Thank You For Smoking

Black comedy. This was a very clever cutting piece about the nature of manipulation of truth on behalf of agenda. And you know, I didn’t take it as being just about the politically correct cause of anti-smoking. I think it extends far beyond that. The main character, played brilliantly by Aaron Eckhart is a lobbyist for big tobacco, and he goes around unashamedly defending smoking, based on freedom of conscience. He gets the idea to help big tobacco by placement in Hollywood movies and there is a wonderful sequence about the insanity of Hollywood types as they do anything for money.

Unfortunately, I saw this movie very late and I was very tired, so I fell asleep during the most important part, the congressional hearings, so I’ll have to see it on video and complete this blog sometime later. But suffice it to say that there was some brilliant stuff in there about spinning. He tells his son, “that’s the great thing about logic. If you argue correctly, you’re never wrong.” Well, this is profoundly true and why so many people can be so irrational while upholding rationality. It’s all in the premises. If you start with the right premises, you can win any argument. This is why “framing the argument” is so important in winning debates, and why the media is so manipulative, because they in fact do this very thing, which is symbolically portrayed in Aaron falling in lust with a news reporter who uses him to get a good story, and then when he questions her, she responds, what do you think I would do? I’m a reporter.

You know, as much as I agree with the idea in this film that smoking is bad for you and people who support it are just rationalizing, I could not help but think of the hypocrisy that comes with this moralizing. You see, the point of this film is that marketing smoking as cool in movies and media is morally responsible for the smoking that results because people, especially kids, imitate. AND YET, these very same people DENY that marketing irresponsible sexuality and violence as cool in movies and media IS NOT morally responsible for the sexuality and violence that results because people, especially kids, imitate. So kids are destroying one another’s innocence and murdering each other, and these people are concerned with how evil smoking is?