Your five a day is going to kill you
This was only a matter of time, wasn’t it?
AN APPLE a day is supposed to keep the doctor away, but a small but passionate group of Melbourne medics believes apples and other fresh fruit are in part to blame for the extra kilos some of us are carrying.
And if you’re a bit of a fatty then you’re a salad dodging couch potato who’s already under a deferred sentence of self inflicted death, aren’t you? The Institute of Stands To Reason Dunnit (among others) has told us so.
It is a controversial concept that riles nutritionists, but anaesthetist Rod Tayler’s theory that restricting fresh fruit in the diet can result in weight loss has been borne out by the participants in a trial he is running at the Epworth Hospital.
Dr Tayler believes the biggest driver behind the rapid rise in the nation’s girth is sugar, not fat.
Actually I’m not sure this is all that new. Sugar is a carbohydrate and there are lots of low carb diets, Atkins being probably the most well known, and plenty of people who find that they lose weight that way. And it is, or should be, pretty common knowledge that fruits, berries and vegetables contain lots of sugars. It’s why they taste so good. Sweetcorn? Yes?
Mary McPherson, 60, was astounded to learn how much sugar she was consuming as part of what she thought was a healthy vegetarian diet that included four to five pieces of fruit a day. By reducing that to two pieces – ”some berries and a banana” – Ms McPherson watched excess weight fall off.
”It was a slow loss of weight but in six to eight months I dropped about 10 kilograms and I have kept it off,” says Ms McPherson, who now weighs 60.5 kilograms.
Instead of snacking on fruit, she ate dry roasted almonds. Occasional sweet cravings were satisfied with a single piece of dark chocolate. She also followed Dr Tayler’s advice to reduce refined carbohydrates such as white rice and pasta, replacing them with brown rice and sweet potatoes. But she struggled with his recommendation to cut back on alcohol and continued to enjoy two glasses of wine with dinner
Oooh, they’ll get you for that, Mary. Probably should have kept shtum about it or at least said you’d cut down like Katrina.
Katrina John, 26, a nurse who subscribes to Dr Tayler’s recommendations, says that by cutting out the two to three pieces of fresh fruit she used to eat each working day she not only lost one kilogram in a fortnight, she started thinking more carefully about everything she ate.
”Then I removed the dried fruit from the nut mix I used to have every day and I stopped drinking orange juice on the weekend and I think it all made a big difference,” Ms John says, adding she lost seven kilograms in seven months as she also reduced her alcohol and white carbohydrate intake.
Needless to say not everyone is thrilled to hear this.
Nutritionist Rosemary Stanton rejects the argument, saying there is no evidence for it, pointing out that Dr Tayler’s sweet study has not been published in a medical journal. ”I think what they are doing is mixing up fruit and fruit juice,” Dr Stanton says.
Dr Stanton says that overall fruit consumption in Australia is low and it is a struggle to get most people to eat the recommended two pieces a day.
Two? I thought it was five? And am I right in thinking that ‘nutritionist’, unlike ‘dietitian’, is not a legally protected term here? Not saying that Dr Stanton is unqualified or anything, and what she’s said there doesn’t seem unreasonable to me (and of course Dr Taylor being an anaesthetist is away from his normal field of expertise here anyway), but my point is that all this advice we get on what to eat and what not to eat is hardly clear. One week butter is good for you, the next it’ll murder you in your sleep. We must eat five pieces of fruit and veg per day, then we get fat if we do and anyway it was really only two per day all along.
What’s the right advice? Don’t ask me, I’m as unqualified to give advice on eating as they come. But what I can tell you is that moderation in all things seems like the most sensible approach as well as the most pleasant (the idea of an all sprout diet doesn’t bear thinking about), but I know it’s not an ideal I live up to in reality. And yes, I could stand to drop a few kilos – I did say I was as unqualified as they come. The point is that there’s no magic food and no magic maximum or minimum number for what’s ‘good’ for you. For many things too much is bad, and invariably too little isn’t a goo idea either. If you’re not happy or not well then probably you need to change something. Otherwise the only thing I’d really suggest is not to read the newspapers too much, because consuming more than five articles on health per week is incredibly dangerous and is likely to send you to an early grave.*
* Research pending. 😉
Another Gordon Brown chicken comes home to roost
And to no great surprise rather than being the kind that maybe provides a few eggs it’s a chicken of the shitting everywhere and possibly giving everyone bird ‘flu variety. Well, what else could we expect when it’s enjoyed Brown’s faecal Midas touch.
