Remember the album cover to Abbey Road?

The Beatles in distinctly various garb striding across — I suppose it was Abbey Road — Paul barefoot, and if you looked closely enough, as we all did way back then... in Paul's hand, between two fingers... a cigarette.

In those days, it was a perfectly ordinary thing, and certainly not as shocking as many of the other no-nos Paul might have been holding. But the PC police won't even let the past alone.

Paul has been under pressure for years, evidently, to allow the graphic artists to go to work and get the ciggie out of the shot.

He finally caved. I guess he's quit smoking. It reminds me of the old commissars who used to airbrush fellow commissars out of the official pictures when they fell out of favor or — to use the phrase of the time — were liquidated. So this business of Paul's cigarette disappearing is very retro Soviet.

You'd think that cigarette was as dangerous as Trotsky.

You'll notice, as always, John Lennon way ahead of his time. White suit, canvass shoes... no leather lads... and George Harrison, looking serious, was unaware the cigs would eventually kill him at a relatively young age.

It was an innocent time. We knew cigs would kill people. We just didn't know it would be virtually illegal to actually hold one in your hand or that someone as untouchable as Sir Paul McCartney could get squeezed like this.

If they can do it to him, they can certainly do it to you.

So when you pose for a picture... nothing that would offend future generations, please.

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