Blood on their hands
This text in a an extract of the news paper "The Toronto star", and was written in 2002 by the famous American producer Joe Eszterhas. In fact the author was the film director of many sleazy movies like "Basic Instinct". In this extract, the narrator shows us how cigarette had a particular place in his films, being himself a big smoker. But when he was diagnosed with throat cancer because of smoking he changed his mind becoming a staunch anti-smoking militant. In this article he seems to feel particularly guilty about scenes he wrote with cigarettes and accuses Hollywood of inciting young people to smoke. + énoncer le plan
I - Eszterhas, a big smoker
a) A way to fit in the American society
He started smoking very young (12) to try to integrate the American society. Indeed he was a immigrant kid. So smoking gave him a sort of cool attitude : it conveys the message that smoking is the key to social success, that tobacco use is fun, sophisticated, modern, "adult" behaviour and thus cigarette symbolises independence and maturity. He wouldn't be different from the other young Americans. In fact he imitated one's peers.
b) Throat cancer changed his life
He was a militant smoker. It was a part of his image of bad boy with "smoking, drinking, partying, rock'n'roll". He didn't realize how smoking was bad for the health and he didn't expect to get cancer. Indeed his smoking years have made him sick. Now he is aware of the risks of smoking, that's why he decided to write this article so as to warn young people.
II - Eszterhas and Hollywood have "blood on their hands"
a) Cigarette, the favourite movies prop
Hollywood had both promoted the American dream and cigarettes. Indeed cigarettes were glamorising and particularly in Eszterhas' film were it was a part a sexual seduction. It was the favourite prop, because it was an easy way to occupy the actors' hands and show their state of mind. Now he is urging Hollywood to rethink the way it presents smoking. Eszterhas feels that he and Hollywood have "blood on their hands", he accuses Hollywood of killing people in inciting them to smoke. (l.54) Indeed actors have a big influence on the audience especially young people who want to seem like their idol.
b) The guiltiness
Eszterhas blames himself for being "an accomplice to the murders of untold numbers of human being " (l.24) and begs forgiveness for having many of his characters smoke in films. (l.38) He's haunted by the fact that he may have caused numerous lives to be lost. Now he has acknowledged his responsibility in promoting smoking through his films and is a staunch anti-smoking militant.