When it comes to making movies, Hollywood moguls shoot for a PG-13 rating as opposed to an R-rating because kids under 17 are prohibited from the R movies and that impacts the pocketbook of the movie makers. So movies shy away from violence, crude language and nudity to allow that larger audience.
But now, tobacco opponents want movies that include scenes with smoking to also get the R-rating. They argue that smoking is as dangerous to youngsters as the violence and nudity portrayed on screen and thus, the movies deserve the more restrictive rating. I think this is just another example of a grossly over-regulated society that seeks issues instead of solutions.
We are a curious people, we Americans. Though I firmly believe that silly issues like this one have a basis of good intentions, I also believe that we'd rather dance around an issue than solve it. To believe that removing a smoking character from a film will somehow stop smoking among one segment of the population is simplistic at best. Let's face it - this is a publicity stunt to generate media attention. As a matter of fact, let's take this dumb thinking one more step. Since overeating is clearly a major health issue in this country, let's put an R-rating on all movies that portray overweight characters with improper eating habits. A new study out this week says that the problem of overweight Americans may soon eclipse smoking as the number one health issue in this land. So let's focus on where the problem is. Hollywood will now have the option of no fatties, no smokers, no violence, no foul language and no nudity in order to earn a PG-rating. That may be someone's concept of an ideal society but it most certainly doesn't mirror the world we inhabit.
This new push toward political correctness originated in San Francisco, as usual. I wonder sometimes if California is even on the same planet as the remainder of our nation. It really makes you wonder where we would be if these fine folk would channel their energies into something practical and useful instead of taking stabs in the dark toward some fantasy notion of their world.
Only in California!