Ellen Judson

A couple of people have posted up a link to an article in the American Thinker. One of them commented:

It goes on with the author debunking smoking bans as irrational and unnecessary and cites a few facts but does not go into detail.

Meantime, 199+ comments suddenly appear and it’s the smoke-haters spewing venom about their rights to clean air and that SHS kills – with some provocative back and forth from anti-smoking ban people.

I read a few of the comments, and the first one I came across was this one from Ellen Judson:

I think, to a large degree, that smokers are responsible for their own lack of acceptance. I used to work in an office (at least 40 years ago) that allowed smoking as most of them at the time did. I had a desk that was next to a woman’s who smoked. When she smoked she did absolutely NOTHING to prevent her smoke from drifting into my space and my face. I hated her guts. I was thrilled when she was moved to another office. If she had been the SLIGHTEST bit aware of how rude she was by blowing her smoke my way I probably wouldn’t have cared that she smoked as it was common everywhere anyway. This kind of thoughtless behavior was probably a main reason that policies, and then laws, against smoking in common areas were established. As far as I’m concerned smokers have nobody but themselves to blame for the anti-smoking laws. Unfortunately, too many of them cared for nobody but themselves when it came to smoking in public.

Was there anything the woman at the other desk could have done to prevent her smoke from drifting into other people’s space? Short of surrounding her desk with an airtight enclosure, I can’t see that there was. What the hell was she supposed to do? Use a fan to blow it away from Ellen Judson – and towards other less deserving people in the office?

And was she “blowing smoke” in Ellen Judson’s direction? Probably not. Smokers just blow smoke in whatever direction they happen to be facing. They very seldom deliberately blow it towards anyone. And even if they do blow it towards anyone, it never gets very far, because exhaled breath is slow-moving, and quickly comes to a stop. It’s not like a cigarette is some sort of blowgun. that can fire aimed projectiles at high speeds towards distant targets.

And was it “thoughtless behavior” on her part? Would thinking have helped in any way? I can’t see how thinking would have prevented the smoke dispersing throughout the room. The only thoughtless thing she’d done, maybe, was to light a cigarette. Maybe she was also thoughtlessly scribbling on a notepad, or thoughtlessly reading a report, or thoughtlessly talking on a telephone, or thoughtlessly wearing perfume, or thoughtlessly wearing a mini-skirt, or thoughtlessly eating a cheeseburger, or thoughtlessly varnishing her fingernails. Are we all supposed to be thinking the whole damn time what effects the things we’re doing might have on other people?

Then she says: “I probably wouldn’t have cared that she smoked as it was common everywhere anyway.” The crime of the woman smoking at the adjacent desk wasn’t that she was smoking: it was that she was blowing smoke in her direction. But this was an imaginary crime, because smokers have no control over smoke once it has escaped from their mouths or the burning tips of their cigarettes.

It’s in the nature of smoke to disperse and spread. It’s also in the nature of odours of every kind to do the same.

In fact it’s in the nature of absolutely everything to disperse and spread. It’s in the nature of heat to disperse and spread. It’s in the nature of light to disperse and spread. It’s in the nature of sound to disperse and spread.

If I sit in a restaurant, thoughtlessly eating fish and chips, and thoughtlessly shaking salt and tomato ketchup over it, and thoughtlessly putting forkfuls of it in my mouth, while thoughtlessly smoking a cigarette, and thoughtlessly drinking a beer, and thoughtlessly reading a newspaper, and thoughtlessly talking to someone else who’s sitting at the same table thoughtlessly doing the exact same things, then everything I’m doing is going affect everyone else in the restaurant. People are going to not only have to put up with clouds of tobacco smoke coming from my table, but also clouds of alcohol vapour from my beer, and a hail of salt and ketchup and fish and chips. And they’ll also have to put up with the din of my voice, and of my knife and fork clattering on my plate, and the loud chomping sounds I make when I eat, and the rustle of my newspaper, and the squeal of my chair legs when I get up to get some apple pie and custard. And they’ll have to avert their eyes if they don’t want to see me doing all those things as well.

And I think that if Ellen Judson was going to complain about her co-worker’s cigarette, then she probably was going to complain about one heck of a lot more. She would have complained about her cheap, cloying perfume. She would have complained about the garish bright pink twin set she wore. She would have complained about her blonde beehive hairstyle. She would have complained about her jingling earrings. She would have complained about her purple lipstick. She would have complained about the mascara dripping from her eyelashes. She would have complained about her silly habit of wrapping the phone cable round her fingers as she talked on the phone. She would have complained about how she always said, “Great! No problem,” every second sentence.

She would probably have complained about everything about her.

Ellen Judson’s real problem was that there was someone else in the room. And she couldn’t help noticing them in countless different ways. And she wished they weren’t there.

And probably the same was true whenever she went anywhere. She wished that the restaurants she went to were all empty. And the trains she rode on. And the hotels she stayed in. And the beaches she sunbathed on. She wished that everywhere she went was her own private space.

But there can be no privacy in public spaces. In public spaces everyone is always helplessly interacting with everyone else. In public life you get to helplessly see and hear and smell and touch everyone else. That’s just how it is. That’s life.

