RARA-AVIS: Clutching at UK video classification logic

ejm duggan (ejmd@cwcom.net)
Mon, 19 Jul 1999 10:24:10 +0000

On Sun, 18 Jul 1999, AnonymeInc@webtv.net (Mark Sullivan) wrote:

> As far as I can see from across the pond, the UK has some odd glitches
> in its video bans.

Yes--but it's just to give the rest of Europe something to laugh at.

> As I understand it Reservoir Dogs at least was, if it's not still,
> banned,

What tends to happen is the press will amplify a shooting incident
(still pretty rare over here, unless you count what goes on in the north of Ireland (that phrase should ensure this post is picked up by government spooks)) and the next video release with a bit of gunplay tends to end up on the moralists' sacrificial altar.

> but Man Bites Dog, a particularly nasty and graphic (not criticisms) satiric
> pseudo-documentary of a serial killer, was not.

I haven't seen this. I'll look out for it.

> The rationale? The latter was in black and white, which meant it appealed
> to a more arty audience who were somehow more immune to screen violence.

Indeed. The concern is really about *audiences* rather than texts. A mass audience (or a working class audience, or a young male audience) is more stringently policed than a middle class audience. I realy really hope that the three protestors arrested at the weekend for rolling around in a field of GM rape plants claim that they were influenced by
_The Archers_ (that's a middle-class, middle-brow radio soap, broadcast daily on Radio 4 and may even be on BBC World Service).

> Does this keep homegrown product, like the great, extremely violent
> Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels from being released on viddie?

No. Odd, innit? LS&TSB is available in a choice of video covers (buy
'em all--collect the set).

> There was a good book from the late '80s called Video Nasties about the
> then-current banning of a number of horror and/or slasher films.

I think this might've been by Martin Barker. There's a new contribution to the debate called _Ill Effects_ edited by Martin Barker and Julian Petley, which is well worth a read.


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