6 Content Warnings We'd Actually Pay Attention To
For many years, television content ratings have tried to help consumers make informed decisions. It hasn't really worked. For one thing, no one really cares about a barrage of meaningless letters. If I had the cryptology background to decipher content ratings and the Puritan background to give a shit about them, I'd shoot myself just to see if someone can kill what couldn't possibly exist.
Consumer advice is valuable to parents, but not good ones. Anyone making parenting decisions based on a couple of letters typed by some Quaker with the world's most depressing job should probably leave their kid outside and hope its new wolf parents are less stupid and lazy.
What's truly tragic is that even if you can interpret them, the ratings codes have none of the information you really want. That's why I've come up with the only six content ratings consumers will ever need.
DON'T EAT IN FRONT OF THIS
Right from the start, TV shows should let us know if we can have dinner in front of them. They warn us when they're about to use harsh language, but we've all been cursing since we were six. We each know our own daily fuck intake and if your show goes over it, we can change the channel and move on with our lives. However, if someone on your show suddenly decides to dig into the butthole of a corpse or hilariously puke blood, that's going to have an actual physiological effect on us. It's hard enough to eat Chef Boyardee ravioli without bloody colons on the TV.
Did you know the movie Trainspotting is rated R for drug use, strong language, sex, nudity and violence? When those idiots were listing the depravity our fragile minds needed to prepare for, no one thought to mention that Ewan McGregor might dig his way into a diarrhea-blasted public toilet. How did that get left out? Is this some kind of conspiracy funded by the Pudding and Chili Practical Joke Council? I swear, if you showed up at the MPAA silently eating a piece of human shit, they'd say, "You seem like a decent guy. You have any tips on how to get my teenage daughter to use 'darn' instead of 'damn'?"
DON'T TRY MASTURBATING IN FRONT OF THIS
There are a lot of codes regarding sexual content and anyone who grew up without the Internet knows exactly what they mean. The rating BN could mean side boob or a man changing his pants, and you have to pay very, very close attention to catch either. Trying to masturbate to BN can be medically unsafe, as you have to be locked and loaded for the duration of the movie, ready at a moment's notice. The rating AC could mean anything from casual flirting to the full unsealing of plastic breasts. The sex scenes are hazy closeups of body parts, so you run the risk of masturbating to an elbow or a spine. There's also SSC, SV, AS ... my point is, the system is useless. The codes aren't reliable indicators of pornography so they're useless to lonely people. It might help people genuinely trying to avoid sexual material, but since anyone watching a Shannon Tweed movie for the parts where she's not fucking deserves every misfortune life throws at them.
Think of all the time you've wasted in your life watching the 88 minutes of erotic thrillers that weren't nipples. What the new D rating would indicate is that there is either not enough masturbatable content to bother with, or that elements of the plot would make masturbation dangerous. Let me explain. If a movie or show wasn't specifically designed for use with dolphin flogging, you run the risk of seeing some psychologically damaging things at the point of climax. Horses, clowns, Danny Trejo -- it's how unspeakable fetishes get started. There are people dressed up like cartoon lobsters and making love right now because when they were children and jerking off to the The Little Mermaid, one of their dolls turned to them and hissed, "WE SEE YOU. ALWAYS." It's too late for them, but this new D rating saves future consumers from similar fates.
ONLY TRY MASTURBATING IN FRONT OF THIS
Have you ever been 10 minutes into an aerobics show before you realized the show was useless as a workout and only made for unemployed masturbators? Oh, you were already doing that? Well, the E rating will prevent misunderstandings for the people less clever than you.
Coy producers are constantly disguising pornography as actual entertainment, but if you see this E rating, you can feel comfortable ignoring the plot or fast forwarding to the part without bras. The steamy murder or vampire fruitloopery are only there to give context to the boning, and nobody needs that. That's like forcing yourself to wait until the fourth date before you sleep with yourself.
SOCIETY IS BEING DESTROYED BY THIS
Censors and content warnings focus almost entirely on sex and violence, which is cute since those are the two things all life needs to perpetuate. Working to get nudity taken off TV is the Special Olympics of morality. What we should really be worried about are shows that celebrate and reward horrible people. Stop concerning yourself with the glorification of violence and put a warning on every show that demonstrates how being an entitled attention whore can lead to a life of celebrity. That's what this rating will do.
I'm not one of those assholes who pictures all other humans as impressionable sheep. That's exactly the kind of mentality that leads to censorship, and I've never actually met anyone who mistook a TV show or movie for an instruction manual. However, I have met many, many people who tried to sell their dignity to be on a reality show. Shows like 16 and Pregnant aren't fascinating windows into the life of shitty people -- they're clear messages that poking a hole in a condom and calling MTV is a promising way to make a few thousand dollars and get your acting reel started. This new skull rating will let viewers of this kind of program know that what they're doing at this very moment is destroying lives.
America has a nine percent unemployment rate and yet hundreds if not thousands of people make a comfortable living being unrepentant dicks in front of cameras. In the course of one generation, the American Dream went from expecting a successful career to expecting free money for being a douchebag. Think about this, out of work school teachers: While you're at home updating your LinkedIn status, this nutbar has a job going from TV show to TV show talking about the lifesize dolls he bangs:
DON'T WATCH THIS WITH YOUR PARENTS
The holidays are approaching, and that's the time of year for sitting around the TV with our parents hiding from interaction. Suddenly, in the middle of an action-drama selected for its genericness, two of the characters will start screwing and everyone in the room will want to die. If you're really unlucky there will be foreplay and you'll end the night knowing for a fact that your grandmother knows what cunnilingus is.
The P rating isn't only to warn families about possible love scenes, though. It will also inform viewers that the show may contain insane things that only parents believe in like underage drug dens or God. You don't want to have to fight with your mother about whether or not sex bracelet parties are a real thing. How do you even win that argument? Tell her that only a paranoid child predator would fantasize about a global epidemic of high school orgies? Jesus, man, can't you get through one Thanksgiving without making your mother cry?
YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT
Not all of these new ratings are dedicated to helping you make moral or masturbatory decisions. The only purpose of the R rating is to judge you for what you're watching and insult your poor choices. We need to stop coddling our nation's stupid and let them know what they are. The R rating not only tells you you're dumb and now dumber for having watched a show, it will replace all safety disclaimers. Because if you're truly tempted to recreate something you saw on Tosh.0, we shouldn't stand in your way. We should encourage you. Liquifying your face against a parked car could easily end up being the greatest achievement of your life. What kind of monsters are we to take that opportunity away with sound advice?
Any decent lawyer will tell you that television owners are not responsible for anything they do. I say it's time to weaponize that against them. The R rating will let viewers know that we've given up on them and their ability to make decisions -- they're free to do everything they want. Yes, we'll end up with a huge number of awesome people impaled on our fences or smashed against our ice cream trucks, but that's the cost of progress.