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Don’t drink, don’t smoke – what do you do?*

Well, I’m not sure, but you can rest assured that whatever it is, you probably won’t be doing it in the movies.

(from the Hollywood Reporter via QandO)

The MPAA said Thursday that its rating board will
consider film depictions of smoking among the criteria for assigning
movie ratings. Anti-tobacco activists have been pressing for an
automatic R rating for films with smoking scenes, but MPAA chairman and
CEO Dan Glickman rejected the proposal for a more nuanced approach.

“The MPAA film rating system has existed for nearly 40
years as an educational tool for parents to assist them in making
decisions about what movies are appropriate for their children,”
Glickman said. “It is a system that is designed to evolve alongside
modern parental concerns.”

In line with that evolution, the MPAA ratings board
“will now consider smoking as a factor among many other factors,
including violence, sexual situations and language, in the rating of
films,” he said.

“Clearly, smoking is increasingly an unacceptable
behavior in our society,” Glickman said. “There is broad awareness of
smoking as a unique public health concern due to nicotine’s highly
addictive nature, and no parent wants their child to take up the habit.
The appropriate response of the rating system is to give more
information to parents on this issue.”

(Yes, children, this is the same Dan Glickman who used to be a Congressman from Kansas and later, the U.S Secretary of Agriculture)

From the same article:

Hollywood has been under increasing pressure to take
steps to ease the purported effect of entertainment content in several
areas, from smoking to child obesity. Next week on Capitol Hill, the
Senate Commerce Committee begins its examination of the effect violent
content has on children.

Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is expected to
introduce legislation giving the FCC the power to regulate such content
— much as it does indecent content on television. In April, the FCC
approved a report on TV violence that asked lawmakers for the requisite
enforcement powers.

A Senate-FCC industry task force has been convened to
identify ways of forcing content producers to encourage children to eat
healthy foods.

Is is just me, or can you envision a time when Peter Jackson has to re-cut the Lord of the Rings so that Gandalf, Aragorn and the Hobbits don’t smoke pipe-weed, they gather at the inns and great halls to enjoy a freshly-brewed pint of herbal tea, and Sam and Frodo face the journey into Mordor with elven, organic oat-bran muffins? All this before the great powers of Middle Earth eschew lethal combat in favor of extended negotiations to determine equitable, but non-binding resolutions in favor of non-discriminatory, inclusive power-sharing as befits the paragons of civilization and enlightenment?

If the MPAA wants to replace DVD covers with a list of every potentially problematic and/or detrimental and/or objectionable and/or unhealthy action/habit/reference in a movie, that’s their business. If people want that, they’ll buy it. As for the government, it needs to stay the hell out of what can and cannot be depicted in a movie.

If I wanted politically correct entertainment, I’d watch the news.

*(Two points if you can name the song that inspired the title of this post and the act that performed it. Three if you are older than I am.)

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