09 November 2006

The Profanity Button

Last week I watched The Departed in the cinema, and I totally regretted it. It's a pretty good interpretation of Infernal Affairs, but the whole experience was marred by our morally-superior censors.

It's a violent movie, and because it depicts criminals, they are often very liberal with their curse words. And that could only mean one thing for censors - pure pleasure.

When I was buying the tickets, the girl told us that this film is for adults only. "No children, ya?" If only adults are going to watch it, why censor it in the first place?

But the biggest thorn is not that they censored, it's how they censored. In the good old days they would just silence the offending word. We would see the actor mouthing that well-meant "muthafucker", but our ears would be spared the pain.

But did our censors do that? Oh no... they couldn't risk having our sharp eyes deciphering the words "cock sucker" on the screen! So they used some fancy splicing technique to make it look as if the actors never said those words at all! Problem is, it never works. It makes it look as if the film is stuttering and the actors magically shift places in 1/10th of a second.

Not only did it feel weird, but they didn't even splice it properly. Quite often, the beginnings of the swear word can be heard, but it is immediately joined by the end of the next word.

For example, take this sweet sentence ripe for censoring:
"You motherfucker! I'm going to make you regret eating my girl's pussy, you cocksucker!"

After going through Malaysian censors, it would sound like:
"You mo-'m going to make you regret eating my girl's p-u coc-!"

Now, imagine listening something to that effect for 2.5 hours. For a more humorous take on the issue of censoring in press, check out Scott Adams' blog entry The Most Obscene Letter:

If you ask me, the most obscene letter in the alphabet is the asterisk. It appears in almost every naughty word you see in print, from f*ck to p*ss to m*th*rf*ck*ng c*cks*ck*r. You can’t even pronounce the word “asterisk” without saying *ss. That smutty little character is attracted to obscenity like flies to sh*t.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll make this censorship-free:

Fuck the fucking fuckers.

There.

I guess splicing is better than bleeping. Heh.