Monday, July 13, 2020

Sufficient Levels of Meta

I've been watching a show on Netflix. It's an animated series called Disenchantment, and it's rated TV-14. This means that, when characters are naked, they are always strategically obscured. One scene takes place on an island full of mermaids. All the topless mermaids are covered, by hair or seaweed or whatever. But then a little bit later, another scene is taking place in a room with a painting of a mermaid on the wall. And that mermaid, the one in the painting, has nipples. So a drawing of nudity isn't okay, unless it's a drawing of a drawing?

This reminds me of when South Park explored the prohibition on drawings of Muhammad by having a guy in a bear suit that within the episode is said to contain Muhammad. Is a drawing of a bear suit a depiction of Muhammad? What about Robert Downey Jr.'s blackface character in Tropic Thunder? Is it offensive because he's in blackface, or is it okay because he's playing a character who is in blackface?

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