Russell Crowe's Mouth

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Bit of a firestorm over at The Movie Blog over whether Russell Crowe is a hero or an ass for dissing Georgy Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro for taking overseas advertising work. So what do you think? Here's an actor you probably already either loved or hated; has this changed (either reversed or strengthened) your opinion of Crowe?

Clooney's response:

"I'm glad he set us straight. Because Harrison, Bob and I were putting a band together called Grunting For 30 Feet, and that would also fall under the heading of 'bad use of celebrity'. Thanks for the heads up."

(The reference is to Crowe's band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts...)

:)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Here's the take of Xan Brooks at The Guardian, who isn't sold on Clooney's response. He references this Bill Hicks quote: "if you do a commercial ... you're off the artistic roll call. Every word you say is suspect. You're a corporate whore - end of story."

Interesting. Again, I just don't buy that all advertising is evil, although much of it is annoying or misleading, and I also haven't read a word that leads me to believe that an actor doing a commercial is bad by nature. I also have no idea what Russell is going on about doing commercials somehow breaking some sort of implied contract with the public. Do we have any contract, implied or otherwise, with celebrities? Because we enjoy their acting, have we ANY more say about them, their lives, and their subsequent work than we do with any other individuals? I guess the line of thinking that says, "yes," loses me entirely.

As for the Hicks quote, I love Hicks, but again, I cannot agree with that whatsoever. Some (if not most) of the greatest works of art in history were created with at least one eye or ear open to financial and commercial concerns. How is making money on the side in a manner which has nothing to do with the other created works of art any MORE 'whorish' than that?

I mean, it is a cool stand to take, but does it really hold water?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs (who, yeah, was largely going to stay out of this, but...)

I can argue with some of that... "argue" is the wrong word because I think you might be right until you get to your last line (or perhaps it's your third to last line.) But I love to "argue" so... it's poorly structured and densely difficult to read but there it is. I think that we do have an implied social contract with artist/stars. In a studio's case it is a literal contract with a morals clause. At a minimum it is the same social contract that binds all of us. If you would be disappointed by a friend who advocates smoking, voting for John Kerry or grilling outside with Salton products then you might feel the same way about a celebrity doing the same thing. Only the celebrity's endorsement will have a far greater impact (unless you count George Foreman among your friends.)

When you have contributed your hard-earned (assuming that it is at least "hard" or "earned") cash to see a movie star on the screen it is difficult to not feel "invested" in that person. "Invested" in many senses of the word. If an actor that I've "loved in everything that she/he has done" takes a position against indigenous rights, conservation of the environment and paying taxes then I, for one, wish that I could get my money back. I then think twice about paying to see them again in anything that they've done, past, present and future. Yes, Costner, I'm calling you out.

As for the Hicks quote, there is something to be said for extremism when considering "art." As for myself, I have a tough time believing that being a whore is more dangerous than not recognizing a whore. To quote Georgie Bernie Shaw, "We have established what you are, madam. We are now merely haggling over the price." To quote Lorenz "Hitman" Hart, "Sing for your supper and you'll get breakfast. Songbirds always eat, if their song is sweet." To quote Teddy Geisel, "I could eat a goose-moose burger, fifteen pickles and a purple plum." You're certainly right about great works of art being, "created with at least one eye or ear open to financial and commercial concerns." I just wish that more people realized this. Just because it looks like some improbably bosomy tart sent you over the top, that shouldn't blind you to the fact that the guillotine came with her. It is the failure or success of an audience to see through the blouse of what actors/stars are selling (and how they are selling it) that is most critical... in every sense of the word.

I don't believe that it is a "cool stand" to take. Look at all of the flak that Crowe has received, and not just from above, over this comment-statement-observation. Everyone pretends that it is great to say that "the Emperor has no clothes." But what if it's your Emperor?

Wow, how to structure a response...

