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From not bad to worse.

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NOTE: This topic, while starting off sounding like it should be on the "political party" page, doesn't really need to be anywhere...


Back in the early '70's, when I just became old enough to vote, people then, as now, were divided among liberals and conservatives. Hell, it was that way long before THAT. But at the time, it was concillitory. Nobody made too big a deal out of it. You could sit in a diner, doughnut shop or wherever, and still be cordial.

"Say, are you a liberal?"

"No, I'm a conservative."

"That right?"

"Yeah. Say, pass the salt please?"



But during the last decade, the word "liberal" has taken on a dimension of distaste for some. And to be called a liberal is likened to being accused of child molestation. Even liberals will often, while out in public, deny their liberalism much like Peter denied Jesus...

"Say! You're one of them LIBERALS, ain't you?"

"NO! NO, I'm NOT!"

"Sure you are. I saw you TALKING to another one of them before."

"I swear I'm NOT! Leave me alone!!"(cok-a-doodle-doo!)


But along with the stain of liberalism, the practice of smoking has come under fire. While in the past, smoking was an option. Either you smoked, or you didn't smoke. And nobody really gave a shit one way or the other.


"No, thanks. I don't smoke."

"OK. Say, pass the salt, please?"



But smoking has become the big "pariah" of modern society. Light up anywhere, and several people will look at you with the same distaste had you hunkered down and started fornicating with a dog. And don't DARE make the mistake of being nice enough to offer a smoke to anyone!



"Does that mean you won't pass the salt?"


Yes, the tobacco smoker now knows the outcast feelings of social rejection once reserved for lepers in biblical movies. So, what could be worse than the liberal who smokes?


Nowadays, that would be the liberal who smokes and eats CARBS!


I've known Jesus freaks who showed more compassion for their fellow man than Atkins freaks show the "unclean". I suspect that any day now, the low-carb dieters will be passing out pamplets similar to the ones those "born again" ass pains used to hand out at work. Never had I heard one of these guys simply say, "Well, it worked for ME." I recently asked someone I hadn't seen for a while how he lost all that weight he used to carry, and he spent the next hour trying to "convert" me! Yet subsequently, there's really nothing wrong with eating cabohydrates. It's all a matter of moderation, I figure. These guys won't eat something as seemingly harmless as RICE because of the carbs. In spite of the old joke of not seeing many fat Chinese. Middle Eastern people subsist on a diet high in bread intake, yet obesity doesn't seem to be a problem over there. Is somebody missing some kind of point? Or am I?


Or does all the things I've mentioned have to do with America's obsession with going overboard? While smoking is a bad habit, I've had worse(see my post, "DRUGS"). But it's gone so far as to have laws passed against smoking in those places smoker's largely congregate. Such as diners, doughnut shops and bars. BARS! "Yeah! No smoking in my bar, Mac! I don't want one of my customers dying of second hand SMOKE 20 years down the road." Hell NO! Not when he's busy increasing the possibility of wrapping his car around a tree two BLOCKS down the road. Make sense to you?


What I'm trying to say is that there is a lack of civility towards others and their individual choices these days. Especially if it deals with how good one thinks it makes them look. And harmless idealology and mindless self harming habits are thrown in with the seven deadly sins.


Can y'all think of any other examples of this?



I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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See, now, here's the thing: if you want to mainline nicotine, that's your business, as far as I'm concerned.


But when you smoke it anywhere around me, I have to breath that shit, too.


Now, don't get me wrong. I smoked for years. My old man smoked. Of course, he's passed on. Well, more like dragged into the grave at 65 with cancer from his lips to his lungs by Philllip Morris and Brown & Williamson. He started smoking in WWII when the DoD gave out cigarettes to all the soldiers. He tried to quit for years (my mom once made him start up again at threat of divorce when his white-knuckle jones went on for 8 months) and only made it stick for good when the first sign of cancer showed. But it was too late and a few years later it came back and showed up everywhere else.


Anyhow, you wanna smoke at your house, that's great. Go for it. Send the kids outside. But you fire it up at my house or in a restaurant we're sharing and, you know, I'll take that as a hostile act.*


*[Depending on local custom, of course. Around my part of the world it's actually legal in bars where only the owner(s) works. And I'm not about to march into a waterfront dive in Marseilles and tell a bunch of mafiosi and stevedores to put out their Gauloises.]

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Whitefang, very good post. Except for the smoking part. Slavery was wrong. Smoking where others have to breathe it is wrong. It's freakin' poison, man. Plus it stinks and burns your eyes.


But again, good post and I think it has much validity. A nation, divided.


