With the arrival of video-on-demand service Netflix and the replacement of adult DVDs with online porn, Nikki Macdonald – Stuff News (entertainment) – asks whether the censor’s office is more important than ever, or an expensive anachronism.
On a locked floor in central Wellington, staff are paid to watch porn and play video games.
When a vacancy comes up, the office is deluged with eager applicants. But the numbers rapidly dwindle when they’re set a work test. Few can stomach the censor’s daily diet of sex, horror, crime, cruelty and violence.
Behind the first examination door, Juliet* is classifying photos of pre-teen girls with pretty pink hair bows and exposed vaginas; next door Lucy is watching Japanese-style anime clips of explicit rape scenes with twisted messages; Henry is playing shoot-em-up video game Battlefield Hardline and in the adjoining office three senior censors are “having kittens” mulling whether to rate a German film featuring a graphic suicide scene as R16 or R18……
Chief censor Dr Andrew Jack argues censorship has never been more important, precisely because entertainment now comes in so many forms via so many different devices.
And there’s a growing recognition that, to some extent, you are what you watch.
“If I’m watching pornography that’s R18, there’s nothing wrong with that”, says Jack. “Except that if I [Dr Jack] watch large quantities of it it may be influencing the way I interact with real-life women. I think people perhaps are beginning to become more aware that you are the totality of your experience.”
For more go to:
Stuff: Story by Nikki MacDonald
*Censors’ names [e.g. “Juliet” have been changed to protect their safety.