Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®The original article was authored by John Stauber and is used here with permission. As with all SourceWatch articles, feel free to edit and revise. The current travails of the tobacco industry are hitting the front pages at an opportune moment for ex-smoker Christopher Buckley, the author of a wickedly funny new novel titled Thank You For Smoking. Christopher is the forty-two year-old only child of right-wing icon William F. Buckley, Jr. He's also a former Bush speechwriter and a regular columnist in Forbes magazine. Brennan Dawson.
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I can't envisage there being a better opening-credits sequence this year than that of Thank You For Smoking, in which the names of cast and crew members are wittily inserted between the sleek horizontals and elegant crests of cigarette packaging. The pastiche has a point, too, tipping us the wink that what we're about to see mixes the slickness and fluency of advertising with a slyly ironic undertow: smoke and mirrors, dead ahead. Based on Christopher Buckley's chokingly funny novel and adapted for the screen by Jason Reitman son of Ivan Ghostbusters Reitman , Thank You For Smoking is a likeable but pretty uneven satire on the politics of spin. Its hero, or possibly antihero, is Nick Naylor Aaron Eckhart , chief spokesman for the tobacco lobby in Washington - "the Colonel Sanders of nicotine" - who's saddled with the tricky task of defending smokers and cigarette-makers. In America today, that's scarcely a rung above Beelzebub himself, but far from bothering Nick it spurs him on.
Thank You for Smoking is a novel by Christopher Buckley , first published in , which tells the story of Nick Naylor, a tobacco lobbyist during the s. Nick Naylor is the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, a tobacco industry lobbying firm that promotes the benefits of cigarettes. He utilizes high-profile media events and intentionally provocative rhetoric in order to highlight what his clients view as an unfair crusade against tobacco and nicotine products. The political satire is heightened by Naylor's informal association with lobbyists from other industries that are subjected to routine vilification in the media, e. Collectively, they form what is known as the M. Squad, a reference to the title of a police drama , although in this case, "M. A pivotal point in the plot occurs when Naylor is kidnapped by a clandestine group who attempt to kill him by covering him with nicotine patches.
Glibly funny and eager to please, the film version of Christopher Buckley's novel "Thank You for Smoking" is not unlike the down-and-dirty habit of its title. Like cigarettes, this wisp of a film from the newcomer Jason Reitman won't do much for your brain cells, but it may provide some transitory pleasure from its ostensible equal-opportunity political skewering. Certainly for admirers of its star, the consistently reliable Aaron Eckhart, who plays Nick Naylor, the fast-jiving, fast-running cigarette lobbyist who holds the story together even as he almost falls apart, there is something rather nice about lighting up together, as it were, even by proxy. Set in the recent past, not long before Big Tobacco started cutting checks for its sick and dying former customers, the film tracks the ups and mostly downs of a Washington lobbyist who's consistently on the hunt for new and inventive ways to rebrand cancer sticks for public consumption. Buckley based on the Tobacco Institute, the onetime trade association for the tobacco industry. What makes Nick run? There's the money, of course, but mostly, as he confesses in voiceover, he's just good at it.
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Thank you! Less a novel than a series of glib one-acts, Thank You for Smoking chronicles the stress-filled days of Nick Naylor, chief propagandist for the tobacco industry and personally despised by cancer victims, the medical profession, talk show audiences, and most of Capitol Hill. Naylor's two best friends are equally maligned scapegoats, spokespeople for the alcohol and firearms industries respectively, and this lethal trinity's weekly lunches are the vehicle for Buckley's playful assault on American moral hypocrisy. Naylor and his pals are more or less ordinary folks who worry about losing their jobs, paying the mortgage, and raising their kids. Naylor's problem is that he is good at what he does; a matchless adversary on talk show debates, he deflates opponents with charisma and finesse.
Aside from rather glowing reviews, the book was turned into a fairly prominent movie with a cast loaded with popular and well regarded Hollywood actors. This allowed people to experience Buckley's rather unique sensibility, as the famous son of the noted conservative William F. Buckley again explored the political world in which he was raised. Here, he considers the bizarre world of hired mouthpieces for special interests groups -- the people whose job it is to offer favorable comments to newspaper reporters and on television news shows, especially in tough situations. Instead of turning attention to a common, but dry, policy institute, Buckley instead creates Nick Naylor, a highly skilled talking head for the cigarette companies. As the paid representative of a rather despised, but ridiculously profitable, industry, Naylor is forced to explain away scientific studies linking smoking to disease and death. In fact, some of his closest friends are the spokespeople for other hated industries, alcohol and firearms, which Buckley inimitably describes as the MOD Squad -- the Merchants of Death.