Nine Inch Nails

This post started as a response to one of Jax’s always-interesting comments, this time about how, however diligent they may be about standing up for the rights of blacks/gays/muslims/women/etc,  nobody ever notices the discrimination being practised against smokers, nobody stands up for the rights of smokers.

smoking remains the “blind spot”smokers are the useful, but nonetheless unspoken, “exceptions” to every rule.

I agree that it’s an enormous blind spot. We have all these laws that were introduced to prevent discrimination against a wide range of people. But smokers fall straight through the net. Why?

Jax’s suggestion is that it’s that it’s ‘useful’ for the government to be able to turn a blind eye to their own antismoking excesses. Smokers, she might have said (but didn’t), are a useful cash cow: if money is to be ostentatiously given to one or other deserving social group, then it must be first be surreptitiously stolen from some other social group. The government wishes to draw attention to its benevolence to the deserving, and distract attention from its maltreatment of the undeserving.

But this suggests that, in a moment of candour, perhaps over a drink in some pub or club, some government minister might admit that smokers were being royally screwed. “But,” he (or she) might add, “We have to get the money from somewhere to fund all our various enlightened progressive social programmes.”

It is perhaps that – if society is always stratified, with some people on top, and some people at the bottom – it just so happens that smokers are now right at the bottom in exactly the same way as blacks and women and gays and disabled people once used to be. Some day the plight of the smokers will be acknowledged, and they will be rehabilitated with great fanfare, possibly with a Statue of the Unknown Smoker erected in some square. It will then be some other social group’s (taxi drivers, accountants, hair stylists?) turn to be at the bottom of the heap, and subjected to relentless abuse. For there is always somebody at the bottom.

But I suspect that, in a moment of candour, over a drink in some pub or club, the government minister wouldn’t make any such admission, but would instead recite the Antismoking Credo that all government ministers (and all politicians) have learned by heart, and can recite without any trace of hesitation.

For I’m more inclined to think that it’s a blind spot because we have all been subjected to about 70 years – maybe even 100+ years – of intense antismoking propaganda to the point that we’ve all been driven round the bend. It’s been hammered into our heads so hard and for so long that we all have nine inch nails sticking out of our heads. And those nine inch nails scramble our thinking. We can’t think rationally about smoking. And that includes politicians, ministers, courts, the EU, everybody. When we try to think about smoking, we just short out through the nine inch nail that we’ve all got in our head. It has become impossible for anyone to think straight, to weigh things up in any sort of sane, balanced manner. People have been told for so long that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer that it has become impossible for them to even begin to imagine that it might not. And now they’ve been told for long enough that Carbon Dioxide Causes Global Warming that it’s become impossible for them to think that it might not (so maybe we’ve now all got at least two nine inch nails in our heads).

I started thinking this way when I first began thinking about smoking, some 12 or 13 years ago, and noticed that I was finding it very, very difficult to question my belief that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer. It was as difficult to question as it had been for me to question, at age 20 or so, the Roman Catholic religious beliefs with which I had been raised, and which had been hammered into my head by an army of Benedictine monks.

It’s very difficult to question some things. In fact, it’s almost unthinkable to question some things. And yet it’s very easy to question lots of other things. Nobody much has any strong opinions about how best to build sandcastles on a beach, for example. It’s not a matter of contention. There are no books with titles like The One, True, And Only Way To Build Sandcastles written by illustrious sandcastle builders in the 14th Century, and kept in the British Museum behind armoured glass. Nobody cares how sandcastles are built. There’s no right or wrong way.

But in a great many matters, there is a great deal of contention. And people take up rigid positions, like soldiers facing each other in a trench war, and desertion from whichever trench you happen to find yourself in will result in your being placed before a firing squad. You’re on Our Side, and you’re going to stay on our side. People are placed under extreme pressure to conform to one opinion or other. One doctrine or other becomes an unquestionable dogma, re-enforced by endless repetitive recital.

I was really only subjected to an intensive Roman Catholic religious education for a period of about 10 years. But antismoking indoctrination has been going on for my entire life. It never stops. It never stops for me, or for anybody else living anywhere in the world. And it only ever gets more intensive.

We’ve all been being blitzed all our lives. And as the years go by, the bombs being dropped on us get heavier and heavier. And nobody escapes. Barack Obama famously never escaped from  is antismoking zealot wife. Nor did Bill Clinton ever escape his. And Donald Trump was so traumatised that he won’t even touch coffee, never mind beer or cigarettes. Theresa May must have been placed under extreme pressure over the past 10 years if she stopped smoking. If many ex-smokers are peculiarly twisted people, it’s probably because they’ve been subjected to torture. And isn’t someone like Deborah Arnott also one of the casualties? In fact, aren’t all the antismokers walking wounded of one sort or other? My Dr W – the first antismoker I ever encountered – was himself a psychological casualty, who was incapable of laughter, yet he got right to the top of the BMA.