The best thing that people like Ellen Judson could do would be to stay at home in their own safe spaces, where they don’t get to see or hear or smell or touch anyone else, ever.

But instead the world is full of Ellen Judsons. And they’re all busily turning public spaces into their own private property, and imposing their values on everyone else, and driving them all back to their own homes.

And although they demand that everyone else thoughtfully keep them in mind, they never think of anyone else. They don’t give a damn about the smokers they exile to the outdoors: out of sight is out of mind. Although they loudly complain about what other people thoughtlessly do or say in their presence, they never think for one moment what effect they’re having on other people with their multiplying strictures and rules and bans.

And I don’t want to know the Ellen Judsons of the world. I’d always be worried about what they were going to complain about next. I’d never be able to relax in their company, because such people are never companionable. And they’re not companionable because they don’t like company.

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About Frank Davis

smoker
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14 Responses to Ellen Judson

  1. buckothemoose says:

    One type of smoking ban I’ve never objected to is in places where people have no option but to enter, work probably being the one with the least options. Most of us have to work to pay the bills, so have to choice but to go into the office or wherever
    I worked in a smoking office when I was a teenager in one of the council buildings. It was a big, open plan office and the desks were like huge dining tables, where everyone sat together. We ‘thoughtlessly’ smoked in that office because smoking wasn’t something you thought about, it was something you did. No nonsmokers never seemed to care though, as it was normal
    I believe Ellen Judson did not care a jot about smoking in her office 40 years ago, but now that smoker hatred is the norm, she looks back and imagines she did care
    When I moved to a non-smoking office, the only thing that bothered me was that there were no smoking rooms provided anywhere. We had to stand outside in the cold, like we do at pubs now.
    Banning smoking in an office where non-smokers cannot choose to avoid does not bother me, but not providing somewhere for the smokers to go, really does

    • Frank Davis says:

      Banning smoking in an office where non-smokers cannot choose to avoid does not bother me

      Depends who’s doing the banning. If it’s the state, with one-size-fits-all legislation, it would (and does) bother me. If it’s company policy, I should be able to go elsewhere. It would have bothered me a lot, as a computer programmer, to not have been able to smoke, because tobacco helped (and still helps) my concentration

      • waltc says:

        Yes, me too. I could not have done creative office work without smoking as I worked.

      • Joe L. says:

        It would have bothered me a lot, as a computer programmer, to not have been able to smoke, because tobacco helped (and still helps) my concentration

        Welcome to my daily life, Frank. As a fellow programmer, I take a good deal of “smoke breaks” throughout the day. While sometimes it’s helpful to clear the mind by getting up and venturing outside (quite often into the rain, unfortunately), often times inspiration strikes midway through a cigarette and I’m stuck outside hoping to remember (and not overthink or second-guess) an idea until I can get back to my desk. I would be far more productive if I was allowed to smoke while working.

        Also, as a musician, I used to enjoy writing songs sitting at my piano or with a guitar while smoking cigarettes. Since I moved to the left coast and now live in an apartment where I’m forbidden from smoking, I have no motivation whatsoever to write or even play music. For me, the creative process is non-existent without tobacco. Sadly, the thought of writing music is now more of a chore or inconvenience than an enjoyable experience.

        Also, I stopped playing live shows while living in Chicago back in 2008 after the indoor smoking ban came into effect there. Not only did I resent the fact that I could no longer enjoy a cigarette while setting up my equipment or after a set while conversing with newfound fans in the crowd, but I also noticed that I was playing to emptier venues. This was because people would go outside for a smoke during the opening bands’ sets, get involved in a coversation, and stay out there until the band they were waiting to see took the stage. People were no longer getting exposed to new bands the way they were previously when smoking was allowed in venues and people didn’t leave until the entire show was over. Smoking bans completely sucked all enjoyment out of music for me.

  2. Joe Jackson says:

    Exactly. She is complaining (retro-actively!) about someone smoking (when it was allowed, and commonplace) rather than, for instance, complaining that her employers didn’t provide a smoking room. That’s because of an odd phenomenon, which goes something like: ‘the less smoke there is,
    the more it bothers me’. People have been conditioned to hate smoking, and embrace smoking bans, to the point where the slightest evidence of a wisp of smoke outrages them. They actually believe their human rights are threatened.

    Someone like Ellen Judson would say ‘but my colleague’s perfume, eating habits etc don’t affect anyone as much as smoke does’. Although I hate her attitude, there are better examples. In the US, the law has shifted of late in favour of dog owners. In New York it’s now legal to have a dog on an outside restaurant patio – suddenly there are dogs everywhere, but you can’t smoke. Also airlines are obliged to accept passengers with dogs if they are ‘service animals’. Suddenly, healthy and apparently sane young people are appearing on planes with pets which they’ve managed to get a therapist or someone, to claim are necessary for their mental or emotional security. Needless to say, you can’t smoke. I speak as someone who’s highly allergic to dogs, and nervous about flying. A cigarette would help my mental and emotional security, but no one wants to know about that. Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. To a great extent, it’s fashionable conformity, and I think it’s like the Berlin Wall – something which remains entrenched until as-yet unforeseen circumstances send it crashing down.