[Health Secretary] Andrew Lansley says he has been contacted by 22 health service trusts which claim their “clinical and financial stability” is being undermined by the costs of the contracts, which the Labour government used extensively to fund public sector projects.
Under the PFI deals, a private contractor builds a hospital or school. It owns the building for up to 35 years, and during this period the public sector must pay interest and repay the cost of construction, as well as paying the contractor to maintain the building.
However, the total cost of the deals is often far more than the value of the assets. As a result, Mr Lansley says, the 22 trusts “cannot afford” to pay for their schemes, which in total are worth more than £5.4billion, because the required payments have risen sharply in the wake of the recession.
Well done, Labour, and well done, Gordon, you shower of epically incompetent cunts. It worked well as an idea to help you spunk money into things so you got nice headlines along the lines of ‘Government announces new £X million hospital for Anytown’ while also being a way for you to be less than open about the full scale of the debts you were running up in the country’s name. But it was a bad deal and I struggle to believe you didn’t know it, because if the papers can work it out surely someone in the Treasury spotted it as well.
Earlier in the year, The Daily Telegraph disclosed the extremely poor value offered by many PFI schemes. Taxpayers are having to pay more than £200billion for schools, hospitals and other projects whose capital value is little more than £50 billion.
And this leaves the Cobbleition with having to find ways to make payments. They don’t want to make cuts, which is just as well since contrary to popular belief among the hard of thinking they haven’t made any, and I get the feeling they don’t have a clue how to. My bet is they’ll borrow because the mandarins who run things don’t know any other way and today’s politicians don’t have the balls to stop it or the vision to privatise or charity-ise (if there’s such a word) almost everything the British state does and let the whole fucking lot stand or fall on its individual merits. Christ, they’re barely getting to grips with trimming some of Labour’s fat.
It also emerged last night that the Coalition was expected to announce it is abandoning Labour’s calamitous £12billion NHS computer scheme. Ministers will dismantle the National Programme for IT, a “one size fits all” project started in 2002 which has never worked, and relace it with regional schemes.
You’ve been in office for 16 fucking months, you feckless cunts. Is this all you’ve got to show for almost a fucking year and a half’s work? You’ve worked out that scrapping one of Labour’s hare-brained, over priced vanity projects – one that should have been killed before that fucking Labour drone and, judging by the fresh-from-a-come look he sometimes wore, possible rohypnol victim Andy Burnham had even left the fucking building – will save you a few quid.
Well, that’s a relief. I thought for a moment Britain might have been in trouble.
Victoria is one of those places that have decided that people conceived through sperm donation have a greater right to know their biological parents than that biological parent has to anonymity, and predictably enough it’s creating problems with supply because there is also a ban on importing, er, gentlemanly fluid. Not into the country, just into the state.
VICTORIA is so short of sperm donors that some women are flying interstate for IVF treatment, prompting calls to ease restrictions on importing sperm.
Fertility doctors say demand for sperm has surged since laws giving single women and lesbians access to IVF were brought in last year, with some patients waiting up to nine months.
The removal of anonymity has also made some men reluctant to donate, and restrictions that mean they can only give sperm to 10 families have also increased the need for more donors.
Now I’m quite sure that these rules and laws were well intended. I’m sure that public health issues were in the thoughts of those who banned imports, and that human kindness was considered when anonymity was scrapped (though considered only for one party), and that simple fairness and possibly even a touch of liberty was the motivation for allowing single women and lesbians to have IVF. But surely, surely someone involved could have noted that the combination of the three was going to push demand up and reduce supply and lead to what can best be described as a black market for wanking, with all the problems that implies.
With just 184 registered sperm donors left in Victoria, fertility doctors say some patients are resorting to DIY inseminations using unscreened sperm, which carries the risk of infection.
Melbourne IVF director John McBain said the regulator was being too strict with the rules.
”The shortage is as bad as it’s ever been and when the wait is so long to get access to a donor it just pushes it underground again and people seek their own remedy using uncounselled, unconsented donors and unquarantined sperm,” he said.
”The worrying risk of that is chronic viral illness infection with either hepatitis B or HIV because a lot of single women tend to source gay men as their donors.
So the combined effect of controlling supply on health grounds is forcing desperate women to unhealthy sources. Oh, great. Give yourselves a fucking pat on the back, you idiots.
