"Don't you smoke?" [ILLU]
First it was the politically-correct BBC bowing to current groundswell when they barred Sherlock Holmes from smoking in their recent production Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars starring Jonathan Pryce.
Now it seems that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) - the entity that is responsible for rating movies – is using smoking as one of the factors in deciding how to rate movies. They have not delineated any specifics, but it is thought that if a film already has a PG-13 rating thanks to levels of violence, drug use and sex, smoking will tip it over the edge to make it an R movie.
Evidently, anti-smoking activists think this doesn't go far enough, as they would like to see an automatic R attached to any movie that features smoking. They want to protect the children.
But I ask: would a Sherlock Holmes movie with a tobacco-free Holmes help the kids? Would they be better off by seeing the first unofficial consulting detective without his pipe? Think about it: the entire world knows Sherlock Holmes because of his profile in his hat and his pipe. Remove the latter and he’s just a mad hatter.
Just think of the consequences:
- His three-pipe problem would become a three lollipop problem. Then you’ll have the anti-cavity lobby and the American Dental Association after you. Not to mention the creators of Kojak, who’d sue for copyright infringement.
- What would Holmes store in his Persian slipper?
- When he’s in a disputatious mood, what physical object would he choose?
These are the ramifications if the character were forced to go cold turkey. If he retained all of his addictions as we know them, it seems that any Holmes movie would likely receive an R rating, thus keeping away the younger crowd. As if we need any more obstacles in introducing Sherlock Holmes to kids…