Party Clown Dan Glickman Helps Washington Celebrate Ratings' 40th BirthdayIt seems fitting that on a day when pigs and their lipstick are a subject of national discourse, MPAA boss Dan Glickman would add a bit of Hollywood color with a gushing, glimmering tribute to his institution's widely reviled ratings system. The infamous G, PG, R and the disused X celebrate their 40th anniversary Nov. 1, trailed by the PG-13 (est. 1984) and NC-17 (est. 1990) denotations; as Glickman reportedly told a gathering today in Washington, the ratings are "synonymous with the First Amendment ... with political, artistic and creative expression in this country":

"Ratings do not exist to cast judgment on whether a movie is 'good' or 'bad,' " he said. "The system is not a gatekeeper of society's morality and values. It does not require artists to promote behavior and beliefs deemed socially or morally upright."

He pointed to a near 80% approval ratings among parents of young children as a sign of the system's success. [...]

"Do I occasionally find a film offensive? You bet," the MPAA boss said. "I'm a moviegoer with my own political, social and moral views like anyone else. But that's beside the point of the rating system. It's about information, truth in labeling, allowing diverse voices and visions to be heard and seen, protecting freedom of expression ... all while respecting parents' desire for the information they need to raise their kids according to their beliefs, not those of whoever happens to be in charge at the time in either Washington or Hollywood."

We're not sure if Glickman was in fact "pointing" to that mysterious, unsubstantiated 80% approval figure with his middle finger or not, but it hardly matters in the end. This is the kind of funk you can't really fake: A big, happy Four-Oh to the world's most powerful film censorship group and, if you ask nicely after the speech, a decidedly NC-17 demonstration of his toe-curling studio-fellatio talents. No cameras, please!

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]