Tobacco bowdlerization


Tobacco bowdlerization

Tobacco bowdlerization occurs when a publisher or government agency expurgates a photograph, text, or video document to remove images and references to consuming tobacco products. It often occurs in conjunction with traditional restrictions on tobacco advertising, and is most commonly seen on works that are marketed towards children.

Famous incidents

* In 1984, record label EMI used airbrushing techniques to remove a cigarette from the cover of Paul McCartney's re-released "I Wanna Hold Your Hand".
* In 1994, a US Postal Service stamp commemorating blues guitarist Robert Johnson used one of the few intact photographs of the musician, which happened to feature him smoking. Photo editing techniques were employed to remove the cigarette from his mouth. [cite web
url = http://www.photobooth.net/mt/archives/2005/03/24/robert_johnson_photobooth_controversy.php
title = Robert Johnson photobooth controversy
accessdaymonth = 07
accessmonthday = 26
accessyear = 2007
year = 2005
month = 03
day = 24
work = photobooth.net
]
* The 1998 NTSC video release of the Disney animated feature "Melody Time" in the United States removed several images of Pecos Bill smoking and rolling cigarettes. These scenes were left intact for the British PAL home video release.
* In 1999, a US Postal Service again removed a cigarette from a photograph of artist Jackson Pollock for use in a stamp series.
* The classic children's story "Goodnight Moon" featured a photograph of illustrator Clement Hurd smoking a cigarette on the back cover. In 2005, publishers HarperCollins used photo editing techniques to remove the cigarette from the photograph for the 60th anniversary reprint edition. [cite web
url = http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/17/books/17moon.html?ex=1185595200&en=06e006a2482fc284&ei=5070
title = 'Goodnight Moon', Smokeless Version
accessdaymonth = 07
accessmonthday = 26
accessyear = 2007
last = Wyatt
first = Edward
year = 2005
month = 11
day = 17
work = New York Times
]
* In 2006, when releasing "Capitol Albums Volume 2" record label EMI again removed images of The Beatles' bandmembers smoking on the cover art. Fans were quick to note that in removing the offending object, two of drummer Ringo Starr's fingers were removed as well. [cite web
url = http://www.nme.com/news/beatles/22629
title = Ringo Starr's fingers chopped off
accessdaymonth = 07
accessmonthday = 26
accessyear = 2007
year = 2006
month = 03
day = 28
work = NME
]
* Turner Broadcasting received complaints about smoking scenes in the classic MGM cartoon "Tom & Jerry", being rebroadcast on their Boomerang channel. In response, they announced that they would go through their library of cartoons and remove any scenes where smoking was "glamorized". [cite web
url = http://www.reason.com/blog/show/115223.html
title = Toons go smokeless
accessdaymonth = 07
accessmonthday = 26
accessyear = 2007
last = Cavanaugh
first = Tim
year = 2006
month = 08
day = 21
work = Reason Magazine
]

Criticism and defense

Some historians and artists have criticized the process. When speaking of the Jackson Pollock US stamps, New York University professor Todd Gitlin compared the censorship to that used by communist regimes, saying "The communists used to airbrush inconvenient persons from photographs. Americans are airbrushing signs of inconvenient sins." Author Christopher Buckley also criticized the practice, claiming that the government was "tampering with cultural DNA". [cite web
url = http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1999/02/18/national/main24990.shtml
title = Artist's Cigarette Stamped Out
accessdaymonth = 07
accessmonthday = 26
accessyear = 2007
year = 1999
month = 02
day = 18
work = New York Times
]

Others argue that the process is necessary to counteract the overt product placement and influence that the tobacco industry had in broadcasting circles. In 1998, in early hearings for the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, it was divulged that large tobacco companies including R. J. Reynolds and Philip Morris had actively spent over 1 billion US dollars between 1972 and 1991 to get cigarettes in mainstream movies, and smoked by specific actors. The final settlement quotes the Institute of Medicine, who claim that these placements could be extremely effective on children.quote| [Tobacco] advertisements present images that appeal to children and youths and are seen and remembered by them. Concern has been expressed that while smoking may not have had an immediate effect on smoking uptake, they may increase susceptibility to smoking, which over time translates into behavior.|Institute of Medicine [cite web
url = http://ag.ca.gov/tobacco/resources/msasumm.php
title = Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement Summary
accessdaymonth = 07
accessmonthday = 26
accessyear = 2007
work = Office of the Attorney General, State of California
]

References


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