Most of your first two paragraphs resort to feelings, and here we simply do not see eye to eye. You may feel invested in an actor; I don't believe I do. You may feel like your emotional investment gives you some sort of implied contract with the actor, but I am afraid I believe that is simply your feelings. An actor playing a role on the stage or in a film is doing just that, and however you feel connected to a character played by the actor, you still don't have any more say or right to that actor's life off-stage or off-screen than to anybody else's life. You hint that the public does. I utterly refuse that notion.

If I take a lovely woman out on several dates, I may feel emotionally invested in her, but that still doesn't necessarily mean any sort of implied contract has been created simply because of my feelings of investment.

Perhaps we differ over our ideas of what an implied contract is exactly.

Besides, isn't it a sign of a slight perversion of our celebrity obsessed culture that people often seem to feel closer connections with actors due to their work than they feel towards their characters. I get emotionally invested in characters (and art), not actors (or artists).

Perhaps I've met too many artists not to have this point of view. So many (though certainly not all) are idiots or assholes in real life, so I just know better. That fact doesn't make the art itself worse any more than learning about, say, Hitchcock's character makes North by Northwest a lesser film.

I do think it is seen as cool to demand (or pretend to demand) art with no commercial ties whatsoever, even if in truth such art is incredibly rare. I do think people believe it is cool to demand a certain purity from artists, especially where advertising is concerned. Rock fans love to bemoan a band licensing its music for an ad; "Oh, they've sold out!" Again, I just don't get that line of thinking. I hope my favorite musical artist make the best music they can, and then, I'm thrilled if they market the hell out of it. If the art is good, I'm happy to see the money flow.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Oh, agreed. Actors, politicians, you and me should have no right to an off-stage/off-screen life. I definitely don't think that Baretta murdered his wife... but if Robert Blake did then he should go to jail. That is the social contract at a minimum, the agreement to be a (hopefully productive) society with others. Who you date is your business. Perhaps you're a powerful actor, politician, candlestick maker. You can use your power however you like and date whomever you like, that's in the persoanl sphere. In the public sphere if you push cigarettes as a good thing, go to war on false pretenses, get wax all over my lips... you should be held to account for this. If you are using the power of your position then you should bear a greater responsibility for your actions. Behind the Veil of Ignorance I think that we can all agree that we wish there was no such thing as tobacco advertisements.

I see episodes of The Simpsons more often than I see my extended family but I feel more emotionally invested in my relatives than in any character or voice actor. Well, most of them. Knowing that they have this power/effect on the celebrity obsessed, should celebrities take their power into account when they act? In the public sphere I say that the answer is "Yes"! It doesn't matter to me what Woody Allen's relationship with Soon-Yi Previn is like... it does matter to me that Woody Allen surrounds himself with tarts half his age and makes them act as if they have a fourth of his IQ. That I do object to.

You may have much more experience with artists, idiots and the like in real life, my social life is primarily imaginary and is spent next to an imaginary phone. George Clooney may be the greatest guy, that's what he keeps insisting, but I still don't want him to sell me a suit of clothes or a bill of goods. I'm not arguing for the separation of commerce and art to be accomplished by fiat. I am arguing that the cure for this cancer is recognition and that nobody, neither artist nor audience nor the media oligarchs in between, but nobody gets a free ride. Everyone is accountable.

I hope that you're right about what is seen as "cool." I've always felt that PBS was the hippest thing about American television (even if that hip was artificial or arthritic.) Rock fans can bemoan the use of Rock and Roll in car commercials (both literally and figuratively) but they have just bought into the fiction that Rock and Roll (figuratively) is based upon the idea of "not selling out." I think these people are a very small minority otherwise advertisers wouldn't be so eager to use them and trade in on the emotional connection that the songs have for people. So that very small minority may, in fact, be cool.

On a (very) personal note: It is oh-so-effing-amazing that songs about drug addiction (cross-dressing, prostitution, physical abuse, etc) are being used to sell vacation cruises and other products to nostalgic Boomers. How I hate them.

