IcarusB comments

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic committee scraps controversial logo See in context

Well, obviously I can't possibly know if the logo was plagiarised - but moving a serifed line is hardly a radical idea! I've done it myself when playing around with images for covers for my music (along with many other text manipulations - y'know, moving the dots on i's, stuff like that) - and I'm no designer.

Personally I don't think we're talking 'grand theft' here - so much as which artist came up with this blindingly obvious (even to an amateur like me) idea first - and indeed how much 'who got there first' has legal superiority over 'strong probability of coincidence'.

Anyway - though I don't like Sano's logo - I think it's better than Olivier Debie's - because it creates a virtual circle from the inner curves of the serif.

Hmmm. Maybe I should check when I first did it - perhaps I can sue both of them :/

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Smoke haters go after smokers with a vengeance See in context

I'm not a smoker - but I have to say some of the vindictive self-righteousness and self-appointed vigilantism coming from some non-smokers is disconcerting.

The rapid transition from being a society which actively endorsed and promoted smoking - to one seeks to eradicate it because it's an unhealthy addiction, a financial burden on the health system is at times hurried, unreasonably cruel, insensitive, unsympathetic and - at times – just nasty!

Societal/governmental endorsement permitted the rise and spread of the smoking phenomena. It was a socially acceptable addiction (like drinking). It became ingrained as a normal recreational habit. Not everyone partook – but a vast proportion of society did. As recognition of the negative impacts of smoking (most notably on health) slowly emerged and, presumably, the government ‘bean counters’ around the world realised that the (financial) benefits of permitting this addiction were outweighed by the cost of maintaining it (e.g. impact on the health budget): policy shift – good is now bad.

Let’s be clear here: the smoking lobbyists are winning. The victory is inevitable. The trajectory of society opinion is moving inexorably in the right direction. Comparatively speaking the gradual disappearance of smoking has been rapid: tobacco was introduced to my country, the UK, in the mid 16th century – and to Japan in the late 16th century. 500 years of mostly approved consumption led to perpetual growth in usage and a global (taxable) industry. An October 2014 UK estimate indicated that usage was at now it’s ‘lowest since records began: around 20% - compared to over 50% of adults in the 1940’s).

Inevitably a social phenomena which took centuries to grow may take a few generations for that transition to be completed if it is to be achieved painlessly and sensitively. And I would assert that sensitivity is essential – since we, the same society are the ones who made this addiction acceptable in the first place.

Alternatively - we could just take we the quick route: willfully intimidate individuals into no longer taking part in a recreational habit which was, until recently, the recreational habit of the majority. And because it’s now officially promoted as ‘bad’ behaviour – we needn’t be retrained in our hounding. Right is on our side. Maybe we don’t even have to regard smokers as ‘people’ anymore – they’re pariahs – or, as I read in another comment thread recently: ‘evil murderers’. It’s much easier to be aggressive to individuals if we regard them as inhuman. We don’t need to burden ourselves with sympathy or tolerance. Tobacco witch hunts are now socially and morally acceptable – as well as quick and decisive.

But wait – it’s an addiction. Telling people that something which was once ‘good’ (and yes – cigarettes were marketed by some brands as healthy) is now ‘evil’ is all very well – but knowing something you’re now addicted to isn’t good for you doesn’t magically endow you with psychological strength or will to kick the habit – any more than someone punching you in the face for biting my nails is going to make the onychophagia stop. In fact – it might even intensify your yearning.

Only sympathetic and patient support is going to help an individual overcome an addiction. Yet what tobacco ‘addicts’ now have to endure is both an addiction that destroys their bodies AND the social status of a leper. (Incidentally – if you’re poor there’s a statistically much higher chance that you’ll become a leper – but that’s ok. They’re addicts because they failed themselves – not because we seduced them into a profitable habit.........and then changed our minds).

The transition from being acceptable to unacceptable interests me. It’s happened throughout history. The fact that such transitions occur doesn’t bother me – for example I don’t think I’ll mourn the disappearance of smoking. But, as someone who enjoys an occasional whiskey I might be more resistant to aggressive vigilantism directed at alcohol drinkers – which is, after all, probably tobacco’s nearest competitor in terms of its contribution to antisocial behaviour and poor health.

It’s HOW the transition occurs that bothers me. Why does it have to be so nasty?

My theory: the self-justifying animosity and self-appointed vigilantism is also a symptom of a latent anger within large swathes of our communities. And I don’t believe cigarettes are the source of that anger. The cigarettes are merely a symbol. A symbol of our lack of power and control over our environment. You can remove the symbol – but that won’t remove the sense of powerlessness and insignificance at the source of the anger. It will simply be re-directed (or steered) toward the next socially (majority) approved bête noir – whatever that might be (alcohol? noisy people? Obese people? Young people? Immigrants? Muslims? The Chinese etc etc.).

Comparative example: I was recently on a train. A young guy was listening to some dance music on his iPhone (with earphones). A uniformed soldier on the train decided, supposedly on behalf of the whole train (even though there was no prior consultation), to demand that the youth turned his music off because ‘It’s annoying EVERYONE’. The soldier was extremely threatening and aggressive in his demand. The young man, who was visibly terrified by the huge beast threatening him, complied. No one on the train objected to this act of aggression except me (whereupon I was subjected to a similarly aggressive response from the uniformed bully.........well - I’d aligned myself to the ENEMY after all!).

Whether the silence of the majority was because they agreed that people who listen to their music too loudly in public places are annoying and need to be put in their place – or whether it was because they were simply too scared to question this self-righteous bully for fear that his aggression would be directed toward them - I can’t be sure. What I can say is that, on balance, I found the soldiers self-justifying aggression much more disconcerting and worrying than the 'btoom btoom btoom' of the young man’s music.

Final observation – which I say as a non-smoker: I would much rather live in a society where smokers blew smoke directly into my face than a society where I can be subjected to the willful anger of a bunch of vigilantes who have decided that my behaviour is unacceptable and that they are therefore justified in intimidating me.

-2 ( +7 / -8 )

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