Federal laws prohibit paying donors for sperm, although reimbursing costs is allowed.
But payments will be made for sperm and it’s naive to think otherwise. There’s already a black market for breast milk as I blogged last September. Can anyone seriously think it isn’t going to happen with sperm? If there’s a demand someone will supply it, legally or illegally. That’s just how people are.
Fortunately we have the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority on hand to solve the problem. Oh, wait, no. They’re just explaining why we have to have the bloody problem and put up with it rather than go back to anonymous donations or import sperm from elsewhere in the country or even, such as a clinic in Brisbane, from the USA.
”The guiding principles of the act are that the welfare of persons born as a result of treatment is paramount, and they have a right to information about their genetic parents.
”There would be no regulatory body in the US ensuring that their donor’s details are kept up to date because there is no central register like there is in Victoria.
”There’s a growing body of evidence that young people want to have the choice to obtain information about their donor when they become adults, so it not just the matter of supply.”
Oh, well, fine. It’s not going to solve a damn thing unless a lot more men answer the predictable request for more sperm donors at the end of the article, but I’m sure knowing why it has to be this way will make everyone feel a lot better.
Shock news: something that isn’t smoking causes cancer too – UPDATED
Unfortunately it turns out to be oral sex, so presumably the public health killjoys will see Steak And A Blow Job day ruined forever and the ladies will never see Fur Burger At The Y Day happen at all. It always has to be something pleasurable that gives you cancer, doesn’t it? It’s never paying your taxes on time or using a parking meter, is it?
UPDATE – apparently it’s Cake and Cunnilingus Day for the ladies, which just shows how sadly out of touch with reality women can be sometimes. It’s not so much the arriving on his tongue aspect that’s wildly optimistic as the expectation that he’s going to be good at baking cakes as well. Except for the lucky few a supermarket eclair is likely to be as good as it gets, and depending on how it’s being held I’d suggest checking carefully before biting into the end.
UPDATE 2 – via The Filthy Engineer, it turns out that that’s not the only thing you can eat that’s supposed to give you cancer. The thought occurs that about the only thing all these experts have categorically said is good for us is breast milk, and somehow I can’t see that working out too well.
|I want bitty!|
When the cat’s taken away…
So government gets a stupid idea that it has a right to dictate what people put in their own bodies and ban a potentially harmful substance that’s been taken in vast amounts but linked only to a small number of deaths (not terribly conclusively in some cases), and thinks that having removed this risk everyone who would have taken it will party down safely and while wearing flat shoes. And then it acts all surprised when clubbers decide that they still want the effect and either carry on anyway or start looking for something else.
The report, the key findings of which are to be published this week and is the first authoritative survey of mephedrone users since the government added the drug to the list of banned substances in April 2010, reveals that more than half of those questioned had noticed no change in the availability of the drug in their area.
It also shows that 44 per cent of those who have used mephedrone said the ban made them more likely to use the Class A party drug ecstasy instead.
Not that E is the killer the government and tabloids beat it up to be either, but Jesus Christ on a speedball, are these people so fucking dense that they can’t see this coming? Are their memories so poor that they forget this happens every single time they ban something? Is it so far beyond their comprehension that from point of view of a clubber wanting to get high you might as well be hung for a cat as a kitten? You ban opium and laudanum and people begin injecting heroin instead. You crack down on heroin and they break into clinics and pharmacies for morphine and methadone. You crack down on cocaine too and they start taking crystal meth. You notice party drugs and ban Ecstasy, only to find later that they’re on GBL and Miaow-miaow now. You ban those too and then sit wondering why it is that people are either still taking them or going back to E.
I’ll tell you, shall i?
It’s because they’re waiting for the next legal high to come out. And when you ban that too you’ve gone full circle and it starts all over again.
Pork flu returns to kill us all.
We’re DOOOOOOOOOOMED! Doooomed, I say! Run, run for the hills. Run for your li… oh wait, no.
What’s that last bit again?
… and other winter viruses.
Ah, so should we run around screaming, “PORK FLU” at the top of our lungs before rounding up absolutely everything that looks a bit piggy?
|Kill it! Kill it with fire!|
Or should we calm the fuck down a bit first and look at what viruses we’re talking about that are all being lumped together with pork flu by The Daily Jellygraph?
Yeah, I’m going for the second one (my bold).
