With a name based on a Mystery Science Theater 3000 riff, EPP was originally going to mostly house B-movie reviews. Now though, it has become a repository for whatever burrs get under my pop culture saddle on any given day. Seriously, I must be insane; who else voluntarily reads a book on the history of jeans...and enjoys it?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quickly! Shield your Children from Everyday Human Behavior in Cinema!

Let me start this off by saying that I am not a supporter of the tobacco industry or of the idea of cigarette smoking.  I spent much of my life up to earlier this year seeing the effect that smoking had on my mother's health.  I do not smoke.  I will never smoke.  However, I am not against the idea that it is the right of each adult individual to decide whether or not they will smoke.

Recently, there's been a big flap because of talk that films which show any scene in which a character smokes may be forced to carry an R rating.

Uh.  'Scusa me?

Yes, there is evidence that seeing characters smoke in films and television may lead children to be more likely to start smoking.  Yes, sometimes, films seem to glamourize the act of inhaling the fumes of a bunch of burning vegetable matter.  But, what of the fact that, in this day and age, the ratings system has morphed so much that violent, bloody scenes of immediate carnage and death which would once have gotten an R rating or higher can now sometimes earn a PG-13?

I don't believe that up-rating films which portray smoking will prevent children from smoking, simply because children will still be exposed to the image and idea of smoking.  They can walk down the street and see any number of busily-puffing smokers.  They can turn on the TV and catch that movie they didn't get to see last year because of its rating and catch the smoking.

They can watch their parents smoke.

Sometimes, we're ridiculous.  We'll blame the media and popular culture for anything.  We blame school shootings on video games and music.  We blame the rates of teenage and other premarital sex on television.

We blame kids smoking on the movies.
Don't look, sweetie! Mommy wouldn't want you
to see the movie with the smoking in it!

When are we going to finally take responsibility?  If you don't want your kid to do drugs, you talk to them.  If you don't want them to drink, you talk to them.  If you don't want them to smoke, don't up-rate films so they won't see it portrayed onscreen and get the idea that fictional characters are cool because they smoke.  How about you just talk to them.

Oh, and try setting some good examples in your own behavior, how about?

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