Smoking Gun

A little better. Still longer than I’d like though. Believe it or not, I have been updating. Just… not on here. I have a number of posts written out long hand in my notebook. It’s just a matter of transcribing them. Dumb excuse, but there it is. I’m working on it, alright? So, here’s ya go…


You ever just get the urge to smoke a cigarette? You don’t even have to be a smoker. I’m not really. Hard to say where it comes from. Just a situation where suddenly, a cigarette would really complete the moment. Does it have to do with neurochemistry; our brains crying out for a stimulant? Or is it socially programmed; Hemingway running headlong into Freud? I think that’s why, no matter how hard well-intentioned activists might try, you’ll never completely eliminate cigarette smoking in America. People want to smoke. It fills a niche. We have been conditioned for decades to associate the act of smoking with escapist wish fulfillment, and as long as there are people who hate the corner of the universe they’ve found themselves boxed into, there will be smokers.  Even beyond that, the notion of eradicating cigarettes is an impossible political goal. I’m not talking about corporate lobbying power in this case, I’m talking social and historical momentum. The anti-smoking movement is in many ways a sort of neo-temperance crusade. Unfortunately the grand victory of the temperance movement, Prohibition, was pyrrhic and ultimately unsustainable.

In addition to the mark on the national psyche still left by the Prohibition experiment, anti-smoking campaigns also find indirect opposition from another equally powerful social movement. Marijuana legalization. Both are passionate, both are noble in their way, but that fact is there just isn’t room for the both of them. Though not directly arrayed against one another, their currents simply run counter. You’ll never have it both ways. The notion of legalizing marijuana while eliminating tobacco doesn’t hold up to any logical or legal test. Sooner or later there’s going to be a showdown, and in the immortal words of Christopher Lambert, “there can be only one.” At this stage in American history, the winds seem to favor the ships of greater social freedom, and as such the more far reaching goals of the anti-smoking movement may I feel remain a pipe-dream at best.


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