BTW, t.v., the proliferation of in-your-face shows like Judge Judy Bitch and Judge Wapner Prick... it just promotes being a smartass.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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OK, I'll tackle smoking first. I used to not care, but now a cloud of smoke bothers me. Maybe I'm more aware of my surroundings. I wouldn't regulate smoking out of public places though. Prohibition didn't work out too well, you know?


Unless an area is clearly marked "no smoking", I don't care. If someone blatantly ignores a "no smoking" sign, I'll be upset, and if it's really a problem, I might say "excuse, me this is a no smoking area" I would hope Mr. or Ms. smoker would be kind enough to say oops, and put the thing out.


But your question is really about the extremism of American culture, right? I think it relates to ambition. Americans are very ambitious. I played golf with a Canadian guy I had never met, and we bet like $2 on the round. We were pretty even, but I won on the last hole. He said, that's the Americans - the money maker - don't bet against him. He meant it in good spirits.


Look at Microsoft. I once read a column that said basically Microsoft is competing in a demolition derby, and everyone else thinks it's a stock car race.


In a stock car race, there is one winner, but a number of other cars can finish in a good position and make money.


In a demolition derby, you only win if your competitors are destroyed.


I think life would be better as a race than a demolition derby.


The low carb people: 5000 years of known civilization, and bread has been right there, from the pyramids to last week. Remember the 70's when everything was LOW FAT, LOW FAT, LOW FAT. I know the pendulum is too far now that I've seen a commercial for low carb dog food :eek: The next fad awaits; if only I knew what it was, I could get in on the ground floor now and make some money ;) .

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Being a smoker, (about to quit, but still a smoker nonetheless) I find that militant nonsmokers are difficult to deal with. Secondhand smoke is irritating. I will agree with that. (and that's all I'll agree to, since there has been no actual evidence that it's anything other than irritating.) If someone asks me to refrain from smoking in their presence, then refrain I shall out of respect for their wishes. However, if I'm already in an area designated I don't want to hear it. If I'm outside, in an area that isn't marked either way, I don't want to hear it. It's none of anyone else's business.


I'm quitting smoking. Next Friday, actually (Sept 10th). If I'm in an area that's designated for smoking, and I don't want to be around it, I'll go somewhere else, or put up with it. I'll make sure that my friends know that I don't allow smoking at my house. If I'm outside in an area that isn't marked either way, and someone else is smoking, it's none of my business, and if I feel irritated, I'll leave. That's my freedom not infringing on anyone else's freedom.


I really don't care one way or the other. If a person actively wants to destroy their health, then let 'em. Secondhand smoke as a health concern is a mess of anti-smoking propaganda, with no real proof. If a non smoker was trapped in a small area (read car, airplane, bar) with smokers all day every day, then maybe I could see health effects. Otherwise, I don't see it as being anything other than irritating, which of course it very much is.


I suppose my point is, have your freedom any way you like, just don't trample other people's rights to their freedom any way they like in the process. And that includes their right to screw up their own health.

**Standard Disclaimer** Ya gotta watch da Ouizel, as he often posts complete and utter BS. In this case however, He just might be right. Eagles may soar, but Ouizels don't get sucked into jet engines.
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I think that a lot of people "assume" that everyone is just like them.


In my last job I worked with a lot of successful white middle-class and upper-middle-class Southerners.


Several things were assumed:


-You LOVED football and followed it obsessively.

-You followed college basketball too.

-You were politically conservative.

-You hunted.

-You thought the suburbs were an ideal place to live and were afraid of the "inner city".

-You drove an SUV and/or planned to get one in the near future.

-You were Christian.


Now I was/did none of those things. Any dissenting opinion on my part was usually met with shock and a certain amount of derision. People seemed to have a hard time being around someone who did not share their beliefs and lifestyle. And until I let it be known that I did not share their beliefs, they had all just assumed that I did.


In other areas of the country such as Vermont, it probably works the same way with outdoors-obsessive, granola-munching liberals.


As upwardly mobile as America is, I think that people tend to congregate in groups of like-minded people. They choose entertainment and information that is geared towards their belief system and interests. There's not a lot of critical thought or questioning. Dissenting views are so foreign and rare that people become insecure and react out of fear instead of engagement.


I don't remember it being like this in the small Canadian city where I grew up. However it WAS like this in a couple of small towns I lived in in Canada. So it's not a totally American phenomenon.


