Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On cigarettes and being cool

I'll say this straight off: smoking looks cool. It looks cool and it creates a air of awesomeness for a male to smoke, whilst bringing a female the visage of a vixen. However smoking kills. Does the end justify the coolness? No way.

Many people, mostly fictional characters, which I designate as cool smoke. In anime there is the entire Bebop crew, NGE's Kaji and Soul Eater's Fraken Stein. Then there is Barack Obama. He was cool before he smoked, and I think a cigarette looks out of place in his mouth. Also, if you think that his smoking crux is recent news, then you are mistaken dear reader, a friend of mine had a display picture of Barack Attack "lighting up" on MSN for months. I've heard smoking being described as "a symbol of their humanity...their weakness". I disagree with that statement completely, smoking brings nothing but death, and for what? Why should humans be forced to be designated "weaknesses"? As ruling species, we should be master of our own domains, without weakness. Of course, that is merely a wishful ideal.

Media shows us people smoking and attracting the opposite (or the same) sex, I doubt this would be the reality. In the case of Cowboy Bebop, I imagine Spike and Faye would be a chorus of coughs every time they made love (they did make love - SxF forever). Smoking makes you stink of smoke. A recently tobacco-sober former heavy smoking friend of mine is repulsive to be around because all of his clothes smell nigh, reek, of smoke. On top of that, smoking is expensive, with no advantages. It as long been dismissed as a social catalyst, and can really burn the hip pocket. Most hobbies cost money, but smoking requires almost constant funds to be spent and gives nothing in return. At least with video games one's mind can be stimulated.

To end this conaluted post, I quote Fort Minor's Cigarette:

"it's just like a cigarette, nobody's really fooled
I don't want the truth, I wanna feel f***ing cool"

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On Richard Dawkins

Reading over I guy I know's blog, I saw a topic which I thought I might cast my two cents on.

Richard Dawkins

In a sentence: I don't like him. Aside from looking like the devil incarnate in the above picture, I hate his ethos. But it was not always like this. Throughout the course of my life I have watched many of his programs and read one or two of his books, the latter medium being read in a compulsion to give some sort of reason to his frankly offensive methods. I digress, for those of you who are unaware Richard Dawkins is an achieved biologist and a staunch atheist. The latter of the two is a title he has flaunted in recent years, much to my distaste.

I don't consider myself an atheist, at least not yet. I was raised in a christian world, though I don't see a reason to discriminate against those of other religions, gods or no. This is where Mr. Dawkins and I diverge. While I find some of his books on behavior absolutely fascinating, I find his close mindedness off putting. In his books it's okay, his arguments against the god complex are thorough, sustained and completely logical, but his documentaries are not.

In I can recall one scene wherein he enters a deeply religious shop owner's workplace and begins to badger him about his faith. He asks things such as "But why do you believe in something that does not exist?". He then goes on to pester the man about why he converted to Islam, even though it is so "violent". Through the course of the documentary, this process is repeated with different interviewees and as little as twelve minutes in, I felt as though I wanted to punch him in the face. I am not at all deeply entrenched in any form of religion. In fact I'm often the first one to poke fun at each faith's idiosyncrasies (this does not go over well at funerals, trust me). Though I find the path he is taking completely misguided. Writing his beliefs in a book are all well and good, for it is the choice of the reader to continue reading said literature. Yet going up to people on the street and pestering them about their lifestyle sickens me. It reminds me of another ism in my culture evangelism.

Ah, evangelism. Personally, I think this is why Dick Dawkins took up his cause. It has it's good sides, its followers obstain from murder and a generally nice, not to mention spur some of the greatest media in the world (see: Skillet and NGE). Though its major drawback is the faithful are very set in their ways and will be firm with those who think differently. I remember one interview from an Andrew Denton piece where he confronts tree elderly choir siblings with the question "but what about people who were born homosexual? Do they deserve to go to hell?" to which one of the gentlemen calmly answers "No! Homosexuality is a lie told to them by Satan and they must find the truth for their soul to come to heaven." I find this response as offensive as anything Dawkins spews out, and I can concur with him on his reason to be against it. Yet his method of combating such people is, in effect, perpetuating the same act. He is attempting to convert people to atheism with aggression, I'm not sure, but I believe that can be called evangelizing. Does he not realize that Atheism is becoming one of his hated "religions"? He is becoming his own enemy on his search for "a better world". He is also displaying stereotypes of white supremacy, ignorant white man and the snobby Brit. Therefore, through the act of himself becoming his own foe, all of his arguments should be disarmed.

Also on the subject of snobby Brits, dearest woman down the street, if you are reading this, know that neither I, nor any member of my family scratched your car. We merely place a note on it requesting its removal from our laneway. Bringing the police into the matter was uncalled for and only further strengthened out point. The act of knocking on my door (which is older that the sum of our ages, by the way) quite violently at seven in the morning and yelling at me heralds an apology at the very least. Though its obvious you were not, some of us were trying to watch Ninja Turtles.

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