Tucker Carlson (57.05):
If you start to think that it’s okay to inflict group punishment on groups, isn’t that the whole lesson of the twentieth century that that’s wrong, that that’s a cul-de-sac that ends in bloodshed?
Of course he wasn’t talking about smokers. Nobody ever does. But that’s what’s been happening to them, all the same. It’s just that it’s been going on so long that it’s become normal. It;s been going on for 70 years, 100 years, for as long as cigarettes have been around. Group punishment.
The antismoking zealots don’t seem to mind pipes or cigars too much. But they can’t stand cigarettes. Why? Perhaps it’s for the same reason they hate fast food. Why do they hate fast food? It’s basically the same food as any other food, except that it’s fast. Fast food is quick to eat. It often doesn’t need plates and knives and forks. A burger or a hot dog can be held in one hand while being eaten. No need to formally sit down at a table.with napkins and glasses and the whole family. No need for all that ritual.
Smoking a pipe is a ritual process of filling the pipe and tamping down the tobacco and lighting and re-lighting it. But cigarettes are pre-loaded and pre-tamped. It;s all been done. And they light up with the briefest of flame. And they can be smoked without any hands at all, held between lips. Cigarettes are fast tobacco. Pipes and cigars are slow tobacco. They require a lot of work. They require a lot of ritual.
The antismokers also don’t seem to mind roll-ups as much as they mind manufactured cigarettes. And that’s maybe for the same reason. Roll-ups require work to be done to make them. And it’s actually skilled work, when done purely by hand, without using some sort of rolling machine.
If it takes a long time, it’s okay. If it takes no time at all, it’s not okay. If it takes a long time to stir and grind food, and cook it in a pot for an hour or two, and then eat it from a bowl with a spoon, it’s good food. If it can be just picked up and eaten from one hand, it’s junk food. It’s junk food because the ritual of cooking it and eating it has been stripped away.
Same with sex. Quick sex with complete strangers is called promiscuity, and disapproved. Slow sex with engagements and rings and ritual vows and honeymoons is called marriage, and approved.
Perhaps that’s right. Maybe it’s ritual that holds everything together, giving it shape and form. And when ritual has gone, it all becomes fragmented and shapeless.
Marching soldiers engage in ritual walking. They keep in step with each other, and in line with each other, moving at the same speed. So ritually marching soldiers form armies. Without the marching they’d just be undisciplined crowds. Maybe that’s why soldiers demand new recruits learn to march: if they can teach them to march, they’ve got an army, and if they can’t they don’t.
Take away the ritual, and you lose the unity. You lose coherence.
It’s as good an explanation as any. The quicker anything gets done, the more ritual is removed from it, and the less formal discipline there is to it.
Religious rites are pure ritual. The longer the religious rite, the more it unites the participants in the rite, the more it binds them together. The Latin mass is a vestigial meal – one tiny piece of bread and a sip of wine -, but it takes at least half an hour. Minus all the ritual, it becomes just a quick snack, fast food.
Most office jobs are rituals. They start at 9 am and end at 5 pm. Without the office, the company for which people work would cease to exist.
In fact I don’t think the antismoking zealots know why they hate smoking. They just do. And yet it seems to have been cigarettes that particularly outrage them. The war on smoking seems to have only really got going with the arrival of cigarettes about a century ago. And cigarettes really just made smoking quicker and easier. Cigarettes were a technological innovation just like clips of bullets for guns.
I could go on, but I won’t.