Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
I’m man enough to admit my weaknesses.
And here’s a big one, so look out: I allow things to annoy me that just shouldn’t, and I become a real hothead.
Flames consume my body, and smoke comes out of my ears. I try to remain calm, to keep composed, to let it all just pass right by. I try … but irritation sometimes wins. And then I’m on fire.
Now is one of those times.
Something’s getting my goat. And if you knew me, REALLY new me, you’d appreciate just how pissed off I get when someone messes with my goat.
You see, I’ve had it up to here with the holier-than-thou types who apply today’s standards to the past.
This 20/20 hindsight thing is nothing new, of course. People condemn the Romans for slavery despite knowing full well that the practice was pervasive for more than another millennium before going out of style. And some voices say we should have known Iraq lacked WMD—even though experts worldwide and that country’s own generals believed nasty-ass weapons were there.
But now, the second-guessers have taken their retrospective crusade to a new level. Their target is nothing less than the basis of human advancement, the bedrock of our civilization, the foundation of all that is holy and just in our depraved world.
In Britain, naysayers are slicing and dicing Tom and Jerry cartoons because a viewer complained that Tom smoked. The regulating body released this defense of its actions: “While we appreciate the historic integrity of the animation, the level of editorial justification required for the inclusion of smoking in such cartoons is necessarily high.”
Did you ever notice that the lamest excuses are buried in the most verbose explanations?
I’m starting to get hot under the collar.
Let it be known: I’m no fan of smoking. In point of fact, I hate the habit. I wish that everyone would stop right now and live happier, healthier lives.
But I’m not about to go back and edit smoking scenes out of Casablanca to pray at the altar of the god of political correctness. Should we ban some of the greatest films of all time—Citizen Kane, The Godfather, and The Breakfast Club—because cigarettes appear?
I feel fire swirling in my head. If we start down the road of “moralizing” the past, it’s hard to stop.
After proscribing smoking, can fighting be far behind? Imagine what the “violence is passé” faction will do to masterpieces like Rocky, Raging Bull, and Old School.
Flames are starting to incinerate my soul.
And then watch out for the sex police. I fear the havoc that the I-know-better-than-you faction will wreak upon classics like Last Tango in Paris, Fatal Attraction, and Showgirls.
My inner blaze rages. This trifecta of madness—this jihad against smoking, fighting, and sex—had better not touch the best movie of all time, the sum and total of cinema to this point in history.
Leave Fight Club alone. Or you’ll have an inferno that will make Vesuvius look like a tiny match.