Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ebert says, "Thank you for Smoking"

I came across a very interesting article over at Roger Ebert's online journal about the digital removal of a cigarette from a stamp featuring Bette Davis.

Now the title of the article is clearly referring to the 2005 film Thank You for Smoking by Jason Reitman. To get even more specific I think it is referring to the character of Senator Ortolan Finistirre as played by William H. Macy. Near the end of the film we see that Finistirre has digitally altered famous photographs of celebrities lighting up. Obviously the bit is played out for laughs because of how ridiculous the idea seems, however now it seems that life has imitated art.

So now the question is this: are we going too far? I mean there had to have been enough people who saw the preliminary designs for this stamp and said nothing about the removal of the cigarette, or were defeated by opposition who believed it was a good idea to remove it in the first place. I mean is there really a lack of people out there who believed that this was not okay? Is it okay to alter the history of a public figure just to play out a political point?

I know it may not seem like a big deal to some, but I just think that by changing our past, our history, it is also changing our present and future. I have always been taught that truth is one of the most important things in life, so doesn't it make sense to acknowledge our past rather than erase it? I mean it may just be a stamp now, but tomorrow it could be something else and that is what is truly scary. Someone out there in the world is going to see this image of Bette Davis and they will never know that there was originally a cigarette in her hand. They will never know that they are actually viewing an altered version of a classic photo. Their truth will not be the same as ours. Of course, it probably does not matter that someone out their knows this iconic image differently than you do, but someday it might matter.

I mean there is the old defence of "Think of the children!" but I honestly cannot remember the last time someone told me they started smoking because they saw it on a stamp and thought it looked cool.


[Source Roger Ebert's Journal]

1 comment:

viagra online said...

I think it is amazing how the cigarette was removed form Bette Davis' illustration! I must admit she looks better without the cigarette!