What do you do when you’re in the city and need to kill some time? Watch­ing a film soun­ded like a fair option to me. The cine­mat­ic mas­ter­piece (!), ‘Epic Movie’, caught my eye. I wasn’t expect­ing much from it at all, so I placed myself into Low Expect­a­tions Mode™, grit­ted my teeth, and went in. It went accord­ing to plan, with the LEM buf­fer­ing me some­what from almost-cer­tain disappointment.

One thing struck me, how­ever. I was sit­ting through the clos­ing cred­its, and I noticed an attri­bu­tion to a char­ac­ter named ‘Steve Irwin’. That’s strange, I thought. I didn’t remem­ber a Steve Irwin char­ac­ter. The clos­ing cred­its were punc­tu­ated by short video clips, each fol­lowed by a change in music as the stand­ard cred­its scrolling returned. A minute later, the screen flickered for a split-second, the cred­its returned, and the music sud­denly changed. Did they cut some­thing out? At the end, there was still no sign of Steve.

Was the Steve Irwin scene removed some­where between the film stu­dio and Hoyts? It could not have been done by the stu­dio — the cut was far too ama­teur­ish for that (although I might be giv­ing them too much cred­it, giv­en the mediocre qual­ity of the film). While I under­stand that Steve Irwin died not too long ago, in my opin­ion that is no excuse for any­one to tell me what I can and can­not watch. The cinema prob­ably cal­cu­lated that the risk of pub­lic back­lash from main­tain­ing the scene would be great­er than the oppos­i­tion to cen­sor­ship. If so, they were prob­ably right. That still doesn’t change the fact that I paid money to view a title that has been rendered incom­plete at the (likely per­ceived) behest of extremists.

Cen­sor­ship has its place in soci­ety, but this is going too far. With­in reas­on, a free and open flow of inform­a­tion is the hall­mark of a healthy demo­cracy. Of course, the per­cep­tions of what exactly ‘reas­on’ is is debat­able, and that’s what lies at the heart of such debates. I prefer to err on the side of open­ness, in the same vein as ‘inno­cent until proven guilty’. I don’t like being told what to think, and what I can view. If I wanted that, I’d be using Win­dows Vista with all of its Digit­al Restric­tions Man­age­ment nonsense.

There’s always the chance that I’m com­pletely off the mark with my accus­a­tions. I’d appre­ci­ate it if someone could verify/​dispel my claims.

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