Scores of hospital wards closed due to norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, which put more than 1,200 beds out of use in one week as nurses attempted to isolate the disease.
Norovirus. Okay. Although my medical expertise doesn’t extend beyond A level biology I’m reasonably confident in saying without bothering to check that norovirus, while it may be unpleasant, possibly deadly and apt to make you able to shit through the eye of a needle or puke your own sphincter across the room (not sure which, possibly both), is not actually swine flu. But just in case I’m wrong I will go and check. Bear with me.
Okay, I’ve checked and it isn’t. I won’t bother to reference it since anyone with internet access can confirm it in seconds unless they are either lobotomised, retarded or, just possibly, a journalist.
And, er, that’s it. The only illnesses mentioned are norovirus, flu and swine flu, and it’s not made clear how much flu is swine flu or whether the writer intends flu to mean non-swine flu versions of flu. Beyond that we’ve got mention of a couple of deaths from swine flu and a list of areas where hospitals have cancelled routine surgery, slightly spoiled by the admission that many hospitals do that at this time of year anyway. Again, the article fails to say how many have cancelled routine surgery who would otherwise have carried on, though presumably Southampton General was one.
Southampton General Hospital spent more than three weeks on “black alert”, closing 10 wards as norovirus swept through the centre. It was forced to stop all non-emergency surgery and cancel most appointments for outpatients during the period. The crisis warning was finally lifted on Thursday.
Three points. One, it’s norovirus again, not swine flu. Two, they seem to be over it now. And three, it’s fucking norovirus for fuck’s sake.
Okay, maybe it’s just that one and all the others are … oh, who am I kidding?
Because of the same bug, four wards were closed at Royal Cornwall Hospital last week and cancer and surgery wards in Poole, Dorset, were closed to new admissions. Three wards were closed at West Suffolk hospital.
Again, norovirus in the case of the first two for sure and by implication the third as well, though since the article says no more than that they were closed it could have been for fucking redecorating for all we know.
Now I’m not saying the NHS is struggling to cope or that the restrictions on routine surgery are a non-issue. This is not a dig about health so much as journalism, and in particular the use of this headline
Swine flu: hospitals ‘gridlocked’
to describe events that the article itself ascribes largely to other illness such as norovirus, which pops into my head for no obvious reason whatsoever, and standard fucking procedure for this time of year.
All of which leads me to wonder whether the Jellygraph is after the crown of another newspaper.
PS – looks like they might be gunning for The Express as well.
Denormalisation and the march of hatred.
Over at Leg-iron’s there’s a post on discrimination in which he says:
“You cannot, so far, tell who we are unless we’re actually smoking but that’s going to change. We will be made identifiable. Third hand smoke will be the excuse.”
Which prompted me to write in the comments,
Perhaps some sort of yellow star motif? It’ll make aiming easier when the time comes…
I don’t say that lightly since I have Jewish neighbours that I like and respect, and obviously what’s going on has yet to reach Shoah proportions (and we should all very much hope that it never does) but all the same the parallels are disturbing. While some may be prepared to live and let live those who believe they are in the right – the Righteous, to use Leg-iron’s expression – make no room, sometimes literally no room, for those who disagree.
|Not “Smoking is not allowed”. It’s actual smokers who are not allowed|
And it doesn’t stop there either. Smokers can be discriminated against when it comes to employment etc. too (see here, here, here and, from the US, this), all of which, it has been decided, is perfectly legal. Note again that like the sign above it is not merely the activity which is banned but the people who do it. Look at the sign again. Now look at this one.
See? Unwanted activities are being prohibited, but the implication is that the people who skateboard, ride bicycles or go rollerblading are okay to be there as long as they don’t do those activities. The first sign says no smokers, full stop, end of discussion. No credit is given for being a smoker who is currently not smoking and for all anyone knows will refrain from lighting up until they’re elsewhere. The message is aimed at the people, not their pastime. Smoker? Sod off.
Now it might be suggested that in fact this is just exercising property rights and that property owners are entitled not only to prohibit smoking – as I do in my home, being an ex-smoker* – but also to make smokers themselves unwelcome. It might also be suggested that an employer should be able to hire whoever the hell they like without being under any obligation to justify that decision. And since I’m all for the freedom to make personal choices I’d tend to agree with both, except for two sticking points. First, the reverse does not apply – you are not allowed to discriminate in favour of smokers and you have no say in this, property rights notwithstanding. You may own your business premises lock, stock and barrel but you may not encourage all the smokers driven from other establishments to come to your place to smoke and spend to their hearts’ content. You have no choice and no rights over your property in regards to smoking. None at all. If you don’t want smokers you may think you’re free to choose but this is just an illusion brought about by the fact that your wishes and those of the Righteous are aligned on this point. Just wait, they’ll get around to something you do do or are in favour of sooner or later.
