Are you kidding me? So I was reading this New York Times article about Disney for the most part banning cigarette smoking in their films. It’ll be completely banished from their family films and discouraged from their others.
Disney’s action comes amid increasing pressure from advocacy groups and regulators for media companies to purge movies of cigarettes. In May, the Motion Picture Association of America announced that portrayals of smoking would be considered alongside sex and violence in assessing the suitability of movies for young viewers. Films that appear to glamorize smoking will risk a more restrictive rating.
Mr. Iger said in a letter to Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, dated July 25 that Disney would also “discourage depictions of cigarette smoking” in pictures released by its Touchstone and Miramax units. Last month, Mr. Markey, chairman of the subcommittee on telecommunications, held hearings on the effects of movie images on children.
Now, let me get this straight. I’m not about to advocate cigarette smoking in any way, much less in a medium that touches millions. My problem is with the idea that this is being addressed in this manner.
As mentioned in this article, there really isn’t that much smoking going on now in movies anyway. Any times it is included, I feel like it’s a conscious decision to convey something about the character. Filmmakers have been using smoking sparingly for a while now so why try to pluck it out of the last few occurrences to make a point.
I guess why it irks me so is because like so many other things, this meddling is getting in the way of the artistry. Imagine all the great film noir from the 40’s without cigarettes. Sure, that was so long ago and maybe a smoking protagonist is somewhat of a relic. I feel that’s only the case though with it being so common. Nowadays, different story. To take the cigarette out of the hand of the fitting character just detracts from the film just like the way many controversial issues are muted by the powers that be.
We all want people to go back to the theaters but little things like this could prevent that from happening. Movies and television have become the scapegoat for bad parenting. Instead of good old-fashioned entertainment, people just can’t seem to leave them alone.
Am I overreacting a bit?
(Thanks to JAMALadi for providing the photo.)
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