Apparently the N-Word Is Family-Friendly . . . Who Knew?

Caught a disturbing tidbit this afternoon in a report from NPR’s weekly media-criticism program On the Media about Cleanflicks, a Utah company that until July 6th trafficked in sanitized versions of wide-release Hollywood films. (Listen to the entire piece here.) A little background: Cleanflicks had been re-editing such violent and profanity-laced fare as Training Day, Saving Private Ryan, and Shrek (yeah, I know, right?) for several years until the Director’s Guild of America took them to court for “unauthorized duplication.” Widely known as one of the first messages you see on most commercial DVDs, US law grants copyright holders extremely broad rights over their intellectual property—and the Colorado US District Court ruled two weeks ago that Cleanflicks broke the law when they decided to go into business cutting up other people’s movies without permission. Word on the street is they probably won’t bother appealing the ruling, which means that Cleanflicks, along with their legions of imitators, will have to close up shop unless and until they work out some kind of deal with the studios.

Now, to the meat of the story. On the Media opened its piece by playing an audio excerpt from the unedited version of Training Day side-by-side with its Cleanflicks-redacted counterpart. This being daytime radio, it was difficult at first to determine the precise difference between the two scenes (profanity was bleeped in both), but host Bob Garfield later explained that the n-word appeared in both the Cleanflicks edit and the original version. He asked founder Ray Lines why f-bombs, s-bombs, b-words, and g-d’s should be excised while the n-word goes untouched, and Lines’ response was that his business bases its edits entirely on customer input—and no Cleanflicks patron had ever asked for the n-word to be cut from any film.

So, just to clarify, there’s a market out there that can’t suffer their little angels to hear “hell” or “damn” and considers Shrek edgy, but for whom the n-word is perfectly acceptable. Remind me to cancel that trip to Salt Lake City.

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Published on July 16, 2006 at 6:22 pm. 2 Comments.
Filed under mainstream culture,racism,ridiculousness.