Second, any other kind of discrimination against a group probably would be illegal. Remember the No Blacks, No Irish signs? I don’t. They went in my infancy, if not before. And before anyone suggests that smoking is a choice whereas you can’t help your skin colour or nation of birth please bear in mind that religion is also a choice and you can’t discriminate against that either. Don’t believe me? Go put a job ad up and include something saying Muslims, Jews and Hindus need not apply and see what happens. Go on, I’ll wait while you get a pen ….. oh, you’ll be fined, will you? Breaking the law, is it? But you might conceivably want to put something like that if the position was for a slaughterman and you didn’t want anyone who might refuse to deal with pigs or cows on religious grounds (though my advice would be simply to state “must be willing to slaughter and butcher all kinds of livestock”), and the fact is you can’t. Smoking though, well, it seems you can put “Smokers Need Not Apply” and that’s just fine, even though religion and how seriously to take it is as much a personal choice as smoking. Any way you choose to look at it smokers are a special case in that they, and not simply the activity of smoking, can be targets for discrimination that is largely unacceptable if not illegal in most other areas of life.
And it’s not just the legal treatment that sets them aside. Look at the hate and bile being spat at smokers these days. Dick Puddlecote has a nice collection going, and here are a few examples (spelling left as the DP found it):
…let’s have free loaded pistols for use by these smokers there too so that they can end their pathetic lives…
[Smokers] have the right to die. That’s it.
Pubs … can certainly survive without smokers. I hope the cold winter kills a few more off in fact
Smokers need to have the words, STUPID IDIOT across their foreheads!
Yellow star! Yellow star! You just need to cross out “Jude” first.
SMOKERS, PLEASE die from diseases from cigarettes sooner rather than later, so there will be less of you around, stinking up every place you go.
You are second-class citizens. If you don’t like it, move. I don’t want you here anyway.
We should do them a favor and give them a quick clean bullet through the head.
I want all smoker dead, but especially morning smokers and any one who smokes on campus. DIE!!
Smokers scum of the Earth, a cull next.
They deserve to be robbed.
I have always looked down at the “filth” or brown fingered,brown teethed lower classes that smoke.
I’ve hated smokers for many years and I am almost positive that one day, I will successfully kill someone who smokes. I encourage any non-smokers who are reading this to go out and kick the shit out of smokers.
If a person is caught smoking, he or she should be shot on sight. The world would be a better place!
Doesn’t this sound at all familiar? A few decades ago in Germany certain groups, Jewish people amongst them, were first denormalised and demonised, then ultimately dehumanised. Untermenschen, they were called – subhumans – and what was said about them fits in so well with the comments quoted above (and incidentally, Dick Puddlecote has links to all of these comments – they’re quite real).
|Early 1938 sign. Translation: “Jews not wanted
in Behringersdorf.” Sound at all familiar?
Get out of here! Go away! Leave! Leave us!
You are second-class citizens. If you don’t like it, move. I don’t want you here anyway.
You’re filthy! You’re scum! You disgust us!
I have always looked down at the “filth” or brown fingered,brown teethed lower classes that smoke.
They deserve to be robbed.
We hate you! Go and die, will you? Why can’t you go away and just die?!
SMOKERS, PLEASE die … sooner rather than later, so there will be less of you around, stinking up every place you go.
… I hope the cold winter kills a few more off in fact
[Smokers] have the right to die. That’s it.
Just die! Die! DIE!!
