Weekly Geeks 2009-08: political & social issues

This week the weekly geeks talk about political or social issues.

1. Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. If you were a Weekly Geek last May and already did this theme, pick a different theme than the one you did at that time.
2. Educate readers about your topic by telling us a little about it and any involvement you’ve had in this issue.
3. Find books addressing your issue; they do not necessarily have to be books you’ve read. They can be non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc…Give a little synopsis of the book or a link to the description.
4. Use images which you feel illustrate your topic.

I’m going on a rant about the state anti-smoking law now. This is a strictly regional issue, even though, of course smoking affects all of us. Until some time ago smoking over here was allowed everywhere. Then the government decided to do something about the threat to everybody’s health and made the states come up with individual anti-smoking laws. This resulted in a different law in every state. In one state it was allowed to smoke in small pubs, in others you could smoke in discos, but not in restaurants, and in mine smoking wasn’t allowed at all in public places. Our oh so tough government, the protector of the innocent, was proud to have the toughest anti-smoking law in the history of mankind. It was heaven for all of us (except maybe for the smokers, who, from now on, had to go outside for their cigarette, when the rest of their friends could stay inside and continue talking).

Then the elections came and the government received a kick in the butt. Not necessarily because of the anti-smoking law. Smokers meanwhile were reconciled and actually enjoyed their little trips outside to breath in some fresh air together with their nicotine. Lots of issues had pissed the voters off, but the issue that was blamed for the debacle was the anti-smoking law. How to appease the voters better than to change the law back, not exactly to what it was before, but to a vague, foggish sort of parody. Soon it will be allowed to smoke again in some places but not in others (depending on the number of rooms, the sort of food that is being served, and the nature of the establishment). Soon we will all go to a place without knowing beforehand whether it is allowed to smoke or not (unless you have been there before). Soon the time of careless going out with kids will be over. Good to know that our politicians take care of their own.

I didn’t look around for smoking books, but I remembered "Smoke" and "Blue in the face", for which Paul Auster wrote the script. I enjoyed watching them, but thank God I didn’t have to be there. 



Now, if I look at those cool pictures of Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, I’m not surprised that people think smoking is great. Aren’t they gorgeous? Just thought I’d show them here, because they look so good.

What’s the attraction of smoking? I found this quote by Jerry Seinfeld:
"Smoking is certainly one of the oddest and stupidest human idiosyncrasies. Why did anyone think a camel is a good product image for a cigarette? I think each one is the equivalent tar of smoking an actual camel. I love the ad campaign they had a few years ago on their anniversary-’75 years and still smoking’. Well, not everybody. I think there might be a few empty chairs at that birthday bash. Maybe the appeal is the fire. There’s something very scary and exciting about fire. People always run to see a fire. They’re very proud that they have a fireplace. This is what smoking is really all about. The power of “I’ve got some fire right here in my hand. Smoke and fire is literally coming right out of my mouth.” and it’s very intimidating to the nonsmoker because it’s like talking to someone who’s going, “My head could open up. Lava could explode out, pour right down my face, doesn’t bother me a bit.”


He might be on to something here, because Harold Robbins said: "There’s something luxurious about having a girl light your cigarette.  In fact, I got married once on account of that." However, just remember "The cigarette does the smoking – you’re just the sucker." ~author unknown

2 Comments Write a comment

  1. I dunno, smoking is just one of those things that I do. not. get. I grew up in a house and extended family full of smokers and it was awful. Philosophically, I understand the issues with banning smoking in public places (where do you live?) but I am so incredibly glad that you can’t smoke in restaurants any more where I live.

    I think there’s just a suggestive, sexual sense about sticking something in your mouth and sucking on it, I guess. I can’t figure out any other reason that people find it alluring.


  2. I lost my grandfather because of his chain smoking, and my husband’s uncle also died of lung cancer from smoking. One thing I’m so grateful that my dad passed on to me and my siblings is the habit of ‘not’ smoking. We all never smoke and hopefully our children don’t learn to. A lot of my friends do, but I’ve never been tempted, it just seems pointless to me to inhale poison.


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