I suppose that some people need lots of approval. Maybe some people even live for approval. And they can’t stand disapproval. Smoking Lamp yesterday:
There are many ‘hidden smokers’ these days. They usually are found in alleys and car parks.
Also TBD yesterday:
Most recently the guy, well dressed, good job, maybe mid 40s and judging by his accent and speech from a good , if not very good, school; tried pressing actual coins of the realm into my hand as he asked and dragged me off the street out of view.
These are people who can’t stand disapproval. They’ve met with approval all their lives, and now they’re meeting with disapproval, and they can’t handle it. And if you’re well dressed, with a good job, and a very good education, you’ve probably won a lot of approval. You were probably always top of the form at school. You probably won a lot of prizes.
That guy I was talking to in the pub garden let drop, very casually, that he’d been in “college” in “Cambridge”. Later on in the conversation, he added that he’d been in some sort of hall of residence in Cambridge. That almost certainly meant that he passed a lot of exams, won a lot of prizes. You don’t get to be a student in a Cambridge college unless you belong to the top elite student group. And he was a handsome man too. Even slightly athletic. He mentioned how his swimming had improved after he’d stopped smoking. That almost certainly meant he was one of those swimmers you find in swimming pools, cruising up and down the lanes, doing those somersault turns at each end, and timing themselves with waterproof watches. He probably won prizes for swimming too. I can swim, but after I learned to swim, I never got very much better at doing it.
And he was probably a smash hit with the girls. Particularly given his curiously direct, level gaze. A girl sitting on the other end of that gaze would have felt she’d got his complete attention, and he had eyes only for her.
And now he was skulking at the far end of a pub garden, worrying that someone might see him smoking. He’d met with approval all his life, and so couldn’t handle disapproval.
I could have said that I went to university too, although not quite as good a one as Cambridge. I could also have said that I could swim, although not as well as him. Instead, I only said that I’d done things that quite a few people disapprove of, like smoking pot and growing pot plants. i.e. I’d been at least as bad as he had.
“Women know what’s good for us,” he said, after I’d said I thought my mother had pestered my father into stopping smoking.
“Women only think they know what’s good for us,” I replied. “They don’t really know a damn thing.”
“Smokers are a dying breed,” he said, at some other point in the conversation.
“There are always going to be smokers,” I replied.
I like people who can handle disapproval. It’s why I greatly admire Donald Trump. He gets about five tons of disapproval in the mail every morning. And he gets lots more disapproval all day long. He’s the most disapproved man in America. And it all just washes right off him. I bet he gets quite a lot of disapproval from Melania and Ivanka too. But I bet that also just all washes right off. The man is a bulldozer. I couldn’t do it.
I think it’s because he comes from the wrong side of the tracks in New York. It was always an uphill struggle to just get level with the rich, cultured socialites in Manhattan. He’s never fully won their approval. He puts ketchup on his steaks, FFS.
As a blogger I’m not looking for approval. Or disapproval. I don’t worry much about whether people will agree with me or not. As a blogger I’m always trying to find a new perspective, another way of looking at things. I don’t mind being out on the edge of accepted opinion. Idle Theory is out on the edge. So is my opinion that asteroid 2012 DA14 was a companion of the Chelyabinsk fireball – because everyone in NASA says it wasn’t. They’re disapproved opinions.
When they started out, the mop-top Beatles met with disapproval. And the Rolling Stones met with even more intense disapproval. But now they’re a global cultural institution. Like Bob Dylan, who’s now won a Nobel Prize, even though he can’t sing.
The artists known as Impressionists met with disapproval. People said they couldn’t paint properly. They said the same about Pablo Picasso. And now their paintings are worth millions.
Albert Einstein met with disapproval. People have always been trying to disprove the theory of relativity. They still are.
If you can endure disapproval, you’ll eventually meet with approval. And if you love approval, you’ll eventually meet with disapproval.
And maybe that’s the problem with most smokers. They can’t stand disapproval. They don’t know how to cope with it. They’ve been winning approval all their lives, and now suddenly they’re being met with disapproval. They’ve lived all their lives seeking approval, and when approval is withdrawn, they become ashamed of themselves. They only think as well of themselves as other people think well of them.
I don’t know whether anything can be done for such approval-seeking people. But I don’t doubt the people in Tobacco Control want approval just as much as anybody. I think this is why they’re always having these conferences. where they can express their approval of each other, tell each other what a good job they’ve been doing, and go away refreshed and revitalised. And getting lots of government money means getting government approval. So it’s a slight signal of disapproval when the money stops. And when the money stops coming, that’ll be the end of the line for their particular ponzi scheme. There’ll be fewer and fewer of those conferences, less and less mutual approval. And there’ll be more and more disapproval from people like me. And then maybe they’ll start meeting up in alleys and car parks. And start feeling ashamed of themselves. They’ve got a lot to be ashamed of.