Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: No Smoke

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    And there's something else that really fucks me off about the figures the CDC is waving round:

    "However, nearly half of popular movies still contained tobacco imagery in 2009, including 54 percent of those rated PG-13, and the number of incidents remained higher in 2009 than in 1998,"

    So, what's the context folks? I don't sit in the dark and take notes, but it seems to me that in 'popular movies' if you smoke you're either weak-willed and neurotic (Lois Lane sneaking fags in Superman Returns), severely fucked up (Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace, come on down!) or might as well have "I give Satan the squits" tattooed on your forehead.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11992 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Or it may be that it was made a while ago, and was about old people.

    When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth...? Nah, too simple.

    Here's a suitably urbane artistic rationale for banning onstage smoking in the West End (it's not the smoking, darling; it's how we're smoking). Meanwhile over in America-land, a tiny theatre company is making a federal case out of it.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Mad Men never makes me feel like having a cigarette. Or a drink. It does make me want to buy clothes.

    Oh, it does me. It makes me want to wear fitted dresses and drink martinis and smoke at my desk.

    But I can honestly say i've never done any of those things because I saw them on TV.

    Taking the smoking out of mad men, or off the Rita Angus portrait, would just remove those things from their time. And as Lucy says, makes us forget things that things have changed.

    And also, if people aren't allowed to smoke in movies, how will we ever know who the bad guy is? Black clothing and heavily-applied eyeliner only go so far.

    (of course, I really want a cigarette now. Shame it is too wet in Wellington to a) go get some or b) stand outside for 5 minutes.)

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I tend to think I felt almost as refreshed as most of the smokers after those little breaks.

    I don't think that 'refreshed' is the right word for most unpleasant experience for non-smokers encountering smokers is the smell. Second-hand smoke is not really the issue for me; it is the pong of smoke-saturated clothing or furnishings. Indeed, I prefer the aroma of a well-placed fart as the smell dissipates much more quickly.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2311 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    in 'popular movies' if you smoke you're either weak-willed and neurotic

    or a Chief Medical Officer ;-)

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 796 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Taking the smoking out of mad men, or off the Rita Angus portrait, would just remove those things from their time.

    Not to mention make many subject look like they're giving the fingers to the viewer...

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Not to mention make many subject look like they're giving the fingers to the viewer...

    I was speculating that the next generation are going to think a hand with the first two fingers extended and slightly parted is some kind of covert symbol for something.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Och. Dan Brown would have a field day...

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Indeed, I prefer the aroma of a well-placed fart as the smell dissipates much more quickly.

    Yes, and can be enjoyed safely in bed. Well, mostly safely - I did read in the Darwin Awards of some guy who ate a lot of baked beans, got drunk, feel asleep in a small room with no windows and a closed door and actually died of his own farts. Another reason for HRV!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8523 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Second-hand smoke is not really the issue for me; it is the pong of smoke-saturated clothing or furnishings.

    Fair enough -- I want to slap people who think (literally) eye-watering amounts of scent are a substitute for regular applications of soap, water and a decent deodorant. ANd the smell of beer still makes me gag, after a remarkably unpleasant stint as a cleaner in a pub. (Can anyone explain to me the mechanics of vomiting on a ten foot high ceiling without getting a drop anywhere else?)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11992 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I was speculating that the next generation are going to think a hand with the first two fingers extended and slightly parted is some kind of covert symbol for something.

    It is. The mystic secret number two.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8523 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    If you analyse the figures that ASH bandy about you will notice that if they banned smoking not only will people never die but more human beings will spontaneously pop into existence. The problem then will be, what do we do with all the extra people?

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4861 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I don't have corroboration of the figures, so I didn't mention it, but an old episode of QI (yes, appeal to Stephen Fry) said that smoking shortens your life span by five years, but being castrated lengthens it by thirteen...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    (Can anyone explain to me the mechanics of vomiting on a ten foot high ceiling without getting a drop anywhere else?)

