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Here’s censoring you, kid

By Mark Littlewood
August 11th, 2009 at 9:19 am | 5 Comments | Posted in Culture

humphrey-bogartLiberal (sic) Democrat-run Liverpool City Council has opened a consultation on whether to impose an 18 certificate on films that feature the smoking of tobacco. The proposal is supported by the Liverpool Primary Care Trust.

Where to start?

Well, the good news is that historical figures who actually smoked would be allowed to be portrayed accurately. Any new movies featuring Winston Churchill will not need to  show the great man eating tofu and practising yoga to secure a prized PG certificate.

Also, portraying the “clear and umabiguous” dangers of smoking (and second hand smoke) would be acceptable. I think this means that Darth Vader can light up in a new Star Wars movie (that guy has one hell of a wheezy cough) but that a number of James Bond films would be seen as fit for adults only. One of the greatest epics of all time – Casablanca – would have become illegal to show to A-level students, if it was made now.

I’m fascinated by how “clear and unambiguous” the anti-smoking message needs to be. Imagine a gangster film set in the 1950s. If our hero smokes, that gets an 18 certificate. If, however, he is captured by the baddies and they threaten to kill him by exhaling their cigars in his face, I guess that’s family entertainment.

You can respond to Liverpool City Council’s consultation here. Please do so, and help talk them out of this ludicrous cultural vandalism.

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