Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - Research MPAA Rating System

What is the purpose of the rating system? The movie rating system is a voluntary system sponsored by the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners to provide parents with advance information on films, enabling the parent to make judgments on movies they want or don't want their children to see.

Do the ratings indicate if a movie is good or bad? No, the system is not designed to serve the function of "critic." The ratings do not determine or reflect whether a film is "good" or "bad." The system is not intended to approve, disapprove or censor any film; it merely assigns a rating for guidance -- leaving the decision-making responsibilities to the parents.

Who gives movies their ratings? Parents give the movies their ratings - men and women just like you. They are part of a specially designed committee called the film rating board of Classification and Rating Administration. As a group they view each film, and, after a group discussion, vote on its rating, making an educated estimate as to which rating most American parents will consider the most appropriate.

What criteria do they use? The rating board uses the criteria you as a parent use when deciding what is suitable viewing for your child. Theme, language, violence, nudity, sex and drug use are among those content areas considered in the decision-making process. Also assessed is how each of these elements is employed in the context of each individual film. The rating board places no special emphasis on any of these elements; all are considered and examined before a rating is given.

Is the rating system a law? No, the rating system is strictly voluntary and carries no force of law.
Can a rating be changed? Yes, the rules permit movie producers to re-edit their films and re-submit them in hopes of receiving another rating. Producers may also appeal a rating decision to the Rating Appeals Board, which is composed of men and women from the industry organizations that sponsor the rating system. A two-thirds secret ballot vote of those present on the Appeals Board may overturn a rating board decision.

Do all movies have to be rated? No. Submitting a film is purely a voluntary decision made by the filmmakers. However, the overwhelming majority of producers creating entertaining, responsible films submit them for ratings. All five Classification and Rating Administration rating symbols have been trademarked and may not be self-applied.

Who enforces the ratings? While the decision to enforce the rating system is purely voluntary, the overwhelming majority of theaters follow the Classification and Rating Administration's guidelines and diligently enforce its provisions.

How do you get more information about a rating? For additional information about the voluntary movie rating system and ratings for new releases, visit the Motion Picture Association of America's home page on the World Wide Web. The address is Or, in select cities, you may use the interactive phone guide, MovieFone.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Free Write - My Baby Brother part deux

As my baby brother has grown older his lexicon of bizarre sayings and phrases has grown as well. If anyone has read my first posting on this blog, you would have learned about his “silver tongue,” discovered some of his favorite sayings, and had a small taste of his maniacal outbursts. I’m here today to share with you a little bit more.

From an early age he would frequently ask us questions about life in general. These were simple queries when he was young. Once during Sunday school, a teacher had given a particularly spiritual lesson that prompted many of the children in the class to become more interested in the life of Jesus. They asked the teacher many questions ranging from his birth to his death. My brother decided to participate in the Q and A as well and raised his hand. When the teacher called on him he asked, “How much birdseed do you think a goat could eat before it blew up?” Later in life I guess my brother was still interested in religious matters because one day at the dinner table he asked my father, “Are we Jew bastards?” At another point in my brother’s life he became fixated on “what if” questions. My other brother, who is just a few years younger than myself, would frequently talk about owning a Mercedes Benz after he grew up and got a respectable job. My baby brother would then ask, “What would you do if I bought a Hummer and rammed your Mercedes while you slept?” The other brother would respond with something like, “I’m always going to park it in the garage so you couldn’t do it!” My baby brother would then respond by saying, “Well, I just blow off the front of the garage with some dynamite that I’m going to buy and then I’ll run it over with my Hummer and then maybe your wife too. What would you do then?”

