National Catholic Register

Opinion

Video-Store Values

BY Jim Cosgrove

August 10-16, 2003 Issue | Posted 8/10/03 at 1:00 PM

 

I was quite interested to see the-headline “Are Video Stores Safe for Kids?” in the July 20-26 issue, thinking that finally someone was going to address a topic that had been on my mind lately: the sleazy video/DVD covers-displaying nearly naked men and women in all-varieties of suggestive poses.

The first few paragraphs of the article seemed to be heading in the right direction, but I was completely amazed to then read that Blockbuster Video was-being hailed-as a “conspicuous example” of a “large video chain [setting] up safeguards to protect children from being exposed to these temptations.” Since when?

Okay, they may have “youth-restricted viewing” and they may help children pick appropriate titles, but there's nothing to keep kids from seeing the aforementioned sleazy pictures all over the store. If Blockbuster really wanted to get serious about making their business “family-friendly,” they would stop carrying so many of those trashy direct-to-video movies, have plain covers with only the title shown to replace the soft-porn-ones and bring back more of the old, truly family-friendly movies, like the vintage Disney films of the ‘60s and black-and-white classics like Arsenic and Old Lace (which my husband and I discovered was unavailable-from Blockbuster).

Until video stores really clean up their act, I would suggest that any-parents wanting to-rent movies for the family should leave the kids at home.

CELINE MCCOY

San Diego

“Are Video Stores Safe for Kids?” addressed an important issue of interest to all parents. Unfortunately, your reporter gave a clean bill of health to Blockbuster, the national chain, quoting them as being a “family-friendly destination.” Nothing could be further from the truth, at least in our neighborhood.

The local Blockbuster has taken on an insidious policy of seeding the regular displays with soft porn from B-grade producers. Cover photos of naked bodies in bed, or in various stages of the act of undressing, from non-Hollywood production companies are interspersed with the regular drama, action and recent releases that we would all recognize from the major studios. The situation at the local Blockbuster is so bad that some parents have considered a boycott. Complaints to he manager and, by writing, to the national headquarters have not been responded to.

How ironic, then, that the Register would publicly provide such a ringing endorsement of Blockbuster. I wish you had dug a little deeper before issuing such a glowing report on this media chain.

KEVIN PARKER

Rochester, New York