FinalEnglishPaper - "I dont have a MD or law degree I have...

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“I don’t have a MD or law degree, I have a bachelor’s in kickin butt and taking names. I get paid to talk.” This is a quote from Nick Naylor, the so-called face of cigarettes who is the morally ambivalent and insincere character that makes the movie Thank You For Smoking so witty and sarcastic. Nick’s self-proclaimed “moral flexibility” is what makes him so good at his job. Nick is a tobacco lobbyist whose job it is to lie to the American public so that they don’t know what the truth is anymore. He also has a twelve-year-old son that he has to teach the ways of the world to. Nick is so good at “bs-ing”; he can manipulate everyone around him into doing what he, or his company, wants. The movie as a whole is packed with dark satire and hilarious one- liners. There are two ways to write about this film, the film as a part in a genre, and the film’s ideology. Genre, as defined by Webster is “a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content.” 1 Thank You For Smoking fits perfectly into the genre called ‘satirical comedy.’ The movie pokes fun at things that we shouldn’t be laughing at, like the millions of deaths that smoking and alcohol cause. This black humor is evident throughout the entire movie as the main characters sit and compete to see which industry kills the most people. “The subject of satire is human vice and folly. Its characters include con artists, criminals, and hypocrites, and the gullible dupes who serve as their all-too-willing victims. The central character is likely to be cynical, foolish, or morally corrupt.” 2 When watching this movie, one must be aware of the genre at all times because sometimes the director, Jason Reitman, tends to over emphasize the contrast between 1 www.merriam-webster.com 2 http://condor.depaul.edu/~dsimpson/tlove/comic-tragic.html
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Nick’s ‘moral flexibility’ and the others around him. For example, when Nick goes to career day at his son’s school, Reitman shows a fireman coming out of the classroom right before Nick goes in as an obvious contrast. Thank You For Smoking is a movie on constant movement. The viewer thinks that they have Nick pegged as an inconsiderate, unfeeling bastard, but then he does something completely heartfelt and sincere for his son and it makes us think, that maybe he does have a heart after all. When his company wants to re-hire him after the hearing,
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