The Endarkenment

I keep saying that Tobacco Control tells lies.  From Mandy Vincent and Roobeedoo today, this story in the Guardian:

I saw an advert looking for models for tobacco warnings. It was paid, so I applied and made the shortlist. I asked what I needed to bring to wear and they sent me a one-line email saying: “This is what we need you to do,” and attached a picture of a naked guy curled up in a ball. They told me I would get €100.

The other people on the shoot were from the photographer’s agency. They were after all sorts of setups: “Woman looking sad in wheelchair”, “Man blowing smoke in a baby’s face”, “Dead man in a morgue”. I went into a weird studio and they told me to take all my clothes off. I lay down on a makeshift bed while two guys on ladders stood over me, photographing. They were directing me from up there, asking me to look more anguished, or more angry, or asking me to rearrange myself because my testicles were in shot. But they got the shot. It wasn’t until the cigarette packets came out that I discovered it would be a warning about impotence.

The next shoot was even weirder. This time, I was offered €200 and asked to come to a disused hospital on the outskirts of Berlin. They painted my face grey, put me in a body bag and took me to the morgue. Being in a body bag really freaked me out, especially when the photographer zipped the bag up fully and whispered: “This is for Dresden,” before unzipping me. He had a dark sense of humour. That’s the warning advert where I’m playing the dead guy.

We’re in a propaganda war. And propaganda is really just lies that you want to get people to believe. The antismokers in Tobacco Control want to get people to believe that smoking kills.

I knew that the pictures on tobacco products were fraudulent, and very often weren’t even of smokers. I wasn’t aware that the whole thing was such a complete fraud, quite such an elaborate lie.

I should have known better. Tobacco Control is always lying. Everything they say is a lie. And one day it’s going to come back and smack them in the face. One day people will just stop believing them. They’ll stop believing everything they say.

It’s not just tobacco they’re telling lies about. They’re telling lies about everything, all the time. These days you can’t believe anyone. You can’t trust anyone.

I sometimes wonder whether WW2 ever ended. Or whether it ended, but the propaganda war that accompanied it never ended, but was just redirected in new directions. Shortly after the end of WW2, the propaganda machine was redirected into a war on smoking. And they used all the tricks of the trade to get people to stop smoking. And when they were quite successful, they redirected the propaganda machine into a war on alcohol and sugar and butter. And now they’re running a propaganda war against carbon dioxide as well. Using children like Greta Thunberg.

And most people seem to believe the propaganda. And so now there are millions of people spooked about tobacco and alcohol and sugar and fat and carbon dioxide. But there are also more and more people who have simply stopped believing any of it.

Take Jeffrey Epstein. What happened? Does anyone believe the stories in the mainstream media? Does anyone really know what happened? Does anyone really have any way of knowing what really happened? I don’t know what happened, and furthermore I doubt I’ll ever know. That’s how it is these days. It starts with a mystery, and then it gets even more mysterious, and you end up knowing less and less rather than more and more. You never get enlightened: you only ever become more and more endarkened.

We’re living in an Age of Endarkenment. Instead of lights being turned on, they’re being turned off. Instead of learning more and more about everything, we’re learning less and less.

About Frank Davis

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20 Responses to The Endarkenment

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Loved this post Frank! Thank you.

    • Algernon Struthers says:

      Yep! Frank offers another thoughtful essay, which is sadly, factually true. As such, Frank, by your honest thoughts, I trust you.
      Paradoxes, I like them. :)

  2. RdM says:

    However, at the last paragraph of that Guardian article, the author writes

    “At €300 for millions of reproductions of my naked body, it definitely wasn’t a lucrative shoot for me, but I hope that those warnings work – that I put some people off smoking, or maybe even save some lives. Maybe. Oh, and I don’t smoke. I should probably mention that.”

    So he’s drunk the Kool Aid anyway …
    And the ” a picture of dead me on a packet ” link already no longer works.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along … or else?

  3. garyk30 says:


    “Twenty fags a day no worse than city living”
    From The Metro:

    SMOKING a packet of cigarettes a day is no worse for the health than air pollution that city dwellers are exposed to, a shock report warns.

