Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Lifestyle errors spreading like ripples in a pond

I've noticed for some time now that, after about a twenty year period of actors pretending they don't smoke as they play their roles, smoking has made a comeback. In true 30s/40s fashion, it's being used to keep an actor's hands busy, to set a noir feeling, to help describe the character as cool or hopeless, and on and on. It turns out that I'm not the only one who has noticed. In a grim little reminder about the power Hollywood still wields, especially over the most vulnerable in our population, a study reveals how effective this product placement is:

Nearly 40 percent of U.S. adolescents who give cigarette smoking a try do so because they saw it in movies, a study said on Monday. The study, described as the first national look at the influence of movie smoking on youths, urged Hollywood to cut back on depictions of smoking or shots of cigarette brands. The industry also should consider adding a mention of smoking to movie rating data that now mention explicit sex, violence and profanity, it said.
I noted (as most conservative commentators have) that Hollywood is anxious to spread its PC values to America, including pushing anti-war positions and, obliquely, vegetarianism. That's fine -- it's a market economy, so the producers can do what they want, and the audience can vote with its feet as to the larger, obvious message in the various movies. It's these insidious little things, such as product placements and chronic smoking -- that are infinitely more upsetting. Ultimately, if a movie character is being advanced as "cool," and one of the indicators of that "cool" is the cigarette in his hand, why in the world wouldn't today's teens imitate that character just as, 60 years ago, they eagerly imitated Bogie and Bacall?