Hating Breitbart, an R-rated documentary about the late conservative agitator, opened in theaters on Friday. Incapable of letting the opportunity pass by without inventing a scandal, online conservatives were outraged that the film received an R rating from the MPAA based on some four letter words spoken by the movie's subject.
Integral to the tale of this bete noire were a selection of words Andrew Marcus, the film's director, told the Hollywood Reporter:
Swearing was integral to Andrew Breitbart. It's one of the things that made him unique in the conservative movement," Marcus said. "He was shocking in part because of the language he used.
And that is the rub. The MPAA's blanket rules on the subject are clear:
A motion picture's single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context. The Rating Board nevertheless may rate such a motion picture PG-13 if, based on a special vote by a two-thirds majority, the Raters feel that most American parents would believe that a PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the context or manner in which the words are used or because the use of those words in the motion picture is inconspicuous.
In non-lawyer speak that means one "f*ck" equals PG-13 and multiple "f*cks" equal an R rating. The final cut of Hating Breitbart was in the later category.
In a mark of what has become the ethos of the modern conservative movement, they complain of a phony political agenda to maximize media coverage and to reconfirm their audience's persecution complex while ignoring valid criticisms about the propriety of the MPAA's rating system -- the idea that a 13-year-old, who experiences graphic violence and sexually explicit language on TV everyday, are suddenly too sensitive for an F-bomb, or the rating boards bias against independent films.
Newbusters, the blog of the conservative Media Research Center wrote:
MPAA's Chairman just so happens to be former five-term U.S. Senator, two-time Democratic Party presidential candidate, and sweetheart mortgage loan recipient Christopher Dodd. Imagine that. Breitbart's web sites went after Dodd's Countrywide loan connections even after he left the Senate in early 2011. One would suppose there might be some leftover hard feelings.
Or perhaps it may be that the six members of the MPAA are exerting influence. They are:
- The Walt Disney Studios (The Walt Disney Company)
- Sony Pictures Entertainment (Sony)
- Paramount Pictures (Viacom)
- 20th Century Fox (News Corporation)
- Universal Studios (Comcast)
- Warner Bros. (Time Warner)
Well, Disney's ABC is still blocking the DVD release of "Path to 9/11" because it makes Bill Clinton look bad. I suspect readers can cite other studios' strange allegiance to leftism and Democratic Party protection.
Because Hating Breitbart failed to receive special treatment from the MPAA, Newsbusters cries bias. A strategy Andrew Breitbart himself would have been proud of.