September 25, 2012

How Less Money = More Nudity, OR Violence is Not the Answer, Unless …

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Jacob Kose found Luke Namer ’13 and Jen Alvarado-Ross ’13 crossbreeding Oreos and Nutter Butters over a memorial bonfire for Wilson Farms and its abundant junk food. They debated the question everyone’s been asking since September 26, 1890, while crunching on crispetycrunchetychocolatepeanutbuttery goodness: Why did the US Mint stop producing the $1 and $3 gold coins on the same day Congress passed a law requiring coinage designs to be used for a minimum of 25 years? What stanky, improper and plain unpatriotic pics were on those coins, and is it pure coincidence the Motion Picture Association of America created the NC-17 rating on September 26, 1990, exactly 100 years later? We went through our piggy banks and put on our 3D glasses to come up with what can best be described as the truth.

Disclaimer: As always, Scrambled Eggs strives to adequately approximate what was said and who said what, but may at times mess all of that up.

Luke Namer: You know, honestly, most people would just google the 1890 golden dollar and $3 coin to resolve this intensely … not intense debate.

Jacob Kose: True. But still, this chick, Morgan? She must have done something outrageous to get on these coins.

L.N.: Fo real. Think about it: back in the day, what do you think was the primary channel of propaganda? Also, her name’s not Morgan, the designer was George T. Morgan. Her name’s “Lady Liberty,” perhaps you’re acquainted with the dame?

J.K.: Yeah, she fine. But back to propaganda: instead of schooling me with your interweb knowledge — pre-technology, it’s gotta be newspapers. And I guess people looked at paper money and especially coins, since most countries were still down with the international gold standard before World War I.

Jen Alvarado-Ross: So you’re saying all of our coins and bills have famous historical figures for propaganda, but what if George T. Morgan or one of these powerful men was seeing a woman and she demanded to be put on a coin?

J.K.: Blackmail style? Like one of Jefferson’s mistresses being all “put me and your other 50 mistresses on this coin or else I’ll tell everyone you have tiny nipples?”

J.A.: Did Jefferson have tiny nipples? I demand further documentation. I’m saying she could be terribly vain and seduce whoever’s in charge of printing coins.

L.N.: Seduction’s all well and good, but I’m not totally sure how these coins relate to extremely violent and sexual movies 100 years later. In fact, I don’t think there’s any relationship whatsoever.

J.A.: Word.

J.K.: Touché.

L.N.: But I’m down to talk about NC-17 movies. What distinguishes the violence and nudity of an R-film from an NC-17 is far from clear. Plus the age is totally arbitrary.

J.K.: It’s crazy that nudity — what age do you think most kids get their first computer (read: free porn machine) now, 12, 10, 5? — is more taboo than intensely realistic historical drama, like Schindler’s List, Apocalypse Now, The Lion King 1 and 1/2. It makes sense, since America was founded by prudes and we’re always at war somewhere. Not that either of those facts make any sense. Hmmm.

J.A.: There were political NC-17 movies too, like Invasion of the Body-Snatchers came out in the 50s and it was a commentary on McCarthyism. Aliens replacing people with dumb, conformist versions of themselves, en bee dee.

L.N.: Night of the Living Dead was all about existential despair and economic crisis. But I also think kids could be watching explicit violence from a younger age: PG-13 movies have CGI battle scenes and automatic weapons, and lack the real gore and tragedy you see from bodega shoot ups and crazy white people in the mid-west. It desensitizes the American youth. The youth!

J.K.: Agreed. Seeing a movie is mental consumption potentially as harmful as smoking cigarettes or drinking, but because those are physical vices I guess the legal limit on movies is one year younger.

J.A.: I’ve never been ID’d at a movie, they just don’t care.

L.N.: Me neither, and seeing an R-rated movie was probably the first coming-of-age thrill I looked forward to as a little kid. My older brother showed me my first horror movie when I was nine, Candyman, and I had nightmares about being stung to death by bees. Then I saw Face/Off, the one where John Travolta switches faces with Nicholas Cage to infiltrate his crime ring — I think movies are probably what gets you interested in science from a young age.

J.K.: I don’t know, maybe museums, or just walking around the park as a kid. Even Disney movies, like The Jungle Book got me into animals. Aladdin got me into dark magic and alchemy.

J.A.: But there is this element of realism, like when Jurassic Park basically recreated dinosaurs. I kinda wanted a baby triceratops. For a pet.

J.K.: Was that the first R-rated movie you ever saw? I saw American Pie with my Mom when I was like 11. It’s her favorite movie now. My parents own the box set.

L.N.: You didn’t ask your Dad? That’s strange, Kose. But who even goes to NC-17 movies? If I were to go to the Lower East Side to catch an NC-17 movie I imagine a bunch of olds dudes and crackheads sitting around and jerk—

J.K.: Lukas, if it’s a really scary horror movie people can seek support anywhere. J-sayin’.

J.A.: There are other ways for old men and crackheads to support each other. J-sayin’. Also, movie ratings are stupid.

J.K.: You really don’t think there’s a connection between the $3 coin and NC-17?

L.N.: Still not seeing it.

Jacob Kose is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at jkose@cornellsun.com. Scrambled Eggs ap­pears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

Original Author: Jacob Kose

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