Thank You (Very Little) for Smoking
By Jocelyn Geboy in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 14, 2007 10:00PM
We have to admit it: sometimes we feel like we're the old man/lady these days, always thinking, "Back when we were young, there was no swearing on TV! Back when we were young, girls didn't dress like that! Back when we were young, people had more common courtesy!" Hell, for most of our lives you couldn't show hard liquor on TV, and there weren't such things as ads for prescription drugs.
So, we did happen to notice that a lot more people in movies and on TV are smoking cigarettes, talking nasty and drinking booze/doing drugs (at least smokin' the weed). But, we haven't given it much thought, other than to get the occasional craving for a Marlboro. But this dude says that 50% of parents think that a movie should have an R rating if there's smoking on screen unless there's "historical reasons." Oh. Let's break this down, shall we?
First of all, an R rating? We have no idea what's what anymore. People seem to be content to watch people get the shit beat out of them, have things blown to pieces and let extreme gun violence pass with not much fuss, or the R rating they deserve, but throw in a little sex and everything gets fucked up — literally. This Film Is Not Yet Rated goes into detail about the seemingly arbitrary way movies are given ratings, or at least how some movies are given a pass, while others get the NC-17 rating, which seems to doom them to box office failure.
And "historical reasons?" What the hell does that mean? You can smoke on screen if everyone did at the time? The Roaring '20s? Or ... RIGHT NOW?
The video clip that the link sends you to also references a statistic that says there are 400,000 teenage smokers, and that smoking will kill a third of them. Of course, that's bad. But does smoking really deserve an R rating? We have always been a little confused about the nebulous link between seeing celebrities do things and the real-life effect it has on kids' lives. We believe that kids really do do things because they want to look cool. But what we really think they are doing is mimicing their parents' (siblings/peers/families) habits in an effort to be like their immediate role models, much more often than copying people on TV or movies.
We're growing ever amused as the ratings system from the Motion Picture Association of America gets ever more explicit with the mini descriptions at the bottom of the box: e.g, "nudity, strong sexual content, and some drug use." That makes us want to see the movie to figure out what kind of drugs and how much nudity! Are they just smoking joints, or is it snortsville? A flash of boob, or all out frontal? Really.
And, in a bizarre "opposite day" move, Phillip Morris has started a campaign to encourage studios voluntarily eliminate smoking in movies. Great. (Insert The Sarcastic Clapping Family of Southhampton clap here.) Ultimately, we're with the one dad in the clip — smoking is legal, along with alcohol, and everyone should kind of get over themselves. We've seen Sipowicz's ass, for God's sake.
Image via local street artist m e l t.