD.

People can be so lame... (1)

erreeet (71555) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781410)

I have to admit, I don't like Jon Katz writing. It's usually bloated, and popus. But his last article really struck a chord with me.

I myself tried to go to the South Park movie last week. I'm two months from being 17. I bought the tickets via MovieFone and picked them up without a problem. But when I went to enter the movie the 45-year old female ticket taker decided that I couldn't go in.

"You have to be 17 or be accompanied by an adult at all times."

Yeah, whatever. If I'm old enough to drive, I should be old enough to go into an R movie. Ultimately I had to say I was going in with some random 19-year-old behind me. He didn't seem to care about being responsible for us.

control (1)

madcowluvn (72013) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781412)

It seems rather irrelevant about how everyone is tweaking out about these teenage kids and movies, i dunno, maybe it's just me, but smut is still *very* easy to find on the internet, sure there's adultcheck and yadda yadda, but there are newsgroups with no such restrictions on them, not to mention if they have an older brother/friend who is 18 can buy them whatever they need (if he is a nice guy anyway) being stricter on movies won't really help anything. As for this installment of Katz, i can see what he's going after, and I agree with it, but I think he is doing it in a wrong fashion. Though i do find it funny how no one likes what they are seeing/hearing/reading and yet is not willing to do anything about it (myself including, I'm a lazy boy)

I cought an interview with Matt & Trey (god i hope that's their names) on Muchmusic, i think, where they were talking about South Park and said how they wanted to do a war so they can make it really bloody and how the censors didn't really care about that but wanted them to take out rimjob

Re:but there are two sides (1)

UnEven (72640) | more than 15 years ago | (#1781413)

When you say icky I'm assuming you mean legal mess not... well nevermind =)
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