Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Denormalisation

They come;
those harbingers of death,
the underclass
who fouled
with the most
malodorous breath
infiltrate the very core
of the sweet,
the innocent, the pure.

Particulates expelled
with every demon puff,
mainstream and drift smoke
pollute the very souls
of those so pure,
so clean, so whole,
and were that not enough,
the smokers
cry of their rights
when isolated
in their leper groups
outside of office doors,
or smoking booths
outside pubs and inns
as if they should be
absolved from their sins,
their sins of selfishness
as they spread disease
with every dirty stinking
exhaled breath.

They come,
those harbingers of death,
those much maligned,
much stigmatised,
denormalised
to seek their fix,
their filthy weed,
their cancer sticks
to find their demon
now behind shuttered doors,
for it decreed that no more
should they be on view
for we all know
of the harm they do,
they bring disease
and kill our kids
and it is right
that society rids
itself of these evil folk
who insist upon their
right to smoke.

I wrote this as a reaction to finding that when purchasing my weekly supply of the disgusting weed that my fix was  shuttered behind black sliding doors – and I was aware this was coming – and was surprised how dirty I felt, something akin to buying dirty postcards, hard core porn videos from ‘under the counter’ (okay my secret’s out! :o])and I felt more stigmatised than I normally do, a non-human,  denormalised.

If you are a non-smoker – and I mean a normal human and not the rabid anti-smoker zealot – and you feel it is your right to socialise in restaurant or inn free from my smoke – then I am a 100% in agreement with you (for despite being a smoker I consider myself a fair normal human being) but would ask do I not have rights too?  It would not be a problem for me (and you I am sure) if there were smoking and non-smoking establishments and we could both exercise freedom of choice.

I do not have a problem with smoking bans on public transport, in the workplace and other sensible legislation – but I do resent that I am being denormalised.

My current reading is The Death of Humane Medicine and the Rise of Coercive Healthism (Petr Skrabanek) and will admit that (for the purpose of this post) I had to jump ahead for his views on ‘Lifestylism’  and “Damned tobacco” as I had not yet read that far. 

Quotes from Damned tobacco:

“Smoking together with drinking and fornication, has always been a mote in the eye of the virtuous.”     

“In recent American health propaganda, smoking was described as ‘second only to nuclear annihilation …”

“Smoking is a complex behaviour, with little understood neurophysiological and psychological mechanisms.  A smoker of 20 cigarettes a day for 50 years will smoke 365,000 cigarettes, which, if laid end to end, would stretch 30 kilometres.  Assuming an average of 15 puffs per cigarette, the smoker inhales five million puffs.  With the alleged 5,000 poisonous substances in smoke, he receives 25 billion doses.  What is surprising is that many smokers survive this chronic poisoning relatively unscathed.”

(I will have received 15 billion doses of alleged poisons and yet I remain healthy, my children grew up in a two smoker household (I did give up when pregnant) and now smoke themselves and are healthy.  (This is not a blind denial that smoking causes disease – for I have no doubt it does – but there is much manipulation by selection or omission in research to achieve required aims)).

You may have no problem with coercive healthism, you may want to live for ever – but you won’t – and if you do away with “… every eatable, drinkable and smokeable which has in anyway acquired a shady reputation.” (Mark Twain) you might, but probably won’t, be so bloody healthy you will have to be shot when you have outlived your usefulness – but I doubt whether you will be happy.  You may want to pop whatever pill is prescribed to you under the guise of preventative medicine – see here at The NNT re statins – but what of their chemical composition, what of their adverse side effects?  (I would like to give personal opinions and observations on this (relatively) new opium of the masses – but wont, not yet.) 

However – believe it or not – this post is not the stance of a rabid, selfish smoker but that of a person who is afraid, so very afraid of the rise and rise of coercive healthism and the deliberate denormalisation of sections of society deemed irresponsible by those who deem themselves superior and would direct our very lives.

This is a post of a person who is so afraid of bias in and deliberate selection or omission presented in research as a means to give credence to a prevailing point of view.  Alcohol and obesity are already on the agenda for denormalisation.

This is a person who is so very afraid how most of us allow (for we have nothing to hide) our government (of whatever colour) to make inroads into our right of privacy in the name of security – CCTVs and data collection (phone and web surveillance) immediately spring to mind.

