March 10, 2004

Is Smoking Rated R?

The AP reports the lastest front in the war against smoking.

LOS ANGELES — If Nicolas Cage lights a cigarette in a movie, Hollywood's ratings board should respond as if he used a profanity, according to authors of a new study that criticizes glamorous images of smoking in movies rated for children under 17.

"No one is saying there should never be any smoking in the movies," Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said Tuesday at a press conference at Hollywood High School. "What we're simply asking for is that smoking be treated by Hollywood as seriously as it treats offensive language."

Some people think smoking is offensive, obviously. But is it really comparable to profanity?

What would the authors of this study rather have me do? Like up a smoke on a street corner? Or say eff you in front of their kids?

Since R-rated films typically earn less money because they are not open to most teenagers, Glantz said he hoped such a policy would discourage filmmakers from depicting unnecessary smoking, such as the nicotine-addicted worm aliens in “Men in Black.”
This is just bullying and control freakery, a way to impose an agenda on artists by threatening to cost them millions of dollars if they don’t comply.

Why stop with smoking? If we’re going to protect The Children from seeing bad adult habits on screen, we might as well restrict the number of Twinkies, french fries, and Froot Loops an actor or actress can eat in a movie.

Here’s another AP headline for you: Obesity May Pass Smoking As Top Killer

Maybe next the MPAA will slap an R rating on a movie if an actor or actress is fat.

In the meantime, I think kicking smokers out of every bar in New York and California ought to be enough micro-management for now.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 10, 2004 11:04 AM
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