The Ever-Turning Wheel Of Fortune

Courtesy of Roobeedoo:

During the ‘Great Plague of London’, which was part of the same Eurasian pandemic that began with the ‘Black Death’ 400 years earlier, 100,000 people or 20% of the population of London died. Strangely, authorities are said to have kept fires burning night and day, in the hopes that the air would be cleansed. This usual tactic may have been inspired by a very common belief among the ordinary folk at the time. According to one A J Bell writing in about 1700:

 “For personal disinfections nothing enjoyed such favour as tobacco; the belief in it was widespread, and even children were made to light up a reaf in pipes. Thomas Hearnes remembers one Tom Rogers telling him that when he was a scholar at Eton in the year that the great plague raged, all the boys smoked in school by order, and that he was never whipped so much in his life as he was one morning for not smoking. It was long afterwards a tradition that none who kept a tobacconist shop in London had the plague.”

This doesn’t seem to be such a crazy idea, given that a protective plague vaccine has recently been discovered in tobacco.Indeed, tobacco has been known and used for centuries for a wide range of medical problems.

In the year 1500, for example, a Portuguese explorer in Brazil, Pedro Alvarez Cabral, reported the use of the herb betum [tobacco] for treating ulcerated abscesses, fistulas, sores, inveterate polyps and many other ailments1. In 1529, a Spanish missionary priest, Bernadino de Sahagun, collected information from four Mexican physicians about use of tobacco for medicinal purposes. He recorded that breathing the odour of fresh green leaves of the plant relieved persistent headaches. For colds and catarrh, green or powdered leaves should be rubbed around inside the mouth. Diseases of glands in the neck could be cured by cutting out the root of the lesion and placing on it crushed tobacco plant hot and mixed with salt, on the same spot.2

In 1934 Fernando Ocaranza summed up the medicinal uses of tobacco in Mexico before 1519 as antidiarrhoeal, narcotic and emollient; he said that tobacco leaves were applied for the relief of pain, used in powdered form for the relief of catarrh and applied locally to heal wounds and burns.

The fact that tobacco, including the inhalation of tobacco leaf smoke, has been known and used for centuries as a cure for many diseases, including the plague, leaves us wondering how we ever got to the point today where smoking is so thoroughly demonised, in particular by governments. With NASA et al seemingly deeply concerned about ‘near earth’ comets and asteroids, the evidence for plague-bearing comets and asteroids having devastated humanity in the past, and the possibility that tobacco contains a vaccine for the plague,  it seems a little disingenuous (not to mention suspicious) that smoking cigarettes is being touted as the fastest way to an early grave, despite the evidence to the contrary.

How indeed did we ever get to the point today where tobacco is so thoroughly demonised, given that once it was so highly prized?

It reminds me of a theory with which I occasionally toy: That all women are great beauties, but are not always regarded as such in their own time. So for example a great beauty of the 1950s and 1960s, like Brigitte Bardot, might have been regarded as rather plain a century of two earlier, and downright ugly a century or two later. And this is because standards of beauty are always changing. It’s the same with music: one year’s big hit is very seldom ever a big hit again.

And it’s the same with tobacco: at one time it is highly prized, and at another time it is reviled, and that’s just how the wheel of fortune turns. But in due course, the wheel of fortune will crank around another few degrees, and it will all change again.

Consider the fate of Carbon Dioxide in recent years. When I first heard of it 50 years ago, it was merely as a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas. Now it’s as demonised as tobacco (and perhaps even more so), and Boris Johnson’s supposedly Conservative government is dead set on achieving Net Zero Carbon. The climate alarmists want to rid the world of Carbon in the same way as the antismokers want to rid the world of tobacco.

But now, in just the past month or two, the wheel of fortune has clattered a few notches further round, and a brand new demon has materialised, in the form of the New Coronavirus, about which there is now a global panic, with shoppers fighting over toilet rolls.