A sensitive subject has emerged in my brother’s life in the past few months – his girlfriend. He seems to be very protective of her and will do anything to defend her honor if he feels it being threatened. If I ever ask general questions about her, he always responds, “I don’t know.” Where does your girlfriend live? I don’t know. What’s your girlfriend’s name? I don’t know. Have you kissed your girlfriend yet? “SHUT UP!” One time my wife, other brother and I were asking some questions about the girlfriend on a rare occasion when my baby brother began to open up a little about his personal life. One of us, I can’t remember who it was now, had the audacity to ask my baby brother “So are you going to make out with your girlfriend tonight?” To which my brother responded, “SHE’S NOT MY WHORE!!” Once right before church began my mother decided to probe into my brother’s personal life as well. She saw an attractive looking girl and jokingly whispered to my brother, “She cute, why don’t you ask her out?” My baby brother then replied, “I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND MOM!!! SHE LIVES IN SCAPPOOSE!!!” in the loudest voice anyone had ever heard. The entire church congregation obviously turned to see what the commotion was all about and began staring and silently judging my family. My other brother then whispered, “Nice going, idiot.” My brother then mustered all his strength and yelled out at the top of voice, “WHY DON’T YOU SHUT UP?!”

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - Research

Couples in the United States who live together before marrying may be more likely to consider divorce than those who do not, according to a study released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's health statistics division.
The report on marriage, divorce, remarriage and cohabitation said 75 percent of American women have been married by age 30 and about half have lived with their partner outside of marriage.
The study's findings are based on interviews conducted in 1995 with about 11,000 women ages 15 to 44.
Couples who did not live together before marrying had a 31 percent chance of splitting up after 10 years, compared with a 40 percent chance for couples who cohabited before marriage, the study found.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Technical Application

An “R-card,” a parent permission slip issued by the GKC Theaters chain, which has theaters in 24 cities, including Bloomington, in five Midwestern states.

The R-card costs $2 and allows youth to attend R-rated films unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, as would otherwise be the case for anyone 17 or younger.

So far the chain has sold about 700 R-cards at 10 of its theaters, said James Whitman, vice president for theater operations and marketing at GKC, who dreamed up the card. The company's theater in Elkhart, Ind., began offering it yesterday, and its theater in Traverse City, Mich., a popular family resort area, will make it available next month.

But critics are denouncing the R-card as both a maneuver around the movie rating system — which was set up to help parents sort out which movies were appropriate for their children — and an abdication of parental responsibilities.

"It distorts it and disfigures" the rating system, said Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, which administers the ratings program. In a telephone interview from his Washington office. Mr. Valenti continued: "Not all R movies are alike. There are some R movies that children should not see."

Yet as long as the ratings have been administered, young people have found ways to get around them, like the generations-old practice of buying tickets for one movie and sneaking in to another. Ticket sellers and takers at many theaters are barely old enough to see R-rated movies themselves and occasionally encounter peer pressure not to bar their friends.

Ratings themselves manage to remain in dispute: Michael Moore loudly complained when his new picture, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” received an R rating, which means it will be seen only by an adult audience or young people accompanied by a parent or guardian.

And also by the relatively modest number of youngsters who have R-cards.

The R-card came about this spring. Mr. Whitman said he was simply trying to serve a customer need: parents who were tired of sitting through ear-splitting pictures with their action-film-loving teenagers. "It was parents who were coming to the box office and saying, `You're forcing me to see a movie that I don't want to see,' " Mr. Whitman said.

He added, "You can't say it's a parental guideline and then say the parents have no choice."

Movies are an important way for parents to guide their children's development, some critics of the R-card argue. "I lump movies and entertainment in the same category as drugs and alcohol," said Rodney Gustafson, a syndicated columnist and creator of GradingtheMovies .com, a Web site that gives details about movies' content, including sex, violence and profanity.

"You have not only the opportunity but the responsibility to be able to teach and guide your children according to your own values," he said. By giving a teenager an R-card, "you've decided, `I'm not going to do that,' " said Mr. Gustafson, whose column appears in 60 newspapers in the United States and Canada.

Kirsten, reached by telephone, did not see it that way.

"I already rent rated-R movies, so going to see them isn't a big difference," said Kirsten, whose parents previously gave her permission to check out R-rated films from local video stores like Blockbuster.

