The Invisible Minority

One thing that puzzles me: why are smokers an invisible minority? Blacks, women, gays, etc. are all highly visible minorities, and politicians court them. So why aren’t they courting smokers? Why don’t they ever mention them? Why can’t they even see them?

It occurred to me this morning that there may be a simple explanation for this invisibility, and it can be found in ubiquitous No Smoking signs.

Can you see it?

No, of course you can’t. Because it’s invisible.  What’s missing from this No Smoking sign is the smoker smoking the cigarette. He’s been airbrushed out.

Cigarettes don’t light themselves or smoke themselves. With every lit cigarette there is always an accompanying smoker. So when smoking is banned, so also are smokers. And if No Smoking signs included the smoker it would be clear that a particular sort of person was being prohibited.

So here’s the explanation for why smokers are invisible: They’ve been airbrushed out of No Smoking signs, and thereby airbrushed out of society. Cigarettes have become highly visible, and smokers invisible. Or smokers only become visible when they light cigarettes, rather like pedestrians only become visible at night if standing under street lights..

It’s also why the prohibitions on smokers can be (and are) so draconian. By removing the smoker, the target of the prohibition becomes a thing: a cigarette. And things have no rights. Only people have rights. So by focusing attention only on the cigarette, and ignoring its accompanying smoker, it becomes possible to enact legislation which targets the cigarette, but seemingly not the smoker, because the smoker is not shown. And once cigarettes can be unapologetically stubbed out, crushed, chopped up, pushed outside, dumped on the streets, smokers can unapologetically crushed, pushed outside, dumped on the streets.

So, for example, if you want to ban women from somewhere, without seeming to be doing so, you would ban some of the attributes of women, For example, little black dresses and high heel shoes. No woman would be depicted.

Another thing about No Smoking signs is that they are imported traffic signs. On Britain’s roads (and probably everywhere else) a universal sign language has emerged. In this new language a sign with a red circle around it is a sign that commands motorists . And a sign with a diagonal red line through is a prohibition on something. The sign at right prohibits turning right. Long before Britain’s smokers were assailed with No Smoking signs, Britain’s motorists were being ordered around by traffic signs.

And if the motorists would obey traffic signs, perhaps the same sort of instructions, using the same universal language, could be employed elsewhere. And they are indeed being used elsewhere, first in No Smoking signs, but now also No Vaping signs, or combined No Smoking Or Vaping signs. There are lots more of these new hieroglyphs now.

About Frank Davis

smoker
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Invisible Minority

  1. Ripper says:

    Frank, its not that I disagree with you, but this theory has inconsistencies. Take your sign that bans females for example. Its not banning females, they have the option of wearing jeans and trainers, or trouser suits with flat shoes. Likewise, when a smoker is not smoking, is he technically still a smoker, or just another person? If he is just another person then the sign does not ban him from being there. Like the woman, he has the choice to be there since as you say, the sign bans the object, not the person. If we were to take the signs literally I would be confused by the road sign – since there is no object other than a pointer on the sign, does it apply to traffic only, or pedestrians as well? Who can turn right and who can’t? But no one takes them literally, we all know that road signs only apply to traffic on the road and not the pavement, therefore there’s nothing to stop anyone from turning right on foot. Going back to the other signs, I would say that they are constructed to force people to behave in a desired manner, rather than banning them.

    • Frank Davis says:

      …when a smoker is not smoking, is he technically still a smoker…?

      I think so. I think that being a smoker is like being English, or Christian, or a Conservative, or any number of other identities. It’s something that you are, all the time. So I think that when smoking was banned in UK pubs in 2007, I was effectively banned from them, because smoking is part of my identity of who I am. If smoking was banned, I was banned too. It wasn’t just that my smoking had become unwelcome, I ceased to be welcome too. And that’s the way I’ve felt since 1 July 2007: unwelcome in my own country.

      Going back to the other signs, I would say that they are constructed to force people to behave in a desired manner, rather than banning them.

