James Cameron: Today's Online Gamers Are The Future's Smokers

Illustration for article titled James Cameron: Todays Online Gamers Are The Futures Smokers

According to the New York Times, someone out there thinks that James Cameron's Avatar is big budget mental poison because of its on-screen tobacco use. Let's start there, as we walk the winding path toward Avatar's video game association.

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The someone who thinks that Avatar showing a fictional character smoke is "like someone just put a bunch of plutonium in the water supply" is Stanton A. Glantz of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco. Glantz is referring to actress Sigourney Weaver's character Grace Augustine.

James Cameron has taken that assessment seriously, responding to the Times, that Weaver's character is a rude, foul-mouthed smoker for good reason.

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He says that "from a character perspective, we were showing that Grace doesn't care about her human body, only her avatar body, which again is a negative comment about people in our real world living too much in their avatars, meaning online and in video games."

Now, I'd be offended by that, ever so slightly, but I just ate enough candy to make myself feel ill and plan on being motionless in front of the TV tonight playing Bayonetta. So maybe you'll be offended on my behalf.

‘Avatar' Joins Holiday Movies That Fail an Antismoking Test [NY Times via Wired GameLife]

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DISCUSSION

On one point, I don't think people should be bitching because something that is a part of real life is in a movie. Get over it. It's here, it has a right to be there, and censorship is no way to solve the problems it creates. Fight with facts, fight with truth, fight with pictures of people who do it, but muting it out of a society's cultural conscience will not do a damn thing. You should be angry at the fact that the movie has horrible acting and writing, not that it contains a leisurely activity generally looked down upon.

Second, cigarettes are a mental addiction that takes time out of and off of your life. Video games, so far, only take time out of life. Comparing the two isn't really justified.