And this is bad news for climate change alarmists:

This year was supposed to be a big one in the international fight against climate change. But the fast spreading new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is posing a triple-threat to action that could derail the Paris Agreement effort to combat global warming, worried experts say.

And it’s probably just as bad news for the antismokers in Tobacco Control as it is for climate alarmists. But in the hit parade of popular demons, the new coronavirus disease has jumped straight  into the Number One top spot, demoting all the other terrors. There can only ever be one single worst fear: all the rest must defer to it.

And this is normal. One great terror will always be followed by another great terror. And quite often the next great terror will be something that was caused by the response to the previous great terror. It seems entirely likely that the next great terror will be something that is being caused by the current coronavirus terror, and it will very likely be the economic crash that will be the consequence of locking down entire countries, and bankrupting all the businesses that formerly flourished in them. For example:

NBA to suspend season following Wednesday’s games

How many stadiums and theatres and restaurants and bars are closing their doors, never to re-open them again? Will their customers ever return? Will cruise liners like the Diamond Princess ever sail the seas again?

The war on tobacco will be gradually sidelined, just like the ‘climate emergency’, as brand new terrors emerge, each one demanding immediate action and priority funding, on the ever-turning wheel of fortune. They’ll gradually get buried. They’ll gradually be forgotten.

Speaking of hit parades, here’s Ricky Nelson’s 1958 first big hit:

About Frank Davis

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16 Responses to The Ever-Turning Wheel Of Fortune

  1. slugbop007 says:

    I just checked the Wikipedia account of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. The WHO designating Coronavirus as a Pandemic is wildly exaggerated in comparison.


  2. slugbop007 says:

    Speaking of Ricky Nelson, I grew up in Southern California in the 50s and 60s and watched every episode of The Ozzie & Harriet Show. I remember the one episode when Ricky walked down the stairs, holding a guitar. The New Elvis.  slugbop007

  3. slugbop007 says:

    Angela Merkel said that 70% of the German population could be at risk:

    Guardian Headline:

    Coronavirus: Up to 70% of Germany could become infected – Merkel


  4. Igrowmyown says:

    Of course the plant they are referring to is nicotiana rustica which is much more potent in nicotine than the modern commercial tobacco plant.

    • Rose says:

      “Nicotiana rustica, Aztec tobacco or strong tobacco,[ called ucuch in southern Mexico (specifically Campeche and Yucatán) due to its Mayan roots, mapacho in South America, Bauerntabak (peasant’s tobacco) in Germany, and thuoc lao (thuốc lào) in Vietnam, is a rainforest plant in the family Solanaceae.

      It is a very potent variety of tobacco, it contains up to nine times more nicotine than common species of Nicotiana such as Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco).[5] More specifically, N. rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas N. tabacum leaves contain about 1 to 3%.[6] The high concentration of nicotine in its leaves makes it useful for producing pesticides, and it has a wide variety of uses specific to cultures around the world.”
      Note the yellow flowers

      James1st wrote Counterblaste in 1604 when the smoke from Nicotiana Rustica was from all accounts, indeed rather thick.

      “A custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse.”

      “Whereas before 1616 the indifferent plant (Nicotiana rustica) of the English colonies offered little competition to the popular Spanish leaf (Nicotiana tabacum) which was grown in the West Indies, Mexico, and the north of South America, the English colonists, by taking the Spanish plant from Trinidad and planting it in Virginia, began to trade in earnest”
      http: //
      No longer available, not even on the Wayback Machine

      Tobacco in Colonial Virginia

      “The tobacco that the first English settlers encountered in Virginia—the Virginia Indians’ Nicotiana rustica—tasted dark and bitter to the English palate; it was John Rolfe who in 1612 obtained Spanish seeds, or Nicotiana tabacum, from the Orinoco River valley—seeds that, when planted in the relatively rich bottomland of the James River, produced a milder, yet still dark leaf that soon became the European standard.”

