Monday, October 1, 2007

The Smoking Gun

It should surprise no one that I don't like guns. I think they're bad. In fact, I can prove they're bad. Just watch my logic. Things that kill people are bad. These things include plane crashes, cancer, rabid dogs, rancid cooking oil, and guns. That's right, guns kill people! Guns are bad! They should all be melted down and made into play ground equipment. I know that playground equipment is made out of plastic now but everyone knows that it was more fun when it was made out of metal. (To the sibs: Remember that fun slide at Sycamore park? The really long one that isn't there anymore? Gosh that was a great slide.)

But wait, this post isn't directly about guns. It's about smoking. In particular, smoking in movies. Or should I say, not smoking in movies. I read this article the other day about penalizing movie studios with a higher movie rating if characters smoke in it. Their hope is that this will discourage directors from showing people smoking which will keep the idea out of young impressionable minds that it's cool to smoke. (Quick random survey: did anyone actually want to smoke when they saw someone in a movie do it? I'm curious.)

It made me remember that a few weeks ago a report came across my desk. It was printed on high gloss paper with lots of pretty colors. It was the 2003 Los Angeles County Mortality Report (I have no idea why it took them 4 years to compile this info.), breaking down the leading causes of death by race and whether or not it was premature (under 75). Super fun reading! The leading cause of death over 75 is heart disease, which I think most people could have guessed. I feel like once you hit 75 your options for death are pretty much limited to heart attack, stroke or robots. Heart disease is also the leading cause of premature death. But guess what's number 2. Homicide. And it's not robots doing the killing. It's guns. Or, as the NRA tells it, people. People who have guns, NRA! Guns! How many people would be dead if those people didn't have guns? Huh, NRA? Huh? Sure, people are resourceful and sure, there's still poison and strangulation, but I can guarantee that if it weren't so easy for a kid to get a gun he would think twice about shooting the boy down the street because he looked at him funny.

I think that we can all agree that smoking is bad too. Stinky and bad. And it must be really horrible to have an addiction to something that you know will not only eventually kill you and could potentially harm those you love the most, but will also make others not want to be around you because you smell. I'm all for getting people to stop smoking. I just saw a bus the other day that said that 1,000,000 cigarette butts are tossed on the street a month in LA which are then washed out to sea. That's foul. Plus, my other X-Men name is Super Sniffer Girl. I have a mutant strength sense of smell because most things make my allergies angry and I can smell cigarette smoke from a passing car with my windows rolled up. (Dear Everyone I Come in Contact With in a Day: For the record, you are wearing too much perfume/cologne and I would appreciate it if you would please cut back on it. Also, could you maybe switch to fragrance free shampoo, detergent and lotion. And I'm not kidding when I say that I can smell your deodorant. Love, Rachel.) In conclusion, smoking is bad.

But we were talking about smoking in movies. And my question is this: Is it worse to see someone smoke on film or to see someone get shot? I doubt that anyone really knows exactly how much seeing things on film makes you want to start doing them. I've never actually wanted to either start smoking or handle a gun because I saw someone in a movie do it (Although seeing people tap dance on screen always makes me wish I could). But I can say that anytime I see someone blow another guy up on the screen I want to break down and cry. And with smoking, I barely even register it.

I guess I should say that I think it's silly to make directors do anything. If they want to put it in, let them put it in, and if you don't want to see that sort of stuff then don't go see it. But perhaps the good people who are focusing time, money and effort to convincing directors to cut out the cigarettes should try to convince them to stop having people blow each other's heads off.

And I guess in regards to all those heart attacks the MPAA can give an R rating for excessive Twinkie consumption.


Hey, speaking of homicide I got a phone call today at work from a Sergeant Somebody about a double murder that happened here in the area back in 1976. He was trying to track down the mother of some kid who was connected to it. Apparently the day of the murder he lost 2 fingers in a wood working accident. Talking to him made me feel like I was on an episode of Law and Order.


Laura said...

So I won't comment on the gun part except to say that no, I've never wanted to kill anyone if I've seen it in a movie.

I do, however, like you, want to tap dance when I see it in a movie. I shuffle around my house like crazy! I also think I can be a gymnast or a figure skater after I watch that on TV. Man, I can point my toes and bend myself back and throw my arms in the air in triumph like the best of 'em!

And speaking of stinky cigarette smoke. I got on the elevator at work this morning with a man that smelled so gross! Did he have burning cigarettes hiding in his pockets? Amazing how that smell carries. Dear people who smoke, please air yourself out a bit before you get into a small enclosed space. Love, Laura

Rach said...

Did anyone else think it was just a little funny when Tyra announced on America's Next Top Model that it was going to be a "smoke-free" season? As if the girls weren't already horrible enough to each other. Now they will all be nicotine deprived and worse than ever. Of course, after watching last season with Renee, I felt like I had smoked a pack myself every episode just watching her chain smoking. Gross. Another side note--their "Green bus" is also pretty funny, considering it's a super duper SUV that is probably creating more pollution than their last 5 limos. Nice.

Ms. Liz said...

Those SUV's do bug me. Talk about obtuse and I was really happy when Tyra put her food down about the smoke because nicotine takes away your appetite so most models live on sushi cigaretts and coffee. Its a really common entry point for eating disorders. Go TYRA! I love her. She's fierce!