In a statement sent by e-mail over the weekend, Mr. Cameron said he had never intended Ms. Weaver's character, Grace Augustine, to be “an aspirational role model” for teenagers.
“She's rude, she swears, she drinks, she smokes,” wrote Mr. Cameron. “Also, from a character perspective, we were showing that Grace doesn't care about her human body, only her avatar body, which again is a negative comment about people in our real world living too much in their avatars, meaning online and in video games.”
Speaking as an artist, Mr. Cameron said: “I don't believe in the dogmatic idea that no one in a movie should smoke. Movies should reflect reality. If it's O.K. for people to lie, cheat, steal and kill in PG-13 movies, why impose an inconsistent morality when it comes to smoking? I do agree that young role-model characters should not smoke in movies, especially in a way which suggests that it makes them cooler or more accepted by their peers.”
Well, he wimped out some with that last statement. Most kids start smoking because one or both of their parents smoke and/or because they fall to peer pressure. How many really take up the habit because a character they admire in a movie does it? Any artist who feels compelled to feed the "role model" beast that's been stalking the public discourse should be forced to watch Frank Capra movies for seven days straight, if he can stay straight for seven days.
But the argument that "Movies should reflect reality" is dead on. As I was saying to one of my Na'vi friends just the other day before he flapped his wings and took off, "Got a light?"