The smoking ban in bars has me irked on far more than a superficial level.
As a smoker there's a slight annoyance about having to be outside to kill myself with two drugs at once, but I digress.
Really, what's bothering me is the disinfection and homogonization of enitre culture. We are encouraged to excersize, engage is macrobiotic diets, clean up our homes, our lives ourselves. Antibacterial wipes for our homes; which actually contribute to illness because after you leave the sterile environs which you have created in order to work, play, or otherwise exist, you become exposed to those very germs you have tried to eradicate, and become ill as a consequence.
Physical fitness in itself is not an issue. What becomes frightening is the obsessiveness to which we now hold 'being healthy', stemming mostly from the oustide pressure to conform to some media ideal of a body. I seriously doubt that the majority of people running themselves to exhaustion and choking down diet energy bars are that concerned with internal well being.
The most frightening is how we wish to sanitize our minds and emotions. Find something offesnsive? Rant and rave until someone in power sensors whatever it is that is bothering your pretty little innocent head. Sex, violence, drugs - in fact, let's sensor news and politics, so nothing disturbing ever crosses our vision. If we stick our heads far enough into the ground, everything bad will just go away. Feeling down? Up? Sideways? Take a pill. It's great how all these drugs to placate the populace are legal and encouraged. Don't think for yourself, don't act, and most importantly, don't read. Ideas are bad. Sit. Relax. Have a vitamin water and a mind numbing pill prescribed by your favorite physician. Watch some nice, safe tv with all of the offensive channels blocked out. You only have the choice of Disney and snow, but the snow is relaxing.
Which brings me back to the bar, the oldest numbing agent in the world. Alcohol is poision, that's why it makes you feel fuzzy. Now why would one of these upstanding, exersizing, pill popping automatons want to engage in a practice that poisions them in the first place?
A clean, happy bar full of shiny people offends my sensibilities on a deeply visceral level. A bar should be dark. Not filthy, but not spotless either. Smokey. Rich tobacco haze should obscure the face of your nearest neigbor. Jazz, a singer or piano, is totally acceptable. I should be able to sit in a corner of hazy miasma with a cigarette, preferrably with holder, in one hand, a tumbler of decent scotch in the other, listening to strains of faint music, while the cloud of smoke renders each occupant indistinct. I should have the option of remaining anonymous or engaging a few people in intimate conversation under said music. I should NOT have to listen to a bunch of giggling idiots talk about how cool they are, or fend off an undending stream of polished frat fucks who KNOW that I want to go home with them, if they can just convince me. Now, I can't even blow an offensive stream of smoke in thier cherubic faces to ward them off.
The world is a dirty, diseased, dangerous place. Burying our heads in the sand and making silly laws will not change that. The more people try to sanitize the world, the more dangerous it becomes, because people are unprepared for it. Let the masses know everything is not Disney and the Gap, and they will be better for it. Sweep everything under the carpet, and these ignorant children will find themselves in a dark alley where your clean little rules don't apply, and thier souls will be consumed in dark fire, even as they cry out in indignation and disbelief, not realizing the horrors that surround them are not new, have always been, and thier lack of knowledge is not protection, but a death sentence.