Those pesky, fucked up Christians are at it again. Not satisfied with attempting to force their gutter religion down the throats of thinking people everywhere, they have now begun a crusade to strip the culture of fun, joy, thought, and sexuality by “editing” videos against the will of the filmmakers, thereby creating a product “fit” for consumption by those uncomfortable with reality or pleasure. Once again, this is not a private effort to make cinema more “respectable” for some hillbilly family in the mountains of Montana (although such folks will no doubt use this service), this is a for-profit business that ignores copyright law, artistic integrity, and at least twenty-five other Constitutional protections so that brainwashed dullards can watch Hollywood product without profanity, nudity, or other “adult” themes. The business, Clean Flicks, is based in Utah (big fucking surprise!), yet has outlets in at least a dozen other states, including such bastions of cultural sophistication as Wyoming, Idaho, Georgia, Iowa, and Texas. This would be upsetting if it existed in only one town in the entire nation, but it is inching closer and closer to me personally, as a shop is now open in my home state of Colorado. True, Colorado has always been a state brimming with intolerance, hatred, and the lunatic fringe (we house Focus on the Family and nearly every important military installation, after all), but this is going too far. The plague of the cross must be destroyed, with both impunity and, if need be, an endless round of fire bombings.

First, however, there is protest. While those unfamiliar with home-schooling, magic underwear, or handgun fetishes might not know about Clean Flicks, it is setting the Western slope on fire with its allegedly “revolutionary” stance against the swill of Hollywood. Described by its founder as a mere “alternative” (when in doubt, couch your bullshit in terms of “choice”), Clean Flicks buys videos, edits them (presumably in their dank, porn-stocked basements), and rents them to thousands of eager customers nationwide. A typical customer comment goes like this: “I want to be able to watch videos with my children?.Now, we can be together as a family and I don’t have to worry about covering their ears and eyes.” Yes, dear readers, it’s about the children. The fucking children. From babies to teenagers, this country seems to be doing everything it can to pander to the little shits. And while it is perfectly acceptable (at least for right-wingers) for children in poverty to eat garbage and watch their parents lose job after job in our shitty economy, we, at the very least, can prevent them from hearing naughty language.

As I said, I oppose Clean Flicks primarily because I loathe every last fiber of Christians and their partners in depravity, the conservative class of politicos, but there is more than mere anti-Christianity at stake. Yes, it is easy to hope for an endless series of medieval tortures to be inflicted upon those who conjure up more rage for naked breasts than for genocide in Africa, but I am just as frustrated (murderously so, believe me) with the utter disregard of artistic freedom. Not only can I not begin to understand why anyone would want to watch a G-rated (and severely truncated) version of Quills, for example, I cannot abide such a blatant disregard of the law – Constitutional and moral. A film is, despite Adam Sandler’s existence to the contrary, a piece of art that must be respected in its intended form. Some of this art is blatant garbage to be sure, but even the fifth sequel to Police Academy must be afforded the same rights as the best work of a Billy Wilder. If one dislikes a film (even just bits and pieces), one is entitled to hate it, ban it from the home (understand, you fuckers, only your individual home, not mine), or protest its existence. Such protests end, however, with a desire to alter the content against the wishes of the filmmaker. Needless to say, that altered film cannot also be sold for profit, which is so obviously criminal that a lawsuit to prevent it seems superfluous and should be unnecessary. Yet, that lawsuit must be pursued, because the cultists in Salt Lake City have ruthlessly devalued motion pictures (with all the respect due a candy bar, apparently) and erroneously believe that once one buys a video, it can be used in whatever manner one chooses. This might be acceptable if one wants to use the yards of video tape to strangle one’s mother, but it does not apply to distribution.

The best and only way to counter films one hates is to either write a review that attempts to convince others of one’s point of view, or, on the far end of the spectrum, make a film of one’s own. The Left Behind series (with moron and breeder Kirk Cameron) and tripe like The Omega Code have been efforts in this direction, and the marketplace has spoken (no one outside of insane asylums bothered to attend), yet that is not enough for the Jesus set. Not only do they want their own films (Veggie Tales, anyone?), they want the films of others to conform to their narrow, bigoted and utterly pathetic view of the world. Characters should not have sex or even kiss, instead holding hands and sipping milkshakes well into the 95th date. An action hero should not spew profanity, instead using the more suitable “Gee whiz and all heck” to announce the puss-and-chunk filled loss of his torso. And don’t even begin to portray iconoclasm, heresy, anti-establishment views, or rebellion of any kind.

It’s about the children, after all (did I mention that?) and moreover, it’s about the children. Preserve their God-given innocence while the VCR is running, they seem to be saying, all the while ignoring dad’s affair with his secretary, mom’s addiction to pain killers, little Suzie’s three back alley abortions (this is their world remember), little Skip’s Saturday night orgy that left four young school chums with genital warts, and please, pay no attention to the Third World children who pump out those same VCRs for pennies an hour, while simultaneously keeping the murderers and rapists at bay. The innocence you claim to be theirs is about as in-tact as your little girl’s shredded hymen, obliterated no doubt by the same drunken father who earns his living by throwing others out of work. In other words, Christian fucks, look at your own world (of your own making) before you attempt to influence the rest of us. We already have enough lies and hypocrisy to go around.

So, as a matter of course, the good fight should be against Clean Flicks because it seeks to sanitize films that, good or bad, do not deserve to be further scrutinized by anyone even more fascistic than the MPAA. While that agency deserves to be disbanded (quietly, yet firmly), the proprietors of Clean Flicks should, at best, be given a show trial that Stalin himself would rise from the ashes to applaud. Mock them, dehumanize them, and banish them to the very edges of our culture. Their world – frightening, bitter, and ghoulish in every way – must not prevail if WE are to prevail. My point? While I don’t believe even the most graphic film will ever adversely affect a rational human being (child or adult), the absolute and unyielding protection of art (film, in this case) deserves our eternal vigilance. And even if it could be proven that hours and hours of cartoonish violence caused the young to riot in the streets, an unfettered viewing of The Godfather will ALWAYS be more important than the children. Not just your child, but all children. Editing without permission is beneath the human race and best left to totalitarian regimes, whether they are National Socialist, Soviet, or Catholic.