Extremely Subtle Reasoning | Letters | Chicago Reader

Extremely Subtle Reasoning 

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To the editors:

Patrick Griffin's antismoking article [March 18] is a splendidly written and temperate piece, making it quite a change from the journalistic masturbation practiced incessantly on this topic--and the screeching of advice columnists who will tolerate any manner of sexual misbehavior as long as the participants refrain from lighting up a cigarette.

But Mr. Griffin's omissions are less praiseworthy.

For example, there was some sort of disorder in Europe between 1914 and 1918, and a further one, lasting longer and ranging wider, from 1939 to 1945. And if my beliefs are well-founded we quelled these disorders with the indispensable aid of cigarettes in the amount of uncountable millions. Of course every combatant on ten battlefronts has since been (eh?) stricken by cancer, but secondhand smoke, absorbed in foxholes, slit trenches, tents, command posts, and gun emplacements, doesn't seem to have had the same lethal effect. I contributed to this evil myself and am still waiting to hear of a single victim.

Also absent from Mr. Griffin's argument is the question of why, since he admits that smoking is centuries old, it has been only in the last 40 years that hysterical outbursts condemning the practice have proliferated. Was the whole of the medical profession on witch doctor level between Hippocrates and Eisenhower? Or has there been a shortage of media bandwagons since bobby-soxers, Hula-Hoops, zoot suits, duffel coats, and crazy mixed-up kids departed the scene?

Bob McTaggart



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