This is a person who thinks of book burning in Nazi Germany and eugenics and the destruction of those considered imperfect and wonder why we do not see parallels here expressed in our present society.

This is a person who decades ago thought her husband bonkers when he talked of the ‘thought police.’  He was not bonkers; I was, for I did not see the insidious creep of control of our very thoughts and lives.

What say you?

Anna :o]   (The paranoid one?)

17 comments:

Frances Garrood said...

Anna, I totally agree about people's right to smoke (I don't smoke). I actually quite miss the smell in pubs, because now they always seem to smell of whatever it is they clean the loos with.

Great poem, but the way!

Dave King said...

However – believe it or not – this post is not the stance of a rabid, selfish smoker but that of a person who is afraid, so very afraid of the rise and rise of coercive healthism and the deliberate denormalisation of sections of society deemed irresponsible by those who deem themselves superior and would direct our very lives.

This is a post of a person who is so afraid of bias in and deliberate selection or omission presented in research as a means to give credence to a prevailing point of view. Alcohol and obesity are already on the agenda for denormalisation.

I can't overstate how strongly I agree with these sentiments. I really do believe this post should be posted (sic) somewhere in blogland where it would be seen everyday by everyone who blogged. (Shame there is no such place. There ought to be.)

blackdog said...

I agree with you Anna that the state is intervening in our lives far too much and once you give them a centimeter they usually take a meter (I've gone metric). So it was with this latest 'covering up' of tobbaco products in Supermarkets. 'They' said they wanted to hide displays to discourage young people being influenced by the pretty packets, but when it was drafted it went well beyond this. You cannot be 'shown' the products but have to choose from a list, you cannot ask if a certain brand/type is available, nor can you ask the help of the assistant in your selection. All on pain of punative penalties. This will be introduced in small shops in another 8 months time.
It is as always with the neo-liberals that we have to adhere to the states diktat on pain of quite onerous penalties. And the enforcement of these alarming Laws will be universal, with the privatised federale from G4S no doubt being given lots of our money to police the fag kiosks of Tesco and Asda et al.
We really are seeing the Police State coming to the fore, in the name of 'competition' that isn't, 'marketisation' that will have us being policed by mercenaries from G4S and Serco etc, and deprivation of our rights to humane treatment of our ill's because we do not adhere to the Politburo protocols of drink reduction, smoking cessation, and insanely incorrect and scientifically unproven dietry regimes that will actually make us fatter, thus placing us outside the 'norms' we are being told as efficaceous.
Very soon we shall all be named Winston Smith and we will all love 'big brother' or else!

Dick Jones said...

Well, if I hadn't stopped smoking long since, I may well after reading this! What a fraught issue. On balance I have to agree with Dave in respect of 'coercive healthism'. However, the case against tobacco is long since established and incorporated into any rational perception of smoking. The question now must be: unless the case is to be made FOR smoking, please inform us how we should proceed regarding the clear link between smoking tobacco and dying as a result.

Marcel Okorie said...

Yeah, those cancer sticks really makes me sick.

I love this article. well addressed.

Celestial Dreamz said...

great post ... a thought provoking one! and I so agree with Dave King.

Jack Edwards Poetry said...

An interesting post and great poem. I found the comparison between smokers and lepers especially poignant.

Elizabeth said...

Do you feel equaly bad about heroin and hash being banned altogether? If not, why not? :)

Anonymous said...

Typical government, 1st they advice, then they impose, then stigmatise, then criminalise.

People wonder why there is such a low turn out in elections, when we have politicians rolling out dictatorial, nonsensical, (doubtless will be proved to be) ineffective policies such as this, or imposing snooping laws on all private citizens (the current plan to monitor EVERY email, phone call, or website visit, which is as draconian in nature as what North Korea or Iran in scope and nature).

I tend to think that politicians and government officials have an impulse to introduce legislation, otherwise in their minds they wouldn't be doing there job right?! The only way to this is to further legislate and criminalise the remaining rights we do have left. Be it either by laws like this, or laws such as making an employer liable if an employee makes a cup of tea and burns himself with hot water because they have not had a training course in using a kettle.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Thank you for your welcome comments folks.

