Archive - Jul 7, 2004

Oh My Darlin' Nicotine

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Memo to everyone who's used the phrase "smoking ban" in the past three weeks: YOU ARE DUMB.

I mean, I thought the concealed carry bullshit last year was bad enough, but it seems like every summer now we have to have a big brouhaha pitting Public Safety against Individual Rights. And both sides rife with annoying dumbasses.

This year, Minneapolis and St. Paul are thinking of joining the ranks of New York and LA and banning smoking in restaurants and bars. It is, as anyone who's been near NY or LA a couple of years ago can attest, a bit of a divisive issue, pitting obnoxious assholes against nosy do-gooders in a battle to the heat death of the universe.

After watching months of debate, I have finally settled my own internal struggle over the issue, which pitted my general leftist "public health" streak against my vaguely libertarian "back the fuck off" tendencies. Which made things fairly difficult for nearly thirty seconds until I realized that every single person involved on either side of the debate couldn't argue worth a damn and were a bunch of hysterical ninnies. My path was clear. Fuck 'em all. I don't smoke, I don't have asthma or allergies, I don't care, and you fools can't fucking make me.

It is, like I mentioned above, very reminiscent of the concealed-carry debate, where every single day, gun-control liberals would be predicting epic, Miller's Crossing shootouts every hour on the hour through the streets of downtown, while the Charlton Heston wannabes in their gated communities bemoaned their inability to fill anyone of color full of lead who threatened them by coming within a 50 foot radius, leading to anarchy, chaos, the keying of their Lexus, and the imposition of a fascist dictatorship where the Edina school board used to be.

Enough already. And it's not as if they've stopped now that the law's on the books. Every couple of months, some wag with too much time on his hands and a Hotmail account feels the need to let eveyrone reading the paper know that the other side's dire predictions of doom didn't come true. Thanks for the tip, Concerned Citizen. I'm sure Bob Woodward will be asking to intern with you any fucking minute now.

Same thing's happening with the tentative smoking ban. The anti-smoking people are running around yelling about how second-hand smoke is full of tiny Jeffrey Dahmer particles that work their way into your lungs and stuff your alveoli into tiny refrigerators, one by one. Every single day, a poor waitress's lungs explode in a cloud of black and pink tar, you know. All because they're forced to serve jalapeno poppers to people who can't taste anything anyway.

I would be more sympathetic to their cause if I didn't live in a state, and in a country, where most of our electricity comes from coal plants belching particulates into the air, and where the administration thinks 40-year-old tech is just dandy for our lungs because upgrading to something post-LBJ would cost his energy buddies a portion of the money they stole this decade. Think globally, breathe locally. It's enough to make me consider taking up smoking in public, until, of course, I listen to the Other Side.

The other side, of course, is where they're predicting the immediate shutdown and bankruptcy of every single bar, restaurant, and coffee house in the Twin Cities Metro once those tobacco lovers abandon the scene in droves. Massive boycotts and economic destruction await as soon as the rights of millions to take a side trip to Marlboro Country during lunch at Applebees are impinged in the slightest. Their non-stop whining and claims of becoming a persecuted minority would ring much clearer if I could hear them over the sounds of the GIANT MONKEY ON THEIR BACK that's screeching and throwing nicotine-laden poop all over the public discourse.

So, you know. Do whatever the hell you want. Ban smoking. Force everyone to smoke. I don't care anymore. Argue about it amongst yourselves for the next year or so. Maybe if we can keep the local governments tied up with this long enough, they'll forget about the whole "new stadium" thing.