I tried to use "social contract" in the manner that Russell-Rousseau-Rawls use(d) it. I'm not making the implication that there is/are contracts to sign. I'm not sure what feelings I based some of my arguments on but I feel good.

You knew that I would.

We agree with much of your first paragraph. As you probably noted above, I took a few minor pains to point out that I think artists are no more responsible for their private lives than other individuals. You then move into the content of advertisement, which is not a subject I really addressed. I was interested in Crowe's stating (or seeming to state) that the actors doing advertisements was somehow wrong period, regardless of the product pushed.

Should celebrities take their power into account when they act? Sure. "With great power comes great responsibility," and so on. Do we have a right to demand different behavior from them than we do from other individuals because of an implied social contract? That's where I am having a problem with this line of thinking. That's where the question of whether we like Clooney selling us suits morphs into whether he is breaking some sort of public trust by doing so.

As to the social contract question, I was unclear. I think we probably are close on our ideas of the concept. I was hedging my bet that we might disagree as to the contents of the specific social contract the public might have with celebrities, and perhaps on whether all celebrities are indeed implying such a contract when they step before a camera.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I probably should've written, "...politicians, you and me should have no right to another's off-stage/off-screen life." I think that you were able to divine my intention... I'm certainly hoping so because I think I agree with you.

I probably do think that star advertisements are wrong, period. I may think that all of advertising is problematic. Which is a shame because I love it so. It's easier to object to products (smoking, military action, kinky sex play) that are objectionable. But if the process is evil (in and of itself) then it doesn't matter what the product is. I'm not sure about this. I have trouble finding anything wrong with beautiful, cheerful women in white advertising Freedom, Liberty, Security, Stayfree and Carefree.

Perhaps it is like power and it depends upon what manner of use it is put to.

If you can't tell, I love John Rawls. I think that he has given me the most practical way to deal with philosophical differences. (That concept may be the epitome of an oxymoron.) I'd like to believe that no one, in theory, wants their daughter to be taught that her worth is to be found in displaying her body for money. But can you blame Lynne Spears? I like to think that we all have a responsibility to act as though we and our children might never be famous, rich or powerful. Therefore it follows that we wouldn't want anyone to mine our weaknesses for profit, in theory. But can you blame a girl when she finds out that she's Dorothy Ford?

I can understanding thinking advertising is evil (which you didn't actually say). I just don't believe that I agree, but I certainly sympathize. I do think it can be problematic (as you said), and by and large I don't dig ads.

I will have to investigate Rawls. I followed you with Hobbes, but Rawls is largely foreign territory to this dumb Okie. I shall look further...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

If Okies are dumb like you then I have to remember to keep myself out of the Dust Bowl so as to spare my ego and intellect. (Although all the spelling that goes on in your famous musical does embolden me a little.)

Rawls Rewls! He is the collosal hedgehog to Isaiah Berlin's giant fox. You wouldn't want to share a pint with him at Ye Olde Philosophers Watering Whole but he is the Ben Kenobi of philosophical bar fights. He took Utilitarianism out at the knees without Jeremy Bentham realizing that he was dead until long after the fact. The Big U's endorsement of the tyrrany of the majority is laid bare for all to see in front of John Rawls' "veil of ignorance."

(I absolutely believe that) Rawls' system of reasoning results in the "most" moral of all possible worlds. In (very) brief and in my own words: It posits that a system of morality and justice should be formed by people who do not know what position they will hold in society nor what abilities they will have. This is as if unborn babies get a chance to set up the rules for the society into which they'll be born... only they don't know who they'll be born to nor their abilities upon being born (this would be "the original position.") This leads to "justice as fairness" and prevents a society from allowing mistreatment of minorities and the powerless. Very cool.

Of course, there's a lot more to it than that and I don't pretend that I don't pretend to know what I'm talking about. Some philosophers have a problem(s) with Rawls in that he makes little acommodation for the realities of the world... which is an oxymoronic thing for philosophers to claim. I'm convinced that this is just jealousy from people who don't understand or can't accept Rawls' concept of morality/justice. These people will be washed away by the next high tide.

