Changing Mores

Once a movie is assigned a rating, that rating tends to stay. The Ontario Film Review Board took a big risk, allowing brief nudity for the first time in 1964’s Suna no onna (Woman in the Dunes). They assigned an ‘R’ rating, and it remains to this day. Licence plates, on the other hand, are subject to review.

Skip Eskildsen, of Niagara Falls, Ontario, obtained a vanity plate in 1999: WTF YLA. According to Mr. Eskildsen, this plate meant “What the Fine Young Lady Acquired,” and was a gift for his wife’s Cadillac. At the time the plate was purchased, the Ministry of Transportation did not consider the wording offensive, but there was a complaint, a review, and it’s offensive now.  Mr. Eskildsen, who runs a sex shop named after his wife and owns a boat called “4 Play,” notes he was aware of a possible offensive meaning as well. Thanks, MOT, for making the streets safer for decent people. Source: http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/05/10/government-revokes-drivers-wtf-plate

Meanwhile, on a more serious note, the Mayor of Ottawa is withdrawing his proposal to name a new city building after a former mayor, Charlotte Whitton. Whitton, like many people from earlier generations, held views that were socially acceptable a century ago, but are no longer tolerated. The mayor is asking for suggestions for other persons to commemorate.

Quick – name a famous person from Ottawa’s history who a) does not already have a building, street, school or park named after them, b) drank moderately, c) was known for their gender, race, and class blindness, d) did not have sexual relations with that woman, e) recycled, and f) is generally recognized as a person of virtue by all current residents of Ottawa. Send your suggestions to the mayor. Source: http://www.metronews.ca/ottawa/local/article/855750–name-game-causes-stir

As Roger Ebert says, ‘it isn’t about sand anyway, but about life. “Are you shoveling to survive, or surviving to shovel?” the man asks the woman, and who cannot ask the same question? “Woman in the Dunes” is a modern version of the myth of Sisyphus, the man condemned by the gods to spend eternity rolling a boulder to the top of a hill, only to see it roll back down.”

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