Touching on an issue that is significant to me.
There are hearings taking place in the hallowed halls of D.C. this week to look into a social scourge. In the wake of the indecency controversies in television and radio recently Washington is tackling another serious issue that plays out on screen:SMOKING.
Apparently responding to hordes of consumer advocacy groups--or some crank in his basement with a fax machine--Congressional hearing were held to look into the possibility of designating a film depicting smokers as "Rated R".
The quotes from "experts" tells the story.
Senator John Ensign from Nevada asked this of Jack Valenti: Why is it OK to modify it for nudity, for language, but it's not OK to modify it for tobacco? Apparenty Ensign equates cigarettes and guns in the same level.
Unfortunately, the current movie rating system does not protect children from seeing their favourite actors and actresses smoking in movies," Cheryl Healton, president of the anti-tobacco group American Legacy Foundation, said in a statement.
Note the not too subtle implication that it should "protect" the children from "seeing" pictures.
A few things. Can you not still see smokers on television programs? So something that belongs in an "R" rated movie is fine for prime time. Also, if my daughter is walking down the street and sees a violent act, or even two people engaged in sex, that is against the law. Her viewing a cigar smoker in a public locale is perfectly legal. So far.
There is another can of worms regarding classic movies. Imagine the idiocy of "Casablanca" becoming off limits to young-uns because Bogey sparked a nail. You also have to include music videos with role models who are consuming legal substances, (at least on screen). And what about those instances where cartoons have characters enjoying a fat roll?