Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe


Oddly Enough:

The pipe favored by one of French cinema's most enduring comic characters has fallen victim to advertisers who were worried about breaking an anti-smoking law…

Jacques Tati's Mr Hulot, whose pipe was as much a trademark as his hat and beige raincoat, is seen riding his Velosolex motor scooter in a poster advertising a retrospective at the Cinematheque de Paris.

But the pipe has been replaced by a small colored whirligig by Metrobus, the group that manages advertising on Paris public transport, because of fears the pipe could break a law forbidding it from "direct or indirect" tobacco and alcohol advertising.

Yes. The "whirligig" looks as ridiculous as the name suggests. And of course, leave it to the French to get all the best zingers:

The Liberation daily…[pointed] out that Mr Hulot is not wearing a helmet, is riding an old-fashioned, polluting vehicle and that the small boy riding behind him is not seated securely [in the advertisement].

Toda la situación es no pinche bueno. So much for Laissez Les Bon Temp Roulez.

Your minute of Tuesday happiness below:

Earlier this year, Associate Editor Damon W. Root noted the loss of smoking in The Watchmen movie. Senior Editor Jacob Sullum looked at the "absurd claims" of movie-obsessed, anti-smoking activists. He also wondered—in print—if advertising turns people into smokers.

NEXT: And When They Came For Tofu Lovers, I Did Nothing Because I Was Busy Standing In Line For My Own Vanity License Plates...

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  1. The pipe in the video does not appear to be lighted. Isn’t that an endorsement of abstinence?

    the small boy riding behind him is not seated securely

    A middle-aged man with a small boy? Looks fishy to me.

  2. Advertisers would love it if they had the magical powers ascribed to them by the Adbusters-type idiots. This is even one notch lower on the stupidity rung. It’s not even an ad, just a picture of a man smoking a pipe.

    I recently watched Tati’s Playtime, and yet I somehow have gone the two weeks since without smoking a pipe, cigarette or cigar. Imagine.

  3. raivo


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  4. I’m sure the anti-smoking folks took a moment to remember that pipe smoking is vastly less harmful than cigarette smoking.

    Oh, that’s right. All forms of tobacco are equally evil and harmful. Even if, like pipes and snus, they are not.

  5. The French in the post title is missing a word. The expression is “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” The French don’t have no problem with double negatives.

  6. I would have thought that the French would have put their foot down when it came to cherished cultural icons like Jacques Tati. It is kind of a disappointment, unless they are having a laugh here, which considering how ridiculous that whirligig is, is entirely possible.

  7. @Brian Sorgatz: Thanks dude

  8. I got a pricey DVD of Tati’s Playtime recently. I think it might be a funny film if you were really stoned, but I don’t do drugs anymore, so it seemed really dull.

    Beware of any film the critics call a “masterpiece.”

  9. The French don’t have no problem with double negatives.
    Ils n’ont jamais rien.

  10. That’s for the post. I had forgotten about the “Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipe” painting. If I ever get skilled enough in glassware to make bongs, I’ll make sure to put that notice on all of them.

  11. Don’t they have Photoshop in France? Why not disappear the pipe altogether, instead of putting what look like post-it notes over the bowl?

  12. As long as we’re fixing up the French, it should be “rouler”, not “roulez”.

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