I have just discovered (you can say I'm slow) that a film needs to have only two swear-words in it in the USA to be R-rated, meaning a person under 17 can't go to the film unless accompanied by an adult. This is astonishing to people who don't live in the USA. Here, my 16-year-old can legally have sex, get married (with my permission), sign up to serve and die in the army, smoke cigarettes... but in the USA she couldn't see a movie with two swear-words in it!? WTF?
If the USA was full of lovely, demure young people who never swore or put a foot wrong, I'd have more sympathy with this restriction. But: American teenagers swear on average 90 times a day; American teenagers are *far* more likely than British teenagers to carry a gun (and turn it on their classmates); on average, American teenagers lose their virginity at 17; there are three quarters of a million teenage pregnancies each year in the USA. And they grow up and make/watch the grossest, most violent movies made anywhere except Japan.
Perhaps a swear-word in a book or film is not really corrupting them very much at all? Perhaps, it is reflecting a little life as they live it?
On the other hand... in 2002 I took my daughter to see a movie that had a rating of only PG (PG-13 in the USA). It had sex slaves, murder and cannibalism in it. No swear-words, though, so that's OK for tender young minds. Is the power of language really so great that a swear word is worse than a caged woman surrounded by the bones of previously cannibalised people? What IS it with American movie people?
By gosh, I'd better go and make some jam before I come over all naughty in this book and say something worse than 'Goodness - my leg seems to have been cut off by a teen psycho who's been watching Saw movies. That's jolly rotten luck.'
Stats on American teenage sexual activity.
Swearing in movies.