I can't argue with any of that. But if I were making eight figures per movie, I'd really have to zealously believe in a product before I'd do a commercial for it. That just seems like sound business to me. If my career were my image (I'd be dirt poor), I'd be very picky as to how my image is used. But who knows, maybe De Niro feels strongly about the merits of American Express over Visa. :-)

Again, that's just me though. Certainly those guys can make whatever choices they want without making me feel less of them (certain products excepted, but I'd like to leave that particular can of worms cinched shut though).

And I certainly cannot argue with any of that!

Image (argh!) is pretty important to most celebrity careers, so obviously they should pick and choose their side work carefully. If I was making that much moolah, I probably would not do any commercials other than selected PSAs.

Of course, who knows why the actors do each and every one of these. Clooney seems to cycle some of his money back into film projects, often with Focus Features, which may well be the best studio in existence today (Miramax of the 00s)), but perhaps I am wrong about that. If he wants to sell, say, cologne to help make great films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Far from Heaven and Lost in Translation, he can shill away!

Maybe De Niro just wanted to work with Scorsese again... :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Oh hey, it never occurred to me that any of these guys might pump the money back into other projects! I cynically assumed it just lined their pockets. I know you aren't saying that's necessarily what's happening, but it's nice to consider the possibility.

The Fed Ex gig is probably the best script De Niro's seen in a long time.

Ha!

I can hear him now. "Darn DiCaprio. First he nabs the format of my last name, now he has my Marty." Then the tears flow...

"I could be the king of the world. I really could."

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ha! Perfect. Thanks for the follow-up!

Truth be told, I do not think I give much of a rip who shills for what on television. Cigarette and, say, malt liquor ads (sorry Billy Dee) may be exceptions.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I also don't give a rip in the sense that I'm not going to buy something because a celebrity was paid to say he/she likes it. That's the dumbest way to try to sell me something.

WARNING: LECTURE AHEAD

This is actually a sort of subconscious advertising that I learned about in economics. Here's how it works. You see acclaimed director Steven Spielberg in a commercial for Kellogg's Raisin Bran. Spielberg is telling you Raisin Bran is great. If you are very gullible, you think: Wow, Steven Spielberg must really love that cereal! That means Raisin Bran must be good! If not, you instead [more subconsciously] think: Damn, Kellogg's must have shelled out a LOT of money to get Spielberg to advertise for them. Kellogg's must be pretty confident that they'll make lots of profits on that cereal, enough to pay Steven Spielberg. In fact, they'll need to make people into repeat customers in order to make all that money. Therefore, they must be pretty confident that I'll be satisfied with the quality of the Raisin Bran. That means Raisin Bran must be good!

My explanation is perhaps a bit more complicated than it needs to be, but there ya go.

AJ, if I went through that thought process, I would conclude: damn, I'm having trouble thinking straight. I could sure use a cigarette! Which just goes to show that tobacco really doesn't need to be advertised anyway, or that all advertisements are really saying the same thing: feed your addictions.

I still have a problem with an American actor selling cigarettes in Japan. Japan is a big consumer of both American pop culture and cigarettes. In fact, it has one of the highest rates of smoking in the world, in part due to the government's dependence on tobacco taxes. There's just no way that if I know these things, an actor who's selling the product wouldn't also be aware of them.

Is this a good place to mention that Kellogg's Raisin Bran is really good, maybe the best raisin bran out there?

No? Drats, I knew better. Stupid Spielberg...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Thing is, that doesn't work anymore if it moves from your subconscious to your conscious, whether by reading an economics book or hearing out it works from someone else.

