Smoke, if you got 'em.
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003

This week's sign of the approaching apocalypse:

The cigarette in Paul McCartney's hand on the cover of Abbey Road is being air-brushed out in all future re-issues.


"[C]ompanies including US giant Allposters asked for the cigarette to be removed by computer wizardry to make it more politically correct."

The only reaction I can come up with here is: What the fuck?!?!

"Amanda Sandford, from anti-smoking group Ash, said: 'We are happy to support this action.

'People who see their idols holding cigarettes are more likely to copy them and start smoking themselves.'"

Well, Amanda, you're a moron.

Look, let's assume - I'm not saying it's so, but let's accept the premise for a moment - that this is demonstrably true.

The problem with that analysis is that it is being erroneously applied in this situation. Who idolizes Paul McCartney? Well, if anyone does, I'm going to guess that most, if not all, of the people who do are at least 30 years old. Does Amanda's little advocacy group think that anyone 30 or older who doesn't smoke is going to look at the cover of Abbey Road (which, by the way, they may have already seen once or twice or 12 million times) and say to themselves, "man, that Paul McCartney is cool, he's smoking in this picture! Well, okay, he's holding a cigarette, but he might, y'know, smoke it later, and that's cool enough for me!" and decide to pick up the habit? That seems a tad unlikely, doesn't it?

Likewise, is there any reason to think that someone younger, a teenager, is going to start smoking because a guy in a band that stopped making music 15 years before they were born is holding a cigarette in a picture? Gah!


But, you know what? All of that shit doesn't even matter.

What matters is that the original record jacket (yes, yes, I'm old) had that picture, and that's good enough for me.

That was the picture, and so it should ever be. You don't fuck around with the historical record (rim shot). You want to pull out the CD case and show it to your 7 year old and say "now, honey, this music is the shit, but see that thing Paul, the Cute One, is holding? That's the Devil Incarnate!"? Fine, but don't censor on behalf of all the rest of us, okay?


Changing focus, that leads me into this short observation: Mayor Mike Bloomberg's ban on smoking in NYC restaurants and bars is patently stupid, shows complete contempt for the people here, and will cost NYC businesses real money.

First of all, let me say that I do not smoke, and I don't like someone (or more than one) smoking around me when there is not adequate ventilation, which most times just means a large enough room and/or an open window.

The idea that all restaurants and bars are smoke-free is ludicrous. Ah, but you (or someone else) might say, "what about the health of the employees who have to breathe that shit in all day long?"

Excellent point, except that no one is being forced to work there. This isn't brain surgery. This is waiting tables and bartending. You can find something else to do, plus, and I'd bet the ranch on this, in a city the size of NYC, you can't tell me that there isn't a market for smoke-free bars & restaurants. Hell, I can already envisage specific guides, ratings, ad budgets, etc. There will be plenty of jobs for the dedicated professional food service employees who want to work smoke-free, just as there will be plenty of spots for those who don't care and are willing, or eager, to work somewhere where smoking is allowed.

I'm serious about the money, too. There will be people who would normally come into town to go out who will definitely stay on Long Island, or in Westchester, or in New Jersey to drink and carouse someplace where The Man isn't watching over them all the time. I'd be very surprised if the number of people who are thinking "at last! I always wanted to party hard here in the Apple but that damned smoking ruined it for me" is anywhere close to the number who will say "fuck it. Tell Jen and Rob to meet us at that place in Hoboken instead."

When the Nanny State starts getting over on NYC, things are getting bad.


Jesus H. Christ on a bike, it's cold here today. My snot freezes every time I go outside, and this morning I was having trouble speaking clearly to my wife on the train platform 'cause my cheeks were frozen. Seriously.

Posted by mikeski at 3:25 p.m.