Note: It's safe to assume that everything in this journal is not a scientific fact, but personal advice from an artistically opinionated person.
To all the people, everyone on the face of the earth, who blames video games, movies, television, and any other media for the destruction of civilization as we know it: IT'S FAKE.
Consuming violence in fiction does not cause people to become mass murderers in reality. There is research behind the correlations of these things and child development blahblahblah--let me state my view on media becoming a bad influence on youth:
Take it for what it is. It's not real! Unless a child has a serious mental illness of some kind, everybody
can draw the line between fact and fiction. Kids are not that stupid; we need to give them a lot more credit than that. The only instance I could believe that video games alone will cause someone to become a delinquent is if they were raised solely on GTA since childbirth with no other human contact.
The anti-smoking advocacy Breathe California criticized Rango
and 101 Dalmatians
for containing instances of characters smoking about 60 times in each film, the latter by Cruella De Vil alone. This is a group that pushes to eliminate as much tobacco use as possible from kids' films. usatoday30.usatoday.com/NEWS/u…
Okay, I'll give them this: unless the plot of the story centers around smoking or drinking, eliminating all cases of tobacco/alcohol from movies won't make any difference in the film itself whatsoever. However
, smoking offers a lot more to a story's experience. Sounds weird, right? Imagine the fashion extravagance Cruella De Vil without her cigarette and fancy holder. It may take absolutely nothing away from her character, but just the image and presence of her holding it obnoxiously expresses her fashion sense and sly nature as a villain. Even in 101 Dalmatians
when she comes over for a visit she's filling up their house with foul smoke and the disgust is clearly seen on the faces of the other characters! So if anything, shouldn't this case be encouraging kids to avoid smoking? It's the overall feeling
that complements the situation.
As for Rango,
I loved that film; it's a creepy western so it's my kind of thing. To be honest, I can recall almost nothing about tobacco in that movie; it's not very prevalent... But anyway, this one
has a less credible reason for including smoking than 101 Dalmatians.
While the villain smokes and it adds to her characters' vibe--and for good reason, I can see that Rango
has it in simply for adult material and historical accuracies. Seriously, it's a western!
Hot, dirty, guns, outlaws, death--in reality I think this film should've gotten a higher PG-13 rating for more than just smoking... If you're a little kid, this movie gets scary, man! Even if it is just for kids, it's hard to imagine any type of serious western without a single cigarette. I hate to say it but it's true: it adds to the aura and it always will because it's a part of our culture.
Personal example time! I have a story-in-the-making that takes place in 1952 and the character who smokes the most is a lead train engineer who is a smart, hardworking, and carefree guy. Since he is very dedicated to his work and is usually seen bent over fixing something, sitting in his chair with a cigarette is a signal of his relaxation. This individual action most likely will end up calming the hustle.
This brings me to the "sort of" second half of this topic: the health issues. Let me answer it straight: there aren't any. In fiction
(depending on how detached from reality it is), serious aftereffects like cancer and disease don't exist unless you want your story to be that realistic. Bringing up a realistic issue out of nowhere in a "cartoony" setting is likely to destroy the suspension of disbelief. Have you ever seen "Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue"? Or Nostalgia Critic's review of it, at least? Basically it's a big weird PSA about all the different cartoon characters coming together to keep some kid from doing drugs. At some point Bugs Bunny picks up a joint and knows exactly what it is. No
, you can't do that!
A serious situation can't feature cartoon characters that are already too detached from reality. It breaks their original characters and the situation won't be taken seriously. An ant can't look up at you from the ground and feel what you feel or see what you see; it's like being in completely separate dimensions. Since the health consequences of smoking don't exist in such a lesser reality (like Looney Tunes for example), it's characters shouldn't know how to deal with the situation at all.Nostalgia Critic Cartoon All Stars
Smoking and drinking don't add any extra weight to a character, but they can create a specific mood as a bonus. On a first impression, cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can indicate relaxation/taking a break, mystery, tension, etc. in addition to historical social accuracy. Seeing fictional characters do it doesn't instantly or directly drive people to their own addictions.