WARNING: TANGENT AHEAD

Lol. Your upfront warning statement got me wondering:

Most of the Listologists I've spent the most time talking with (you, 0dysseus, Jim, stooky, lbangs, a few others) seem to be abnormally careful (in the good way) and constructive in their comments. I wonder if this happens to be their normal mode of discussion, or if the Internet filters their speech by providing the ability to edit and 'take back' what one says. Do you find yourself speaking more clearly, conscientously, and humorously, with more orienting, conceding, encouraging, and helpful statements than in your everday 'live' conversations? I'll have to watch myself, but I think this is somewhat true of me, though the difference is not night and day.

I try to write in my conversational style, but answers.com allows me to have a better vocabulary and google is much smarter than I ever will be.

I think I'm funnier in person (which is not saying much), as my humor depends heavily on call-and-response. I'm not much of a monologger.

I think I'm equally thoughtful and/or diplomatic in print and in person.

As if such objective introspection were possible!

I think I am more constructive if I've had some time to think over my statements and edit them, but I do try just as hard not to offend in my everyday speech. I mean, not that it's a great effort, and I don't always succeed, but... well, you know what I mean.

Coming from a man who has already edited the above post... ;P

:)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

...twice.

Yeah, that pretty much sums me up.

I was also referring to editing before you post it the first time.

Anyway, thanks to those who have proffered their thoughts. Perhaps Listology once again proves itself a magical Internet oasis of intelligent, conscientious people in a desert of scorpions and flaming.

It is an oasis, indeed. It makes me want to be a better Netizen.

Makes me want to be a better citizen of the offline world!

Sorta makes me wanna start posting rude obscenities and pasting JPEGs of proud standing middle fingers as my profile portrait.

But I won't.

Rebel by nature, really nice guy by choice...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs (No, that's not your imagination; my nose really is growing...)

I am tempted to say I tend to type like I speak, only with fewer misspellings, but I fear some of the few folks on this site who know me might differ, so I think I'll just let this one slide...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Russell Crowe is free to say whatever he likes and shouldn't fear any kind of "blacklist" over his opinions. No matter how great his predecessors are, he isn't obligated to silence himself out of "respect". I don't care one way or the other about Crowe. Regarding his opinion, I think acting of any sort is a type of prostitution, so why should selling cigarettes in Japan be any different from selling popcorn in America?

Wow, given your love of movies I'm somewhat surprised to read what sounds like a negative opinion of acting in general!

I wouldn't draw any distinction between advertising here vs. abroad, but definitely think less of Harrison Ford for doing cigarette ads (if that is indeed true). Other folks' vices are none of my business, but Big Tobacco's business practices are notorious, and they marketed to kids extensively here before they were forbidden to do so, and I'm pretty sure they still market to kids overseas (and if they've stopped that practice entirely, its only recently and under duress).

Be careful what you wish for....

I'm not surprised that the firebrand in you objects to a libertarian view of smoking. It does surprise me that people who object to non-smokers speaking out about smoking are not more supportive and passionate about actors/stars speaking out about advertising done by actors/stars.

Actors/stars have a very personal relationship with an audience. That is an actor's job, to forge a personal connection. Many actors become bigger than their roles or choose roles to serve not just their acting abilities but their image to the public. Trading on this image, trading on this personal relationship with an audience is very personal and very dangerous.

That issue is removed from whether or not a certain advertising "role" is a good one for an actor. I personally think that Robert DeNiro for American Express, directed by Martin Scorsese, is DeNiro's best role in at least five years and probably a decade. That does not speak well for him as an actor, neither his choice of roles nor his performances in those roles. The money that Amex laid out for DeNiro and Scorsese is for the collective recollection of the work produced by the greatest actor-director combination of the past three decades. It saddens me that future film connoisseurs might look back on Taxi Driver as the prelude to their work in "My New York" for American Express. (Note that Tribecca, where DeNiro has property and businesses, is mentioned.) Top Hat could become a movie with that guy I recognize from the Dirt Devil commercial.

