I don’t normally read Rolling Stone, but when I’m waiting at the dentist’s office with my kids and my choices are limited to:
A. a two-month old “Hot List” issue of Rolling Stone OR
B. a Highlights magazine where some dirty rat has already circled all the hidden objects in the picture puzzle (damn you to hell!)
I’ll go with the former. Their November issue featured Bruno Mars on the cover. Notice he’s holding a cigarette.
And in the photo spread for the Bruno Mars article, again he has a cig.
OK, so Bruno Mars is a smoker. Sad, but true. But turn a few more pages and you find a glossy photo of someone named Tinashe. (I’m so out of the pop music loop I don’t even know how to pronounce her name… Tina-SHAY? Tuh-NOSH-ay? TIN-ash?) And the pop princess is seductively sporting a smoking cigarette (say that 3 times fast).
But wait, there’s more. Turn a few more pages and you’ll find “Hot Actress” Haley Bennett, and yes, you guessed it, she’s smoking a cigarette also.
So the four largest, most prominent photos in the entire magazine feature people holding or smoking a cigarette. If I were the cynical type, I might strongly suspect that one or more cigarette companies (a.k.a. Merchants of Death) might’ve arranged an off-the-books, under the table sort of product placement deal. We all know that print is dying, so Rolling Stone certainly might be tempted to take some cash in a quid pro quo deal… or maybe Bruno, Tinashe and Haley got a wad of cash for holding a wad of tobacco. Certainly it would be a way to circumvent the tight restrictions on tobacco advertising in print… and make it seem “cool” to kids because all the “hot list” folks are doing it.
But no, Big Tobacco would never do something as insidious as that, right?