27 July 2007

Thank You For Smoking, Senator.

"Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life." - Oscar Wilde

I cannot help but wonder if Sen. Mike Enzi has seen the film "Thank You For Smoking." If not, he should. His part in the movie is played by William Macy.

Sen. Enzi has proposed that cigarette packages should bear pictorial warnings to show the health effects of cigarettes. These warnings would be a lot like those used in Canada. "Shocking messages convey the truth in no uncertain terms and have been known to have an impact," said Wyoming Republican Sen. Mike Enzi. And the Canadian packaging looks a like this:

Last night I watched "Thank You For Smoking" with my son Dave in our hotel room - hilarious send up of spin, polictical correctness, lobbying, hypocrisy, and Big Tobacco. Put it on your NETFLIX list. Great adaptation of Christopher Buckley's original book of the same name.

In the movie, Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is Big Tobbaco's face. Nick appears at congressional hearings sponsored by Vermont Sen. Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy) who has introduced a bill that would put a new warning label on cigarettes: the word "POISON" in black, accompanied by a skull and crossbones.
There is a great scene in the movie in which Nick turns to the assembled audience for the hearing and asks if any one in the Senate hearing chamber disagrees that smoking is bad for you, if anyone doesn't know that cigarettes kill people? And of course, no one raises their hand because everyone in the entire United States from teenagers who think smoking is cool to their grandparents who wish they'd never started... ABSOLUTELY KNOWS WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT CIGARETTES ARE BAD BAD BAD NEWS ON THE HEALTH FRONT. And so the POISON label takes a dive into congressional oblivian.
In view of Sen. Enzi's desire to help people understand something we all already understand, I think its pretty interesting that tobacco farm subsidies totalled over $500,000,000 from 1995 to 2005... hmmm.... In the most recent Farm (Subsidy) Bill, Big Tobacco would qualify for a program that pays for promoting overseas sales of American commodities, under a provision added to the bill by a North Carolina lawmaker - the measure has the enthusiastic support of Peterson, who is a smoker. "In my opinion we just have too much telling people what they should be doing," the committee chairman said.
I HATE smoking. It bugs me to no end. It killed my father. But can't my senators and representatives spend their time solving some real problems. Every state and the feds have made a killing taxing cigarettes and suing cigarettes. I see an anti-smoking ad everytime I turn on the TV set. Being against smoking is like being in favor of apple pie - its a no risk political issue.
And that seems to be the only kind of political issue our fair leaders are willing to risk these days.
It's enough to make a guy start smoking.


Spike said...

And just as a note about art and life and who imitates whom . . .

For a while in the nineties (yes, just last century) there was a brand of ciggies called "Poison." Hot in California, I understand--could barely keep the black packages with the white skull and bones on the shelves.


Marcia said...

I love that movie!