Every picture I've done has originally got an X [rating] here in the States. You have to understand that I live in Ontario, Canada. ... When I came down here to talk to the MPAA about ratings, it was still a relief compared with what happens in Ontario, which is that they take your picture, they take every print, and they cut it, and they hand it back to you, and they say, "This is your new movie." They keep the pieces that they've taken out, and you go to jail for two years if those are projected, if you put the pieces back. And that's real censorship.Watch the clip in question here. Much has changed in thirty-some years, but I still think Cronenberg's opinion might prove profitable for us today. Longtime readers know my dislike for the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, a celebration that seems to intentionally confuse community involvement with standards of appropriateness and prior restraint on publication. Cronenberg obviously knows no such confusion, although history shows his proposal of creating "another [rating] category, something like 14 and over" has fomented as much confusion about content as clarity. Still, he's on to something. Storytellers in America enjoy immense freedoms not shared by artists globally. Instead of bickering about what few restrictions we face, why not channel that energy into creating stories that speak to all of life and the truths that give it meaning?
What you've got here [in the United States], however imperfect it may be, at least you still have the option of releasing the film as an X. Of course, there are huge economic sanctions against doing that, and usually you have a contractual obligation not to have an X. Nonetheless, if you really want it to be an X, you can still get it shown here. In Canada, you go to jail.
(Picture: CC 2012 by aeneastudio; Hat Tip: Tor.com)