    Breathing in fumes from traffic, planes, power plants and industry on a long-term, regular basis is causing growing numbers of urban non-smokers to develop chronic lung disease, experts say.

    29 years of puffing on 20 cigarettes daily was found to do no more damage than just a decade of city living…

    A government spokesperson said last night: ‘We might have been exaggerating the dangers of smoking a bit recently, which is why we will be easing off on the smokers and meddling elsewhere instead.’

  4. Rose says:

    Just a decade of city living was found to do the same damage as 29 years of puffing on 20 cigarettes daily

    It’s unfortunate for us, but he longer these smoking bans go on the clearer we can see.

    Mortality in the London Boroughs, 1950—52, with Special Reference to Respiratory Disease

    “It is interesting to note the parallel between these figures and those of a recent study of cancer among British immigrants in New Zealand ( Eastcott, 1956)

    Compared with the native born population, British immigrants had an excessive risk of death from cancer of the lung (but no other site),and this excess was sufficiently greater for persons who had lived in Britain until they were 30 years old than for those who migrated at an earlier age.

    Thus emerges from both studies a consistent relationship between duration of exposure to the putatively noxious environment and risk of later death from respiratory disease.”

    “Michael Abramson: “The lungs of city dwellers are much dirtier than the lungs of rural dwellers. So that if a post mortem examination is performed, you actually see the black deposits on the outside of the lungs of city dwellers and also in the lymph glands in the middle of the chest.

    And this is true, even in people who haven’t worked in a coal mine or haven’t smoked. It’s simply the effect of breathing in fine particles over the years of a lifetime.”

  5. Dmitry says:

    An Age of Endarkenment, Frank, is what Karl Sagan called “The World Full Of Demons”, I think. It’s a book about “dumbing down” a whole generation by means of education getting worse and the rest. And he wrote it in the 90-s, if not earlier.

  6. garyk30 says:

    Just a decade of city living was found to do the same damage as 29 years of puffing on 20 cigarettes daily

    One year of city living must be equal to thousands of years of SHS exposure..

    Or. Ten hours of SHS exposure is equal to 10 seconds of breathing urban air.
    Something like that ,anyway.

  7. jaxthefirst says:

    Didn’t the chap with the amputated leg protest a while back after his photo was used? I think he lost it in an accident – maybe a shooting accident, IIRC? Nothing to do with smoking at all. It makes the whole thing into a bit of a farce, doesn’t it? How did the discussion go with the people who came up with the bright idea about these photos? “Hey, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s find a lot of people who aren’t ill or dead from smoking and put them on the pack to pretend that they are!” You’d think that deep in the bowels of the anti-smoking movement, someone would have suggested that it would be an even better idea to find people who genuinely were ill from smoking and use those instead, no?

    It seems that they are all false, including the coalminer’s lung and the Meth-mouth photos and the Italian chap photographed when he was in hospital for a back operation. Couldn’t they find some smokers to do it? At least then they could correctly say: “Look at this smoker! See how ill he is!” Or perhaps some ex-smokers. They tend to become rabid antis more often than not as soon as they give up, so you’d think they’d be queuing up to say: “Oooh, look what all that nasty smoking did to me!” But no – they don’t seem able to find anyone who is genuinely ill because they smoked cigarettes. Why is that? After all, they keep telling us how many smokers drop dead every day from smoking, so there shouldn’t be a shortage. Or could it be that that’s a lie, too ……

    • Joe L. says:

      You’d think that deep in the bowels of the anti-smoking movement, someone would have suggested that it would be an even better idea to find people who genuinely were ill from smoking and use those instead, no?

      Certainly, that would make more sense, Jax. However, a.) there is still no empirical evidence that smoking causes any disease, so no matter who they chose to photograph, it would still be purely an assumption that his/her malady was “caused” by smoking, and b.) The Antismokers realized that 99% of the population believe what they see/hear without questioning. Thus they could lie however they pleased.

      However, with the recent rise in awareness of “fake news” and after the yet-unexplained Las Vegas shooting (case closed: no motive found!) and now the beyond-coincidental circumstances of Jeffery Epstein’s death, I believe many people are becoming less and less trustworthy of the information being force-fed to them. In fact we might actually be nearing the end of the Endarkenment.

