Monday, November 21, 2005

Thank you for smoking

This was to be a simple post. Just a recommendation for a humorous book to get you through these trying holidays. The book is Thank You For Smoking, a satirical look at the life of a tobacco lobbyist written by Christopher Buckley.

Clicking around, there's been a movie made, with a decent cast! Aaron Eckhart, Robert Duvall, some child actor called katie Holmes, William H. Macy, Sam Elliott playing a cancer-ridden cowboy (think Marlboro man), this is all good. Of greater concern is the director, Jason Reitman. Based on his slim body of work as extras in Ivan Reitman movies, I can only guess he is Ivan Reitman's son.

More vexing is that even though it played this fall at a Toronto film festival, it won't hit U.S. theaters until at least March 2006. But here's what has my vex meter at pissed off: even though there's a completed movie, no one has a trailer on the internet! Gah.

What, someone can't find another relative to pimp a website? Well, here's an excerpt from the book. Nick Naylor, the tobacco guy, is on the Koppel show debating Senator Ortolan Finistirre from the great state of Vermont.
Koppel sounded amused, in a disgusted sort of way. "All right, let's for the sake of argument suppose that is stil an open question. But would you agree that until such a time as there is conclusive evidence that smoking is harmful, that we ought to err on the side of prudence and protect society against the possibiity--to use as neutral a term as I can--that it might be harmful, and therefore put Senator Finisterre's labels on cigarettes?"

Subtle bastard.

"well," Nick laughed softly, tolerantly, "sure, but we're going to have to print up an awful lot of warning labels to cover all the things in life that might not be a hundred percent safe." But enough palaver. It was time to pull the pin on the hand grenade that the waitress had given him. "But the irony in all this, Ted, is that the real, demonstrated number-one killer in America is cholesterol. I don't know any scientists who would disagree with that. And here comes Senator Finisterre, whose fine and beautiful state is, I regret to have to say, clogging the nation's arteries with Vermont cheddar cheese, with this proposal to plaster us with rat-poison labels."

"That's absolutely absurd. Ted, may I--"

"If" I might be allowed to finish?" Nick said, snatching back the mike. "I was merely going to say that I'm sure that the tobacco industry would consent to having these labels put on our product, if he will acknowledge the tragic role that his product is playing, by putting the same warning labels on these deadly chunks of solid, low-density lipoprotein that go by the name of Vermont cheddar cheese."



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