“Thank You for Smoking”
The movie “Thank You for Smoking” is a satirical and comical production that centers around Nick Naylor, a pro tobacco activist. The movie adequately highlights the true nature of the political and economic environment since it emphasizes in the key variables of this complex equation. These include self-interest, the media, ethical obligation and, finally, the public. This essay discusses these aspects in depth and how they interact to create this web of modern capitalistic environment. It concludes by discussing Naylor’s argument on personal choice and responsibility (Reitman).
There are several instances where the characters act for the purpose of self-interest, as opposed. Big Tobacco sends Naylor to bribe Lorne Lutch the former Marlboro man who is suffering from cancer and is now opposed to smoking. Leone presents a compelling opposition to the tobacco Company and thus has to be eliminated. The company and Nayden know that smoking does cause cancer and thus have to eliminate any opposition that argument cannot. They also offer Nayden his job back after he successfully lodged his argument and obtained valuable support. This is after they had fired him for the scandal that had exposed their plans. Naylor parades his son to enforce his arguments. Furthermore, Senator Finistirre is careful not to give any hints that he could benefit from the tobacco industry. In addition to this, he wants to find more sick people in order to evoke pity from the public and criticism towards the pro tobacco lobbyists. The move adequately highlights the role of self interest in the face of duty (Reitman).
The media is the bridge between the political and corporate class and the public. Not only this, it is a platform for accountability of these parties to the people that they are supposed to serve. The media emerges as playing a crucial role applying to enable the public to stay in the know. Politicians and corporate sector will seek to endear themselves to the media in order to maintain an unblemished image of themselves to the public. Through Heather Holloway, the media exposes the bribe that Big Tobacco gives Lutch and the scheme of tobacco product placement through movies. In addition to this, all the arguments and discussion between the two groups (pro and anti-tobaccoare aired by the media). One also notices that it remains largely unbiased in its role.
Ethics is one of the most portrayed aspects of the movie. Indeed, there are various levels that ethics are blatantly disregarded. This contributed to the satirical and comical characteristics of the movie as the main character wittily avoids these conundrums. Naylor has the audacity to blame the anti-smoking protagonists for the suffering. He heartily defends a movement that he knows is false. Secondly, he is a part of a clique dubbed itself the MOD (merchants of death) that has debates on who kills more people. Naylor attempts to blur the line between what is ethical and what is unethical for his son too. He tells him that as long as there was an argument, he was right.
The movie rightly portrays the public as a gullible and a naïve lot. They fall for all the verbal manipulation that Naylor uses. At the interview, they heartily accept the argument that is presented by Naylor even though it is not justified and has no logic. The boy had clearly contracted cancer from smoking. The argument that the tobaccos companies would not kill their consumers does not make sense, as the bottom line is consumption regardless of time that this is done. They are swayed the opposite way when Heather Holloway exposes the plot by Big Tobacco and details of Naylor’s personal life. Again they are flipped back on the convincing arguments made by Naylor in the senate. The public seems to be a puppet and is controlled by how convincing the politicians’ and activists’ arguments are. Indeed, this reflects the situation in the real world (Reitman and Christopher 78).
The movie presents an intriguing twist to the argument against harmful substances such as alcohol and tobacco. Naylor argues that the skull and bones on the packs are not necessary, as there is enough awareness on the nature of cigarettes. Those who smoke do so as a result of personal choice. This argument seems particularly valid and indeed explains the futility of governments’ efforts on taxes increase of such products. Despite this, they still enjoy a widespread demand. Other arguments that have been brought up are the violation of personal liberties and freedoms. The movie causes a rethinking of present methods that have been used in controlling smoking; The movie also portrays different approaches, perhaps more aggressive and radical ones that are used to discourage smoking. These methods should focus on the individual and prevent the formation of the habit. There also are radical methods, including complete open space banning that have been implemented in countries such as Ireland. This method has been implemented in order to protect nonsmokers but has been seen to effectively influence smokers.
The only thing that may have been lacking in this movie is that there was no concrete solution for smoking shown. Big Tobacco was found liable and paid hefty damages for the harmful effects of their products. However, this is not sustainable. None the less, the movie was a fantastic and highly entertaining production. It presents various aspects in the political and economic arena. They are highly applicable in the modern day situations and have greater effects than those presented in the movie.