Continuing with yesterday’s “nasty” post, and picking up on a couple of comments in response to it. First Tony:
The trouble with getting nasty is that in many cases, the immediate bullies are friends and family. Nastiness towards them is not an option.
I’m reminded of something mi amiga perdida in Barcelona once told me about the Spanish Civil War: that the divisions in Spanish society ran through families and friendships. There were brothers fighting brothers, sons fighting fathers. The Spanish Civil War was not like the American Civil War between the north and south.
At the time she told me about it, I wondered how such a thing could happen. But I soon realised, with the advent of the UK smoking ban, that friends could be very easily divided from friends, and set one against the other. After all, I was now experiencing it myself. Over the past 10 years, I have lost all the friends that I’d had before the ban, and whom in some cases I’d known for over 30 years.
About the only thing I haven’t lost is my brother and his family. My brother is an ex-smoker, but he’s quite sympathetic towards smokers. From the outset he was urging me to become politically active in the cause of smoking. And I’ve taken his advice (as I have on countless occasions throughout my life). But I think I’m lucky to have such a sympathetic brother. I can well imagine less sympathetic brothers falling out with each other just like I fell out with my former friends.
And I never “got nasty” with any of my former friends. I just walked away. Which brings me to Walt’s response to Tony:
Yes, I’ve been wickedly nasty on occasion, except, as Tony said, with relatives who once took me by surprise. I just never went back there again.
That’s what happens: You just don’t ever go back to see them again. Back in 2010, I visited some very old friends. Friends of some 35 years duration. Shortly after I arrived and had sat down in the kitchen, they told me that smoking was now banned in their house (it had not been for the previous 35 years: the paterfamilias would never have conscioned such a thing). I stayed on that day for several hours for old times’ sake, but I knew that I would never see them again. I could have told them that day that they would never see me again, but I didn’t want to spoil the nice sunny day. They found out over the next few years.
One eye-opener I came across yesterday was James Delingpole’s interview of Tommy Robinson, lately of the EDL. Tommy Robinson is one of those fringe figures in English politics: a reviled English nationalist. The interview is 95% Robinson talking, telling how over the past 30 years the small town of Luton had gone from having one mosque to 30 mosques, and how UK prisons were under the control of Islamists: you can now only find safety as a child molester if you convert to Islam. Robinson had been beaten up on numerous occasions, to the point where he had none of his own teeth left. He was, as James Delingpole remarked at the end of the discussion, a “dead man walking”.
Robinson is the sort of person who would never be allowed on any BBC or other MSM programme. But he’d been invited to speak at the Oxford Union a while back, and after having been shunned by everyone on arrival, won everyone over in the subsequent debate, and left surrounded by admirers. He was now devoting himself to spreading his message on the internet, and this had brought him before James Delingpole. Unable to get a hearing in the mainstream media, Robinson had adopted the alternative online media instead.
Which is what I’ve done. Smokers don’t get any hearing in the mainstream media. They are as rigorously excluded as English nationalists like Tommy Robinson. But we smokers can squeeze through the cracks by using the alternative online media, and get our message out that way. It just takes a bit longer.
Robinson turned out to be a big fan of Paul Joseph Watson (about whom I retain slight reservations), who is now pretty much an anchor on Alex Jones’ Infowars. In the USA, the online alternative media seems to be pretty much as powerful as the MSM.