No, these people are not cynical puppeteers, robbing Peter to pay Paul. They are no different from us. They are people who have been bombed and blitzed and bullied and badgered and berated all their lives just as much as we have, and they have the wounds to prove it.

I often think that what my Catholic education gave me was excellent experience in how to escape from dogmatic belief systems. I was a veteran already when the antismoking religious crusade started intensifying. I knew the ropes already. It wasn’t my first baptism of fire. I knew how to keep my head down, and my wits constantly about me. I had learned to disbelieve. And I had learned to above all disbelieve what I was being most sternly told I must believe.

The blind spot is always what you’re not allowed to believe, or are not permitted to disbelieve, or cannot question in any way. Our politicians and pundits and propagandists all have the same blind spot. They’ve spent their lives blinding each other. The only people who can see – or who can begin to be able to see – are those who realise that they have been blinded.


About Frank Davis

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39 Responses to Nine Inch Nails

  1. But smokers fall straight through the net. Why?
    Because legally speaking there is no ‘right’ to be a smoker, to smoke. Mind you, the German High Constitutional court (the ‘supreme’ court, after which one goes to the ECHR) did recently rule there is a absolute right to smoke in one’s own 4 walls.
    If there was a legal right to smoke then that ‘No smokers’ on every Estate Agent ad for rented property would be as illegal as ‘No blacks’.
    If FOREST et al would have concentrated their entire efforts on attaining a legal right to smoke then we might well now live in a different society.
    That said, I hear that even in America where Native American prisoners were allowed to smoke as part of their religious ceremonies have now been banned from smoking tobacco…apparently the Anti-Smokers have ruled that an Indian’s prayers can be carried aloft on herbal tobacco. Not sure what The Earth Mother thinks about that one, though.
    One of our possible lines of ‘attack’, had we remained in the EU (And I am getting sick of typing the letters ‘EU’ here, trust me!) would have been theological. But outside, not a chance. The British courts have already ruled that the ‘ freedom of religion’ doesn’t trump other minority rights.

    Would anyone like a slice of Bert & Ernie cake?

    • Vlad says:

      How much sugar is there per slice of cake? :)))))

      • Sugar? SUGAR?!? Don’t you know sugar is the new tobacco? Children might eat a slice and die if there was sugar in it! As responsible bakers we source all our ingredients Fair Trade Organic certified. As a sweetner we only use natural ingredients hand picked by oppressed Somalian Gender disphasics and they personally carry it all the way to the docks to reduce our carbon foot print (and we plant trees). All our products are Vegan approved and allergen free. All out staff are Syrian or muslim refugees and our bakery is blessed by the Imam daily.

        • Rhys says:

          Can I like this post about a thousand times, BD?

          There’s also the point of ‘the new tobacco’. Because that’s what they’re calling it. The folks who started the ‘secondhand sugar’ web site have, apparently, trademarked the term.

          I’ve seen some discussions about fat-shaming, specifically wondering if it will be as effective for the fatties as it was for us.

          They started with us, Frank. But they’re using that particularly dismal roadmap to wipe out pleasures completely, bringing us a future that no sane person would want to live in, at least as far as I can see.

          A tiny bit of hope – go look at Stanton Glantz’s blog today. I must admit that I enjoy seeing him in such a snit, but even that doesn’t fill me with hope. Still….

        • waltc says:

          @Rhys: indeed, drugs like Chantix actually can “wipe out pleasure completely.” From the inside out, by stopping the person from feeling pleasure. From anything.

    • legiron says:

      Herbal ‘tobacco’ is pointless. It’s only missing nicotine and that’s harmless. All the other alleged deadly things are still there.

      It’s cigarettes with the fun part taken out.

  2. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Did any of them quit smoking is more to the point!

    It’s quite easy when the media supports anti smoking they will make sure the politician never gets caught on camera smoking unless their doing a hatchet job then they save the film foe political black male

  3. C.F. Apollyon says:

    Stop smoking.

    Once the smoke clears, we can see each other clearly, talk things over, then you can go back to smoking.


    (Mind if I dip snuff/chew tobacco at this proposed meeting?)

    • You are obviously unaware of the latest scientific break throughs of the WHO/TLC, it seems even chewing or dipping will inexorably and instantaneously cause all manner of horrific illnesses among those unfortunate to be in your vicinity. Every time you open your mouth, or exhale, a micro misting of DEADLY tobacco vapour escapes and covers anyone within a mile radius with CANCER causing toxins!

      …can’t quite recall if this cutting edge scientific discovery is known colloquially as ‘5th’ or ‘6th’ hand smoking. No matter. THERE IS NO SAFE LEVEL OF NICOTINE EXPOSURE!

      • C.F. Apollyon says:

        I don’t think I much care for your attitude. Do you mind keeping your nicotine stained fingers away from your keyboard when contemplating addressing me? It’ll save us both a lot of time and aggravation.

        /wipes chin

        Now…if you can muster some intelligible dialogue in the future, I may entertain it. But as for now…this conversation is over…until/unless/when you reply of course.

        Serious stuff aside…ahem…something someone said to me long ago caused me a great deal of perplexion/perplexity and contemplation…and that is…that snuff dippers/tobacco chewers risk lung cancer/throat cancer due to inhaling of the fumes from the tobacco. Make sense. Seriously…it does. Out environment is our environment. Some things we can choose, and some things we cannot. Ironic eh?


        • Harleyrider1978 says:

          Fuck it get your gun meet me in the street and we can play GUNSMOKE! I warn ya I’m a dead quick shot

    • by a populist candidate
      Think you might have misunderstood something there, Harley. Schulz is so not a ‘populist’
      candidate. At least not in the sense that either the English or German language MSM use the term (in the dictionary of German liberal journalism it is a synonym for ‘Nazi’ btw).
      Schulz is the SDP or ‘democrat’ or ‘Labour’ candidate , the socialist -that’s ‘socialist’ in the European sense, not how you colonials use it.
      And Schulz scoring well in the polls is precisely why the Archangel-in-an-illfitting-suit Gabriel stepped aside. Schulz sleeps in an ‘I <3 EU' tshirt and has hand signed Juncker fluffy slippers…. as i have said here before, if he gets in he could be really a problem for Brexit.
      Tonight's German TV news reported that Merkel – and that would be Oberführerin btw, if you are going to be unpleasant about the woman then at least get the word right-has been having a Love In with the Bavarians so expect her poll ratings to go up.

  4. waltc says:

    Great observations from start to finish, Frank. One difference is the brilliant tactic of secondhand smoke which turned smokers into toxic aliens, quite analogous to lepers. Not even a new technique. The theme of Public Health Menace has been cannily used against any group it can conveniently be applied to. In the book “Silent Travelers” (by a history professor, Allan Kraut) the case is made that it’s historically been applied to Chinese, Italians, Mexicans, and most infamously to blacks and Jews and, when the AIDS scare started, Haitians and homosexuals. The documentation is hair-raising, and the Public Health “science” used to bolster the prejudice is on a par with shs science. But it’s always been effective.

    For just one example: ” It is unacceptable that representatives of the Reich shoukd be obliged to meet Jews when they enter or leave the house and are, in this way, liable to infection from epidemics.”- Hans Frank, Nazi governor of occupied Poland, April, 1940

    And so, in parallel, we get the HUD ban on smoking in public housing and private landlords eager to provide “clean” air for paying tenants who increasingly demand it lest the babies in Apt 2A be poisoned by a smoker in Apt 17Q

  5. Frank Davis says:

    50 second video I made today of rock train formation from a fragmented body orbiting the Earth:

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    The relentless propaganda and targeting of smokers to create an illusion that government cares for the health of its citizens is no more than a variation of divide and conquer. It’s time for the ta=bles to turn and the prohibitionists be sanctioned for their lies.

  7. 16 years of Catholic school here Frank, so yes, we share the baptism of fire experience. In my case/era it was compounded by the awakening from blind patriotism through the reality of what was going on in Vietnam.

    It’s kind of like learning that Santa Claus and Disney Cartoons aren’t real, but it comes at a later stage of life and thus has a deeper effect.

    Unfortunately, at least here in the States with our “Snowflakes Generation” people are still believing in Disney when they’re in their 20s. If there was EVER an “invasion of America” by a nasty enemy they’d find the opposite of what they’d find in Switzerland. Aside from a small minority of Trumpian “Gun Totin’ Rednecks” I’m afraid the vast majority of Americans would cower in their homes and immediately obey any directives that came from any authority over them: there’d be very, very, little in the way of resistance.


  8. Rhys, your link to Glantz’s blog entry is amazing. It’s incredible to watch how they actually ATTACK the concept of science based upon replication and shared data!

    – MJM

    • Rhys says:

      I know. It’s also the council of ‘science science’. Hmm…

      Only evil industry, especially tobacco companies, would employ scientists who want to share data and replicate experiments!

      • Rose says:

        I plunged into the swamp for the first time and took a look too.
        That’s where the scientific method disappeared, right there.
        Pity they didn’t tell the public.

      • Rose says:

        Sir Richard Doll – 2000


        “Roffo succeeded in doing so in the Argentine in 1931, using rabbits, but his results were generally dismissed in the UK and the US on the grounds that the tobacco had been burnt at unrealistically high temperatures.

        Experiments in Britain were negative (Leitch, 1928; Passey, 1929) apart from one which produced one cancer in 50 animals and led Cooper et al (1932) to conclude that “tobacco tar is relatively unimportant in the causation of cancers”.

        Of course they had no idea what was in this “tar” and why it didn’t seem to work.

        Only discovered in 1957.
        “Solanesol is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry as an intermediate for the synthesis of ubiquinone drugs, such as coenzyme Q10 and vitamin K2. Solanesol possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-ulcer activities, and solanesol derivatives also have anti-oxidant and antitumour activities, in addition to other bioactivities.”


        “Despite an 18-month study in the late 1950s, the search for a “supercarcinogen” in MSS and CSC to explain the observed biological effects was unsuccessful. In addition, the exceptional study on MSS PAHs by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) personnel in the 1970s indicated no “supercarcinogen” was present. Only recently has the concept of complex mixtures in relation to the understanding of the complexity of carcinogenesis taken hold. Perhaps the reason why MSS is less tumorigenic than expected in humans is because of the presence of other MSS components that inhibit or prevent tumorigenesis. For example, it is well known that MSS contains numerous anticarcinogens present in quantifies significantly greater than those of the PAHs of concern. When one reviews the history of these four PAHs in MSS or CSC it is clear that many unanswered questions remain.”
        https: //

        That’s probably why they had to abandon the scientific method, it didn’t give them the results they wanted.

        • Rose, that link is enlightening. If I understand the sciencey stuff aright it basically says that ‘cigarettes causing lung cancer is just a load of dingos kidney’? About as valid as the idea of the miasma causing cholera?

        • prog says:

          There are things SO embedded in TC scripture that denial is heresy, punishable by exclusion from ‘normal’ society.

        • Rose says:

          Absolutely BD, as far as I can see, nobody ever asked if tobacco could cause cancer, just constantly tried to prove that it did.
          You can’t “discover” what just isn’t there.
          After I posted that comment I got to thinking about what Fisher said.

          Frank has the link, but I found another.

          “I do not relish the prospect of this science being
          now discredited by a catastrophic and conspicuous
          howler. For it will be as clear in retrospect, as it
          is now in logic, that the data so far do not warrant
          the conclusions based upon them.”

    • Frank Davis says:

      I read that last night. “Gutting health regulations” is just what’s needed. But the article is obviously written by some antismoker, and I wondered whether it was as much a fabrication as anything else of theirs. How did she know whether Steve Milloy or James Enstrom were in the EPA transition team? It would certainly be very promising if they were.

      I was going to mention that article today, perhaps with advice to buy in plenty of beer/popcorn for the upcoming show. But I think I’ll wait and see what Trump actually does. If he does what you’re suggesting, and nails the SHS myth, then Stanton Glantz and Tobacco Control are going to have the most humongous fit of conniptions. In fact, I think some of them might even spontaneously combust, or explode.

      • Harleyrider1978 says:

        Your right how does she know, you see enstrom is pivotal because his federal lawsuit and his exposing the corruption in calepa besides his own school is what led to this!

        Enstrom himself said he was going after the rest for fraud in science after he won his lawsuit

        • Harleyrider1978 says:

          She uses the term consensus of 450 scientists from her side loosely as I’d say she’s referring to activists not scientists as we’ve all seen they the years!

      • Joe L. says:

        In fact, I think some of them might even spontaneously combust, or explode.

        And then they would go up in smoke. How delightfully ironic that would be!

  9. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Steve milloy Prof Enstrom ETS study all of it in there

  10. Harleyrider1978 says:

    It appears trumps not going to just destroy the shs myth but all the myths they point out the new rules mean anything before it can be even suggested must be repeatable studies with the same shown each time!

    Lmao junk science just met its day in hell

  11. Harleyrider1978 says:

    I’d say it’s all but over now, as soon as they start openly having hearings on the junk science to get it public it’s a done deal

  12. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Ashtray stocks might be a good investment now

  13. ishbell says:

    This appeared in my newsfeed because google knows I like “Nine inch nails”

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