Wednesday, April 22, 2009


So apparently the company Metrobus, which runs advertising on Paris' trains and buses has banned the above ad because, wait for it, Coco Chanel, as played by the lovely Audrey Tautou, is smoking. Now, this may not seem all that hilarious if you've never been to Paris, but if that is the case then let me tell you that the second you walk out of Charles de Gaulle airport you literally enter tobacco land. Everyone smokes. They smoke at bars, they smoke in public, they smoke throughout meals, I'm talking in between every bite. I wouldn't have been surprised to see a baby smoking while I was there. It's just this ubiquitous part of French culture. I might as well have chain-smoked for the entire four months I was there, because for all extents and purposes a walk through that beautiful city filled my lungs full of cigarette smoke each and every time. So for this company to get all a flutter about the corrputing potential of Ms. Tautou smoking in an advertisement is more than a little hysterical. And the second inadverdently hillarious part about them banning this rather tasteful and elegant ad is that the rest of the ads floating around Paris are legitimately twisted and dirty and would make most Americans shriek and clutch their pearls. I distinctly remember a Dolce and Gabbana ad where half naked women lay prostrate on the floor, their eyes expressionless and blank and pretty much drugged out, while similarly half naked men crouched over them in menacing stances. They have ads like that which as far as I can tell are trying to sell roofies as much as fancy clothing, and ads with topless women (like in broad daylight at metro stops) and yet an ad that shows a cigarette, well zut alors and mon dieu! (and that's pretty much all the French that's left in me after eight plus years of study)

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