Friday, November 12, 2010

Reality imitating art

Fiction comes to life: In the great movie, Thank You for Smoking, based on Christopher Buckley's novel, the protagonist, a tobacco lobbyist, comes to testify against a Vermont senator's crusade to get the skull and crossbones on packs of cigarettes. The senator brings in expert witnesses who testify that graphics are so important in the modern age that people don't read that little health warning any more. An advocate for Latinos testifies that Hispanics can't read the warning and so it's clear that the tobacco companies want Hispanics to die. It's all very funny and the protagonist gives an impassioned speech that it is up to people to make these informed decisions for themselves, not government. He challenges the senators on the committee to put similar warning labels on anything else that can kill people like cars and even Vermont cheese. My favorite line of the movie is when the William Macy playing the senator proudly proclaims: "The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!" It's a great scene. The senator is left looking like a crusading demagogue and fool.

And now we learn that the FDA plans to put graphics of corpses and smoke threatening babies on cigarette packs. There's even a picture of a muscular, macho biker-looking guy bragging that he quit.

I guess this is for all the morons out there who don't know that cigarettes are bad for you. But, in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which was passed last June, this is what the FDA is required to do. Fiction just predated reality by a few years.

UPDATE: In the spirit of the idea Director Blue has some graphic warning labels for those voting Democratic.


equitus said...

They ought to put a picture of a smoking Obama on the packs, don't you think?

Bachbone said...

Next, I suppose they'll mandate a 3-day waiting period before you can pick up that pack of cigarettes you've paid for? Hypocritical tax and spenders are the worst addicts. Since tobacco is horrendous, ban it! Don't hold your breath.

John A said...

VIa FARK it seems Camel cigarettes are prepearing to make rapid, selected changes to cigarette packages - the company is issuing limited-edition cartons/packs using local landmarks/scenery behind Joe the Camel (OK, dromedary) instead of the pyramid/palm trees.

Ought to be great for collectors.

Dave said...

Up in Canada it--at least in Ontario--they already have horrendous pictures on packs of cigarettes. Yet I still see all of these smokers picking up the pack and taking it outside for a smoke. The problem with any of these warnings whether they be written, graphic or pictorial is that people soon suffer "Safety sign fatigue" and they (warnings) disappear to them. The same problem is common in other industries that deal with hazards. The longer a safety sign is in place, and the more often workers pass that safety sign, the more likely it is that they will no longer see it--even if the wording changes.

Pat Patterson said...

There is a reverse angle shot of Macy's feet under the podium that reveal he is wearing nubby hand-knitted socks and Birkenstocks.