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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Blame The Simpsons.

I read this, I think oh for fuck's sake.
Krusty the Clown might have a pacemaker, and Selma and Patty raspy voices, but that doesn't mean children will be repelled by the cigarettes hanging out of their mouths on The Simpsons.

A study of the US cartoon — rated one of the most popular TV shows in history — has raised concern that a high incidence of smoking among the characters might encourage young viewers to pick up the habit.
Like I said, for fuck's sake. I suppose no-one expressed concern that young viewers might go round being an unnatural colour or get preposterous beehive hairdos.
Researchers Dr Guy Eslick, an international fellow of the International Union Against Cancer, and Marielle Eslick, analysed 400 episodes of the first 18 seasons of the show.
Fuck, good job guys. I wish someone would pay me for sitting down and watching The Simpsons for a couple of hundred hours. I'm positive I've missed some of the sofa sequences.
They found a whopping 795 instances of smoking or references to smoking.


Smoking was mostly portrayed in a neutral way, but in 35 per cent of cases it had negative connotations and 2 per cent of the time it was shown to be positive.
So even assuming that children emulate what they see on the show, which is a bit of a stretch if you ask me, 98% of the time smoking is shown as negative or neutral - what's your fucking problem anyway?
While the researchers acknowledged the move may have been intended as satirical, they said that even when smoking is portrayed in a negative way, it can still influence young people's behaviour.


The researchers concluded that "just being exposed to The Simpsons characters smoking in so many episodes may prompt children to consider smoking at an early age".
Oh, fucking typical. It can, it might, it could, it may... when are we ever going to see some research that says something can, will or does have an effect? All we ever fucking get are these weasel words can, might, could, may because the health fascists and media scare mongers who love to publish this stuff know bloody well that they mostly can't prove any casual relationship. They can't prove that The Simpsons is the factor between those children who go on to smoke and those who don't, and I very much doubt that they'd even believe that anyway. It's not as if The Simpsons is the only place where children will see the smoking exists, is it? Some will see smoking going on in their own homes, and I suspect that what parents and older siblings do will have more effect that a bunch of cartoon characters - the government are certainly happy to push that idea in anti drinking adverts. Others will see it in old movies or even outside in the street. So what the hell is this whining about The Simpsons in aid of?
The study was published as the Cancer Council Australia yesterday urged the Federal Government to increase the size of graphic warnings on tobacco products.
Ah, there's my answer. Meaninglessly link popular cultural reference with bad habit (and as an ex-smoker I don't disagree that it's a bad habit) to get headlines, pressurize the government and further the agenda. How very strength through joy of them. And how pointless.

Look, as much governments like to pretend they care deeply about the health of citizens and would like them not to smoke I'm far from convinced. Most governments are at least as addicted to the tax revenue from tobacco sales as any smoker is to the filthy weed, and in fact probably much more so. It wasn't easy but I quit smoking, but I don't see any moves on the part of the Australian government to simply declare tobacco illegal and cut off that particular revenue stream. The smoking ban is nothing of the kind because it didn't stop anyone from nipping outside for a smoke. Heroin is banned, cocaine is banned, cannabis is banned, crystal meth is banned, ecstasy is banned... smoking is slightly inconvenient. Get that? In no way is it actually. Fucking. Banned. And that's the most effort the government has so far made to get people to stop. And all these Simpsons viewing clowns want now is to have bigger and nastier nag warnings on the packets. Thanks fellas, call us back when you take your hand of it, eh.
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