Film mocks rape, underage sex, includes “couple dozen F-words”
Plymouth High to show R-rated movie
in class Monday, over parent’s objection
Gary Glenn, President
AFA of Michigan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, Nov. 18, 2005
Gary Glenn 989-835-7978
Plymouth High 734-582-5500 (upon voicemail prompt, dial 6)
PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Parents in Plymouth and Canton will be disappointed to learn that when it comes to what movies are appropriate for teenagers, even Hollywood has higher standards than their local public school system, a statewide family values organization said Friday.
“Impossible as it is to believe, it can’t be too reassuring to parents to learn that they can put more faith in Hollywood to help protect their teens from inappropriate movies than they can the local school system,” said Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan.
Glenn’s comments came in response to a request for help from the father of a Plymouth High School student who objects to plans by his 16-year old son’s U.S. government class to show the R-rated movie “Wag the Dog” during class on Monday. He confirmed the planned showing in a telephone conversation with Plymouth High Principal Dr. Michael Bee.
Glenn noted that the Hollywood movie industry’s rating standards prohibit a 16-year old from viewing an R-rated movie unless physically accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. Plymouth High School’s less-restrictive policy will not require students’ adult parents or guardians to be present during the R-rated movie’s showing Monday, though the school did write parents in advance to advise them of the planned showing and inform them that they could remove their child from class without academic penalty.
David King, Canton, in an e-mail this week to AFA’s national office in Tupelo, Mississippi, termed the planned showing of the R-rated movie an “atrocity.”
“Our upscale, expensive, modern school has now resorted to exhibiting R-rated movies within the classroom,” King wrote, noting that the film is rated “inappropriate for 16 year olds to view by the movie industry itself. Yet, our (son’s) advanced placement class in U.S. Government has decided themselves the movie is not only appropriate, but is worth the 1 hour and 35 minutes of class time to view it.”
“I have contacted the school for their reasons of showing the movie and asked for a deferral of showing the movie until we can collectively agree to its merits, to no avail. Can you assist me in stopping this atrocity?” King wrote.
AFA’s national office referred King’s request to the American Family Association of Michigan, based in Midland.
In a follow up e-mail to AFA-Michigan, King reported the results of his attempts to share his concerns with local school officials.
According to King, Plymouth High Principal Dr. Michael Bee supports U.S. government teacher Shannon McBrady’s plans to show the R-rated film, while Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim Ryan opposes showing the film but claims he is powerless to stop it.
“The principal supports the teacher and is convinced that the educational benefit is worth dropping his standards. I was amazed,” King wrote. “However, the school district superintendent was floored that the school would show a PG movie, much less an R-rated movie. He researched the district’s policy and found his hands were tied. The teachers contract does not specifically prohibit any material, just (says) that it must be approved by the principal.”
Background and reviews of “Wag the Dog”
Various plot descriptions and reviews report that the extremely profane movie — including “a couple dozen F-words” — portrays the rape of a Catholic nun and an adult male politician’s possibly forced sex with an underage girl as subjects of humor.
Movies Unlimited describes the plot of “Wag the Dog” as a “wickedly funny satire of modern politics and media manipulation. When the president is accused of sexually accosting a teenage girl in the Oval Office weeks before Election Night, top advisor Anne Heche and political troubleshooter Robert De Niro contact Hollywood producer Dustin Hoffman. Their plan: to create a fictitious military incident with Albania to divert the news media and take the heat off the White House.” [Source]
Christian Answers, which provides movie reviews from a Christian perspective, gives the movie “Wag the Dog” a “moral rating” of “very offensive.” [http://www.christiananswers.net/spotlight/movies/pre2000/i-wagdog.html]
Epinion.com, a secular move review website, states that the movie is “annoying in its excessive, needless use of obscenity” and reports that in the film, “the President…has had perhaps non-consensual sex with an underage girl, and this is the subject of many sly jokes (as if it could actually be funny). …Things get even more preposterous as a soldier chosen randomly to be a war hero turns out to be a psychotic nun-raper (this is also supposed to be funny: does Hollywood believe that rape is a subject for comedy?)” [Source]
MovieGuide.org, the web site of film critic Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, urges “extreme caution” and reports that the film includes “39 obscenities and eight profanities, mild violence…miscellaneous immorality including lying…and discussion of purported sexual act of the president with a minor.”[Source]
Kids-in-Mind.com reports that the movie includes, by category: Sex and nudity: Sexual innuendo and discussions of sexual impropriety. Part of a woman’s bare buttocks are seen. A man and woman are shown in bed apparently after sex. A young female bombing victim is shown running nude. Discussions of rape. Violence: A man is shot off screen. Another man is shot twice off screen. A woman is apparently attacked by a rapist (off screen). Profanity: A couple dozen F-words, many scatological and anatomical references, and many mild obscenities.” [Source]
E-mail messages by David King:
From: David King
To: AFA Michigan
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: Public School showing “R” rated movie in class
FYI, the principal supports the teacher and is convinced that the educational benefit is worth dropping his standards. I was amazed.
However, the school district superintendent was floored that the school would show a PG movie, much less an R-rated movie. He researched the district’s policy and found his hands were tied. The teachers contract does not specifically prohibit any material, just that it must be approved by the principal.
From: David King
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 3:15 PM
Subject: Public School showing “R” rated movie in class
Public School showing “R” rated movie in class
Please help. Our upscale, expensive, modern school has now resorted to exhibiting R rated movies within the classroom. The Plymouth High School, Plymouth, Michigan has requested my permission to allow my 16 year old son to view “Wag the Dog”, a movie rated inappropriate for 16 year olds to view by the movie industry itself. Yet, our Advanced Placement class in US Government has decided themselves the movie is not only appropriate, but is worth the 1 hour and 35 minutes of class time to view. I have contacted the school for their reasons of showing the movie and asked for a deferral of showing the movie until we can collectively agree to its merits, to no avail. Can you assist me in stopping this atrocity? Thank you for your kind consideration.
Canton, MI 48188
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