    Simple, Watson. I'm familiar with the various distances and arcs of projectile vomit from a 3 week study involving myself and my entire family and nonovirus, just ending yesterday, and I can tell you it is not possible to vomit more than 3 feet straight up unaided, the entire biological function of projectile vomiting being to take the contents away from you as fast as possible. Clearly the room was being used for the purposes of drinking copious amounts of alcohol, and attracted a throng. The source of the vomit was no doubt a reveler, held aloft by his peers, possibly on account of some feat of alcoholic gluttony, and tossed about, as befits a hero in such company. The raining parbrake would have landed entirely on the revelers and left the premises in their hair and about their shoulders. If there was also carrots in the vomit, a very likely thing, then we'd also be safely able to say that fellow was a young engineer from Christchurch, and that his memory of the occasion will only involve meeting a mysterious girl four hours earlier. Now, hand me the coke, there's a good man.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8523 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Thompson,

    Of course Cumberbatch's Sherlock's nicotine patches are, appropriately, full strength and multiple. Under the circumstances I don't think the cocaine's necessary; he's not a member of the Groucho Club.

    Since Sep 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    yes, appeal to Stephen Fry

    Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7363 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Craig - this is a not-unknown phenomenon on the West Coast.

    The most well-known explanation comes from the long-ago but still lamented Mary of Fox Glacier Hotel.

    She once had one of her housemaid's complain that the *ceiling* (12' stud) of a bushie's room was covered with shit.

    Knowing the guest she coralled him and said, "I wont charge for the clean-up - I wont even charge you for the room - but how the &%(##$@ did you shit on the ceiling?"

    West Coast hotels werent famous - then - for their room amenities. Not even potties-

    so the bushie had shat in his sock, whirled it round before tossing it out the open window, and gone drunkenly to sleep.

    Bet you something like that happened with the vomit-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The problem then will be, what do we do with all the extra people?

    You need to ask?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11992 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Is it to present an aspirational and respirational ideal, or to accurately reflect the world we live in?

    Well. About 20 something % (low end) smoke. So they tell us.

    This link suggests that movies are still portraying smoking in 49% of them. "All told, 51 percent of the top movies in 2009 didn’t show tobacco use at all".

    Not bad. But does it represent "a norm"?

    And isn't it wonderful how the "period pieces" can get around the issue.

    Re bars 'n all. I remember very clearly Mr Robertson "The Bar Owners Speech Head" telling us it was going to be the end of city life when public areas and bars became smoke free. I am not sad that he was wrong. My letter to the editor was along the lines of why continue to pursue portions of the 25% of burning customers when there is a market of the other civilised 75% to try and attract to the bars?

    I find visiting a bar (in fact ANY drinking facility), sitting down and having a drink one of the most enjoyable experiences these days.

    The demise of the bar? Hardly. It seems to me the city has been totally revived with the granting of our Civilised Rights inside these premises.

    I reckon the bars have increased their bottom line immensely. Just from the cleaning bill. The (lack of) repainting too must have saved a small fortune.

    My dry cleaning bill dropped through the floor and the P/WAF (Partner/Wifey Acceptance Factor) increased immensely.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1496 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    "All told, 51 percent of the top movies in 2009 didn’t show tobacco use at all".

    Sigh... so Avatar may have been an over-produced, narratively anorexic blitzkrieg of style over substance, but at least the big blue noble savages didn't smoke!

    Don't the CDC have any actual diseases to control?

    And, Ross, you could cut the condescending "civilized" bullshit? From what I've seen of your average bar on a Friday night, you've nothing to be smug about.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11992 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Well. About 20 something % (low end) smoke. So they tell us.

    This link suggests that movies are still portraying smoking in 49% of them.

    That's 49% of movies, not 49% of characters. Those numbers don't, in fact, say that movies are depicting smoking at a higher rate than in the real world. Would you be happy with media where one in five people smoked?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Darwin Awards of some guy who ate a lot of baked beans, got drunk, feel asleep in a small room with no windows and a closed door and actually died of his own farts

    That must have been a lot of baked beans.

