Collective Madness

Yesterday I mentioned A.J. Ayer talking about Logical Positivism with Bryan Magee, and noted that Ayer had lit a cigarette 7 minutes and 30 seconds into their discussion.

In fact, on closer examination, I found that this was probably Ayer’s second cigarette, and that he had lit his first cigarette after just 4 minutes and 27 seconds:

The video was made in 1976, when nobody noticed cigarettes. It was probably still possible for it to have been made in 1996, when discussion programmes like After Dark featured people sitting around a table, smoking and drinking as they talked. But I doubt if it could have been made very much later than that.

Because now, 4 minutes and 27 seconds into the programme A.J. Ayer may as well have produced a live hand grenade from his pocket, and pulled the pin out. The programme would have been halted. Bryan Magee would have been helped away, coughing and spluttering. The studio would have been cleared. Firemen would have rushed in to douse the cigarette. And A.J. Ayer would have been arrested, handcuffed, and led away. And of course the discussion would have terminated. The screen would have gone black, and displayed “Normal Service Will Be Resumed As Soon As Possible.”

That’s how crazy it’s become. Many people have become so sensitised to cigarettes that they’ll start coughing and spluttering, and having asthma attacks, at the mere sight of one. And in fact I notice cigarettes just as much as anyone else – although my reaction to seeing someone lighting up is one of thankfulness and relief that there’s another smoker present. I know this because when I saw Ayer light up, I  was initially delighted – before I started getting worried about what would happen next, and lost the thread of the discussion (as did Mandy Vincent): Lit cigarettes now trump Logical Positivism.

Rather mercifully, A.J. Ayer died in 1989 before this collective madness had become a tidal wave. But if he had been around today, he would have been told – or would already know – that he wouldn’t be permitted to smoke while he discussed Logical Positivism with Bryan Magee. And, since quite clearly he would have wanted to have lit up as they talked, he would have been under slight stress throughout the discussion. He would not have been at ease. And almost certainly the result would have been that he would have spoken slightly differently. He might even have terminated the discussion at the earliest opportunity.

The only people with whom smokers can now speak easily and relaxedly are other smokers. The cigarette between the fingers has become the identifying symbol of a certain kind of easy-going tolerance. And its absence has become a warning sign.

Which has led me to believe that in the near future, smokers will form separate societies, or become confined to ghettos. For it won’t just be that non-smokers won’t want to be around smokers, but that smokers won’t want to be around non-smokers. The forces of mutual repulsion will be equal and opposite. Smokers and non-smokers will cease to co-exist with each other. Co-existence will have become impossible. Society will be visibly seen to be broken in ways it has yet to be.

But it’s not just smokers who are being subjected to exclusionary measures.  It’s happening to all sorts of other “undesirables” – like drinkers and fat people – as well. Even dog owners:

Dog walking has been banned or cut back in thousands of parks and open spaces in the past two years, it is claimed.

Public Space Protection Orders, aimed at stopping threatening or violent behaviour, allows councils to ban various activities in certain areas.

Kennel Club estimates, based on figures from its own contacts with councils, show dogs have been banned from at least 2,205 public places in England and Wales, The Daily Telegraph said.

Some parks, playing fields and beaches are among the places which have been put out of bounds and dogs have also been stopped from running or playing off a lead in 1,100 others places, it was claimed.

I’ve never owned a dog (they’re far too demanding for me), but lots of people do, and dearly love them. If smokers can be easily expelled from society, how much easier will it be to expel dogs and dog owners? It’s not going to be too hard to make a case that dogs pose a Public Health threat far greater even than cigarettes. Dogs can attack and kill people. Many probably carry fleas (or can be plausibly claimed to so do). And of course they defecate everywhere (as does every other animal in the natural world). Canine Control will require dog owners to obtain licences (that probably happens already). Dog “addicts” will be offered inanimate fluffy dog substitutes, and encouraged in canine cessation programmes to give up their dogs. Canine Control officers will comb neighbourhoods shooting dogs, cats, budgerigars, parrots, hamsters, and any other animal they encounter (Here are several graphic reports of dogs being shot on sight by police in the USA).

Absolutely everything is under attack. Marriage is under attack. Gender differences are under attack. Christianity is under attack. Nation states are under attack. Borders are being thrown open. Everything that was once perfectly normal is being derided and de-normalised. The world is being turned upside down.

An explosion is coming.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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28 Responses to Collective Madness

  1. waltc says:

    Random thoughts:

    I met, and had a long talk with, Christopher Hitchens on the steps of the famous 42nd Street library one long ago (post smoke-hysteria) night during a break between a speech and its Q&A, because… not even he ( the speaker) obviously let alone I, (a listener) could smoke inside. (In fact, the meeting led to a brief correspondence . On the subject of….smoking.) I also recall that, in PC Manhattan, he and I seemed to be the only smokers in the crowd.

    The war against dogs will be a lot slower (I imagine there are far more dog owners than smokers–I see far more dogs than smokers on the street) but slowly over the past few years stories have appeared in the news about, for instance, landlords suddenly rewriting the “rules” which force autistic children and disabled elderly to either get rid of their only comfort and loving contact–a small dog– or else be evicted. Already many buildings bar all dogs, and if they don’t ban cats, charge an extra up to $50/ month for having one, BTW, all dogs, tho not yet cats, have to be licensed in most of America.

    The other nite I heard Dennis Miller say on television that he feels like a foreigner in his own country. To which I silently said, amen. And I think half the country feels the same way. And will continue to feel so more and more as our Progressive elites progress us into wilder, more fractured blue yonders. Will it end in explosion? I’m none too sure.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Did Christopher Hitchens ever write about smoking (apart from in your correspondence with him)?

      • waltc says:

        Yes, several times. In this instance he asked me about secondhand smoke. I sent him some telling research but, iirc, in the article he wrote–likely for Esquire– he gave the subject shorter than short shrift. I’ll see if I can find it in some file but I’m terrible with paper files. Once I file something, I can never find it.

  2. Lepercolonist says:

    “Which has led me to believe that in the near future, smokers will form separate societies, or become confined to ghettos. For it won’t just be that non-smokers won’t want to be around smokers, but that smokers won’t want to be around non-smokers. The forces of mutual repulsion will be equal and opposite. Smokers and non-smokers will cease to co-exist with each other. Co-existence will have become impossible. Society will be visibly seen to be broken in ways it has yet to be.”

    Excellent observation, Frank. Very prophetic.

    • beobrigitte says:

      “Which has led me to believe that in the near future, smokers will form separate societies, or become confined to ghettos.
      That links to my most humbling experience – last night in Germany. I had to wave my hands to a youngster who was on a level of defense I have never seen before. I pointed and signed – and the youngster got the message. He hugged us all!!!!
      Finally he understood. We (in Germany) are defending the symbol of freedom, too. It happened when we were leaving the pub in a Bundesland that doesn’t understand the damage a total smoking ban delivers. Our message was induce thought.
      Of All, this youngster got it. He drew attention to hugging us. And then the German youth in the pub started to pay attention.

      We need questions to be asked. And accept (again) the symbol of freedom. I was taught last night by a youngster.

  3. jameshigham says:

    Philosophy in terms of ciggies – like it.

  4. Igrowmyown says:

    Frank I remember the BBC’s last interview with Dennis Potter ( and I think the interviewer was David Dimbleby ) when he had terminal cancer and before the interview began David explained to the viewers that in order for the interview to go ahead the BBC had agreed that Dennis could smoke throughout the interview otherwise Dennis wouldn’t do the interview. It was firmly communicated that this was a complete one off and would not be repeated and Dennis sat there smoking away throughout the interview calling them his little tubes of delight and David Dimbleby saying he almost felt like starting smoking again.

  5. Lecroix says:

    Reblogged this on Contra la ley "antitabaco" and commented:
    “Absolutely everything is under attack. Marriage is under attack. Gender differences are under attack. Christianity is under attack. Nation states are under attack. Borders are being thrown open. Everything that was once perfectly normal is being derided and de-normalised. The world is being turned upside down.

    An explosion is coming.”

  6. Zaphod says:

    “Dog “addicts” will be offered inanimate fluffy dog substitutes,”
    Big Pharma won’t like that. Too simple.
    Perhaps a fluffy substitute with an impregnated canine pheromone, something that can be claimed to be the cause of the “addiction”?
    Of course, the substitutes wouldn’t be allowed in parks either, even with a blue light on the end.
    It would “look like dog-owning”, and encourage cheeldren”.

  7. smokingscot says:

    Because they have a lot of very aged people in Japan – and a good many of them have to live in care centres, several Japanese firms have developed robotic pets. The one that really got things moving is the baby seal because the technology isn’t too complex and the robot only has to squeal like a baby seal. Mainly it’s the feel of the fluffy creature that appeals to lonely elderly people.

    https://www.google.com.cy/search?q=tamagotchi+pet&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=670&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiDp7yu0_DPAhWJ6RQKHRSEDpEQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=japan+robot+pets&imgrc=_

    Since then they’ve introduced dogs and cats and there’s a move to get these and child like robots to go fetch things, even do household chores.

    However the youth in Japan have taken to virtual pets in a very big way. These are electronic devices that demand to be fed and can react to moods and goodness knows what.

    This article tells of a chap who got married to his virtual girlfriend. And – the ultimate smack in the mouth – for today’s young men; they’ve even developed “a robot designed to be the perfect boyfriend.”

    https://japanheartsfashion.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/virtual-craze-in-japan-virtual-pets-fashion-and-lovers/

    But what really took the biscuit was that craze – pretty old hat now – of renting anything from friends to bosses to entire families. This article’s 2012 when it was dying out.

    tokyoreporter.com/2012/12/03/you-can-rent-a-japanese-boyfriend-girlfriend-an-entire-family-or-watch-the-movie/

    Seems robots are lots more reliable and they don’t need to be fed or paid. Given the imbalance they’ve got in China with the one child policy, these should catch on over there.

    • Lollylulubes says:

      I saw a recently made tv programme the other day where, in Tokyo, a man can hire a woman to lie behind him on a bed with her arm around him (spooning at a distance) and a woman can hire a man, by the hour, to lie on the bed with his arm around her and listen attentively to how her day/week went. Weird.

  8. Clicky says:

  9. garyk30 says:

    Smokers and non-smokers can get along.
    I have been married, mostly happily, to my non-smoking wife for 37 years.

    Something almost done in the U.K., they will ban private ownership of guns.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Smokers and non-smokers can get along.
      Of course! My exboss (non-smoker) has no problem with smokers and smoking. Pity is – we fought all the way in work to become become best friends after retirement… Smoking does not enter. He has more ashtrays than I have….

  10. beobrigitte says:

    Collective Madness
    I had a teacher last night. Could make the age of a grandson. And he hugged me (I pointed so he understood what we were trying to tell him) endlessly. It caught me off hand completely.

    The cigarette is a sign of REAL freedom. I had it. I want it back.

  11. Pingback: Loopy’s Pig-Eon Sandwich – Library of Libraries

  12. Reinhold says:

    Translated this (for the most part) into German in https://www.facebook.com/groups/NetzwerkRauchen/
    and eventually it will also appear on http://www.netzwerk-rauchen.de/frank-davis-auf-deutsch.html

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