Andy Burns to poker smokers

By: | Post date: April 28, 2009 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Personal

MX is a free give-away newspaper in Melbourne. It is published by the same mob as the Herald-Sun—but its vocabulary is even simpler.

Its sentences are really short. Its paragraphs are short too. Like this.

It also has lame-ass punning headlines—much like this post about a piece by Andy Burns. It’s light reading meant to entertain commuters—going home.

It reduces the news to little puff pieces. As easily digestable as the Hollywood goss and lifestyle pieces next to them.

The “For What It’s Worth” column [scroll down for description] is written by a different MX journo each issue. It likes to think it is being quizzical and quirky, as it riffs off some piece on the opposite page. Usually, it isn’t.

Instead, it is ten different categories of inane. Delighting in its levity as it makes fun of things it doesn’t quite get. And going off on tangents that would be incriminating—if they weren’t so childish.

But tonight I got distracted by this piece—even before “For What It’s Worth”. Page 3, 2009-04-28.


Tarred as filthy smoker

Don’t be fooled by this elegant photo. Katie Holmes may look stunning, but she is hiding a dirty little secret.

Reports are out today that Katie is part of a secret cult—and it’s not Scientology.

She is a closet smoker.


So if pics of toes dropping off, dissected lungs covered in goo and arteries that look like piping bags didn’t turn off the smokers, they are being systematically shamed into quitting as social pariahs, undateable.

And so they should be. Their gangrenous fingers are just waiting to be a burden on the healthcare system. We’ve seen the pictures on the PJ‘s packs.

I take a certain measure of schadenfreude in watching smokers shuddering in the rain outside a bar getting their fix, while I stay toasty inside.

As a non-smoker, meeting a potential partner who lights up is a total deal breaker.

I can understand where Tom is coming from on this one.

He has every right to enslave Katie in a Scientolo-dungeon until she shakes the beast from her back.

Andy Burns, as a non-smoker who has often gone outside in the cold out of solidarity with smoking friends, I take a certain measure of echte Freude in telling you to SHUT UP, YOU FACILE BUBBLEHEAD. And to link approvingly to William Saletan on how the anti-smoking crusade has become a moral crisis. (Why else *would* you ban snus?) And the Great Leaping Larry L’s cri de coeur on the desolation wrought in this country, too, by banning smoking on pubs. For a week there, people were bringing six-month old babies into pubs. WHO THE HELL TOLD YOU A PUB WAS A PLACE FOR A SIX-MONTH OLD? No doubt the same people who told you a pub was no place to encounter smokers. Especially when (as Leapster astutely points out), those people are not the regular clientele anyway. (And the staff could do worse than they do in Nijmegen: tiptoe up to the door of the smokers’ room, and invite the puffing gangrene-merchants to pick up their own damn drinks.)

I leave aside the twisted morality that elevates the right to imprison in a Scientolo-dungeon above the right to smoke. Nor am I particularly hankering either to risk lung cancer, or foist it on bar staff. But until smokers start being shot in the streets (and I don’t doubt the day is coming), I will NOT join in in treating as pariahs my few remaining smoking friends (D.A., G.M., S.F.; A.C., X.Y.; um, N.P. kicked the habit; um, A.V.—or does she count as my sister’s friend?, er…) And I wouldn’t date you, Andy Burns, even if you are as gorgeous as the MX inset photo suggests.

But it’s not because of your facile priggishness about smokers.

It’s coz you write in short sentences.

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