The movie sale and rental chain, which has a policy against renting R-rated movies to those younger than 18, will make an exception as long as the parent makes a notation on the account, said Randy Hargrove, a Blockbuster spokesman. Sydni's mother, Maureen Norris, who called a reporter after her daughter was interviewed, said she trusted her daughter to choose movies that she was mature enough to watch, either in theaters or at video stores.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Free Write - America's Favorite Past Time

Many children play sports when they’re little. Either by choice or by force, most of us have ended up playing something. I was a bit of an anomaly because I had to beg my parents to let me play tee-ball and baseball. Around the ages of 7 and 8, my father had some strange notion that the only sport I needed to participate in was swimming. I personally thought he believed the Earth was headed towards some type of apocalypse that involved the polar ice caps melting and the only survivors would be those who knew how to swim well. Each year I would begin begging in January to be signed-up for tee-ball. When that became too tiresome for my parents, I began expressing my desire to play in other ways. The only pictures I drew were of baseball diamonds, pitchers, batters, etc., the only thing I ever wrote about in school was baseball, and if I ever had to create some type of poem or limerick for some reason, it was sure to be about baseball. Every year my efforts paid off and I was signed-up to play. Before the season started I would try to prepare myself in every way. I would start by stocking up on Big League Chew. If you want to be a real baseball player, you MUST have Big League Chew. Next I would begin an oil regiment with my glove. Before the season started I’d usually go through 2-3 bottles of oil. Usually my glove was moist for the first couple games, but it didn’t matter because it was oiled up just like the real players’ gloves. After that I’d begin thinking of potential names for our team because for some reason the organizers could never do it themselves. I’d start out simple with actual MLB team names like the Twins, Mariners, Red Sox, etc. These names were always contingent, however, on what our uniforms were going to look like. I’d then move on to some animal names that were sure to strike some fear into our opposing teams. The Hawks, Eagles, Sharks, Lions and Cobras were always popular. These names would then transition me to another level entirely. This level would consist of names like the Thundercats, Dragons, Killers, Nazis, Sorcerers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the like. When it finally came down to starting the season, however, I became incredibly nervous and constantly thought about my potential performance. Even after several practices, I never really lost that feeling in my stomach. Now that I look back I wonder what I was ever nervous about. I would go to the plate to hit a stationary baseball on top of a large rubber pole at a team full of little kids who all had no idea how to field how to even field a soccer ball, let alone a small baseball. Whatever our team was called or how soft my mitt was, I always had a good season and have vowed to force my children to become baseball players.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Technical Application

Cohabitation is replacing marriage as the first living together experience for young men and women. When blushing brides walk down the aisle at the beginning of the new millennium, well over half have already lived together with a boyfriend.
For today’s young adults, the first generation to come of age during the divorce revolution, living together seems like a good way to achieve some of the benefits of marriage and avoid the risk of divorce. Couples who live together can share expenses and learn more about each other. They can find out if their partner has what it takes to be married. If things don’t work out, breaking up is easy to do. Cohabiting couples do not have to seek legal or religious permission to dissolve their union.
Not surprisingly, young adults favor cohabitation. According to surveys, most young people say it is a good idea to live with a person before marrying.
But a careful review of the available social science evidence suggests that living together is not a good way to prepare for marriage or to avoid divorce. What’s more, it shows that the rise in cohabitation is not a positive family trend. Cohabiting unions tend to weaken the institution of marriage and pose special risks for women and children. Specifically, the research indicates that:
· Living together before marriage increases the risk of breaking up after marriage.
· Living together outside of marriage increases the risk of domestic violence for women, and the risk of physical and sexual abuse for children.
· Unmarried couples have lower levels of happiness and wellbeing than married couples.
Because this generation of young adults is so keenly aware of the fragility of marriage, it is especially important for them to know what contributes to marital success and what may threaten it. Yet many young people do not know the basic facts about cohabitation and its risks. Nor are parents, teachers, clergy and others who instruct the young in matters of sex, love and marriage well acquainted with the social science evidence

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Free Write - Quotes

Here are some interesting quotes from Papa Lenin:

"Crime is a product of social excess."

"A lie told often enough becomes truth."

"It is true that liberty is precious - so precious that it must be rationed."

"One man with a gun can control 100 without one."

"The most important thing when ill is to never lose heart."

"Destroy the family, you destroy the country."

"Despair is typical of those who do not understand the causes of evil, see no way out, and are incapable of struggle."

"Whenever the cause of the people is entrusted to professors, it is lost."

"You cannot make a revolution in white gloves."