    Meanwhile though, I have to say that one difference between me and the Ellen Judsons is that although I can’t abide dogs, I understand that some people love them and that they are part of British pub life. Thus I don’t want them banned; if a pub, or a part of a pub, is too ‘doggy’, I’ll go somewhere else. There is a choice – something which is now denied to smokers.

  3. Rose says:

    I can’t abide dogs either, but I know that is my loss and if forced to be in the presence of a dog in a confined space, I try not to let it show. Mind you I am wary of anything that has bigger teeth than me.

    I wouldn’t even try to justify my dislike of dogs though.

  4. beobrigitte says:

    I read a few of the comments, and the first one I came across was this one from Ellen Judson:

    I think, to a large degree, that smokers are responsible for their own lack of acceptance.
    I blame the anti-smokers 100%.

    I used to work in an office (at least 40 years ago) that allowed smoking as most of them at the time did. I had a desk that was next to a woman’s who smoked. When she smoked she did absolutely NOTHING to prevent her smoke from drifting into my space and my face.
    Somehow I don’t think Ellen Judson thought about politely asking her colleague(s). Judging from the above part of her comment, there were more people smoking in the office at the time.

    I hated her guts.
    Ellen Judson probably still does not have guts. But now the anti-smoking brigade is in power, it’s easy for her to speak up about “her-suffering-40-years-ago”. *Yawn*

    I was thrilled when she was moved to another office. If she had been the SLIGHTEST bit aware of how rude she was by blowing her smoke my way I probably wouldn’t have cared that she smoked as it was common everywhere anyway.
    Refer to reply to I HATED HER GUTS.

    This kind of thoughtless behavior was probably a main reason that policies, and then laws, against smoking in common areas were established.
    Nope. It was a small group of people who took a lot of the time begging the rich and influential for cash and the rest was “persuading” politicians.

    As far as I’m concerned smokers have nobody but themselves to blame for the anti-smoking laws. Unfortunately, too many of them cared for nobody but themselves when it came to smoking in public.
    Saying this twice does not make it become the truth.

    There are a lot of smells I hate.
    One of them is a lamb joint in the oven. One of the people I lived with 34 years ago seemed to only cook lamb. In the oven. The house still stunk of it still the next morning. My house mate knew I hated the smell but it didn’t stop him cooking the lamb in the oven.
    The difference between Ellen Judson and myself is that I told my house mate that I hated the smell and we cracked jokes when I didn’t prank him for shoving his lamb in the oven on a daily basis.
    34 years later I still laugh about the jokes (and pranks!). Great memory.

    The best thing that people like Ellen Judson could do would be to stay at home in their own safe spaces, where they don’t get to see or hear or smell or touch anyone else, ever.

    But instead the world is full of Ellen Judsons. And they’re all busily turning public spaces into their own private property, and imposing their values on everyone else, and driving them all back to their own homes.
    The world full of Ellen Judsons don’t seem to have understood that smokers are people, too and therefore have to be treated with courtesy and respect like everyone else.

  5. waltc says:

    By now, the comments are predominantly anti-Anti.

  6. Philip Neal says:

    Ellen Judson is clearly appealing to the Infringement Principle, which states that if you inconvenience me you have infringed my rights and if I inconvenience you you just have to get used to it.

  7. “I hated her guts. I was thrilled when she was moved to another office.”

    Reading this, I was thinking that so intense a prejudice would have been rare in the late 1970s and that this lady is a victim of some kind of retrospective illusion (‘ghost of smoking past’ syndrome?), so I was unwittingly paraphrasing buckothemoose’s and Joe Jackson’s comments in my head even before reading them. If our hypothesis is correct, then she must be living in a ‘perpetual present’, which is one of the five features of “spectacular domination” according to Guy Debord’s theory.

    Or maybe the ambiguity of some headlines she possibly read such as this one: SMOKING MORE HAZARDOUS THAN THOUGHT* got the better of her what was left of her discernment, and she decided to steer clear of BOTH activities, just to be on the safe side?

    * Quoted in Richard Lederer’s The Revenge of Anguished English.

  8. Lepercolonist says:

    Ellen Judson would love to file a sexual harassment against her flirtatious male manager from 1978. Typical anti-social bitch.

    • Joe L. says:

      Ellen Judson would love to file a sexual harassment against her flirtatious male manager from 1978 …

      … Yet at the time she considered it flattering.

      Great analogy. Judson’s retroactive hatred of her smoking colleague makes me think that all those years ago she was jealous of said colleague for something petty (talent? looks? desk by a window?), and now uses smoking (because it’s become socially acceptable to hate smokers) as an outlet for her repressed insecurities.

  9. Douglas Hall says:

    I remember smoking in the office forty years ago. I really was at my most productive then. Like Winston Churchill. But then the bans came in and reduced my performance. Put up with it until 2011. Can’t and won’t work in a non-smoking office anymore. I’m still here, so when I light up in the company of others, I say “Don’t worry, you won’t catch cancer”

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