The French Inhale is Rated X

As reported in the New York Times and elsewhere, the Motion Picture Association of America has revised its movie ratings system to include images of smoking in assigning ratings. A film that glamorizes smoking may get a more restrictive rating, and “descriptions of tobacco use will be added to the increasingly detailed advisories that accompany each rated film.” TU (Warning: Contains graphic images of tobacco use) will go up there with Adult Nudity, Graphic Language, and–soon, I’m sure– FF (Warning: Contains graphic images of fast food consumption).

I’ve been thinking about this all day and still I cannot find the words to convey how inane this is. It’s a great idea if the object is to fetishize images of smoking, to imbue them with the allure of the forbidden. I fail to see any sense in imposing an R-rating for behavior that is, unlike violence and graphic sex, both legal and commonly witnessed in public places. (No, I did not just say that sex is illegal. I said it is not commonly seen in public places.)

2 thoughts on “The French Inhale is Rated X”

  1. As much as I understand the concerns of public health and anti-smoking groups, I believe this new regulation goes too far. I love your suggestion that FF (fast food consumption) will soon be added to the list of warnings. It really makes me wonder “what new regulation could be next?”

    In reading the linked article (from NY Times) they mentioned that the interest groups’ demands weren’t fulfilled. They demanded that smoking be banned from all movies other than those rated “R.” This is quite extreme, but who knows—as our society becomes less and less accepting of smoking (especially in health and environmentally conscience California) perhaps these more extreme requests will also be fulfilled sometime in the near future.

    The one thing that really surprises me is how the tobacco companies (with their very well funded interest groups) were unable to persuade the committee against imposing these harsher regulations. Perhaps the pro-cigarette interest groups are losing steam and will now be faced with tougher regulations in the future.

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