The latest James Bond movie, "Die Another Day," follows the
pattern of previous Bond films with scenes of glamorized violence including
murder and mayhem, and titillating nudity with suggestive sex scenes. These,
of course, garner no protest (nor am I advocating any such protest).
But it is surely an illustration of the moral confusion of our
times that while scenes of gratuitous violence and sex, whose only purpose
is to titillate the viewer, not to mention scenes of alcohol drinking,
arouse no controversy, one scene is seething with controversy: Pierce
Brosnan as James Bond smokes a cigar!
According to news reports about the Havana-based film, "In one
scene, Bond extols the virtues of a cigar with a Cuban gangster."
Anti-smoking groups around the world have reacted with a fury that no other
imaginable scene would elicit. Movies that "extol the virtues" of underage
sex, drug use, extra-marital sex or criminal behavior from bank robbing to
murder elicit far less condemnation than a movie that depicts cigar smoking.
We truly live in the Age of Stupidity.
Nothing more clearly represents our present moral and
intellectual confusion -- which results in large part from the secularizing
of society -- as does the hysteria surrounding smoking. For the zealots who
devote their lives to the anti-smoking crusade, it is never enough to simply
inform people that cigarette smoking is dangerous and takes years off the
lives of up to one out of three smokers.
But why not? Why isn't informing people of the risks of
cigarette smoking enough? Why all the laws against smoking? Why all the
lawsuits on behalf of people who voluntarily chose to smoke for 40 years?
Why the vitriol against cigars and pipes, neither of which is nearly as
dangerous as cigarette smoking (cigar and pipe smokers do not inhale)? Why a
re photos of FDR doctored to remove his ubiquitous cigarette? Why do so many
people have a quasi-religious mission to end smoking? Why is Britain set to
outlaw cigarette smoking in films, but not torture, rape, murder or alcohol
Because health is a god in secular society, and, therefore,
anti-smoking has become a religion -- and a major source of income -- for
many people. Just as it was mostly religious zealots who fought to prohibit
alcohol in the 1920s, mostly secular zealots fight against tobacco in our
time. But there is a major difference between alcohol and tobacco. Whereas
tobacco addiction only hurts the smoker (with the rare exception of some
people exposed to smoke in an enclosed room all day for many years), alcohol
addiction hurts all those in the lives of the alcoholic.
Would you rather be raised by a parent addicted to cigarettes or
addicted to alcohol? The answer is so obvious that only an individual or a
society suffering from severe moral confusion could find this question
anything but rhetorical. Most of us were raised by at least one parent who
was hooked on tobacco. None of us suffered anything but inconvenience (or on
rare occasions the exacerbation of an asthmatic condition). But virtually
any person raised by an alcoholic parent has a lifetime of emotional and
Would you rather your pilot smoked a cigarette/cigar/pipe before
or during a flight or drank an alcoholic beverage before or during a flight?
Millions of innocent people have been beaten or murdered, and
millions of girls and women have been sexually abused or raped because
someone was under the influence of alcohol. Has anyone ever been beaten,
murdered or abused because someone was under the influence of a cigarette,
cigar or pipe?
At least the religious zealots who fought against alcohol were
animated by moral concerns. The secular anti-tobacco zealots are animated by
health concerns (and a loathing of big business).
These zealots who condemn cigar smoking in a movie are worthy of
contempt, while Pierce Brosnan and the makers of "Die Another Day" are
worthy of praise for defying the zealots. Had a cigar-smoking James Bond
been successfully censored, a cigar-smoking Winston Churchill would surely