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Monday, 8 July 2013

Allies and Enemies

Yesterday's post about unhelpful vapers may have touched a nerve with a few folk -- check out the full comment thread if you'd like. To be perfectly clear, I do not view vapers as enemies of smokers. I see you as brothers and sisters; allied with smokers in the war against the tyranny of Public Health's New Inquisition, even if you don't. And if you don't see it that way, someday you will -- along with drinkers, chubby people, gamblers, people who work for "Big Anything" and the lot.  Because the control industries of Public Health hate all of you, whilst at the same time seeing you as an endless source of taxpayer funding for their hate campaigns against you. They are all evil bastards.

With that said, the subject of my post yesterday, Jonny Lavery, dropped by with a comment explaining that his quote was taken out of context. I reproduce Jonny's comment here in full:
Why thank you for the coverage Jay. It shouldn't surprise anyone that indeed the quote was taken out of context. It was, in fact a witty explanation of my decision to prefer vaping to smoking. I haven't attacked smokers, as I love smoking, and yet I have a predilection for life, hence my dilemma. I didn't write the piece, you shouldn't be surprised, as the BBC did. The point was and remains to elucidate coverage of our mass protest in Brussels- to protest against the potential waste of life that would be resultant from the actions of this 'nanny state' that you derise.
And so, we find ourselves on much the same platform, except that mine was international news media and yours is a little blog.
I hope we can overcome these differences to support freedom of choice for smokers as that is my agenda.
Best wishes,
According to Jonny, the BBC took his quote of context. He says he meant it as a tongue-in-cheek response as to why he now prefers to be a vaper.  OK, fine. If my "inordinately bad mood" (as DP put it in the comments yesterday) made me fail to see the comment as witty repartee, then I apologise to Jonny.  Sorry, kid. I must have got it wrong -- I do that sometimes, and I'm fine with admitting that when I come to realise it.

I do think that if you're going to be on this grand "international" stage you speak of, Jonny, you will need much better press skills. Because the press is going to "pwn" you every time if you give them opportunity. You have to be more precise and leave no room for misinterpretation or to be misquoted -- not an easy task. Know your talking points, hold to them, do not let them manipulate the interview. Journalists should not be trusted inherently. Never forget that.

First impressions matter; second impressions count. My first impression of Jonny was perhaps wrong due to my bad mood and because of what the BBC article had printed. My second impression of Jonny after he left his comment on my blog, if indeed it really is Jonny, isn't any better to be honest. Because condescending remarks about my "little blog" is not going to win me over, and it certainly doesn't overcome any differences in opinion. It just makes Jonny look like an egotistical dickhead, and honestly, our "related causes" cannot afford assholery like that. His view of blogs or bloggers and our usefulness in the fight against Public Health matters not at all to me. Perhaps he'll change his view over time; perhaps he will not.

To Jonny's credit, at least he is doing something. So good luck with your trip to Brussels, Jonny, and may the force be with you and all that jazz. We are all lucky to have you. Say hi to my fellow blogger Dick Puddlecote when you see him.

* * *

One of our vaping allies is Jan Johnson -- she isn't just pro-vaping, she supports all tobacco users equally and she despises the insidious nanny state that pervades our once-free societies. Jan is incredibly active on social media, tweeting as "J Johnson" (@themorrigan1972), where she regularly tweets/re-tweets all of the "smokey" blog posts as well as linking to them in her Daily Nicotine and Vaper's Daily newspapers.

If you're aren't following Jan on social media, you might consider doing so. She is relentless in tracking down and tweeting every "nicotine-related" and "bans-related" article she can find, for all of our benefit, and many of her finds I've blogged about here.  Jan also can be found on Tumblr here, and her blog on Blogger is here (as well is in my blogroll at right).  She also hosts the "Anti-Nanny" podcast on the Vaper's Place Network, which is broadcast every Monday evening at 6 p.m. EST (11 p.m. GMT).  You can listen to archived episodes on Soundcloud here.  (If you didn't already know, I wrote the "The Root of All Evil" song for Jan's podcast.)  Jan is not only our ally, I consider her to be my friend.

Vapingpoint Liz also commented on my post yesterday, and she blogged about it here.

Some [vapers] believe they are better than smokers, and that vaping is something different - but is it?. Vaping is NRT some think. But it is pleasing and delightful to do - not like NRT at all.

The difference between my attitude and those vapers who are trying to save their necks by clambering up the pyramid of suffering smokers, putting their feet in the mouths and ears of the already persecuted, is that they do not want the same thing as happened to smokers to happen to us. It's a kind of panic. So they use the anti-smoking rhetoric as a way of making us vapers look better than smokers. And also to sell their products! It is truly sad. But I understand why it is happening.

The shame of it is, that what we do is considered smoking and our lot will be the same as that from which we thought we'd escaped. We should also be fighting for relaxations in the smoking ban and removing medical porn nocebos on cigarette packaging. We should be on the side of smokers, not against them.
The other comments left on my blog post yesterday are also worth reading. So please do so if you haven't already.

What we have in spades are enemies. Far too numerous to list them all (though in respect of the UK I gave it the ol' college try here).  The short list is as follows:

  • Public Health control industries (Tobacco Control, Alcohol Control, Food Snobs, et al.)
  • Pressure groups, organisations and other rather uncharitable "charities" who seek to denormalise smokers
  • The mainstream media
  • Many of our democratically-elected tyrants (politicians)
  • Activist doctors
  • Academics
  • Big Pharma
That list is not all-inclusive, and is presented in no particular order.

Perhaps we are our own worst enemy. If smokers and the rest of the people that Public Health despises and seeks to control are unable to unite and stick together in this fight against these despicable nannying tyrants, then what chance do we have of prevailing? We cannot afford in-fighting amongst ourselves -- we cannot afford to be divided nor segregated. That isn't to say we must agree on every last thing -- we certainly should not. The soundest decisions are made after robust debates, where the pros and cons are weighed up and analysed fully, where all views are listened to and given due consideration and the best course of action to meet our goals is subsequently chosen.

We either accept all of our differences and try to tolerate them and focus on our common enemies, or we fail. There is no other option in my opinion. So in the spirit of tolerance, perhaps we can afford a bit of assholery on our side, but I'd prefer that we avoid it if we can.