I don't believe anyone has ever accused the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) of consistency. Their film ratings receive the most attention and cause the most consternation, most recently for the NC-17 rating given to Ang Lee's Lust, Caution and before that for their decision to consider cigarette smoking when assigning a rating. But the MPAA also approves all advertising for rated films to ensure that the material is "appropriate for viewing by the general public." That includes "all print ads, radio and TV spots, press kits, outdoor advertising such as billboards, Internet sites, video or DVD packaging, and trailers for both theatrical and home video releases."

Within the past year alone, controversy has arisen about the advertising for The Hills Have Eyes 2, Hostel II and Captivity (and probably others that I'm forgetting). With that in mind, Ray Pride at Movie City Indie notes a curious common theme among three MPAA-approved posters he's recently seen in Chicago. Pride comments on the 'huffing and puffing' that's "expended on how the MPAA makes sure that every piece of publicity and advertising for ratings-approved movies pass muster ... Strange, though, to see how many current wild-posted one-sheets are allowed to demonstrate a pronounced testicular fixation." Check out his post to see which posters he's talking about.

Now we circle back to the idea of consistency, or the lack thereof. Where the films themselves are involved, the MPAA seems to most often have problems with sexual matters. But when it comes to the posters, the MPAA appears most leery of violent images. I realize that the MPAA's Ratings Board and Advertising Administration are two separate groups within the organization, but c'mon, guys, which is it? Are the movies too violent or are they too sexy? Somehow I think the MPAA would answer that the problem isn't the movies, it's those darn pirates!