26 march, 1996
Social History of Consumption, Burke
cigarettes are sublimesublime immediately implies femininity. the notion of the seductive dangerous.
Interesting then to note that his first cigarette validation is wartime consumption, like prostitutes? patriotic, necessities for our boys.
His historicizing made me wonder if what is today seeming to me to be an inevitable trend toward nonsmoking, at least in public space, is nothing more than an extreme pendulum shift.
what does he say to those of us who care to protect our lungs in public space? That we are denying the smoking actors those extensions of themselves?
I was thinking of how Swarthmore changed Tarble as a public space when it banned smoking, the type of people that excluded, and the resulting symbolic protest/defiance/civil disobedience resulting from puffers.
In class, listening to folks recall their parents and cigarettes, I remembered my dad smoked. I realized too that my mom's passionate distaste for even the smell has been unconsciously a motivation for my own, not wanting to curry that disfavour and judgement in her eyes.
I began to resent this book, for making me want to smoke, for wanting to sublimate my distaste and indulge the sublime. All at once I felt like I'd be joining a group, rebelling against conventional wisdom, playing with supernatural forces. The witchy part, it reminded me of Chandra, who used to smoke Merit Ultra Lights. I insisted she quit, and she did, though she claimed the victory solely for herself. I was happy, I hated that taste come between us in kissing.
Fortunately I reached the phallocracy before I was too tempted. I was able to supplant my religious/health zealism and adversion to my own weakness for the lure of the sublime cigarette.
I guess some folks think cigarettes are good for you.