Two congressmen from North Carolina have introduced a bill that would make it illegal to show non-G-rated movies on the overhead screens of airplanes:
The legislation was prompted by complaints from parents and others who said airlines were increasingly showing movies and television reruns with sexual content and violence to in-flight audiences that include children, said a spokesman for Representative Heath Shuler, Democrat of North Carolina, one of two authors of bill, the Family Friendly Flights Act.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I sympathize with parents who worry about what their kids see. On the other, I note that the movies are already edited anyway, and every parent’s sensibilities are different:
Mr. Shuler cited a constituent who was angered to have to try to shield her children from scenes in “Last Kiss,” in which a married architect is tempted by a beautiful student.That movie (correct title, “The Last Kiss”), is rated R, but was surely edited to remove any nudity and bad language. What was the parent angry about? Was it just the idea that someone could be unfaithful his wife, or was the movie truly insufficiently edited for showing in the plane? We don’t really know, but I suspect that regardless of the editing, there’d be people who weren’t satisfied.
But does it all really matter? I never watch the movies shown overhead anyway; the screens are too small and too far away, they’re at an awkward angle that makes them uncomfortable to watch, and the viewing angle often gives a distorted picture that’s blocked by people standing during the film. If I’m on a flight that has individual screens at each seat, I use that, and this law won’t affect what’s available there. And I often bring my own DVDs and watch them on my laptop. I see more and more people doing that, or using portable DVD players.
If this passes, it might just prompt the airlines to equip more flights with individual screens... or to forgo movies altogether, rather than limiting the fare to G-rated films that’d be of little interest to most of the passengers. Eventually, we’ll probably just see more use of personal carry-on devices.
And, hm, will parents be able to “protect” their children from chance glimpses of other people’s screens for the whole flight anyway?
 I’ll note that something PZ Myers says here might apply to this bill also:
[...] (it’s got "family" in the title, so you know it’s got to be evil) [...]