Well, it seems like someone forgot to tell director Kevin Smith that it is a “no-no” to use five-letter words in movie titles. His new movie, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, is generating a lot of controversy – but not only for the reasons that one would expect. Indeed, “newspapers, television networks, cable channels,” and other venues are refusing to carry adverstisements for the new comedy, not because of the movie’s content, but because of the word “porno” in the title.

The irony of such censorship is that the word “porno” does not violate the Federal Communications Commission’s ban on indecency. Nevertheless, Smith has had to “jump through a lot of hoops” in order to market his movie, such as having to appeal the original decision of the Motion Picture Association of America to apply the NC-17 rating to the movie instead of the R rating. In addition, critics of the movie’s title claim that it is “totally inappropriate,” especially for children who may see the ads.

In a lot of ways, the public outcry over the movie’s title should make us wonder if the FCC’s indecency standards are stringent enough. I mean, surely anyone who is outraged over the use of a five-letter word in a title should be even more upset about the amount of violence, obscene language, and sexual behavior that we see on television everyday. While Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a movie about two roomates who find an unorthodox way of getting out of debt, the core of the movie is a love story. Like one writer pointed out, we did not mind falling in love with a movie about a prostitute (Pretty Woman), so why are we so fearful of the word “porno”?

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