Sunday, March 12, 2006
Congress Examines Simulated Sex Scenes
With foreign wars raging, terrorism looming, a sinking economy, an unethical administration, and "bird flu" flying our way, should simulated sex scenes in films (in other words, acting) even be on the U.S. Congress' agenda? Pathetically enough, the U.S. House of Representatives has reportedly approved so called "child-safety legislation" -- on the surface, designed to give law enforcement officials more power to prosecute violent sexual predators -- which also includes a provision that would require "any book, magazine, periodical, film, videotape or other matter" that contains a simulated sex scene to come under the same government-filing requirements that adult films now have to meet. Currently, any filmed sexual activity requires an affidavit that lists the names and ages of the actors who engage in the act. This record-keeping requirement -- known as Section 2257 -- was admirably created to prevent child pornography. However, under the proposed provision -- written by representative Mike Pence, a Republican from Indiana -- the definition of "sexual activity" has been expanded to include simulated sex acts (in other words, acting)often seen in movies and TV shows. (Yes, acting is often seen in films and TV shows.) Under the new provision, two of this year's Best Picture nominees, Brokeback Mountain and Munich, would certainly have had to file. Is representative Pence suggesting that what Sharon Stone, Halle Berry, Hillary Swank and Angelina Jolle do on screen is equal to the on-screen actions of Jenna Jameson, Marilyn Chambers, and the late Linda Lovelace? The proposal has thankfully faced opposition from several Hollywood groups including, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Directors Guild of America (DGA). If passed into law, would the provision also "grandfather in" scenes from such classics films as Midnight Cowboy, The Godfather, Last Tango in Paris and From Here to Eternity? Where would it stop? Since books are included in the provision, would all fictional characters engaging in fictitious sex also need to be reported? Would cartoon sirens, like Jessica Rabbit, be required to comply as well? Do our tax dollars really need to be going to a representative like Pence who wastes the Congress' time and our money with such legislation? An even more important question is -- since this provision was attached to a worthwhile "child protection" bill, and since we now pretty much know that Congress barely reads any of the bills it passes into law -- is it possible the House of Representatives is not even aware it signed such a provision?