RE: virus: Tabacco mind virus.

Gifford, Nate F (
Thu, 3 Jul 1997 14:16:27 -0400

Drakir wrote:

It's all the same in the end, but it's probably cheaper to buy a gun and
shoot yourself :)


In an earlier post you and Capt. H. Pugwash were discussing suicide memes.
Isn't tobacco advertising an example of propagating a suicide meme via
fashion <weight loss>, sophistication <Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, etc.>,
bravado <The Duke> or to coin a phrase ... by Any Means Necessary.

What are the immediate advantages of smoking?
1. Weight loss/appetite suppression.
2. Tranquilizing effect when nervous.
3. Stimulating effect when tired. - I initially started smoking to keep
awake in a carrel of the university law library. I would do all my
studying one night a week. If you snuck into the law library before it
officially closed you could stay there all night and nothing was more
motivating then hanging with those first year law students.
4. It feels good....even when it tastes like crap.

Via the above advantages you get lots of cool role models smoking
in the 20's thru the 60's... Rich people, Movie Stars, Models, Dancers,

There is a certain propagating effect to the above. For some reason some
teens still think that smoking looks cool as long as teens think that then
the people who want to appear cool to teens need to smoke. For instance
there was an ad where Brooke Shields talked about how smoking was a real
turnoff for her. Nothing made me want to smoke <Winston tastes good ....
etc.> like that ad.

My point is that:

A progagating suicide meme is viable if it can garner converts fast enough
<"The War To End All Wars"> or if it occurs late enough in life for the
carriers to reproduce and propagate the meme <The Hemlock Society,
Kevorkian, Steppenwolf, Smoking>.

The idea of buying a gun and shooting yourself because its cheaper
completely misses the point of the smoking meme <I saw the smiley, I'm just
riffing here to keep this thread alive>. Smoking has several short term
advantages that a gun shot doesn't confer. In addition there are
exceptions to the lung cancer/heart disease/blood pressure rule. Those
apocryphal grannies who smoke 'till they're ninety and then die from a fall
in the bathtub.

A meme that I see as very similar to suicide is procreation. Have you ever
noticed how many people who swear they'll never have children don't get
themselves neutered? I have a friend who was going ape shit because he
thought his wife had gotten pregnant and his self-indulgent yuppie
lifestyle was in danger. But even after that scare he didn't want to get
his seminiferous tubules tied. For women getting cut makes sense because
after 30 birth control pills raise your risks for some kinds of cancer ...
For men getting cut makes sense because you can pretty much guarantee
yourself freedom from paternity suits. Any ideas for making
vasectomies/tubals cooler? Temporary methods of birth control seem to have
all the same memes as tobacco ... dangerous in the long run, but
convenient. Surgical methods are like the gun ... cheaper, more effective,
and distasteful.

By the way ... its the 4th of July, what are you and Tony doing this
weekend? :-). Someone just got mad at me in the elevator when I broke into
their conversation.

Person #1: What are you doing this weekend?
Person #2: Nothing much.
Person #1: Why not?
Me: Look at his name tag ... with a name like Gunkel its obvious he's a
Person #1&#2: Glare.

i thought it was funny.