There is so much that is awful about Picard, but one of the things that irritates me most is that everyone smokes now. What is this, a Netflix show? Am I again seeing the Invisible Hand of Philip Morris? (Slogan -- and I am not making this up -- "delivering a smoke-free future")
Tags: conspiracies, corporations, firstperson, reviews, space, the future, tv
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I at least find it... Cute, I guess? ... That actors don't really have a clue how to smoke anymore and look a bit daft. (accidental) Negative reinforcement better than lack of enforcement maybe-hopefully?
I am reading The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny and it is so strange - EVERYONE smokes. It's like it was set in another dimension or something…
I loved that series when I was like 12 but it's one of those things where I'm pretty sure it's way worse than I remember so I've never revisited it...
Before Corona I used to travel to Indonesia frequently. Over there, literally everyone smokes. Going there really felt like traveling in time.
As with all the horrors of the modern world, this is not a choice that people made, but something that has been done to them.
In the developing world smoking is a sign of affluence. If you can afford to, you smoke. And since women are often second class citizens they’re excluded from participation in that display of wealth. A silver lining on the misogynistic cloud.
I just watched the first episode of season 3 this morning, and I don't recall seeing any smoking. Of course, I was raised in the "everyone smokes" era, so maybe my brain just edited it out. Or maybe I was so distracted by how bad everything else was. It's going to be a rough season...
I'm not sleeping on an opportunity to post a relevant page from Kurtzman & Elder's Dragged Net!, MAD #11, 1954:
I'll even try to embed the key panels, that's how much I care.
I like the scenes where they appear to be spraying narcotics directly onto the eyeball. Seems like a particularly efficient delivery mechanism.
If they're not rubbing bug powder on their lips, GTFO.
I haven't seen the show (having not heard a single good word about it, other than official press boilerplate), but... that just seems out of character for the Enterprise-D crew (which is something I have heard said about the show).
I mean, if the crew of the Nostromo does it, it's because that film was made in the '70s when everyone did still smoke and those characters were all below-the-line blue collar workers. TNG spent half their goddamn episodes with the crew being freaked out by the very idea of cooking food (one episode has Troi fuckin' aghast at a story of Riker cooking actual, non-replicated meat over an open flame). There's no fuckin' way those people should smoke.
Slightly unrelated: I fuckin' love this photo of the Nostromo crew because it invites - nay, demands - that whomever sees it adds their own dialogue:
As I understand it, the people who wrote the Alien script spent a bunch of time thinking about what would and would not be different in the future. Smoking, particularly on a spaceship, seems like one of the things that goes away, just like the future probably isn't going to care whether the ship's Warrant Officer is a woman, "The crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men or women" - but corporations will still be seeing everything in terms of bottom line profitability, that checks out.
Smoking in space isn't something that "went away" in the film, but was included because - like the inexplicable presence of artificial gravity - was something shown in space to better connect the audience with the characters. Both the gravity and smoking were suspensions of disbelief added a layer of realism to the characters because Alien and Aliens were both produced during times when smoking was still abundant.
And whether in the films or in real life, it's doubtful that smoking would simply vanish because it fell out of favour - it would be made on the executive level. That's why NASA had to order it's astronauts not to smoke in public because they considered it bad PR.
And you could never actually smoke on a real space mission because even a small cig flame would become a zero-G mega-blaze in an all-oxygen environment like a spacecraft.
Although the Apollo missions used all-oxygen, and this is in principle simpler, it's actually a terrible idea - serious fires are too likely and your crews need special preparation before entering such an environment to avoid ill effects - the Russians had already transitioned off all-oxygen and the US followed suit after Apollo. When you see the ISS or a crewed transit vessel today, that's a roughly Earth-like gas mix they're breathing.
Spacecraft aren't all oxygen. ISS atmosphere is very similar to sea level Earth in terms of mix and pressure, which is kind of dumb for other reasons. Space suits, and preparing to get into a space suit, are much higher percentage oxygen but smoking inside a space suit is difficult since you can't touch your face anyway.
I only got through a couple eps of PIC before tapping out because I was bored to tears but it sounds quite uncharacteristic to me too. In fact I was pretty sure smoking was canonically extinct by the TNG era, and turns out Memory Alpha, bless it's heart, has a whole article the topic which backs me up:
Though the mention of PIC in that article seems to point to it being some alternate timeline shit and I just don't care to dig further. I'll definitely be filing away this bit of trivia though: TOS has fewer depictions of smoking than TNG, namely none whatsoever!
The Ferengi had humanity all figured out: