I’m no fan of Clive Bates. He used to run ASH before Deborah Arnott, so he’s an Enemy of Smokers, just like her. But he’s got a surprisingly long string of other offences to his name, including working for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Greenpeace, and the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.
But occasionally even antis like him get something right. And he’s managed to infuriate the World Health Organisation by publishing a variant of their logo.
Part of WHO’s objection was to a parody of their logo that Bates posted, which (at the time of this writing) he has replaced with a text graphic that reads “Graphic removed at the request of the Legal Counsel of the World Health Organization”. But the characterization of “request” is not exactly correct. In the letter sent to Bates by the WHO (which we have obtained a copy of), they threatened to “refer the matter to the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom” (where Bates is based) if he did not comply with removing his content. They asserted that he was “using the name and emblem of the World Health Organization (WHO)…in an unauthorized, misleading and libellous manner”.
That accusation is quite troubling from the perspective of a free exchange of ideas. There are very brief substantive claims about particular statements (see below), but notice that the accusation says that the mere act of using the name of WHO when criticizing WHO is unauthorized, misleading and/or libellous. It boggles the mind that WHO is effectively claiming that no one can criticize them by name.
It doesn’t boggle my mind. These fuckers have a truly monumental sense of their own self-importance. So they’re bound to fly off the handle any time anyone offers even the slightest hint of criticism of them.
And what better way to get up their noses than to reproduce the offending logo? With luck it’ll go viral, and end up plastered all over the internet. (In fact this seems to already have happened.)
And naturally I thought I’d have a go at making a variant logo. This one has a skull impaled upon a large spike, and is the logo of the World Hellth Organisation, so obviously the World Health Organisation can’t ask me to remove it.
Anyway, one good thing about this little saga is that it sees antismokers pitted against antismokers – something that seems to be becoming increasingly common.
Most days this blog gets about 1000 views, and the Black Lung Lie gets less than 100 views. But today the blog got a record 15,000 views, with 13,000 of them of the Black Lung Lie. This happens from time to time.