What the heck is ‘historical smoking’?

Call me old-fashioned, but I miss the days when you were careful that your kids weren’t watching movies that contained “gratuitous sex and violence.”  Those films were rated R or PG-13.  Nowadays, however, movies come with all kinds of fancy and creative warnings.  After all, anything that might run counter to a once rough-and-tumble, independent spirit-minded America now comes with a warning to insure that no one’s feelings get blindsided, resulting perhaps in irreparable emotional boo-boos.

On a recent trip back home to Texas, I wanted to go see a good “guy movie” with my father-in-law.  The remake of The Magnificent Seven looked promising, so I checked the local paper for theater times and basic movie info.  The film is rated PG-13, which to me meant there was violence and probably some bad language.  But I was surprised to read the following warning concerning the movie:

Rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of Western violence, and for historical smoking, some language and suggestive material.

Maybe it’s an age thing, but I’m not sure what sets “Western violence” apart from other kinds of violence.  Would violence in a film about the Mafia constitute “Italian violence”?  And how is “historical smoking” different from smoking today?  Maybe someone smokes a peace pipe?  Or sends up a smoke signal?

Another movie playing at the same cineplex was Pete’s Dragon.  Here, the warning read:

Rated PG for action, peril and brief language.

Are children now being warned about “peril”?  I suppose if they venture out of their safe spaces to watch a movie in public, maybe this constitutes an appropriate red flag.

Oh, well.  Since many movies no longer have sex and violence that’s “gratuitous” – I mean, there wouldn’t be a plot without either of them – we have to be warned about something.  “Peril” and “historical smoking” are as good as any to alert those in our new, sensitive culture who become so easily unhinged.

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