This is not a joke. This is not The Onion. This is real. And frightening.
At the beginning of “Darkest Hour,” the new film about the wartime heroism and brilliance of Winston Churchill, this warning appears on the screen:
“The depictions of tobacco smoking contained in this film are based solely on artistic consideration and are not intended to promote tobacco consumption. The surgeon general has determined that there are serious health risks associated with smoking and with secondhand smoke.”
Winston Churchill, you see, smoked cigars. Actually he chain-smoked them, and inhaled. They were among his trademarks. Any adult who doesn’t know that should not have graduated from high school. Interestingly, shooting and bombing people are also serious health risks, so I don’t know why it wasn’t noted that the “depictions of warfare contained in this film are based solely on artistic consideration.”
Whatever “based solely on artistic consideration” is supposed to mean…
Of course, showing Churchill smoking cigars is not an “artistic consideration,” but one of historical accuracy and integrity. Does this mean that there was really a debate in the studio about whether or not Churchill should be shown smoking, so as not to trigger good little progressive totalitarians, who believe in changing the past for the greater good of the present? I wonder if they considered making Winston, who was fat, appear slim and ripped, since the surgeon general has determined that there are serious health risks associated with obesity and over-eating. I don’t see why they wouldn’t, if they felt that showing people smoking in the 1930s, when almost everyone smoked, might be interpreted as promoting smoking today. Churchill also drank like Bluto in “Animal House.” Why no warning about that? Uh-oh—does this mean that the film, for artistic considerations, only shows Winston sipping soda water and prune juice?
That warning says to me, “We, your Hollywood moral exemplars, think you are an ignorant, illiterate dummy who can’t tell the difference between a historical drama and a tobacco commercial. We also support the government’s belief that it should impose on every aspect of your life, including your entertainment, to protect you from yourself.”
This is an insult to the audience, history, and Winston Churchill, who, it should be noted, lived to the ripe old age of 90 while chain-smoking huge cigars and drinking, by his own estimate, at least a quart of wine, whisky and brandy a day, and often more.
The only way to nip this insidious development is for audiences to stand up and walk out in protest. I am completely serious. The warning shows such disrespect, such arrogance, such utter stupidity and warped priorities, that the film and its producers should suffer for it.
I am not certain which is more troubling, that the progressive movement has metastasized into such a fanatic, obsessed, warped cult that it could slap this idiocy on a movie and not expect roaring laughter in response, or that so many Americans, especially young ones, have been so indoctrinated into the cult that they won’t realize that the warning is ridiculous.
Now a brief salute to Professor Turley, who flagged this nonsense. In addition to writing an interesting blog with a lot of ethics content, he also labors on it by himself, as I do here, and like me, types terribly. The headline for his story about the Churchill movie reads (as I write this), Churchill Biopic Features Warning Against Second Hard Smoke.
The post has several more typos, syntax and punctuation errors before the jump, and unlike me, the professor does not have Pennagain and other helpful Ethics Alarms readers calling his attention to the errors so he can fix them, at least not quickly.
Professor Turley’s proofreading problems have more than once saved me from the depths of despair when I was embarrassed by my own errors. It doesn’t make typos any more excusable or less unprofessional in a serious blog. It does remind me that to err is human, and to err while blogging daily in short breaks between more lucrative or essential tasks isn’t a flaw unique to me. This is small solace, but solace it is. Thank you, Professor.
I like solace.