An hour of propaganda

Herself likes to watch "Call the midwife" of a Sunday evening.

It's a television series set in London in the Fifties and Sixties and is about a bunch of [you’ve guessed it already?] midwives as they go about their business.

I half watch it as a background noise as it is a fairly authentic and brings back happy memories of the Sixties.

Last night's episode was a classic though.  I hung on every word, as from the outset I knew what was coming.

Naturally a lot of people smoke in the series, which is true to memory.  However the first thing I noticed last night was that more people than usual were smoking, and the Good Doctor seemed to be aiming for about five packs a day.  He starts to ponder the large number of people who seem to be dying of lung cancer as he chain smokes.

Well, by the holy, we got the lot.

Chap comes to surgery dying of lung cancer and refused chemotherapy as he doesn't want his [large] family see him linger into a horrible death.  Pause while camera closes in to show him lighting up.

Son of Good Doctor [an obnoxious little cunt] reads in a medical magazine that cigarettes are linked to cancer.  Doctor dismisses claim and lights yet another cigarette.

Cut to scene of chest clinic.  Everyone is coughing their guts up.  Everyone is smoking.  Lingering shots of cigarette smoke, cigarettes being lit and of course the air is thick with smoke and coughing.

Good Doctor gets invited to autopsy.  [I had been waiting for this one].  Good Doctor is shown Black Lung.  Gasps in horror.  Cigarettes did THAT?  Close-ups of blackness and oozing nodules. 

Doctor goes home vowing never to smoke again.  Finds Obnoxious Son lighting up in bedroom.  Doctor beats crap out of Obnoxious Son.  Only ten minutes and already he's a Tobacco Nazi?

Happy scenes towards end.  Good Doctor and his family are now all committed rabid anti-smokers [wife has swapped a two cigarette a day habit for a two tins of biscuits a day one].  Obnoxious Son is smirking as he never smoked and only let his dad catch him as a ruse to get Dad to quit the evil habit.  He can look forward to a great career in ASH.

Lots of scenes of happy families.  Not a cigarette in sight.

End of programme.

Herself lit a cigarette.  I lit my pipe.

And all is right with the world.

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An hour of propaganda — 20 Comments

  1. I don't get it – tobacco and cigs have to be hidden under the counter from the poor little mites (think of the cheeeeldren!) in case they may be tempted to buy 20 Bensons or half an ounce of shag with their Curly Wurly and packet of Taytos, yet something far worse is on wide open display….alcohol.

    Now, I'm not the best driver in the world, but my driving is just fine after a couple of cigs. Also, I don;t have the urge to kick the lard out of anybody, become amorous with some shocking example of the female kind, or void the contents of my stomach in a shop doorway.

    My point is that alcohol's dangers far exceed those associated with tobacco yet it's "OK" to drink, but not smoke. Even "vaping" is verboten. It's a mad, mad world that we live in.

    • I could not agree more.  Give one bloke ten pints and another ten cigarettes and let 'em loose on society.  Who is going to do the most damage?

      I am not an advocate of alcohol control [too much like hypocrisy] but it does infinitely more damage than smoking ever did.  What's more it is far more likely to affect third parties such as traffic accidents, fights, murders etc.  When did anyone ever murder someone because he smoked a cigarette?  In fact there have been more deaths because of Tobacco Control.

  2. It ruined one of my favourite programmes, seems there is no escape even in the past and those of us around then don't remember it like that where smoking was concerned, doctors used to advertise cigarettes. Don't they know that smokers lungs are not black? Only seen in miners who inhaled coal dust. Should have read 'the black lung lie'. It will soon be a smoke free series like all the rest, unthinkable in the 60s.

    • I confess I gave a little cheer when the "Black Lung" was shown [annoyed the hell out of Herself!].  Once I saw the way the programme was heading I knew it had to surface sooner or later.

      The whole programme was nothing short of an hour long propaganda piece, though they did throw in a drop of Post Natal Depression which no one seemed to have heard of?

  3. It just goes to show how effective the propaganda drive has been when TV producers drag out the black lung fallacy and present it as fact, without being censured for it.

    If you tell a big enough lie, and keep repeating it….etc.

  4. If you haven't seen it check out a series called 'The Knick' with Clive Owen. Hospital / surgeon drama set in the very early 1900s New York. Really good production. The main character is a surgeon hooked on cocaine (which was a legal substance, and used as a pain killer), and when they realisde it's addictive and damaging one of the remedies was to prescribe heroin (also legal)!.

    Medical research, opium dens, corruption, prostitution, illicit affairs, moral ambiguity, toe-curling surgery scenes, a bit of everything and great fun altogether! 🙂

    (Available online, can send you a link if ye fancy it)

    • There seems to be a fondness for medical dramas where the main character is hooked on something?  Nurse Betty was one [dosed on anything and everything she could get from the pharmacy] and my favourite – House MD [Vicodin in vast quantities].  I'll take a look at your suggestion [have found series 1, episode 1 and that should give a flavour?].

  5. The more recent series are not based on the original memoirs, which finished when the dark-haired one left the story, so what is happening now is that 2016 agendas are being retrojected into a supposedly "period" drama

    • The switch was quite noticeable.  The early episodes were far more character based.  Now it has become far more formulaic, with the mandatory two storylines per episode each of which is nicely tidied before the end.  It's the old story – they get a great theme for a series and then flog it to death when they run out of the original story.

  6. People should complain about the program with the Black Lungs. I don't watch it.

    But quite often there is a wartime movie made by the BBC – or other pet TV program makers, without ANY smoking in them at all. They always feel "wrong". Not authentic at all.

    The sad thing is, that as us oldies die, the memory of how it was will evaporate. And films will get less and less authentic.

    Enjoyed your post – thanks

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