Sunday, October 18, 2009

Whiskey Tango Friday: Plugged In Online

Whoops- meant to post this yesterday.

On the surface, Plugged In Online appears to be a great parental resource. It reviews games, movies, music albums, etc. with a focus on how appropriate the various material is for younger audiences. "Great!" you may be thinking. "I can read up on the (movie/album/game) that my brat was wanting to (watch/buy/play) and get an idea if it's appropriate, because I am completely clueless as to what it is like." As a parent of a young girl, I know I'll find myself in this position sooner rather than later.

How could such a noble resource wind up as the featured site of WTF?

Allow me to give you an exert from the review of the movie "District 9":
"More than 130 f-words, supplemented by close to a dozen s-words. "B--tard," "p---" and the British profanity "bloody" also are heard. God's name is abused twice; Jesus' once."

That's a direct quote; I'm not editing for the sake of making this a G-rated blog.

Rather than simply report "excessive swearing", the critic crosses into a region that is nearly Freudian by not only counting each instance of the swears, but nearly spelling them out. It is as if they don't trust their audience to have the imagination to know what words might be used in an R-rated movie. Rather than a reputable movie review, it sounds like the whisperings of ten-year-olds on the playground: "I saw this movie, and they said the EFF WORD at least 100 TIMES!"

Furthermore, each review lists "Spiritual Content", "Positive Elements" and "Negative Elements". This often involves listing inconsequential parts of the movies to fill these sections. The review for Team America, Wold Police demonstrates how hilarious this can get. "Spiritual Content: When someone asks what will happen if a terrorist plot succeeds, he’s told, 'Basically, all the worst parts of the Bible.'" "Positive Elements: None."

Finally, every review ends with some obscure linking to either the Christian Bible or some fundamentalist Christian hot-topic (spoiler alert: the site is run by Focus on the Family.) District 9 is linked to the Exodus story (wut?). Horton Hears a Who is a modern parable on the ills of abortions (just as Dr. Seuss intended!). Go ahead: find your favorite movie, read the review, and be blown away.

It's nice to have a tool to clue you in to what your kid is watching- especially when you've lost touch with different media. However, that's not what this site is trying to do. It first lists, in gory detail, the issues you SHOULD have with any particular movie, book, or song, and then tries to teach you how to tie it to the Bible, whether legitimate or not. It's not a method for reviewing what your kid is watching/reading/playing, it's a tool for deciding if those items fit the worldview of Focus on the Family.

1 comment:

  1. EFF YEAH!
    Signed, Focus on the Family.

    (That's right, we're too cowardly to sign our real names...)