I guess my question is whether this is new or not. I have no idea.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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IMO what is new is the proliferation of PACs and other assorted `pressure groups`-of course this an easily abused term if an activist group has a cause you don`t agree with, even politicians are doing it-but these groups are self-perpetuating, self-justifying, and exist not to make people better or more aware or more enlightened, they exist for the sole purpose of pushing their agenda, whether it`s good or not. Whether it impacts the big picture negatively or not. There seems to be a corresponding fragmentation in peoples`s mentality, they`re on a holy crusade to get their way, anything else be damned. I think that`s why 9/11 made such an impression, for a moment all that contention was insignificant. But it was only a moment, then it was bickering as usual.

By the way, if you want a different take altogether on tobacco you can show up here-if I was a smoker I`d never want to leave here. The shops have all the brands. I read somewhere that Japan Tobacco makes a third of the world`s cigarettes. I`m on the verge of not eating out, I`m fed up with starting in on a bowl of nooodles and then people on three sides initiate gas a gas attack-well `Charlie don`t smoke`.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-


Skipsounds on Soundclick:


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We're having a similar problem right now in Brigham City, just north of here. Their City Council decided to have a trial run this summer of having the municipal swimming pool open on Sundays. They asked for volunteers of the lifeguards and pool workers, and got enough, so no one was "forced" to work on their Sabbath. No problem, right?


The LDS church is asking their members to flood the City Council with letters to close the pool on "their" sabbath. Its not enough that they could just stay home themselves, they have to force their beliefs on everyone else. The hatred and intolerance of this unamerican "cult" is really starting to grate on me.


"Eccentric language often is symptomatic of peculiar thinking" - George Will


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Drinking anything with aspartame in it is a big issue with some folks. Ive taken shit from some people on this point.


Wearing fur coats.

The PETA guys are a bit nuts on several fronts.

They want to ban the use of chimps in entertainment and claim many cirsuses are abusing their animals. Im sure some circuses are in need of some changes but in general why would they want to damage their source of income?. Im a very big animal lover. However, these guys do go overboard IMHO.


Some home schoolers are a bit overzealous/ militant.

Check out some tunes here:


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Sometimes it does boil down to money, and image. It might seem like the right thing for Dunkin' Donuts to post "Smoke-Free Environment" stickers on the entry doors, but think about it...it's a donut shop! And certainly "no smoking" stickers cost less than an effective ventilation system. But while the militant non-smokers are patting Dunkin' and themselves on the back, the lack of adequate ventilation that would make second hand smoke less irritating, or even unoticeable is allowing other fumes and oderless gases, such as radon, to prevail. Where's the gain in that? I'm not defending smokers, mind you. What I'm defending is the common sense that abandoned reasonable people in the face of manipulated public opinion. Griping about second hand tobacco smoke makes little sense in light of the paring down of clean air bills and EPA effectiveness. As long as people preoccupy themselves with crying over somebody's Marlboro, they'll never notice the hydrocarbons.


And yes, I've seen the 700 Club, and know all about the aspartame concerns. I don't know if I put stock in it or not, but I have noticed as the consumption of fat-free, sugar-free, caffiene-free, and who-knows-what-else-free foods and beverages increased, so has abberant behavior. More people from the classes of life that once seemed immune to these types of behavior are commiting child and spousal abuse, increasing road rage, incivility, and too quickly prone to violent reaction to otherwise mundane situations. I've been saying so for years longer than Pat Robertson has.


The whole purpose of the post was to, with levity, point out that as society pretends to be more "enlightened", it actually is becoming less of a civilization. People who don't like the smell of tobacco smoke do have a right to expell it's presence. But there is NO law that says it cannot be done with courtesy. Most smokers will kindly comply with the wishes of a non-smoker who politely asks that smoking not be done around them. Lectures and recriminations though, will put anyone doing anything offensive to another on the defensive, and will be met with resistance. And who knows...the smoker you get bitchy with might take in large amounts of aspartame, and could be dangerous!



I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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"They choose entertainment and information that is geared towards their belief system and interests. There's not a lot of critical thought or questioning. Dissenting views are so foreign and rare that people become insecure and react out of fear instead of engagement."


This describes BOTH of the major party conventions in this years election. TV truly is the opiate of the people....

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Originally posted by philbo_Tangent:

"They choose entertainment and information that is geared towards their belief system and interests. There's not a lot of critical thought or questioning. Dissenting views are so foreign and rare that people become insecure and react out of fear instead of engagement."


This describes BOTH of the major party conventions in this years election. TV truly is the opiate of the people....

With Fox news, MSNBC, CNN, C-Span, MTV, VH-1, Spike, Style, Speed, various shopping channels, infomercials, WB, UPN, along with the usual old-time networks, it seems Marshall McCluhann(sic) was prophetic in declaring television as the "vast wasteland." Mostly television has reacted much as someone who had been told he's sloppy, and goes about getting more sloppy as a result.



I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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