    The reason I say this is because of a guy in my patrol at a 10 day Scout jamboree when I was 12.

    Each patrol had one of those 10 by 10 canvas tents, pitched on the Oamaru racecourse. Six knobbly kneeed 12 to 14 year olds crammed into each one.

    This bloke, who was from Pokeno, was the deputy patrol leader and chronic farter. After a wave of complaints after the first two nights, he solved the problem by snuggling down in his sleeping bag and pulling the toggle tight over his head, making the sleeping bag airtight.

    If you got up in the night for a leak, you could hear what sounded like muffled ripping calico cloth from the general vicinity of his corner of the tent, which was quarantined off by everyone else's packs.

    He'd wake in the morning, unzip his sleeping bag, and the whole lot would come roiling out. It became a race to get out of the tent before he woke up, otherwise you couldn't taste anything for the rest of the day and any incipient hairs on your chin died.

    He got puffed easily on the overnight tramp, which wasn't all that surprising. Hate to think of the state of his lungs.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 803 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    And, Ross, you could cut the condescending "civilized" bullshit? From what I've seen of your average bar on a Friday night, you've nothing to be smug about.

    You are dead right there on the last bit. But I did say, sit. But yeah, well, I'll take the meaning of it as "polite". That is, I don't smoke. Bad form in polite company. But then, as I keep at my friends who do smoke, "Which part of 'you are fucking nuts' don't you understand?".

    Would you be happy with media where one in five people smoked?

    I'd be really happy with none of course. But that is an unreasonable attitude to have. But if there are actors who feel that they have to oblige the director/writer/producer/bank roller then so be it. I would hate to think they would not get paid if they did not light up though.

    I am sorry if I do sound "condescending". Family you know. Father, smoked, two grandfathers who smoked, grandmother who smoked. Sister who smokes - still, and had cancer. Not to put too finer point on it, they (sis still kicking well but) are dead of course, and certainly prematurely. Addicted and the Gfathers were demented at the end.

    I don't apologise for stirring shit 30 years ago and helping get my workplace cafe smokefree tables, then smokefree cafe, then smokefree offices, then smokefree buildings, then smokefree grounds. I am proud of that. We (I mean my fellow stirrers) got called all names under the sun for taking away their wee vice. If cleaning up such places so that it is a healthier place in which to work, then condescending I shall be.

    Verrryyy Nanny state too eh.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1496 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I reckon the bars have increased their bottom line immensely. Just from the cleaning bill. The (lack of) repainting too must have saved a small fortune.

    My dry cleaning bill dropped through the floor and the P/WAF (Partner/Wifey Acceptance Factor) increased immensely.

    Those are all reasonable points. My major concern is that quitting smoking may lead to running - is that a price that we are prepared to pay, as a society?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7363 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Don't the CDC have any actual diseases to control?

    Well sure, but fortunately they've got their priorities right.

    Smoking is implicated in 5,000 of NZ's 29,000 deaths a year. There's a reason smoking is called an epidemic. Of course those people would have died eventually anyway - everyone does - it's the shortening of life, and the suffering involved that matters.

    And furthermore, I get seriously f'd off by what are, in effect, a bunch of bullshit excuses made for the tobacco industry. Do you really think the logic of "Mad Men/Desperately Seeking Susan/BSG didn't make me want to smoke" means that smoking in film isn't a means of advertising... well, I see ads for McDonalds all the time, but it doesn't make me want to eat there. And I see Coca Cola in films regularly, and it doesn't make me want to drink it, but that doesn't mean that they're not advertisements and that they don't work on some people.

    Tobacco use in film and TV is not just there for verisimilitude, or characterisation, or artistic reasons. It is paid product placement by tobacco companies. They pay for it, as a form of advertising, because it works.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 370 posts Report Reply

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