Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Everyone knows a rant can’t move a rubber tree plant.

But I’m gonna do it anyway.

In the gym locker room this morning, I saw three things on the mounted television that made me react with, in order, disbelief, mirth, and finally disgust. The first was due to the half an hour that the gym hadn’t seemed to notice that the station they were tuned to was airing Turbo: The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Movie. The second was due to the discovery that one of the morning anchors on NBC News 5 is, in all seriousness, named Dick Johnson.

The third was an ad-slash-public-service-announcement from Phillip Morris, International, directing people to its website, which offers several unambiguous essays and FAQs on the dangers of cigarette smoking. The multi-million dollar cigarette corporation, you see, is actually making an attempt to warn people about the product that they sell, the only known mass-produced good that kills you if you use it correctly [1].

While I appreciate the reversal from the days of the Seven Dwarves and their supposed ignorance of the health risks associated with tobacco, I can’t help but react with distaste at Phillip Morris’ attempt at atonement, which I frankly feel doesn’t go far enough, and is in fact slightly insulting in its execution. Now they’re willing to admit that their product is harmful, is in fact designed to be harmful, but they’re unwilling to stop selling it. The very nature of this hypocrisy seems like a subtle attempt to blame the victim–“we’re going to warn you left and right about the dangers, so if you decide to start smoking our highly addictive product, you only have yourself to blame.”

I find their motives untrustworthy, especially since I know that they would never have done this if they hadn’t gotten caught. This doesn’t erase the many thousands of lives that they continue to shorten each year, nor does it necessarily stop anybody from taking up the habit. I find it hard to believe, in this day and age, that any smoker doesn’t know the risks of what they’re doing; the problem remains that they can’t quit because the formula for a cigarette makes it next to bloody impossible to do so.

You’re not going to let an incurably compulsive serial rapist teach a class on womens’ self defense [2]. I’m not sure why we should believe that a tobacco giant desperately wants people to stop buying their product, especially when they continue to produce it.

[1] That distinction is important. The gun lobby will tell you that the proper use of a firearm is to kill other people, not yourself.

[2] While I’m in rant mode, I might as well mention that I find it sad that the best solution we’ve been able to come up with for rape prevention is to create classes for women on how to use whistles, on how to yell “FIRE!” instead of “HELP!”, on how to aim for the eyes and the genitals. Why aren’t there mandatory classes that educate young men on how to avoid being fucking rapists? Why isn’t this something that comes up in Sex Education, while the girls are learning about menstrual cycles and the boys are learning about pubic hair and nocturnal emission? Why isn’t the boys’ teacher saying “Listen, guys. You’re going to have a lot of testosterone running through your system for the next decade or so, and a lot of those girls next door are going to start turning into hotties. Many of them are going to be wearing miniskirts, and low-cut tops and tight T-shirts, and a bunch of them are going to make eyes at you and bend over when they know you’re looking just because they know it drives you nuts. And you know what, guys? You have to learn to deal with it. That’s right. You have to learn to suck it up and tolerate it, and you can call them jerks for doing it, but for the LOVE OF FUCKING CHRIST ALMIGHTY you don’t get to force yourself on them for it. You don’t get to feed them beer and roofies until they can barely stand, you don’t get to throw them to the ground and rip their clothes off, you don’t get to have your fratboy buddies watch the door while three of you act out the last porn film you saw. You know why? Because somewhere along the way we ended up on top of the evolutionary ladder [3], we worked our asses long and hard to stop hanging in trees and flinging feces at each other, and that means we got a responsibility to behave better than that which we keep in zoos. And you rape somebody, son, that’s a ticket right back to the bottom. If you can’t figure out the word “no,” which is something your mom’s been saying to you since you were still in diapers, then you’re dumber than most dogs I’ve met. You do not. Fucking. Do that. You do, though, and I can guarantee you that somebody else in here will be paying money for the opportunity to beat you within an inch of your life before letting the girl you assaulted finish you off. You get me? Somebody in here will show up at your door with a Louisville Slugger and a free afternoon, and when you get to jail some guy named Gorilla’s going to show you what it was like for her. That’s what you get to look forward to if you can’t learn some fucking self-control. Now get out of my sight.”

I don’t know how effective any of this would be, especially if you can’t get Vin Diesel to deliver it. But it would be nice if somebody tried, I think.

[3] I’m assuming, of course, that the school is allowed to talk about evolution.

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This entry was posted on June 23, 2003 by in Rant.
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