Picture : Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, sexy, with a cigarette (smoking is part of her seduction).
The author of this text : Joe Eszterhas, a movie maker, former smoker (ex-smoker) affected by cancer.
The document: an article dealing with the problem of smoking and the influence of Hollywood. (published in The Toronto Star in a 2002 issue.)
Why did he write it? Heused to be a militant smoker whereas now he admits that it was a mistake; he admits he was completely wrong.
The author and his former attitude towards tobacco. (l 1-22)
Joe Eszterhas: an American movie-maker who shot several movies (“fourteen”, l 1) for Hollywood such as Basic Instinct.
l.22: his movies are characterized by smoking characters: many of his characters are featured smoking andsmoking makes them sexy/glamorous. (Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct for ex.). They give a positive image of cigarette: l 21 “my cigarette-friendly work”.
Why did he do that? He was a “militant smoker” (l 4) at the time. In other words, he used to think that everybody has the right to smoke. Moreover/in addition/what’s more/furthermore, it was part of a “bad-boy” attitude (along with “drinking,partying, rock’n’roll” l 5-6), thus he looked cool and used to think that he was enjoying life. He rebelled against “do-gooders” (l 10-11), that is, people who opposed smoking and seemed to be boring spoilsports/killjoys (rabat-joie). He used to compare them to “Big Brother” (a reference/hint to George Orwell’s 1984, in which a supreme power controls absolutely everything): a very derogatory/negativecomparison. He wished to be left alone (to leave sb alone=laisser qqun tranquille) at the time, in order to do what he liked.
Example of Basic Instinct: a blockbuster (= a hit = a success) featuring sexy characters. L 12-17: smoking belongs to S Stone’s seduction, especially in the key scene (=important scene) of the film. As a matter of fact/in fact, tobacco has such a good image in the filmthat a tobacco-company created a brand which was called after / whose name was taken from the title of the film: “Basic cigarettes”.
But now he has changed his mind (l 22-32).
Now on the contrary he has completely changed his views, especially since doctors told him he had a throat cancer (18 months before his article). He has understood how harmful smoking is since surgeons had to remove a partof his larynx. It was a turning point. He used to think smoking is a right whereas now he thinks it should be banned/forbidden/prohibited, just like drugs (“heroin” l 29).
He has also changed his attitude as far as God is concerned: he used to look like a bad boy committing little sins (=péchés) whereas now he goes to church every Sunday as he has made a “deal with God” (l 25). He decided thenthat if he survived, he would convince others to change too / to improve / to mend their ways (to mend one’s ways= s’amender).
That’s why now he wishes he could undo the harm he has done.
Nevertheless he takes on (=assume) his responsibility (l 33-end).
He feels guilty and blames himself for making people smoke, consequently he would like to prevent (=empêcher) others from making the samemistakes. He reproaches himself for being an accomplice to thousands of deaths.
He blames Hollywood for “glamorizing smoking” (l 34) / for making tobacco sexy.
He accuses Hollywood films of being the “advertising agency” for tobacco companies (l 37-38) : he even accuses Hollywood of being an accomplice to mass murders (l 38-40) as they have a responsibility in the appalling / shocking figure of10,000 daily deaths: everyday, 10,000 people die of tobacco-related diseases.
He reveals that Hollywood manipulates and aims at (=vise) young teenagers (between 12 and 14 years old) (l 39-40). This is all the more murderous (d’autant plus…) as teenagers are easy preys (=proies faciles): they often admire actors so much that they would like to identify with them – actors are dangerous role models....