Selling cigarettes in Japan (off the radar for the North American Market) is extremely different than selling popcorn in America. Does anyone think that any actor's image would stand up to being part of a marketing campaign for tobacco in the States? Japanese commercials not only allow an actor to prostitute herself but to do it while shrouded in hypocrisy. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" is no way to conduct morality. Doing advertisements in Japan is tantamount to a confession that one is ashamed of prostituting oneself.

Whatever one may think of adultery, homosexuality, acts of ego and the like, they are all personal acts that do not affect the public arena. Advertising, by definition, seeks to influence the public arena. (Not having seen his commercial) Harrison Ford is advocating that people smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of death in the world... the world. Heart failure, emphysema, lung cancer, high blood pressure, house fires... the list is endless. Harrison Ford is taking money to say that this is a good thing. Is that any different from encouraging Third World mothers to use formula to nurse their children? From advocating Thalidomide? Avoiding vaccinations for smallpox and polio? Is it different from pushing heroin, cocaine, opium, crystal meth....

Big (and small) Tobacco is different from other industries. They deal in addiction and death. Not only does this put burdens on the health system and economies of every country on earth, not only does it bring tragedy to families who see loved ones suffer slow deaths long before their time, it poses dangers to all of us through second-hand smoke. The horror that is tobacco disproportionately effects the young (and helpless), the poor (and helpless) and the uneducated Third World (and helpless.) That is evil.

If one believes that individuals in a society have a duty to any kind of greater good that exists outside of themselves then I cannot see how something like tobacco isn't the responsibility of everyone. This responsibility exists whether or not an individual has any "direct" experience with tobacco. I've never suffered at the hands of a drunk driver but I certainly have something to say about drunk driving. (That's unimpressive, I have something to say about everything... oh well.) I do not believe that anyone can articulate a system of ethics under which tobacco isn't everyone's concern in addition to being (I'll say it again) evil. If anyone can put forth such a philosophy that extends beyond pure self interest I would love to read it. I promise I will not offer one word of dispute. Let the world view stand or fall on its merits.

On the lighter and more tragic side: Here are shockingly stupid commercials that I like along with one that stains the career of Robert Altman.
lightening.

This is directly on point and makes the cigarette case against product placement.

You once wondered if you were required to stop enjoying a movie that might not have the best values. (Just for the record, my answer was "No." But I do think that cigarettes are one of the most dangerous forms of product placement.) Every moral dilemma (when recognized as such) provides Teachable moments. I love Bogie beyond reason. I know of a Bogart Festival that (under pressure) addressed the issue of of Humphrey Bogart's death from oesophageal cancer at the age of 57. He left behind a 33 year-old wife, an eight year-old son and a five year-old daughter. He and his wife were unable to star in another movie together, a film that was eventually made as Top Secret Affair . Lauren Bacall (as far as I know) is still alive almost a half-century after Bogart's death.

It is now time for me to disclose that ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) for the role it played in getting my uncle to give up smoking. After a (what I'm told was an all too typical) night of drinking and smoking my uncle went to an early morning job interview at ASH. During the questioning/conversation my uncle said that he would bring a unique and necessary quality to public health advocacy because of the perspective that he had as an "ex-smoker." (Pfff! "ex-smoker" for about seven hours, that hungover bastard... sorry, Grannie.) So, unfortunately for him, he got the job and had to go off nicotine cold-turkey. He's never looked back and gone on to a totally unqualified and undeserved career in public health administration with the WHO and for all of WA. (He's used the line that, "This has provided the WHO? and the WA? to go along with the 'WHY, in god's name, did you get the job?' 'WHERE are you going to get the money?' and, most importantly, 'WHEN are you ever going to get back from lunch?'")

Whew! I need a cigarette. I'll try to stop the long sermons. I know it's hard to discuss/dispute but I really appreciate the effort and the chance to shape and hone views I never knew that I had. Thank you.

