...the rebirth of Doris Day's virginity.

A friend who means well told me about Hollywood's turn to more moral screenplays and suggested that if I wanted to make money in this business I should write books and films with "no sex, no violence, and no profanity."

Which sounds like a pretty narrow definition of morality to me.

But I know what she means. Americans seem, publicly at least, to want a return to the days when you couldn't ask Dad slicing the Thanksgiving turkey for a thigh or a breast, not without giving Mom the vapors.

In the interest of serving my reading public, both of you, I'm reprinting part of the Hollywood Production Code of 1930, often called the Hays Code. Because these rules, fellow writers, are what may dictate what gets published and produced in the near future.

As a fun exercise in prudery, you may want to pick the rule you like most and name a writer or movie that violates the bejesus out of it. For instance, I choose Rule 1.b. under Particular Applications and nominate The Passion of the Christ.

And yes, I know I'm going to hell.

Have fun, but not too much fun. Leave your pants on. And no swearing.

The Hollywood Production Code of 1930

1. No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.

2. Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.

3. Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.

Particular Applications

I. Crimes Against the Law
These shall never be presented in such a way as to throw sympathy with the crime as against law and justice or to inspire others with a desire for imitation.

1. Murder

a. The technique of murder must be presented in a way that will not inspire imitation.

b. Brutal killings are not to be presented in detail.

c. Revenge in modern times shall not be justified.

2. Methods of Crime should not be explicitly presented.

a. Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc., should not be detailed in method.

b. Arson must subject to the same safeguards.

c. The use of firearms should be restricted to the essentials.

d. Methods of smuggling should not be presented.

3. Illegal drug traffic must never be presented.

4. The use of liquor in American life, when not required by the plot or for proper characterization, will not be shown.

II. Sex
The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.

1. Adultery, sometimes necessary plot material, must not be explicitly treated, or justified, or presented attractively.

2. Scenes of Passion

a. They should not be introduced when not essential to the plot.

b. Excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures, are not to be shown.

c. In general passion should so be treated that these scenes do not stimulate the lower and baser element.

3. Seduction or Rape

a. They should never be more than suggested, and only when essential for the plot, and even then never shown by explicit method.

b. They are never the proper subject for comedy.

4. Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden.

5. White slavery shall not be treated.

6. Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races) is forbidden.

7. Sex hygiene and venereal diseases are not subjects for motion pictures.

8. Scenes of actual child birth, in fact or in silhouette, are never to be presented.

9. Children's sex organs are never to be exposed.

III. Vulgarity
The treatment of low, disgusting, unpleasant, though not necessarily evil, subjects should always be subject to the dictates of good taste and a regard for the sensibilities of the audience.

IV. Obscenity
Obscenity in word, gesture, reference, song, joke, or by suggestion (even when likely to be understood only by part of the audience) is forbidden.

V. Profanity
Pointed profanity (this includes the words, God, Lord, Jesus, Christ - unless used reverently - Hell, S.O.B., damn, Gawd), or every other profane or vulgar expression however used, is forbidden.

VI. Costume
1. Complete nudity is never permitted. This includes nudity in fact or in silhouette, or any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture.

2. Undressing scenes should be avoided, and never used save where essential to the plot.

3. Indecent or undue exposure is forbidden.

4. Dancing or costumes intended to permit undue exposure or indecent movements in the dance are forbidden.

VII. Dances
1. Dances suggesting or representing sexual actions or indecent passions are forbidden.

2. Dances which emphasize indecent movements are to be regarded as obscene.

VIII. Religion
1. No film or episode may throw ridicule on any religious faith.

2. Ministers of religion in their character as ministers of religion should not be used as comic characters or as villains.

3. Ceremonies of any definite religion should be carefully and respectfully handled.

IX. Locations
The treatment of bedrooms must be governed by good taste and delicacy.

X. National Feelings
1. The use of the Flag shall be consistently respectful.

2. The history, institutions, prominent people and citizenry of other nations shall be represented fairly.

XI. Titles
Salacious, indecent, or obscene titles shall not be used.

XII. Repellent Subjects
The following subjects must be treated within the careful limits of good taste:
1. Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishments for crime.
2. Third degree methods.
3. Brutality and possible gruesomeness.
4. Branding of people or animals.
5. Apparent cruelty to children or animals.
6. The sale of women, or a woman selling her virtue.
7. Surgical operations.

So there you are, the future of fiction. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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"4. Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden."

Damn! I'm screwed. (Or should I say, "Darn. I'm in big trouble.")
Fuck. There goes my career.
Yours and Tarantino's.
I don't know what the problem is. These all seem like very sensible suggestions to me;}#
HERETIC!!!11!
"Illegal drug traffic must never be presented."

Just this rule alone would eliminate every crime flick of the 80's. And this:

"Undressing scenes should be avoided, and never used save where essential to the plot."

would be the death of Sharon Stone's career. (What career you might ask, and for that I have no answer.)
I did hear recently that the MPAA is going to start taking smoking into consideration when rating a film-if a character in the film smokes, it could affect the rating of the film.

So now smoking rates right up there with disembowelments. Interesting.
Egad.

Now I know for sure why I loved the 60s so much. I was Born to Backlash.

Dianne
I'm 4200 words into a new novel. As an exercise in craft, I'm going to try to follow these directives. We'll see how it turns out.

That said, I'm pretty sure The Bible breaks every one of these rules.
Using this as a guide, I am planning to produce a film called The Production Code a story of a young philosophy professor who decides to take one of his nubile students on a tour of each and every one of these fine activities. And, being all post-modern and post-post-modern, the whole film will include countless references to itself and all the Dan Brown novels, as well as playing backwards, much like that really cool episode of Red Dwarf.
Yes, but can we watch your movie in the blacked out lounge-room of that extremely dodgy French Professor who hangs out at the Uni Bar, peering intently at it on black and white 12" television screen, drinking Absinthe from old vegemite glasses - constantly listening out for the dreaded knock on the door which indicates that the "moral police" have sussed us - or worse still - some idiot's bought a "wholesome" movie for us all to watch.....
Absinthe in vegemite glasses: classic!

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