A further expedition to the supermarket (yesterday) where I purchase my fix yielded another unexpected emotion in that I became extremely angry when faced with the shuttered non-display of tobacco products – of course I internalised it as my anger was not caused by the good people serving. (This emotion exploding from a gal who is very slow to come to the boil (rarely does so or indeed simmers)).

I will write again on health fascism and the slow rise and rise of political interference is our freedoms as temporarily incensed I was temporarily incensed! As said my anger and frustration is not based on the ciggie ‘ishoo’ alone and my next post (not necessarily my very next post posted!) on this matter will be more exploratory.

Dick ~ “The question now must be: unless the case is to be made FOR smoking, please inform us how we should proceed regarding the clear link between smoking tobacco and dying as a result.”

I would question that in a free society there is a need to be made FOR smoking – as said I have no problem being segregated in pursuing social activities in restaurants and inns for I accept that others have a RIGHT not to breathe my air.

I also accept that tobacco does indeed cause disease – but would question the extent of it as in second, third and indeed now fifth hand smoking. I have spent many days researching research and no doubt you will be surprised how much tinkering with figures exists in reaching a desired conclusion.

Elizabeth ~ “Do you feel equally bad about heroin and hash being banned altogether? If not, why not? :)”

Personally I think the addictions are not comparable – you may differ!

An interesting read here for you: http://www.aolnews.com/2010/08/14/is-portugals-liberal-drug-policy-a-model-for-us/

And another re Australia re proposed loss of freedom of speech: http://afr.com/p/opinion/failure_to_defend_liberty_wAJSn9pqMROKLz9sLhFrbM

Anna :o]

Jenny Woolf said...

Strange, isn't it, that within a couple of generations smoking has gone from something that's good for you, to something that's bad.

Stafford Ray said...

As an ex smoker who dropped it with no withdrawals at all after 25 years, I don't mind if people smoke around me. But I would be horrified if a pregnant daughter or grand daughter smoked while pregnant and would say so.
However, dear Anna, despite you and yours not being ill from smoking, I assure you, you are the lucky ones. I have had some dear friends die from emphysema, cancer of the larynx, heart disease, lung cancer and being locked out in a snow storm accidentally, while having a quick puff! (The last example is not true). I should not have been so flippant. Maybe you lost a dear one exactly like that. if so, I am sorry.
Listen to this. In about 1978, I was put into hospital in a bed next to a bloke who was on oxygen. I asked to be moved and was, because I was upset to see the poor man's condition. He regularly took off the mask, lit a cigarette, took a long pull then was wracked by the worst cough I have ever heard or seen. I truly expected to see his lungs on the pillow! He then replaced the mask, took a few puffs of pure Oxygen before repeating the whole performance over and over again until the cigarette was down to its filter, upon which he would sleep for about ten minutes and then start all over again! I kid you not!
I met a guy yesterday who wanted to do a small extension to his house that would cost abut two grand for materials. Two years, twenty two forms and three grand in fees later, he still was not permitted to start!!!
Big bro is not only after smokers!

Dr. Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, M.D. said...

All of U.S. croak someday, sometime, somewhere, then we gotta answer to Jesus why we polluted our bodies through the toxic crap of smoking. People are too insecure, especially now, so they must find a way to destroy their bodies. Unbelievable. If they could just git a head injury, they'd begin the right path Upstairs. But, alas, most of U.S. only see the whorizontal. You don't. See ya soon beyond the clouds. Love you.

Dr. Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, M.D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EJ said...

Great poem, and your entire post is very thought provoking, thank you!

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Hyper, You are not a jerk for smoking, hon. I always say, if I separate myself from a group who lights up, "I'm the one with the condition, no worries."

I am a non-smoker who lost her musical career in nightclubs to secondhand smoke. My advocacy has always been for WORKERS in bars, etc. that allow smoking, but I don't hate or condemn smokers. But workers breathe carcinogens long after the customer is gone...

My mom spent the final days of her life in hospital, where she was detoxing from cigs as well as dying. I would not wish on my worst enemy the hell she endured, withdrawing from nicotine.

I am 50% more likely to develop a variety of cancers than my sisters, who worked in nonsmoking environments. Love, Amy

Anonymous said...

me says that You are in The Right, The Whole Right and Nothing But The Right.

Although, I have impression I'm gonna die of appendicitis taken for acute attack of laughter.

Live and let die, whew!