"Worst of all, it is women who usually have to do, usually alone, all the dirty work of the kitchen and household, work that is unimportant, hard, tiresome, and soul-destroying."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis

Divorce is on the decline in the USA, but a report to be released today suggests that may be due more to an increase in people living together than to more lasting marriages.

Couples who once might have wed and then divorced now are not marrying at all, according to The State of our Unions 2005. The annual report, which analyzes Census and other data, is issued by the National Marriage Project at New Jersey's Rutgers University.

The U.S. divorce rate is 17.7 per 1,000 married women, down from 22.6 in 1980. The marriage rate is also on a steady decline: a 50% drop since 1970 from 76.5 per 1,000 unmarried women to 39.9, says the report, whose calculations are based on an internationally used measurement.

"Cohabitation is here to stay," says David Popenoe, a Rutgers sociology professor and report co-author. "I don't think it's good news, especially for children," he says. "As society shifts from marriage to cohabitation — which is what's happening — you have an increase in family instability."

Cohabiting couples have twice the breakup rate of married couples, the report's authors say. And in the USA, 40% bring kids into these often-shaky live-in relationships.

"It is important now to think beyond the divorce rate to other kinds of couple unions and look at how stable they are," says Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, a social historian and report co-author.

"It's a pretty short period of time for that change (cohabitation) to have occurred and to have taken hold in the way it has," she says.

In the USA, 8.1% of coupled households are made up of unmarried, heterosexual partners. Although many European countries have higher cohabitation rates, divorce rates in those countries are lower, and more children grow up with both biological parents, even though the parents may not be married, Popenoe says.

The USA has the lowest percentage among Western nations of children who grow up with both biological parents, 63%, the report says.

"The United States has the weakest families in the Western world because we have the highest divorce rate and the highest rate of solo parenting," Popenoe says.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Technical Application - Arranged Marriages

A pragmatic (or 'arranged') marriage is made easier by formal procedures of family or group politics. A responsible authority sets up or encourages the marriage; they may, indeed, engage a professional matchmaker to find a suitable spouse for an unmarried person. The authority figure could be parents, family, a religious official, or a group consensus.

In some cases, the authority figure may choose a match for purposes other than marital harmony. Some of the most popular uses of arranged marriage are for dowry or immigration.

Though now a rarity in Western countries, arranged marriages in countries such as India are still prevalent today. In rural villages, the marriage of a child often has much to do with family property. Parents adopt the practice of child marriage and arrange the wedding, sometimes even before the child is born (though this practice was made illegal by the Child Marriage Restraint Act of the Indian Government). In urban India, people use thriving institutions known as Marriage Bureaus or Matrimonials Sites, where candidates register themselves for small fees. A related form of pragmatic marriage, sometimes called a marriage of convenience, involves immigration laws. According to one publisher of information about "green card" marriages, "Every year over 450,000 United States citizens marry foreign-born individuals and petition for them to obtain a permanent residency (Green Card) in the United States." While this is likely an over-estimate, in 2003 alone 184,741 immigrants were admitted to the U.S. as spouses of U.S. citizens.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Free Write

I think we could all learn a thing or two from these lyrics!

Pure Imagination

Come with me
And you'll be
In a world of
Pure imagination
Take a look
And you'll see
Into your imagination

We'll begin
With a spin
Traveling in
The world of my creation
What we'll see
Will defy

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There's nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You'll be free
If you truly wish to be

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world?
There's nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You'll be free
If you truly
Wish to be

The Wondrous Boat Ride

There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing

Is it raining, is it snowing
Is a hurricane a-blowing

Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing

Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Technical Application

There have actually been numerous studies that have examined whether living together before marriage is a good idea. The data shows that people who have multiple cohabiting relationships before marriage are more likely to experience marital conflict, marital unhappiness and eventual divorce than people who do not cohabit before marriage.1 Although some of these effects might be due to the characteristics of people who cohabit (e.g., they tend to move from one relationship to another), recent studies suggest that the cohabitation experience itself contributes to problems in marriage. The reason why cohabitation may setup couples for failure in marriage is because cohabitation is just a test. Since all couples suffer from some incompatibility, when the other partner "fails" the test, the person moves on to the next partner. A succession of cohabitation failures results in an inability to maintain commitment - the most important part of a marriage relationship.