June 15 - June 21, 1995

Eighth Day

PARENTS AND POLITICIANS: As the meat eaters in town blow burning beef breezes through my neighborhood, my mind turns to getting away from this mesquite-broiled place. For now, though, I seek coolness in the stories and seats at the movie theatre.

No longer in a town where you can hit the $1.50 movie with just 10 minutes to spare, we are turned away from Pulp Fiction and bolt across the city to see Rob Roy.

I see two kids in front of me, around five- and nine-years old, seated with bigger people who are presumably their parents. I begin to fidget.

True to its R rating, the movie is not your run-around-the-highlands-and-sing-songs-of-heather type Scottish fare. It is honor and truth and strength, but it's also blood and guts and slashing and rape and humiliation.

Oh, who am I, Bob Dole telling my wife to get rid of stock in a Disney subsidiary because of my high moral character? Actually, I resent Dole saying the same crap Bill Clinton's secretary of education, Richard Riley, said in February when he called on Hollywood to stop promoting violence as entertainment and got a collective yawn for it.

But, ahem, what are the rules, if I may ask? Management at three local theatres agree that an under-17 ticket holder accompanied by a parent or guardian can get in to an R flick. The assistant manager at Gateway Theatre says most of the R movies don't contain anything too rough and tough. "Maybe there's just a little bit of violence, but nothing you don't see on cable these days." Really. Going the extra nod is AMC theatres, advising that children under three should probably not be propped in front of R movies. Probably not.

I beg my burned-out psychiatric nurse friend in Louisiana for an opinion here. "I worked with 13-year old girls pregnant by their fathers and normal, active six-year old boys whose parents brought them in for self-described 'nut checks,' so they could get more money from the state. This society has no thought-out parenting skills. What some parents think is appropriate is just so inappropriate. We teach anger management to kids and send them back to parents who stick them in front of sex and violence on TV all day and beat them when they act out. But you can't force a parent to pay attention to their kids."

She says, too, that I can't slap someone around if I don't like their parenting skills. But she adds it's OK to slam a cut-rate politician who worries less about funding programs for kids and parents than about lip-synching to religious right tunes.

I did try glaring, as did the man next to the kids. He didn't like the shuffling, talking, munching, squirming, and jumping on seats. What the hell was his problem? At least I didn't enjoy the movie because I was worried about their mental health.

If you can't get a sitter, stay home and play Parcheesi with the kids tonight, warriors.
--By Hannah Glasston

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June 15 - June 21, 1995

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