My wife left town to visit relatives, so I had the fridge and TV all to myself.
TV used to be three channels. You watched whatever was on. Choice was not a choice. Today, we have Netflix, Hulu and other internet-based streaming services that allow us to watch just about anything we want anytime we want.
As I ate things I wasn’t supposed to eat and devoured movies my wife likely wouldn’t have watched, there was a similar message on the TV screen before each film started.
To summarize the message: “We have watched this for you and here are our recommendations as to who in your family should or shouldn’t see this motion picture. We’ve also listed below the parts of this film we’ve deemed too traumatic for you to handle. Enjoy the movie.”
The irony of this wasn’t lost on me. One of the films I watched was an Indiana Jones movie. I watched it for the first time 35 years ago — without the onscreen warnings.
Nothing bad happened to me and I went on to become an independent contributing member of society.
Since when does someone else need to watch my movie selections first so they can tell me whether it’s suitable for my eyes?
I’m guessing since someone sued. It’s likely someone hired an attorney and the trial went something like this:
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: “Your honor, I intend to present evidence that my client’s actions — digging up his neighbor’s flower bed while wearing nothing more than a whip and a fedora — are the fault of Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford. Prior to my client watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, his worst offense was digging up his other neighbor’s flower bed wearing nothing more than a light saber and a Darth Vader mask.”
We have reached a point where others truly believe the rest of us are too stupid to live our own lives, make our own choices or be safe and happy without their help.
Another case in point — hair dryers that come with warnings on the cord telling us to not use while sleeping.
Let me tell you, Charles Darwin had a term for people who weren’t smart enough to avoid mixing electrical appliances with sleeping and flammable bed sheets: Natural selection.
But the warnings don’t stop there. A nighttime sleep aid actually has a warning on the box: “Caution, may cause drowsiness.”
A chainsaw includes the label: “Caution, do not hold blade end of chainsaw.”
We had a nickname for a fella where I grew up who did just that. We called him “Stub.”
A jet ski had a label related to checking the amount of fuel in the gas tank: “Do not use a match or other open flame when checking fuel levels.”
I’ll let you make up your own nickname for anyone who used that method.
Are you familiar with those shields you unfold and put on the dash of your car to keep the sun out? One of those implores you to not drive the vehicle before you remove the screen from the dash.
A carton of eggs included this warning: “Contents may contain eggs.”
Hey, thanks for the heads up. I never would have caught that on my own.
Remember that kid in school who was always the reason the rest of the school got new rules and restrictions? Our society has adopted that approach.
My vote isn’t to keep adding the warnings to our movies and labels. Let’s just let the chips fall where they may.
All I ask is that we get to see the news coverage of the folks who get to enjoy the results of their own actions. If the warning police want, they can just replace any warnings with the news coverage at the beginning of the next Indiana Jones movie I watch.
Except for the guy wearing nothing more than a whip and fedora. If they’re going to run that, I’ll need a warning.