Monday, 7 January 2008

Smoking, lies & the nanny state

page_headingThere are two kinds of celebrities who do 'issues.' The first kind are the vacuous joiners, adopting popular causes to either bolster flagging careers or boost new ones.  Then there are those who use whatever profile they have to promote causes they actually believe in.

Musician Joe Jackson (right) is the second kind. Explains the Telegraph:

Not for Jackson the populist flag-waving of Third World debt relief, global warming or the anti-landmine movement. In his more bloody-minded moments he says he feels like "standing up and saying, 'Actually, I quite like landmines!'"

For the past 10 years, Jackson has been a staunch defender of the rights of smokers. As a moderate five-a-day man, he is principally motivated by suspicion of the covert agenda of the anti-smoking lobby, which he dismisses as "a new Prohibition, a racket hugely driven by the pharmaceutical companies in partnership with the World Health Organisation" ...

"Mean-spirited" is his favourite description for everything from our obsession with vacuous celebrities to the ubiquitous CCTV cameras and chronic shortage of watering holes with late licences. News that smoking was to be outlawed in public places in [Britain] came as the last straw.

Read Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State [pdf], by Joe Jackson.  Or browse his site.  And if you can, track down and listen to his version of the song    'Round Midnight on this Tribute to Thelonious Monk.  Magnificent.

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