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JWR 2.21 - Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em


This week’s “Rambling” is brought to you unofficially (very unofficially) by Backwoods brand cigars.


“Years ago when a man wanted a good cigar, he’d roll his own.  Those cigars didn’t look that refined, but they sure tasted mild and smelled good.  Now you can enjoy the same kind of smoke with Backwoods.  We take all natural filler tobacco which is selected for mildness.  Then we roll it in gentle-tasting Connecticut Broadleaf, a dark tobacco that is aged for at least 12 months to bring out its naturally sweet taste and pleasing aroma.  We make them like they used to.  Backwoods Sweet Aromatic Mild ‘n’ Natural cigars.”  All the goodness your Q-Zone needs.


Backwoods Corp. not responsible for loss of life or lips.


George Burns smoked cigars every waking moment and died at the age of a hundred.  Some people get cancer and die from second-hand smoke only.  Doesn’t seem fair to me.  I know, life isn’t fair, you say.  Well, fuck it.


I wonder what percentage of tobacco execs. smoke.  If they do smoke, do they smoke the brands that their company makes?  Common sense would not allow people to push products that have been proven to harm and kill others.  But the death is already on our hands.  Why stop.


What’s laughable is anti-smoking ads paid for by tobacco companies.  For example: TOBACCO IS WACCO IF YOU’RE A TEEN.  Keeps kids off the cigs.  First of all, we all know how stupid it is.  The ad, not the smoking part.  A tobacco company will not try to deter future (and probably current) customers: i.e.: children.  I will admit that a cartoon camel won’t attract kids.  Although, Camel Lights are pretty good cigs, as far as cigs go.  Marlboro Lights are pretty shitty, but Reds are good for a powerful cigarette.  Granted, my experience with cigarettes is quite limited and the one pack that I bought were Camel Lights, but I do have my opinion.


See, there’s three kinds of anti-smoking advisory commercials out there right now.  The first are the ones put out by the tobacco companies themselves that are “aimed” at teens.  They simply follow a court order that says tobacco companies not only must not target kids, but they must attempt to deter kids from smoking.  They do it through humor which is not effective, by the way.  If your purpose it to make one laugh, hey, good job.   But if you want to stop people from smoking, this is not the way to go about it.  And “Big Tobacco” (as the bytches at Truth calls them) knows this but they aren’t actually going to stop their up and coming client base from buying their product.  That’s bad marketing.


The second commercials are put out by cancer societies.  These tell a story by introducing you to a person or a spouse of a person who has died from smoking-related diseases.  You’ll see the teary-eyed widower say how young she was and how it was his second-hand smoke that effectively killed her at oh-such a young age.  This is called sentimentality and it worked great on women primarily.  They tell you to stay away from this sort of thing when you write because it makes the reader feel a premature connection and a false one.  You don’t care about the person, you just see the tears and hear about the death of a wife or husband and you automatically feel something because you know that’s a tragic loss.  But it’s kind of a false feeling.  For example, in wrestling, the best liked wrestlers are the ones that have paid their dues.  You can’t just come in and be a respected wrestler.  What happens is, over the course of time, you fight matches and win some and lose some.  The trick is to keep coming back.  Jericho had a series of matches where he fought two, three, even four guys at a time.  He lost those matches, but he kept coming back to fight the lop-sided battles and did not complain.  Granted, it’s fake from an outcome standpoint, but it makes for good storytelling.  If he just came out and said yeah, I fought three guys at once and lost but I came back the next day and fought four guys and lost that one and then I fought a tag team by myself in a table match and lost that one, too: respect me.  It would ring as cheesy and hollow, much like the sentimental anti-smoking commercials ring to me.  But they’ve only got thirty seconds to tell this story, sentimentality is the only place they have to go.


The third and most effective kind of commercials are the Truth ads.  They use shock to get their point across, all except for that stupid one where that guy’s in a record store listening to a heart beat.  Confrontation is also a tool they like to use when they hang around outside a major tobacco company with bull horns or try to get inside to see someone but are kicked out.  But piling thousands of body bags as a public monument to those who die each day from tobacco is pretty fucking effective.  Saying this many die each day and seeing that many body bags are two different animals.  Then again, some of the Truth’s stuff is just stupid.  Like when they were in the ghetto and since tobacco gives the black man 50% more lung cancer than the white man, they decided to give some guy 50% more bass.  I assume it would be in exchange for his smoking, but I didn’t see him with a cigarette.  And how are they going to stop him from smoking anyway?  This guy just got some speakers and in exchange for nothing.  They’re helping the wrong people.  How about giving a homeless guy 50% more shelter or 50% more food.  Well, 50% more of nothing is nothing so I guess they couldn’t find a way to fit that into their little statistics game.  Shock does work more effectively than the other ways.  Showing a cancer-ridden lung as compared to a healthy one works.  Showing some guy with a trachea ring who talks through a box like Darth Vader works.  Showing a guy with no upper lip works.  But some things you just can’t show on Saturday morning TV.


Having said all that, let me just say that Phillip Morris has got to be one of the better tobacco companies.  After all, they do own Miller and Kraft.  Okay, so alcohol does destroy lives as well, but you can’t say anything bad about cheese, can you?...Oh, you’re lactose intolerant, huh?  Well, shit.


Some days I just want to smoke until my lungs burst, then I get over it and I just want to drink until my liver splits, then I get over it and I just want to snort coke until my penis shrivels up inside my guts, then I get over it and I just want to shoot heroin until my veins collapse, the I get over it and I just want to smoke crack until my heart implodes, then I get over it and I just want to meditate until I die from boredom.  “I wanna flood the world with my twisted thoughts.”  -Kid Rock




Copyright © 2001 John Lemut