Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Leaving sex to the independents.

I wrote earlier about the dissonance between the reality of a more virtuous (and possibly Puritannical) America and the media narrative of decadence and moral decay. A Slate article about the dearth of sex in Hollywood movies these days illustrates this dissonance nicely.

Epstein begins by discussing the three major forces that are keeping sex out of mainstream films: the rating system, Wal-Mart, and TV. The combination of the three makes sex scenes a very tenuous proposition for the major studios. But right after he describes the factors that stifle 'indecent' cinema in our society, Epstein feels the need to acknowledge the validity of the decadence narrative. He writes:
We may live in an anything-goes age, but if a studio wants to make money, it has to limit how much of "anything"—at least anything sexually explicit—it shows on the big screen.
How could the dynamics he just described in his own article be part of an anything-goes age? Isn't it time to ask if we aren't living in an age where anything increasingly doesn't go?

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