The Corner

Health Mullahs (Ctd)

It’s a rare mullah who will consider his work well done without a little censorship. The health mullahs are no exception. The issue of censoring smoking in movies has been around for a while now, particularly so far as, yes, you know what’s coming, you can hear their little feet just about now, yes, ‘the Children’, are concerned, but now there are fresh moves afoot in the UK to restrict youngsters’ access to films that fume.

Much of the research on which such initiatives are allegedly based (in reality, they are, of course, nothing more than an opportunity for a proclamation of ‘virtue’) is dubious, but it’s a shame too for what such censorship could mean for the little historical accuracy that remains in the movies.

As the Independent notes, “the initiative has received a mixed response from film critics, who raised the possibility of “anachronistic film- making” where scenes set in the 1940s or 50s would show no one smoking. Will Self, the Evening Standard’s film critic, said: “In LA Confidential, which is a good film, there’s one scene set in a 1950s Los Angeles police squad room, and no one is smoking. Already films are becoming anachronistic in their treatment – you get working-class pubs where no one smokes.”

And then there’s this:

“England football stars have been criticised for promoting snacks and drinks at the root of Britain’s obesity crisis. The England squad is sponsored by McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. David Beckham promotes Pepsi and Wayne Rooney helps advertise Pringles crisps.”

Sigh.

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