The Corner

Everything Bad is Bad for You

A regular reader reminds me that Hollywood’s newfound aversion to big-screen smoking was pressed for by a number of state AGs. Another reader notes this bit from the long-defunct SeaQuest DSV (a show about which I remember very little except for the presence of a super-smart talking dolphin).

[This] reminds me of the old tv series “seaQuest DSV” (produced by Stephen Spielberg, starring Roy Scheider). A silly sci-fi series that never lived up to its initial promise, but I still remember one brief scene vividly. One of the characters somehow gets ahold of a hamburger & is preparing to eat it. Scheider’s character walks in & stops him. There’s some discussion, & it eventually comes out that meat, salt, liquor, smoking, & many other “vices” have been banned by whatever government entity was running the world at that point–all in the name of good for humans.

I think it’s a relatively common sci-fi trope, and the opposite version (in which “bad” stuff becomes good, even mandated) can be found in Woody Allen’s Sleeper and the little-seen 1989 time-travel flick, Millenium, in which inhabitants of the future who’ve come back to the present (well, 1989) must smoke in order to stay healthy.

Update: Several e-mailers write to insist that I add the awesomely bad Stallone/Snipes combo Demolition Man, about a utopian future in which all restaurants are Taco Bell, to the list. One even sent in this helpful dialog sample:

Lenina Huxley: [A]nything not good for you is bad, hence, illegal. Alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat . . .

John Spartan: Are you s***ing me?

A computer: John Spartan, you are fined one credit for a violation of the verbal morality statute.

John Spartan: What the hell is that?

A computer: John Spartan, you are fined one credit . . .

Lenina Huxley: Bad language, child play, gasoline, uneducational toys, and anything spicy.

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