    • Frank Davis says:

      You’d think that deep in the bowels of the anti-smoking movement, someone would have suggested that it would be an even better idea to find people who genuinely were ill from smoking and use those instead, no?

      But it would seem that nobody did suggest this. Instead they were quite happy to use not just sick non-smokers in place of smokers, but to even make up non-smokers to look sick (by painting them grey). They quite happily engaged in deception. Why believe anything they say about anything?

    • Charles Burns says:

      My friend of 60 years developed emphysema. He quit smoking about 35 years ago. Apparently, his doctors told him, in effect, that his emphysema was his own fault for smoking those cigarettes decades ago, and he apparently believes that. Even though I am also 70 years old and I have never quit smoking since I started when he did, when we were both 14, and I don’t have any lung problems or any “smoking related illness.”
      My friend is an otherwise intelligent and perceptive man. Such is the power of propaganda.

    • Joe L. says:

      Thanks for the link, Walt. However, I’m not a fan of using this study to debate, because in order to use this as a weapon against the Antismokers, one must first concede that smoking actually causes lung disease. However, there have been no empirical studies which have ever supported this claim; only statistics-based pseudoscience. I refuse to use the, “your lifestyle is as unhealthy as mine” argument because I have yet to see any credible evidence that my lifestyle choices are actually “unhealthy.”

      • Charles Burns says:

        Yes. Furthermore, I think that, since lung cancer rates continue to rise as smoking rates continue to decline, the quacks known as the “medical community” are just casting about for some other “cause” of lung cancer.
        But the fact is that they don’t know what causes cancer because they can’t cure it. They are only guessing.
        My guess would be all the plutonium put into the atmosphere by the hundreds of nuclear weapons detonated in the open air during “weapons testing” in the decades after WWII. Plutonium is extremely carcenogenic in amounts as small as a single atom, and it’s half life is, what? A hundred thousand years? It’s as good a guess as any.

  8. Rose says:

    The American Graphic Images

    No ifs, ands or butts — FDA warning photos faked

    “The government unveiled the bogus pictures at a White House event staged to look like a press conference.
    William Corr, a deputy secretary at HHS, lamented the formal setting, saying: “We should be having a party to celebrate!” He went on to testify how the new pictures “tell the truth.”
    Another government official called the tobacco company advertising “non-factual and controversial.” The government’s falsified pictures, he said, “speak the truth.”

    Not that these government officials had to defend themselves or their campaign from anyone sitting in the audience section. Most questions began with a glowing congratulations or an emotional thank you.
    “What languages will be available on the quit line?” inquired one of the questioners about the hotline number that will be plastered beneath each of the haunting images.”
    There is only one problem with the federal government’s great campaign of graphic images aimed at combating the deceit of tobacco companies and rescuing us from our stupid selves.

    The images are fabricated.

    “Some are photographs; some are illustrations,” a spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services explained to me Tuesday when I called about the new pictures.

    The dead man with the zipped-up chest? “It’s not a dead body,” the spokesman assured me. “It’s an actor. It’s supposed to be a cadaver after an autopsy.”

    The man with the wispy smoke coming out of the hole in his throat? “That’s a Photoshopped illustration.”

    The baby in an incubator is a creepy drawing.

    As for the corroded lungs? Who knows, given their track record so far? Maybe it is a real picture and that of a smoker. Or, perhaps they are the lungs of someone who handled asbestos in a Navy yard for the federal government. Or maybe it is altogether faked.”

  9. r says:

    Yes, I’ve long thought that it would be reasonable to submit a well-thought out and evidentially documented (with such as the above, but necessarily local) “complaint” to an Advertising Standards Authority, but it would need to be well researched, and well written, IMHO, to get a chance.

    You only have one shot, I think, so to make it count and really affect things, it needs to be …

    Else, a weak argument will be thrown out, and that will set the precedent.

    Here in NZ we have the

    and in the UK, just starting to explore, seems a bit complex to me, say

    Perhaos those in the USA have an equivalent?

    • RdM says:

      And so it would be worth researching in any country what decisions have been made, to get an idea of what you’re up against. Slowly, softly …

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