… a cull next….. shot on sight….. a quick clean bullet …..want all smoker dead…..
one day, I will successfully kill someone who smokes…
It’s not just legislative attacks specifically targeting them that they need to worry about, but also this foaming hatred whipped up by the constant process of denormalising, demonising and dehumanising smokers. What should give all of us pause for thought is that if you change just the last word of that sentence to Slavs or Jews or Poles it could have come from a history book on the 1930s, and if those times are any guide we haven’t seen the end of this. Wikipedia notes that “The Holocaust was accomplished in stages. Legislation to remove the Jews from civil society was enacted years before the outbreak of World War II.” Follow that link and you see what kind of legislation we’re talking about. A ban on Jews marrying non-Jews, for example. Not a million miles off the ban on smokers being foster parents that I linked to in the fourth paragraph, I’d suggest. Even if you accept the passive smoking argument – and let’s not even get into the lunacy of 2+Nth hand smoke – the ban is once again not on the activity but on the person. Smokers, not smoking. There were laws on the employment of Jews – they were banned from the Civil Service, for example – and Jews employing non-Jews, just in case it rubbed off and sullied a Nazi or something, and in the same para I linked to an article on legal EU approved discrimination of smokers, again the people rather than the act of smoking. And why, given that smoking is already banned in the workplace, and indeed could always have been banned by business owners if they chose? Because, according to the firm concerned, not only might they take a smoke break (seems prejudicial) but even if they don’t they will smell and get ill, and they must be stupid – no more evidence being required for that last half-formed thought than that they chose to continue smoking.
“I would consider smoking as interfering with standards. I’m talking about smoking breaks but not only that – their smell, their intelligence, their illnesses are all factors. That’s why the line was there. Smokers will not be employed, so there is no point in coming for an interview.”
Interviewed on an Irish radio station, Tobin added that anyone who could continue to smoke despite health warnings was obviously not intelligent enough to work for his company. But smokers’ groups have reacted angrily, accusing him of “health fascism”.
I’d certainly call it fascism when even ASH – ASH, for Christ’s sake – thought that was going a bit far.
Ian Willmore, a spokesman for anti-smoking group Ash, believes refusing to employ smokers is “thoroughly bad public policy”.
He said: “We are not interested in discriminating against people because they are smokers. We are interested in helping them quit. Our advice to employers would be not to do that unless there is a clear occupational reason why smoking is not possible.
“We are not an organisation that exists to persecute smokers. We are an organisation that exists to reduce the amount of harm that smoking does.” But he added that encouraging employees to quit could cut days lost to sickness and boost productivity.
It’s sort of nice to know you’ve got limits, Ian, but you or people like you let the djinni out of the bottle. Don’t expect me not to tar you with the fascist brush – or should it be fASHist? – as well just because someone even more hate-filled has appeared. Especially not after that little apologia at the end.
And fascism really does seem the appropriate word when anti-smokers have their Nuremburg laws to bash smokers with and show every sign of continuing to add to them. It’s progressed to special treatment of tobacco as a good so as to further inconvenience smokers – in some places (at least one state in Australia, and no doubt others before long) tobacco must be kept behind closed doors or hidden out of sight under the counter, and plain packaging has been mooted. This makes no difference at all to non-smokers. Why should I care what colour the packet is or whether I can see it? But it makes the smoker’s life just a little bit more difficult since he’s unable to glance at the shelves and see if his preferred brand is in stock. Now he must queue up and ask, wasting his time if they’re not in stock. But fuck him, he’s just a stinking smoker, right, eh, ASH? His time isn’t important to any real people. Why not just beat him up, smash his windows and take his property? Why not round them all up and keep them away from decent people? Who honestly gives a rip?
I’ll tell you who: me. I care. Even though I stopped smoking a while ago now I care, and I oppose the continued official harassment, legalised bullying and discrimination, and the anonymous threats that they suffer.
Not. In. My. Name. Mother-fuckers.
I don’t like the smoke anymore but if it’s blowing in my face it’s not hard to take a step or two to avoid it. And even that’s indoors only. Outside the smoke disperses so quickly in all but the lightest breeze that it’s a non-issue, and in the lightest breezes or very still air it tends to go straight up. I can only get hit with smoke outdoors if someone actually blows it in my face, and this has never happened even once since I quit. Nor did I ever do it to anyone in the years I smoked. Yes, you can still get the smell, and like a lot of non-smokers I don’t like it much either, but for Christ’s sake it’s just a smell. I’ve smelt worse farts. I’ve smelt worse BO. I’ve smelt more overpowering perfume. I will not take part in or condone the persecution others because of an odour, and I will carry on speaking up for those who wish to smoke. And there’s a reason for that, a very simple one.
