EDITORIALS

Since When is Jackass an Acceptable Word in Trailers?

by
May 2, 2008

Hancock

Not that I have a problem against using the word jackass, but I'm wondering since when has it been actually allowed in "Approved for All Audiences" trailers?! I was just watching the new Hancock trailer again and I noticed that "jackass" is used twice in that trailer alone. And then I remembered last night before Iron Man I saw the (awful) trailer for The Love Guru twice and remembered hearing the cute little Verne Troyer saying "put me down jackass" at some point in that one as well. I thought a few years ago even a hint of profanity was kept far and away out of trailers. But now jackass is acceptable? Since when did the MPAA get so soft?!

It may be odd to hear a question like that coming from me, because I'm one of the biggest advocates for less censorship - so that's not really my question. Instead, I'm curious as to how, all of a sudden, jackass is allowed in publicly approved trailers that little kids can go see? Because as far as I know, the MPAA is not that easy to break down. And jackass or ass are not exactly words that we hear a lot in PG movies. None of these trailers are really that deserving of a red band rating anyway, but that doesn't mean jackass can be used so freely - does it?

I'm guessing it has to do with something with the fact that the actual definition of the word is a donkey. So I'm sure after some battles and internal debates over a dinner table, the MPAA execs decided jackass is more often used to describe an animal than it is to describe idiots. But then in both of the trailers I mentioned, they're clearly not talking about a donkey when they say jackass. I'm even laughing at myself for bringing this up to begin with, but it is one of the most interesting things I've come across in trailers in a while.

So has the MPAA started to loosen up a bit recently? Have they started to realize profanity is not what is causing all the violence in this world? Or have they just found some loophole regarding the definition of a word? Is anyone actually offended by this? Is there anyone out there that wouldn't be happy if they took their kid to see a PG or PG-13 movie and they heard jackass in the trailer? Or am I just overlooking this entire thing anyway? For all I know, jackass has probably been in trailers since 1951 and I've just missed it.

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  • Mark P
    I don't think "jackass" is a naughty word. I've always understood it as another way of saying "idiot". My brother and I grew up quoting Disney's "Pinocchio" (1940) because they repeatedly used the word "jackass". The use of the word in that movie means both "donkey" and "idiot". The MPAA has since rated that film a G.
  • Maybe "Jackass: The Movie" had something to do with it?
  • The Brain
    Since "Jackass: The Movie" and "Jackass 2" and also newspeople saying the word in regards to kids getting hurt from mimicking the TV show's stunts. I'm always perplexed when TV shows and movies on TV filter out "goddamn."
  • The Delightful Deviant
    isn't a Jackass basically a donkey? so is donkey a bad word?
  • I think what's annoying me the most about this is that ass can't be said, neither can damn - those two words are worse than jackass. I know jackass is a donkey, but the MPAA's censorship guidelines are crazy! Especially when jackass is used in a very derogatory way in the trailers...
  • The Delightful Deviant
    he also said "punk ass" after that, maybe they are getting soft, i guess i hear it so much it didn't phase me when i heard in a trailer, >_< now i'm gonna be looking for it in all trailers.
  • wm
    are you kidding me. Why is this a problem? I guess we could be talking about the "violence" in the beginning with the highway...and he did hit a kid into outer space. Come on, Alex.
  • funnytunney
    "isn't a Jackass basically a donkey? so is donkey a bad word?" so is Fornication Under Consent of the King a swearword by that reasoning too?
  • The Delightful Deviant
    if you say it in that manner i don't see why it should be? isn't censoring the 7 dirty words so the babes wont spout out such evil?
  • harrison
    i never even noticed and ive seen the trailer a bunch, they say ass all over radio now so i guess theyre easing up a bit
  • Mark
    "so is Fornication Under Consent of the King a swearword by that reasoning too?" I'm not sure how reasoning applies to urban legends. It's a bit of a grey area.
  • I was very surprised at this too when I heard it. I was like WHAT?! Not that I was offended, I never thought the MPAA would allow it. However, I must disagree with you. I thought THE LOVE GURU trailer was MUCH better than the first and had some pretty funny parts too it.
  • Steven Kar
    Take it easy Alex! They only said jackass for goodness sake! Even a mormon wouldn't object in this case. And it doesn't matter whether it referred to a donkey or an idiot.

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