Excerpts from Electric Degeneration, Degenerate Press' semi-weekly e-zine, free and ad-free. A full episode contains sections for music reviews, upcoming events, blasphemy, classifieds, and anything else we feel like saying. If you'd like to subscribe just contact us.
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Nothin' like picking on personal vice to stir up a hornet's nest. Yet again
we got another long one so pop a top and get your abbreviated attention span
How about a little humor before we dig up the ashes on last week's smoking debate? The Loafing has a hilarious ad this week. Emory University School of Medicine is looking for volunteers for a study. Here's a lit of requirements: a "normal" female
18 - 45 yrs old, physically healthy, not on medication, have a regular menstrual cycle, no current or past history of mental health problems, and no history of abuse or other traumatic life experiences.
That's "normal"?? Doesn't even sound human, much less normal or female.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
"If you have been looking for a university that is not only rich in academic excellence and social outreach, but also has your spiritual development atop its priorities, please allow me to introduce you to Liberty University. My name is Jerry Falwell. I am the founder and chancellor of Liberty University. If you are interested in reading more about what this miracle institution has to offer you (or if you are the parent or grandparent of a high school senior) please read on..."
Got that in the mail the other day. Holy spam, Batman! The problem with spam, and smoking, is that the effluence does not just injure the originator but all those who come in contact with the byproducts. Kinda funny that an organization called Degenerate Press would get an invite from Mr. Falwell to go to the Holy Land with him and 3000 holier-than-we students. Kinda sad that every dipshit nicotine addict thinks they're being so Kool when they're poisoning my air. Hey, great segue...
> how exactly is it hurting you? Same old arguments, over and over... and
> can say is
> >I do
> >what *I* want and hope everyone else has the freedom to do the same, even
> >if it
> >means being deceived, used, murdered, abused, sickened - some enjoy that kind
> >of decadence. To each his own, right?
What an arrogant response! Who exactly are you hurting? ME! I don't care what
anyone does but I do care when the rights of another human being are considered
more important because that person contributes to the retirement fund of every
executive at RJ Reynolds. Freedom? You've got the freedom to smoke but where is my freedom to walk into a bar, office building, restaurant, national park, swimming pool, etc. and not inhale your "cool" albeit deadly habit. Don't feed me that bullshit about the great outdoors. Did you know that asthma is at an all time high with our young and elderly? Hell, just look outside on a good day and take a look at our beautiful "Atlanta Haze". Do you ENJOY inhaling that? How does it feel to have your lungs coated with soot and carcinogens just for walking outdoors? Trying feeling that way EVERYTIME you walk into a public establishment. Trying listening to smokers' whine day in day out about their rights' when nonsmokers' don't have any clean air to breathe! As for enjoying some kind of decadence--I hope you have someone in your life who loves you unconditionally. You know why? Have you ever watched someone die from a smoking related illness? Decadence, huh? Try days, weeks, months of uncontrollable vomiting, suffocating in your own salvia because your lungs don't work, the inability to eat or drink anything because your stomach has been eaten away, wearing diapers because of your loss of bowel/urine control and that's just the beginning. I got yer decadence--On April 26, 1996, I removed the oxygen tube from someone I loved very much, so she could smoke her last cigarette. Twenty minutes later, she suffocated on her own salvia and DIED from lung cancer. It would've been a great commercial--'Smoker 'Til the End, Enjoy while you Can!' So do what ever you want but stop polluting my air! *I* have a right to BREATHE!
And a couple of bigguns the editor squashed into one from degenerate RVI:
As for 'personal rights,' just what constitutes a right is more
complex than is generally noted. There is no such thing as a 'right to
smoke;' the use of tobacco has been a priviledge granted by our culture
and is not a natural right in the true sense. A 'right' is linked with
our being as humans, our needs; a 'priviledge' is linked to our
circumstance in history. As such, the culture and society, in the
interest of its people, can place restrictions on practices it once
tolerated or even promoted, especially as knowledge and belief evolve.
