Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
But two wrongs do not make a right.

They certainly don't, but as I stand outside to smoke so as not to create bad smells for those inside such as your goodself, I watch the cars whizzing past and I think...hmmm...globally....the cars are the bigger wrong here.  And hey!  I'm outside!  I've done my bit for social harmony today.  Jerome is inside enjoying the smoke free air, but those cars....good job he came on his bicycle!

I'd like to see the venom against smokers pushed onto the more noble target, save the smokers for after we've dealt with the important structural issues, though yes they go together, the public and the individual--but maybe a person could say, "Yeah, those smokers are stinky and selfish, but those car drivers!  Wow!  They'll fuck up the whole planet to get from A to B!"--now that is a higher order of selfish!

Or maybe it isn't?  It's where the puritan aims his or her focus--and where he or she doesn't--that concerns me.

(I also agree about the noise!)


On a personal level, the thing about stink is, it's...personal.  I have a friend who loves the smell of petrol.  Another who loves the smell of those things they put in urinals.  I know people who can't bear the smell of the countryside when manuring is in progress.  Me, I don't mind any of them, but I prefer certain particular smells, one of which was the smell of a smoky boozy pub.  A non-smoker friend of mine said that was what he'd miss when the ban came into effect.  I did read that there was a bar that pumped in the fake smell of smoke because the customers preferred it to the smell of toilets and sweat that wafted around in the absence of the stinky smoke.

But yeah, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander as you say.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 07:21:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to my arguments about the smokers' sense of entitlement, their lack of courtesy towards non-smokers, and their overuse of the argument of "intolerance" of the non-smokers?

Again, not smoking for an hour does not make you a non-smoker. Being in the presence of a smoker for just a short bit makes you an unwilling smoker. On one side, you have a temporary inconvenience, on the other, an irrevsersible alienation.

And bringing in cars here just does not respond to that. Cigarette smoke is by many orders of magnitude more invasive and intrusive than car fumes.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 12:09:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, my answer is that your issues are not with smoking per se but only how it affects YOU (or other non smokers, but really I think it's about how it affects YOU.)  That is fair enough but irrelevant to the point of the diary, which is about how smoking affects smokers and what some people want to do about that.  Although maybe not.

My sense of most puritans is that, if you scratch 'em you get a lot of discontent about how the outside world is disturbing them...without the concommitant sense of how their behaviours [my example is car driving] affect others.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 02:02:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and I agree with you on that point: I don't really care what smokers do to themselves, and I think there is weak societal argument to prevent them from smoking as long as non-smokers are reasonably protected.

There is a stronger argument to protect young people from starting up smoking, though, as the consequences to them of a decision which, at that point, can be uninformed, are rather large and worth preventing.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 02:08:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you were to write a list of what young people should be protected from, how high up the list would smoking come?  I'm thinking (and I'm thinking globally):

Random violence
Dispossession (maybe I'd put this at the top when thinking globally)

My simple point is that a youngster who smokes but doesn't beat up on, say, women, is to my mind a more noble human being than a non-smoking woman beater.  Smoking to excess (or at all, if you like) will shorten your life.  Okay.  There are a lot more important things for the global human community to worry about than whether we all reach 97.

In fact, the world might be a happier place if we all pegged it at seventy, but spent our seventy years enjoying ourselves and working for the social good rather than to gain a second over the next person.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 at 06:29:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an interesting list and it touches on an angle that struck me when I was working in one of the poorer townships.

South Africa has banned smoking in most public places - this officially includes bars (I think), but you would be hard pressed to find a bar without smokers. I do mind, but then we come back to the list. Making enforcement of the smoking ban in South Africa a priority would be foolery - there are too many bigger fish to fry here: education, housing, employment, crime reduction, public safety, roads, public transport, etc.

The (wealthier) nations of Europe have already ticked off most of these and it has become a matter of upholding or improving the system that's in place - so the priorities shift to "lesser" but therefore no less real public concerns. Probably also a reason why the debate on this is more ferocious in Europe - we can bitch all we want about the lack of service in, say, hospitals, but at least there are hospitals with well-educated specialists and top-notch equipment.

Probably a reason why I was/am so frustrated with the political discourse in the Netherlands; for the most part it's so... trivial.

by Nomad on Mon Nov 24th, 2008 at 04:54:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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