MIKE GOLD: The kids ARE alright
There’s an ad campaign on radio right now demanding that all movies that show people smoking cigarettes be handed an R rating. This is based upon the perception that despite parents’ best and most consistent efforts, kids who see somebody smoking a cigarette in a motion picture will turn into hopeless addicts.
This is amusing, as the baby boomers that are making these noises represent the first generation to turn their backs on smoking. Of course, we baby boomers were raised on cigarette commercials, our teevee heroes smoked like chimneys, our movie stars didn’t need fogged up lenses to hide the wrinkle lines, and, oh yeah, our parents and our grandparents were complete tobacco fiends.
Virtually all of our finest movies would have to be reclassified as R-rated. Casablanca, Citizen Kane, the Marx Brothers movies … I think about 95% of the movies the American Film Institutes’ Top 100 list wouldn’t make the cut. I’m not sure about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – why do you think they called him Dopey?
So instead of actually raising our young with standards and values, it’s easier to simply have somebody else erase history for us. Forget about learning from our mistakes, let’s just stick our head in the sand and pass a law demanding everybody else does the same.
Here’s a fact. Parents want somebody else to raise their children for them. Offended? If I had said “Too many parents want somebody else to raise their children for them” would you still be offended? In the 1950s we looked at comic books said “somebody should stop kids from reading that.” Then we heard rock music and said “somebody should stop kids from listening to that.” Then the villains became long hair, video games, rap music… it will never end.
The problem is, we have millions and millions of baby boomers who read comics and/or listened to rock who have grown up to be productive, or at least normal, citizens. Kinda fat, though. Maybe our parents should have spent their time bitching about Dr. Pepper and Froot Loops.
Parents, raise your children yourselves. Leave our history and our culture to fend for themselves; they do a great job without interference from lazy busybodies.
As for our children, well, they’ll make some mistakes. That’s their job. Be there to help them learn from those mistakes and remember, 99.5% of them will survive just like you did.
The Who said it best, and they said it 42 years ago: The Kids Are Alright.
Mike Gold is editor-in-chief of ComicMix.com. He watches a lot of old movies and he does not smoke. So there.