Not just Altman! "Since 1991, Jean-Luc Godard, Emir Kusturica, Enki Bilal, Giuseppe Tornatore, Bakhtiyar Khudoynazarov, Juan Carlos Tabio, Marc-Henri Wajnberg, David Lynch, Roman Polanski, and Wim Wenders have directed for Parisienne."

Thanks for the post, and the always-excellent links. I'd like to see the Harrison Ford commercial. I hate just taking Crowe's word that it exists, but I haven't heard any dispute of that allegation, and I'd think Ford's agent would be all over that if it weren't so.

I think that I could forgive Altman more easily if he were the only one... he's only one of many directors that I like among that depressingly long list that is, I am sure, only one of many. Keep in mind that I have heard of over half of them! Besides which, Altman's commercial was easy to find (and what a wonderful little film it was.) I cannot tell you how hard I tried to find David Lynch's effort. I have trouble imagining a David Lynch cigarette commercial that wouldn't lead to smoking cessation.

Even in my heavy mental cortical rap there is only so much room and, much as I try to avoid going to "11," the silence in the room when I'm done is deafening.

Yes, tobacco is bad, but it's way down on the list of things I get upset about. I actually think cheating on your wife is a bigger deal than selling cigarettes.

I love acting done well! But, I really dislike people who think their celebrity status entitles them to a hugely inflated ego, to escape justice or criticism, to say or do whatever they want without accountability, or to insane amounts of love and money all out of proportion to the good they do.

I really don't see the difference between making a commercial and making a movie. They are both pandering.

I have no objection to tobacco itself, nor smokers (as long as I don't have to breathe what they're breathing), nor anyone who sells cigarettes without lying about it (if such a creature exists).

I'm talking about the tobacco industry itself, with its shameful history if lies and targetting kids for its addictive product. It's much easier for me to get worked up over the resulting increased incidence of lung and heart disease, cancer, dying before ones time, billions of health care dollars lost, and elemetary-age kids smoking than it is for me to get worked up over adultery. Of course, I'm not a bible guy, so I understand our difference here.

I'd be disappointed in anybody that took money to shill smokes, celebrity or otherwise. Big Tobacco's money is dirty, and I'm sad Ford took it (as sad as one get get over celebrity actions, anyway (if reports are true)).

I'm afraid I just don't follow you in regards to commercials and movies being the same thing. Would you broaden the comparison between commericials and any art form? No difference between commercials and music? Commericals and painting?

I would have to say that the tabacco industry is just like any other industry... what makes them any worse i don't see, i still hate them, but not any more than any other big time industry only interested in making money... they aren't trying to kill anyone any more than the toy industry... there was tabbacco before the tabbaco industry and there were toys before the toy industry... it's the giving people what they want and making money off of it, just because they happen to be bad for you doesn't make me hate them anymore... but this is all way off topic... the only people i will listen to complaining about the tabbaco industry exclusively or as being any worse than any other big time industry, is someone who is being killed by cigarettes, wants to stop, and can't, otherwise you really have no ground to stand on.

If the toy industry only sold physically addictive toys that caused heart disease, cancer, and a variety of other ailments, shaving years off lives and sucking billions of dollars out of public health coffers, but told everyone they were perfectly safe toys, and not addictive, and cooked studies "proving" they were safe toys, I'd agree with you. But as it is, I really can't relate to not making a distinction.

I will grant that both industries market to children though.

you make a good point... and i don't entirely disagree... i just don't think it has anything to do with you and it just pisses me off that the only people who want to shut down the industry are people who don't smoke... as a non-smoker i consider my personal opinion of the industry to be irrelevant, therefore i try not to have one.

Cool.

You're right - Big Tobacco's goals are just the same as any other industry: making money. I'm sure if they could make cigarettes non-deadly while keeping them just as addictive, they would. In theory they're no more corrupt than the toy industry. But that doesn't change the fact that cigarettes kill people and toys don't. And in the end, that's a pretty big difference.