Most especially as the practice in question - smoking - has become a tool
of capitalism, which exists in order to do nothing except convert life
into mere abstract monetary values, superimposing an artificial grid of
random evaluations over reality, thus obscuring reality in order to
render it a commodity. This process can include human life, and does
where tobacco is concerned. Tobacco is addictive and it is a prime cause
of fatal health problems; the tobacco industry has turned these qualities
to their favor, creating generations of addicts through fraud (e.g.
claims tobacco is safe) and by the reinforcement of cultural promotion
(e.g. James Dean smoked in GIANT, so smoking is the cool and attractive
thing to do). Then it silently dumped the heath problems it exacerbated
on society, thus freeing more of its capital for investments and mergers
and buy-outs in other fields (e.g. RJR Nabisco). That is, big business
arranged a welfare payment to itself for all the years it refused to own
up to the fact that smoking causes cancer - we, the people, subsidized
their growth by allowing tobacco to avoid paying for the damage caused
our citizens by their products. Generations of people, believing
themselves free, for muddled reasons, wound up smoking, addicted, and
then eaten up with cancer or heart disease, or emphesema, etc. Now, to
allow the smoking industry to continue to reap huge profits after
awakening to these facts would represent another moment of monumental
stupidity in the life of this nation, a nation with plenty of stupid
moments in its family album already. Those who support the industry,
especially smokers, are slaves of the worst kind: They believe they are
'free' and are 'standing up for their freedom' - when, in fact, they are
just volunteering themselves to serve as tools in a game where their
master literally doesn't give a damn whether they live or die, just so
long as they keep sending the bucks for as long as possible. As for
'hoping everyone has the power to do what they want,' *I* want to see the
tobacco industry in shambles and the greedy swine who run it driven
through the streets in shame and terror as a lesson for the rest of the
dogs at the helms of big businesses here - the lesson that people are not
mere *things* for exploitation. If that means, among other things, the
cost of smokes will have to skyrocket, too bad. To each his own, right?
Here is a person who believes he can take up a position of neutrality on a
subject where, in fact, there is no middle ground to be had: He cloaks
himself in an imagined 'freedom' from societal-governmental judgement
without any grounds for doing so other than 'what I do doesn't matter.'
The pay-off, though, is that Big Business is receiving his support on a
number of fronts; thus, Gen-X inactivity or apathy or neutrality
translates into the enslavement of the generation by market forces. What
amused me the most about that letter to the Elec-excerpt (next to the
fact that the idiot explicitly claimed that there is a right to get
ripped-off and abused, hence a right to rip-off and abuse others) is that
this person actually believes *he* thought up the ideas he was spewing,
that he was, from his depths, defending something sacred (e.g. the right
to judge those who judge? to pretend to withdraw from politics while,
actually, being political? in short, the right to become a hypocrite and
a puppet), when, in fact, all his words were Barry Goldwater's and Ayn
Rand's and from jingles the dancing cigarette boxes used to sing on t.v.
advertisements. Ignorant savages. There is no neutral position. One
either opposes the free market system or one is caught up in it.
We also got an attempt from the vegan contingent to change the subject:
As I read your column, I realized that many of your points could be applied
to the meat industry. ...consumers handing their earnings to giant
money-belching corporations who in return, provide us with steriod-filled
genetically altered flesh.
Did you know that 70% of the total grain produced in the U.S. is consumed
by livestock? While 38,000 children worldwide die of starvation everyday.
That's the second-hand smoke aspect of our dietary choices.
As well as a response from a tobacco company stock holder:
Preventing smoking is like preventing drinking and driving, you've got to be kidding. Death from smoking is slow and painful, nothing like a fiery car crash. And I'm not quite conviced that the smoke you breathe in Star Bar is any more
dangerous than the sex you get there, the drinks you purchase there, the
fuckin' walk through the parking lot to get inside.
The only mistake the tobacco companies made was telling the first lie which
they had to try to ridiculously carry through the years. They should have
said, yeah, they might kill you, but so can a lot of things, smoke up
And a response to that response from your editor:
The drinks I purchase, and the sex that sometimes results from such, at the Star Bar is a risk I take on myself. As long as I don't get in the car and practice safe and honest sex, my self-poisoning is just that - poisoning only MYSELF. If you, as a stockholder, want to promote the lie that second hand smoke isn't dangerous you're full of shit. And the tobacco companies haven't just made that lie, or the lie you refer to, that first hand smoke is good for you. You think "alive with pleasure" isn't a lie? What about the Marlboro man, an image of someone healthy, full of life, out riding the frontier... They don't mention the couple of models they've used, avid smokers, that have died of lung cancer. Maybe we should change the old lawyer joke, "How can you tell a tobacco company ad exec is lying? His lips are moving!" I don't care if someone wants to shoot up, dip snuff, drink themselves into a coma or fuck themselves up in whatever way they 'enjoy' as long as a) they're aware of all the effects, b) I don't have to pay, either via taxes or higher insurance premiums, for their subsequent medical attention, and c) they don't threaten my safety in any way. Smokers were, at first, blatantly deceived about the use of the product. However, today they only violate two out of three, and two out of three ain't good.
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