      Isn’t forcing people to behave in some way just another way of banning them from being whatever they were before? The way we behave is also part of who we are.

      • Ripper says:

        “I think so. I think that being a smoker is like being English, or Christian, or a Conservative, or any number of other identities. It’s something that you are, all the time. So I think that when smoking was banned in UK pubs in 2007, I was effectively banned from them, because smoking is part of my identity of who I am. If smoking was banned, I was banned too.”

        If only it were so simple Frank. As a smoker I can’t work or earn any money, so every day I have to become a fake non-smoker until break time. Like the police officer, when he goes off duty and takes off the uniform he is no longer a police officer but an ordinary member of the public. Personally I don’t go with the feeling welcome part, its my country and always will be, regardless of the lunatics. The pub may have to display the sign and stop me from smoking inside because they are under threat if they don’t but I’m certainly not unwelcome there. Neither are smokers a minority (I include vapers too, since both have the same enemy and SHOULD be on the same side), a large percentage of the world population smoke or vape. The problem is, they won’t stick together and you can’t help those who won’t help themselves, so each and every one of us is alone and unable to do anything. Another thing I don’t believe is that the anti-smokers are tyrants – well some may be – they rather remind me of the tell-tales at school. I’m not talking about the brainwashed masses here but the activist groups like ASH. Its clear to me that the whole thing is driven by money from big pharma and these groups will do whatever they have to in order to keep the gravy train rolling.

        • waltc says:

          An off duty cop is, in fact, still a cop, can make arrests and carries a gun. And a not-smoking smoker is still a smoker. He may be forced to impersonate a nonsmoker for the duration of a flight, or a meal or a drink, but it’s who he really is that’s being banned. Like a light-skinned black man during segregation. And since I invariably want a smoke with a drink, the bar sign that bans smoking actually bans me, so it’s all tne same thing. As for smokers being invisible, that was part of the plan. If we’re banned from everywhere, . no one sees us. Or only sees us as outcasts, huddled under an awning in tne teeming rain–or at any rate in places that haven’t yet banned smoking w/i 100 feet of an awning. That, too, was part of the plan. To cast us as furtive undesirables.

        • Frank Davis says:

          If only it were so simple Frank. As a smoker I can’t work or earn any money, so every day I have to become a fake non-smoker until break time.

          For me it is that simple. I don’t work or earn any money: I have just enough in the bank, and a state pension as well. So I don’t have to be a fake non-smoker. I won’t go anywhere I can’t smoke. If that eventually means staying home, that’s what I’ll do.

          But I can well see why it’s not that simple for most other smokers.

          its my country and always will be

          It’s my country too, and it always will be. But the tyrannical bastards in Tobacco Control have been doing their level best to make me unwelcome in it.

          The pub may have to display the sign and stop me from smoking inside because they are under threat if they don’t but I’m certainly not unwelcome there.

          The pubs are run by friendly people who are being forced by law to be unfriendly. I don’t feel welcome inside any pub. I’m only welcome outside. I wish the pubs would unite and revolt against what they’re being forced to do. But they won’t.

  2. Clicky says:

  3. Smoking Lamp says:

    The denormalization of smoking is an effort to make smokers invisible. You can’t separate smokers from smoking. The antismokers object to both. You only need to read their comments attacking smokers on articles about smoking to see their real intent. The tobacco control lobby has carefully cultivated this hate through relentless propaganda. Smokers are “vile, dirty, evil people” in their assessment. Smokers must be reviled to ensure the implementation of smoking bans. Tobacco control has effectively manufactured an ‘other’ to further the goals of social control. Once smokers are ‘invisible’ they will move on to new targets (as we are starting to see).

  4. Ripper says:

    @waltc – “An off duty cop is, in fact, still a cop, can make arrests and carries a gun.”
    Not here he doesn’t. He can still make arrests but so can any citizen. A citizen’s arrest does not carry the same authority as a cop, for example a citizen can’t use cuffs. But whilst off duty the cop is reduced to the same as everyone else. Our armed police are not allowed to carry when off duty.

No need to log in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.