Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blog Ratings, and words we don't want to hear

I was visiting Frume Sarah’s World when I noticed, in her sidebar, a link to a Blog Rating site. They use the MPAA ratings code to label blogs for their content.

Naturally, I checked my own blog. I found I was rated G, with one appearance of “death” on the front page. That will change, though, with the following paragraphs…

I checked a few other blogs, to get a sense of where I fit on the spectrum:
Hirhurim is rated PG-13 for 3 pains, 2 deads and 1 use of kill;
Cross-Currents is rated R for 6 appearances of death, 4 of dead, 2 of gun and 1 of kill; DovBear, on the other hand, was rated G, “No bad words were found.”
Someone should probably let DB know; he’d enjoy that, I think.

Clearly, the folks who designed this ratings widget are sure that many people don’t want to be reminded of death/hurt/pain. A reasonable assumption. But there are many more things I don’t want to remember, so I think we need to expand the sensitivity list:

Mother in Israel has returned to the topic of nursing in public, a debate about whether women and children should be discomfited so that men can avoid being reminded of sexuality. (Boy, I’m really blowing my G Rating out of the water here…) So in honor of cringing males, let’s tack on nursing and chest to the Blog Rating list of keywords. (Interestingly, Mother in Israel did get an R, but not for those words - it’s 5 uses of sex, 2 of jap [presumably not in that context] and 1 of hurt.)

Everyone needs therapy is rated NC-17, for 7 uses of sex, 3 of suicide, 2 of rape, 1 of knife. Frankly, her post “Is Marriage for White People” reminds me of uncomfortable things, but that has nothing to do with the above-cited words. Maybe the raters could check for phrases like single-parent households and men disappear into the streets.

My brother’s blog, Kosher Beers, picks up a PG rating for 8 deaths, 3 deads and 1 gun. With all the legalese in his post from Wednesday July 23rd, I can’t understand why he only received a PG. I’d go for adding lawsuit, assert a right and albeit to the list of banned words. Those scare me a lot more than knife.

Concluding the round-up for now: Jack's Random Thoughts is only rated R, which is kind of disappointing after that NC-17 for the Therapydoc. His array of words is certainly more impressive, to me. Jack, I guess you’re just not trying hard enough. Same for you, Jameel; you can do better than that R you received. 5 kills, 3 murders and 1 hell… got to get those totals up. Sweeps season is coming.

[Postscript: This week's Haveil Havalim is here - and I have now received an R rating...]

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  1. I think the tool is a bit overzealous.

    I missed a "G" rating because I referred to Dick van Dyke tripping over the ottoman. (The tool interpreted individual parts of his name very literally.)

    Context is everything.

  2. Sigh. And I try so hard to make my blog kid friendly (heck, my kids read it!)

    But the words; gun, bomb, kill shouldn't make my blog R rated -- it should make the Palestinians R rated.

    I just report the news...

  3. Hmm...Does it check the comments? If I use words like #&#&U^$#%&#% and Q^%$#%&&#% or %#%^&%U*&%&^ can I give your blog an NC-17 rating too. ;)

  4. This is so cool. But now I have to find out what it means. I have SUCH a good rape story I'm just waiting to post (well, I'd have to write it first) and I haven't finished with the subject of pornography, although our community actually needs a book, not a post on that, one without pictures.

    Does my using rape in a comment help your rating?

  5. Crazy, huh?? It really is all about context!!

    Thanks for the shoutout :)

  6. JF-
    Yes, I actually ran yours through it but declined to print the results because I didn't want to get into that...

    Think there's an Arabic-language version?

    Jack, Therapydoc-
    I would have expected to have at least an NC-17 rating, anyway, after re-printing everyone's lists. But feel free to keep trying...

    Yes, indeed... like so much of life.

  7. freaking a!
    my blog was rated R.
    And the worst part? the word Limbs is bad? WTF?

  8. factualbasis-
    Maybe because the limbs weren't covered? Were they above or below the knee/elbow?

  9. I have "G" for me-ander and "PG 13" for Shiloh Musings.

    It reminds me of the computerized security checks in some airports.

  10. I'm still stuck on "R" depite my best efforts... I even posted a piece on transgender surgery today, but I can't hit that NC-17.

  11. It's a good idea, but the rationale behind the ratings is weird. I did get a G rating, though! You guys better come over and swear in my comments so I can get a juicier rating.