After being in general release for a few weeks now, it’s still hard to believe that the film ‘Kick-Ass’ remains shrouded in controversy.
Is it for gratuitous violence? For glamorizing a whole cache of deadly weapons? For trying to resurrect Nicolas Cage’s career?
It’s because an 11-year-old character uses the C-word during a scene in the following context:
“OK, you c—s, let’s see what you can do now“.
Hit Girl, played by 13-year-old actress Chloe Grace Moretz, is a child vigilante, partnered with her near sociopathic father Big Daddy (Cage). Together they work to vanquish the criminal underbelly of an entire city with extreme prejudice. Hit Girl uses guns, wields swords and, as the title suggests, kicks a whole lot of ass. But of more concern than the over-the-top action sequences is that she uses THAT word. You know, the one that 1 in 3 chicks will punch you for using in company.
She could beat ME in a fight. Without weapons. In real life. Consistently.
C**t seems to remain one of the last real verbal taboos, at least in the English language. Over 30 years ago George Carlin was talking about the 7 words you can’t say on television. Now the C-smack is pretty much the only word that viewers occasionally get worked up about. It doesn’t have the nasty racial connotation of an epithet like N****r, which the black community has, despite all odds, managed to take back and re-frame for their own use.
Could women take back the C-word? Will we hear female pop singers in 10 years time recounting the time they went to the club with all their c**ts? Probably not. My belief often revolves around the idea that there are no bad words, just bad intentions. However, as a white, middle class male in 2010 I’m probably of the demographic least exposed to any form of prejudice, ever.
The word c**t doesn’t faze me at all. But then it’s not supposed to. So I can understand how it might strike a chord with women in particular, who don’t want to hear THAT word come out of the mouth of an 11-year-old girl, especially not when it’s coming from a screenplay written by a white, upper class dude.
Over time the shock value of any word diminishes. One day we’ll live in a world where THAT word is used in practically every sentence, by men and women. It’ll become a simple exclamatory expression. It’ll probably even adorn the personalized license plates of custom lowered VS Commodores…
Shit, who am I kidding? That’s a pretty accurate definition of the majority of Melbourne’s west, NOW.
Once you're in the Green Zone, anything goes
Is this storm in a tea-cup because a young character uses the word, which might then influence other children to use it similarly? If so, who’s letting their kids watch Kick-Ass?!? In Australia it’s been pretty clearly rated MA 15+. You think the filmmakers should refrain from using this kind of language because you don’t put in the time to monitor the TV and movies that they’re watching / renting / downloading? And if this is the case, is it really the language that should perturb you?
Doing press for his film, writer/director Matthew Vaughn has made a valid point, bringing up the fact that in recent interviews some reviewers and the media have been very quick to condemn him for his use of profane language, but of less concern has been the fact that over the course of the film Hit Girl murders 53 people.
I have an 11-year-old brother. I think that I’d be less concerned by him telling me his teacher is a c**t than if he told me he killed 50 of his classmates playing footy at lunchtime.
But that’s just me.
As the ‘South Park’ movie so eloquently put it more than 10 years ago, “Horrific, Deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don’t say any naughty woids!”
They even wrote a song called ‘Uncle Fucker’ to prove their point.
And how can anyone argue with that?
P.S – I may just use that song to try and prove every point I ever try to make from this point on. Stay tuned…