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    Tobacco control is a profitable grift that creates power and profit for those willing to persecute smokers. Tobacco control must be destroyed.

  6. Саня says:

    I agree. I can’t write such great topics as you do, my English is not good enough for it now, but I’m learning with you. The only thing I can do I can pass info over to others. Already spread to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Did not to my own native land, because they are not going to listen, they listen only government(s).

  7. Саня says:

    They fanned the coronovirus panic to top of the ceiling. This is to make life more fun for everyone. Be afraid! Be scared! Fear the smokers beside you, fear global warming, fear that they will get to your food as soon as they manage the tobacco, fear everything.
    And all this is handled by a bunch of bastards, no more. And we all hit, each in his own way. Someone on a cigarette, someone on an ice cream / cake, someone on meat, someone on what ever, and they will have everyone if they are not stopped.

  8. Frank Davis says:

    After an email from Klaus K today, I’ve added an update to Who’s afraid of coronavirus? Not smokers

    • smokingscot says:

      Excellent! Something tangible.

      (TC could hardly claim one reason why few smokers seem to get the virus is because we’d prefer to take our chances outside the system than spend two weeks in quarantine without being able to smoke and with a far greater probably of getting infected by someone else in quarantine.)

      Me, well I’ll just self medicate, one fag every hour, maybe two. Knowing that any vaccine will invariably contain an extract of tobacco DNA at a hellish cost and with side effects.

    • Igrowmyown says:

      Thank you Klaus and Frank.

    • Rose says:

      Thank you, Klaus and Frank, now I need Brigitte to explain to me what a ACE2 receptor does.

  9. slugbop007 says:

    I would like to know why so many Italians were infected from a virus that began in China. Contamination from Chinese imported goods? Food stuffs? Fruits & Veg? Toys? Pens? Anything that is being exported to Italy on a regular basis? I would also like to know why, after all this, that Tobacco Control still insists smoking is a communicable disease in its own right.


      • smokingscot says:

        And Raedwald posted yesterday that the Chinese government flew tonnes of medical kit to Italy as a gesture of goodwill for their taking care of 600,000 Chinese citizens living there.

        And their death toll as a percentage of infected is way higher than anywhere else because they are not treating very old people, at the moment it’s only those with preexisting conditions, simply because they do not have any spare capacity. It’s a devilish situation for anyone, but they have no choice. 35 year old mum, dependant kids, estimated recovery time 10 days tops, vs 82 year old stroke victim, bedridden, early stage dementia, ambiguous recovery but will require 24 HR observation, dedicated ventilator and bed for 10 weeks minimum.

        Going to be more like this, eventually boiling down to straight age criteria. Even now, there’s a whiplash against TC and other lifestyle controllers about their utterly facile claims about living forever.

  10. Dirk says:

    New York’s attorney general is demanding that conspiracy monger Alex Jones stop hawking phony coronavirus treatments.

    Attorney General Letitia James’ office sent a letter Thursday saying it’s “extremely concerned” by Jones’ claims that toothpaste, dietary supplements, creams, and other products sold on his website can prevent and cure the disease. Jones, known for pushing conspiracy theories about school shootings and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, touted the products on his radio show last week, according to the letter.

    No treatments or vaccines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
    (Fox News)
    Conspiracy theorist and talk radio host Alex Jones is using public fears over the coronavirus outbreak to help peddle toothpaste that he falsely claims can kill the virus.

    Jones told listeners on his “Infowars” program Tuesday that silver-infused toothpaste being sold on his website has been verified by federal officials as a coronavirus killer, despite the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying otherwise.

    “The patented nanosilver we have, the Pentagon has come out and documented and Homeland Security has said this stuff kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range,” he said. “They’re still discounted despite all the hell breaking loose.”
    Not bothered by the fact that he knows nothing about medicine, this quack wants to make money from people’s misery.

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