I read an excellent book by Mary Eberstadt (she doesn’t write any other kind) some months back called “Adam and Eve after the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution.” One of the paradoxes she explores is what she calls the “transvaluation of values” a play on Nietzsche regarding sex and food and sex and smoking. To read those final two chapters is to be constantly amazed by not at all surprised. Sex has become merely a choice without moral qualifications, while smoking has become stigmatized as basically an evil that everyone should be encouraged if not forced to avoid.

A good example of this transvaluation is the pilot episode of the new CBS hit series (as they constantly reminded us) “Under the Dome” which we watched with the family last night. The opening scene is of a young man and woman in bed in the throes of passionate coitus, with moaning, orgasm and all. Did I tell you my family includes an 11 year old? Also the wife, 21 year old daughter, teenage son and mom thrown in for good measure? Can you say embarrassing? I can say I’d like to metaphorically strangle the idiots at the network who think this is OK. I can see stuff like this on the cable channels where you have warning, but network TV?

So in 2013 Hollywood writers, directors and producers think it’s ok to show naked people having sexual intercourse (I guess it’s against the rules to show genitalia) on prime time network TV. In contrast, in another scene a short while later the young woman, now fully clothed, bums a cigarette from a stranger. I can’t get the episode online to re-watch it, but the cigarettes somehow get lit, yet they will not show them actually smoking. Nope, we can’t have that, lest we lead the impressionable to think smoking is morally acceptable. We see a wisp of smoke, then all of a sudden they’re not smoking anymore, even though they never really did.

Compare this to 1942’s “Casablanca,” where there is smoking in almost every scene, but when Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are ostensibly having an affair in Paris, we just have to use our imagination. I loved the scene when Bogart steps out on the balcony right after we’ve had to use our imagination, impeccably dressed and lights up a smoke. None of the slovenly dressed we just got out of the sack look for Bogey. I’m surprised Hollywood hasn’t given the movie an R rating and put warning labels on the cover; Beware: actors consuming tobacco products, keep away from children. Transvaluation indeed.