Why would you only listen to people being killed by cigarettes? Isn't it enough that people are being killed by cigarettes? I think that's good enough reason for me to complain, even though I've never smoked a cigarette in my life.

why not listen to non-smokers... because i'm sick of people telling other people how safe they need to be... if you don't smoke, than you have no business saying people shouldn't... it really is none of your business... i too have never smoked a cigarette in my life... but i would also never take any action against the tobacco industry because i really have no ground to stand on, they have done nothing to me, and i don't speak for other people, specially when they don't really want to be spoken for... saying flatly that cigarretes kill people is like saying that twinkies kill people... technically they both do, but we're not talking about selling guillotines here.

Are you talking about people other than those participating in this thread? I don't think anybody here has said people shouldn't smoke, or has dictated how anybody should live their lives. I don't believe I've spoken for anybody but myself.

That said, I don't really see the point of further discussion on the subject. If you really view toys, cigarettes, and twinkies as equivalent from a public health perspective, the gap between us would take a Herculean effort to close, with no guarantee of success. I'm just not up to the task.

Besides, you won't listen to me anyway, since I don't smoke!

(Really? Only smokers can have credible opinions on smoking? Not family members of smokers? Not second-hand smoke inhalers? Not doctors? Not public health policy makers? Really?)

(Never mind, don't answer that.)

well your right... we're not going to close the gap... i obviously don't get what your saying and you me... but i would like to add one thing... i don't mean that all those things are equals... i just mean that no one is forcing people to smoke, but a whole hell of a lot of people are telling them they can't, why? becuase it's unhealthy for them... which is none of your business... so my biggest issue is why the hell you have an issue with the tabacco industry if smoking is not killing you. i just think dictating other people's voluntary safety levels is wrong, and if you truly have no problem with people smoking, then you should have no problem with the tobacco industry... at least no more than any other industry that mass markets a product... sorry, there i went and furthered the conversation.

Can I have an issue with it for killing my grandfather, or does it really have to kill me personally?

That's really not relevant, but since you seem to demand a personal connection before I'm allowed to have an opinion, there ya go, take it or leave it.

As for the rest, I've already told you why the tobacco industry is worse than the toy industry. Perhaps you have a different industry you'd like me to compare to? You just conceded that they aren't equal. Given that, is it so hard to believe that I feel differently about them? Can I not feel differently about things that are, by your own admission, different?

Finally, just because I believe people should be allowed to pick their poison, it does NOT logically follow that I should respect their enablers.

no offense, and i don't know if it was hypothetical or not... but smoking did not kill your grandfather, that is the bullshit i'm sick of... and i didn't say you needed a personal connection, you just don't know what your talking about, and niether do i, but i don't go around pretending to.

and how the hell can you say people should be allowed to pick their poison and want the tobacco industry shut down for supplying the poison at the same time... that makes no sense... respect is a completely different issue, i don't respect just about any big industry... but their are shitloads of people who say they are not against smokers, but down with cigarettes because they kill people at the same time... they don't kill anyone... people smoke them and they are unhealthy, i know i'm gonna get shit for this next statement but, we're all dying slowly, what's a few less years by choice?

Woah, dude. Woah. Are you seeking insta-bannage?

Okay, this ain't really my business, so I'm butting out.

I'm going to resist the temptation to blow my stack over you telling me I'm wrong as to why MY grandfather died much earlier than he had to. It ain't easy though.

When did I (or anyone else here, for that matter) say I wanted the tobacco industry shut down? I don't resent them selling cigarettes, I resent their scumbag tactics.

I think if you read my earlier posts a little more carefully that would have been clear, and most of this conversation would have been unnecessary.

I am well and truly done with this thread now.

I don't know how you can hold it back, Jim. Perhaps chum needs to make a visit down to his local hospice. My dad only lasted 6 months after his lung cancer diagnosis. I personally resent anything and everything about the tobacco industry. And just to tie the knot neatly on this - my only planned post to this discussion - Russell Crowe and his fellow tobacco puppets can kiss my royal ass.