American Rhetoric: Movie Speech
"Thank You For Smoking" (2005)
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Nick Naylor Testifies Before A Congressional Committee
Senator Finistirre: Please state your name, address, and current occupation.
Nick Naylor: My name is Nick Naylor. I live at 6000 Massachusetts Avenue. And I am currently unemployed but until recently I was the Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies.
Senator Finistirre: Mr. Naylor, as Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, what was required of you? What did you do?
Nick Naylor: I informed the public of all the research performed in the investigation on the effects of tobacco.
Senator Finistirre: And what, so far, has the Academy concluded in their investigation into the effects of tobacco?
Nick Naylor: Well, many things actually. Why just the other day they uncovered evidence that smoking can offset Parkinson's disease.
Senator Finistirre: I'm sure the health community is thrilled. Mr. Naylor, who provides the financial backing for the Academy of Tobacco Studies?
Nick Naylor: Conglomerated Tobacco.
Senator Finistirre: That's the cigarette companies.
Nick Naylor: For the most part, yes.
Senator Finistirre: Do you think that might affect their priorities?
Nick Naylor: No. Just as, I'm sure, campaign contributions don't affect yours.
Senator Lothridge: Senators, Mr. Naylor is not hear to testify on the goings on of the Academy of Tobacco Studies. We're hear to examine the possibility of a warning label on cigarettes. Now, Mr. Naylor, I have to ask you out of formality, do you believe that smoking cigarettes, over time, can lead to lung cancer and lead to other respiratory conditions such as emphysema.
Nick Naylor: Yes. In fact, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who really believes that cigarettes are not potentially harmful. I mean -- show of hands -- Who out here thinks that cigarettes aren't dangerous?
Senator Dupree: Mr. Naylor, there's no need for theatrics.
Nick Naylor: I'm sorry. I just don't see the point in a warning label for something people already know.
Senator Dupree: The warning symbol is a reminder, a reminder of the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
Nick Naylor: Well, if we want to remind people of danger why don't we slap a skull and crossbones on all Boeing airplanes, Senator Lothridge [Rep. Washington]. And all Fords, Senator Dupree [Rep. Michigan].
Senator Finistirre: That is ridiculous. The death toll from airline and automobile accidents doesn't even skim the surface cigarettes. They don't even compare.
Senator Finistirre: Oh, this from a Senator who calls Vermont home.
Senator Lothridge: I don't follow you, Mr. Naylor.
Nick Naylor: Well, the real demonstrated #1 killer in America is cholesterol. And here comes Senator Finistirre whose fine state is, I regret to say, clogging the nation's arteries with Vermont Cheddar Cheese. If we want to talk numbers, how about the millions of people dying of heart attacks? Perhaps Vermont Cheddar should come with a skull and crossbones.
Senator Finistirre: That is lu --. The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!
Senator Lothridge: Mr. Naylor, we are here to discuss cigarettes -- not planes, not cars -- cigarettes. Now as we discussed earlier these warning labels are not for those who know but rather for those who don't know. What about the children?
Nick Naylor: Gentlemen, it's called education. It doesn't come off the side of a cigarette carton. it comes from our teachers, and more importantly our parents. It is the job of every parent to warn their children of all the dangers of the world, including cigarettes, so that one day when they get older they can choose for themselves. I look at my son who, was kind enough to come with me today, and I can't help but think that I am responsible for his growth and his development. And I'm proud of that.
Senator Finistirre: Well, having said that, would you condone him smoking?
Nick Naylor: Well, of course not. He's not 18. That would be illegal.
Senator Finistirre: Yes, I've heard you deliver that line on 20/20, but enough dancing. What are you going to do when he turns 18? C'mon, Mr. Naylor. On his 18th birthday will you share a cigarette with him? Will you spend a lovely afternoon -- like one of your ludicrous cigarette advertisements? You seem to have to have a lot to say about how we should raise our children. What of your own?
What are you going to do when he turns 18?