The march of hatred is moving on, and it’s only a matter of time before they come to me. I ducked their hatred once when I quit smoking (for reasons of my own) but by then attention had already turned to drink. As it happened I barely drank anyway and have gradually become a non-drinker too, so I’ve ducked it again a second time. However, I cannot keep this up. I am not politically correct by nature; I could do with losing a few kilos; I’m for shooters’ rights and would support gun ownership for defence; I like to put lots of salt on my food; I eat meat and I’m prepared to catch it and kill it myself if push came to shove; I don’t believe in global warming; I’m in favour of individual liberty (subject to the Non-Aggression Principle), including the freedom to say something I find utterly vile and repulsive, such as many of the quotes in this post. I could go on but the bottom line is this – the bastards will find something about me to hate sooner or later. The Nazis had been obsessed with Jews for many years, arguably decades if you count the anti-semitism of the Völkisch movement from which the Nazis took many ideas, but we all know it didn’t stop there. Niemöller had it dead right, because by the end – long before the end, in fact – the Nazis were gunning for absolutely anyone who didn’t fit their ideals. That meant Communists, homosexuals, Freemasons, gypsies, Slavs and many eastern Europeans, a whole lot of Soviet POWs, and many physically and mentally disabled people (to say nothing of anyone who simply opposed any of this). Their march of hatred carried on until finally they were stopped, but the price was bitterly high. The twenty-first century march of hatred has not been stopped, and if moves to further restrict the liberty of smokers even outdoors is any guide I’d say that if anything it seems to be gathering pace.** I mean, go read that. Just go have a quick read. We’re lucky to have the climate for a café culture at least part of the year here, though not so much this year with all the rain we’ve had, and having driven the smokers outside many places began putting tables and chairs out for them. Not all were able to do this – pavements have to be wide enough, for example, pubs might need a beer garden – but I think most of those who could did so. I’m sure some made it non-smoking outdoors too but that was their choice, and the smokers would be able to find other places. Not any more. They must now be driven away altogether, even though groups of smokers outside are a big part of the reason some places have an outdoor area in the first place. As one Melbourne smoker from Carlton by the name of Yooblues put it:
I stand outside in freezing conditions or in the rain
I cross the street when I see a mother with a pram
I stand downwind from any group
I go outside at the footy
I don’t smoke in my car
I put up with the little “cough cough” innuendos and disparaging looks from the health nutters
I keep every butt and dispose of it thoughtfully
I pick the downwind table outside restaurants
I don’t charge you for second hand smoke that cost me a fortune to imbibe first hand
Now RACK OFF and leave me alone!
|First offence? You’ll probably
get away with crucifixion
I don’t know what the bansturbators will eventually come and get me for, but I know they will come and I can even see some of them already. Being a bit fat is already in the
spot searchlights and gun bannery has been going on for a century, but there’s my proud climate heresy as well. If I’m lucky I might only be executed by controlled explosion for that, but since my heresy goes back a way it could mean some people will seize my property and either leave me in a desert or throw me into bear infested freezing Arctic waters, all the while torturing me with their cheerful brand of amateur close harmony singing. Thanks, but I’d rather be over-enthusiastically resuscitated by a sixty a day smoker of re-made rollies.
The time has come for reasonable people to stop taking in the bullshit about twenty-third hand smoke, draw a line on the ground behind themselves and tell the Righteous in a firm voice that this is where it stops and now is when it ends – we stand with the smokers, and we stand with the drinkers, and we stand with the salad dodgers, and we stand with the gun owners, and the ones who like a spliff and the ones who like a bet and the ones who who like to play shoot-’em-up video games, even though we ourselves might not do any of those things. In fact, we must say, we stand with all who do not meet your ideals or accept your dogma, because eventually that group includes more or less everybody.
We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.Benjamin Franklin
I stand with the smokers even though I don’t smoke because they do me no harm and I enjoy the company of several smokers. But I should stand with the smokers anyway out of pure self-interest because, as Niemöller pointed out, if I don’t there will be nobody to stand with me when it’s my turn.
* I may be an ex-smoker but I am certainly not a reformed smoker, and if someone came here and suggested I am I shall push them down the stairs. “Reformed” implies I feel guilt for smoking in the past and I don’t. Not a bit of it. It was something I used to do but eventually stopped, that’s all. If only those absolutely addicted to bansturbation would do the same.
**Oh yes, that’s our wonderful new Liberal In Name Only Victorian state government for you – I knew the bastards wouldn’t take long before showing how ilLiberal they really are. Hey, that makes “LINOs”. That’s a keeper for the blog tag collection. It’s just a shame you have to be loaded before you can walk on them.