Tuesday, July 10, 2007

PC Bastards

Those of you looking for a rant about Apple vs. PC, look elsewhere. This is a rant about a group of out-of-touch, power mad public “servants”, Chicago’s Aldermen.

First, a word about the so-called PC movement.

While I do agree that we should not discriminate against those that may be different from us, this movement has created an atmosphere of over sensitivity. Every I turn I see imagined slights and transgressions causing offense. Neutral language and equivocated statements are rendering our interactions beige, bland, and, at times, incomprehensible. Worse yet, boring. Look at the first sentence of this paragraph. I have to equivocate or else I know the PC fools will be on the attack. They want to impose rules onto other people.

I am not a smoker. I hate when I come home and my clothes smell from smoke. I would never date anyone again that smoked. My father had a horrible decade long battle within his body because of what smoking unfiltered Camel cigarettes did to it. Nasty things happened to my father. It finally killed him two years ago. Yet, I am against this smoking ban fad running rampant through America right now.

Smoking, while personally distasteful, is a legal act. You can buy cigarettes. You can pay the taxes on them. You just can’t smoke them. Prohibition, that worked out well, didn’t it? How about that war on drugs, glad we stamped them out. Whew!

My main complaint is that the free market should decide whether a particular business should be smoke free, limited smoking, or smoke filled. If enough people complain or refuse to patronize a business, the business must adapt. This is a time honored successful capitalist tradition. We do not need it to be legislated.

I don’t like Burger King’s French fries. I don’t eat Burger King’s French fries. I go to McDonald’s or Wendy’s. I do not go to Burger King. If enough people feel the same as I do then either Burger King will change or go out of business. No laws are required to change the fries at Burger King. The system we created, we depend on, works.

But, the Chicago City Gestapo has not only banned smoking, it has banned food and wants to further limit the free market by limiting the choices of how our food is made.

On May 4th, the City Gestapo’s Buildings Committee voted to reject an exemption that would have allowed actors on stage to by-pass the city ordinance that bans smoking in public places. So, if a play requires smoking, say to re-create a period or as an important metaphor, you can’t do it. A court in Colorado has already rules that an actor doesn’t have a First Amendment right to light up.

To a magician, this means the death of cigarette tricks. Violence and sex are protected on stage, but not cigarette manipulation. No, no, no.

Perhaps, this isn’t a battle I should be fighting or caring about, but I believe this is a chip knocked off the Constitution. This slow erosion of our rights is frightening. The process is so small that we hardly recognize that we are ceding the control of our lives to a political machine, bought and paid for by the highest bidder.

I’ve not performed my cigarette act in years, but I would like the option. I would like my audience to have the option of whether they want to see it or not. I want the system created by our founding fathers to be allowed to work.

The problem is one ban always follows another.

The real question to ask is, what’s next?

Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.
-- Albert Camus

Freedom is poetry, taking liberties with words, breaking the rules of normal speech, violating common sense. Freedom is violence.
-- Norman O. Brown

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.
-- Noam Chomsky

The condition every art requires is, not so much freedom from restriction, as freedom from adulteration and from the intrusion of foreign matter.
--Willa Cather

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.
--Edmund Burke

For the article that inspired this entry please read Perform Ink.


Anonymous said...

I would agree, except if you eat Burger King's french fries you don't make me sick, and if you refrain from eating them you don't make me healthier.

chgomagic said...

But you don't have to be around me when I smoke. You can leave.

This is the common argument from wait staff in restaurants. My point is that why would you take a job in an environment that made you sick. Instead of taking that job and find another one.

If an alcoholic cannot be around booze. My advice is not to take a job as a bartender and then try to get the booze banned.

There are many things in this world that can make you sick or worse and you make the choice to avoid them. Why can't you do the same about smoking?

Anonymous said...

Somebody has to be among the wait staff in establishments that allow smoking. And guess what profession has the second highest incidence of lung ailments (coal miners are #1)? That's right, sports fans, wait staff. So once all those non-smoking wait staff jobs get filled up, whatcha gonna do? Get lung cancer for $3.25 an hour plus tips? (That's right - most eating establishments don't start wait staff pay at minimum wage. They get to count tips toward minimum wage. Think any of them overestimate tips?)

Your argument sounds good in theory. Basic economics and the realities of life tend to get in the way of the best of theories.

chgomagic said...

First, Anonymous (if that is your real name) by your reasoning we should ban coal mining. I sure that would work out well.

Second, yes some does have to work those bars and restaurants that allow smoking. Again, I repeat, if you don't want to be around smoking don't work there. I know several smokers (and never gonna quitters) who would love the job.

Also, the wage anyone makes has nothing to do with this discussion. Want to talk about wages? Write your own blog.

Last, to get back to the original point, I repeat, I want people to make their own choices. Let me put a sign out in front of my show that warns there will be smoking on stage. Let the potential audience decide if they want to buy a ticket.

If not, I will be out of business. But it will be the public's choice.

This is a system that works. Not a theory. Sounds like someone skipped their economy classes.

And that is my final word, we are just going to have to agree to disagree.

Have fun,

Anonymous said...

I always laugh when someone allows anonymous comments then derides anonymous commentors. You realize you have the option to disallow anonymous comments?

Your real name is chgomagic, right?

chgomagic said...

I always love when people think they are so smart, but they can't understand a little fucking joke.

A tiny piece of the post.