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Iconic Photos

As America’s anger thermostats overheats on Mark Twain censorship, Iconic Photos looks back at a visual issue that regularly graces our semi-annual, revisionist political correctness hissy fits: cigarette censorship in photos.

The French, for all their enthusiastic fume-making, seems to be the worse offenders. Not even presidents or philosophes escape the firm hand of their cigarette censors, whose efforts are often sophomoric and inexplicable: Jacques Tati’s much-loved character, Monsieur Hulot, someone so iconic that even his silhouette was instantly recognizable, was depicted as gnawing on a papier-mache windmill instead (how did they come up with this idea?!). This actually reminds me of a scene in Thank You For Smoking where an American senator attempts to digitally remove cigarettes from classic films. The scene was not in the original novel, but its author Christopher Buckley would have agreed; Buckley once called a similar practice, „tampering with cultural DNA“.

Buckley was referring to…

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