Spring 2009. $10. (purchase)
The Politics of Protest: November 2008
by Donavan Hall
On the 23rd of March 2003 I hopped on a train bound for New York City. The sky was overcast, but the warmer temperatures signalled that the grip of winter seemed to be loosening. I arrived in Manhattan in the morning, just before lunch. My immediate concern was to find a good place for a couple of pints of craft beer and some decent pub grub.
On Smoke and Incense
by Lin Yutang
The world today is divided into smokers and non-smokers. It is true that the smokers cause some nuisance to the non-smoker, but this nuisance is physical, while the nuisance that the non- smokers cause the smokers is spiritual. There are, of course, a lot of non-smokers who don't try to interfere with the smokers, and wives can be trained even to tolerate their husbands' smoking in bed. That is the surest sign of a happy and successful marriage. It is sometimes assumed, however, that the non-smokers are morally superior, and that they have something to be proud of, not realizing that they have missed one of the greatest pleasures of mankind. I am willing to allow that smoking is a moral weakness, but on the other hand, we must beware of the man without weaknesses. He is not to be trusted. He is apt to be always sober and he cannot make a single mistake. His habits are likely to be regular, his existence more mechanical and his head always maintains its supremacy over his heart. Much as I like reasonable persons, I hate completely rational beings. For that reason, I am always scared and ill at ease when I enter a house in which there are no ash trays. The room is apt to be too clean and orderly, the cushions are apt to be in their right places, and the people are apt to be correct and unemotional. And immediately I am put on my best behavior, which means the same thing as the most uncomfortable behavior.
by Peter J French
Amongst my collection of books, I have an old gardening book from the 1950s. It's one I bought from a charity shop last year. On its rather torn dust jacket is a colour picture of a man tending his garden with a pipe clenched between his mouth. It is an evocative picture of a bygone age, when smoking was socially acceptable. This book was published in 1957, the year I was born, so I was too young to know how pipe-smoking was viewed in those days. I know that in our own time, if pipe-smoking is not being demonised along with other forms of smoking, it is seen as an intellectual, slightly eccentric activity. After all, pipe-smoking is a thinking man's pursuit, right? But perhaps it wasn't thought of like that in those days. A lot of men smoked pipes, and roll-ups too. Nowadays pipe-smoking has a sophisticated air about it, whilst roll-ups have a slightly bohemian or down-at-heel image. One thinks of Humphrey Bogart or the existentialist writer, Albert Camus, smoking what look like roll-ups. How, and what one smokes, says a lot about one. Pipe-smoking is for thinkers. Roll-ups are for rebels and bohemians. Cigars are for the bourgeoisie, the popular image of the industrial or commercial fat cat. These images may not be true in all cases, but they are popular conceptions. After all, Fidel Castro is a cigar-smoker, and he would probably not take kindly to being called a bourgeois. But then he ran the country that is the spiritual home of the cigar.