This is a short clip from one of Peter Seller’s Pink Panther movies, which is interesting as a cultural artifact, much in the same way (for those who know the reference) that the scene in Orwell’s 1984, in which Winston comes across a newspaper clipping which proves the received orthodoxy of the Party is a lie, is also interesting.
It gives us a frame of reference.
We see Inspector Clouseau riding in a car with another man – and neither of them are buckled up for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety – because in those days (the ’70s) no one buckled up for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety except geeks in Volvos.
And they smoke – or try to (the gag centers around a defective cigarette lighter). Just imagine! A car with a cigarette lighter instead of a “power point.”
Smoking is unhealthy, certainly. But observe that every other person wasn’t morbidly obese back then, when smoking wasn’t persecuted. People also didn’t have to fear armed government workers shooting them dead for failing to “buckle up.”
I’ll take some second-hand smoke (and risk of injury if I crash) over today’s fatty and freedom-free America any day of the week!
. . .
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