“Free expression gets smoked”

Bowing to pressure from 32 state attorneys general to curb the depiction of smoking in movies, the Moving Picture Association of America has just conceded “the basic principle that public-health lobbyists and politicians should have a big role in deciding what people will see, instead of letting the industry merely cater to its audience.” But state governments “have no more business determining what appears on movie screens than they do in deciding what goes into Judy Blume’s next novel. …The MPAA’s response validates the politicians in their intrusions, and beckons them to find new ways to regulate art and other matters that are supposed to be exempt from their control.” (Steve Chapman, syndicated/Orlando Sentinel, May 21). More: Michael Siegel, May 11, May 16, May 17; Jacob Sullum, May 16. Earlier: Sept. 1, 2003.


  • happened to watch “12 Angry men” on PBS the other night.

    I can’t imagine how much angrier they’d have been if their pipes, cigarettes and cigars had been taken away from them.

    I don’t imagine this will ever be shown at high schools again.

  • Is this surprising? Or are the movie producers just trying to avoid a resurrection of the Hays Code and the PCA?