Wednesday, 25 May 2011

You take the sword, I'll take the pen.

(This is a long ramble. Best get a sandwich and a beer.)

In the battle against the Righteous, we use facts. Alcohol units per day, five-a-day vegetables, hockey stick graphs, all long discredited yet still presented as fact, all made-up stuff. We respond with genuine scientific studies or point out their lack of any empirical evidence. Who is winning, as far as the public are concerned?

They are.

The pen of fiction does seem to be mightier than the sword of truth. While the truth can be bizarre, fiction has to be logical and sensible and believable. So when you hear that children are running amok, terrorising neighbourhoods and getting away with no more than a telling-off, when you hear that the victims of crime are arrested, when you hear that those who attempt to stop criminals in the act are jailed, it makes no sense. It is illogical.

The fiction that these are mere isolated incidents or even the invention of the press is much more credible, especially to those who live in areas so far unaffected by the violence. That’s an easy one.

Third hand smoke is a more complex one. It relies on a general ignorance of chemistry. Those who actually look up the chemistry will find that yes, plant-derived nitrosamines can react with gaseous nitrous acid ions to produce a carcinogen. However, few will bother with the quantities. Few will note that if there is enough nitrous acid in the air to produce sufficient carcinogen to be effective, then those who inhale it will never experience cancer. They’ll never experience anything, ever again. Even if there was no third hand smoke present.

Nobody notices. The logic in the chemistry is intact but the dose level requires an already toxic atmosphere in order to possibly produce something that might or might not prove toxic.

The alcohol units per week and the five-a-day fruit and veg numbers were simply plucked out of the air. Global warming is based on computer models, not on actual observations because actual observations don’t fit the models so reality must be wrong. By the time global warming appeared, the techniques used to twist reality to fit the narrative were already firmly in place. Reality is now created by fiction writers, but they don’t tell you it’s fiction.

Most people will believe anything if it’s presented in a credible and logical way. It’s not because they are stupid, but because nobody has time to research every aspect of every subject. Suppose I were to tell you that bacteria communicate with each other using a ‘language’ of chemical signals. Suppose I told you that some pathogens won’t initiate an infection until they know there are enough of them present to beat the host defences, and they communicate to decide when to attack. Would you believe it?

It’s true. It’s called ‘quorum sensing’.

Suppose I told you that the Romans had to build straight roads, no matter what was in the way, because their two-wheeled rigid carts were almost impossible to steer at speed.

That’s total rubbish. I made it up. Try both of them on anyone you meet and unless they are a microbiologist or a historian, I’ll bet most will believe the wrong one. Bacteria ‘talking’ will make most people laugh. The straight road story sounds plausible.

Facts are easily trumped by a plausible story. I have met people with PhD’s who are shocked at the suggestion that a non-smoker could use a no-nicotine Electrofag. They believe it will start them smoking. Why? If you use a device that delivers, say, coffee-flavoured steam (there is a huge range of flavours now) and you try a cigarette, you aren’t likely to enjoy it. It tastes very different and it’s smoke, not steam. And yet, otherwise intelligent people believe that smoking is some kind of demonic possession, triggered by anything that looks like smoking or even by the sight of a shiny box. By that token, if you chew a pen, you’re a smoker.

Frank Davis and Pat Nurse have both posted articles that suggest they are at the end of their tether over the smoking ban. It just goes further and further and there is no compromise at all at any stage. Will they enforce a home ban with CCTV in every home? Every home, antismokers. There is no way to tell who’s having a crafty puff at home so you’ll be watched too.

Well, if they were to propose such a thing for smoking, there would be uproar. However, if they start by proposing it for a serious crime, no matter that it can’t work for that crime, then they'll have a few homes with cameras to start with. Wait until everyone is used to the idea that the cameras are there for their own protection, perhaps from burglars or terrorists or the new breed of lawless youth, and then it’ll be easy. There will be idiots demanding cameras because the idiots next door have them. The cameras can be in place before the home smoking ban, before the controls on drinking and diet. There won’t appear to be any connection at all.

On any subject, be it booze or fat or salt or smoking or weather, the zealots will never compromise. Never. They will never stop pushing for more control. Never. They are indifferent to any argument based on facts, because their beliefs trump the facts.

There aren’t really all that many of these fiction-writing true zealots. They amass armies of drones using persuasive nonsense and they have created a population who will believe any damn thing if it’s properly presented. Frank and Pat despair at this.

I have a different mindset. I have never had so much fun in my life. I’m not an imposing figure, never been athletic or anywhere close to it. Now I am the Grim Reaper made flesh and all I need are a little bit of burning leaf, a few words and a straight face.

I have told people they should wash their dog’s paws after every walk in case they stepped in some ash, and they believe it. I have told them to beware of letting their cats out at night because cigarette ends are like catnip to them, and they believe it. I have described to them in a low and level voice all the symptoms they will experience as a result of being too near the smoking area and I have watched their breath shorten. So far I have not caused a psychosomatic death but one day...

Now I have a big one for the next antismoker who fake-coughs at me. It plays on several of their insane beliefs all at once.


UKBA confiscate millions of tons of tobacco every year. What do they do with it? They burn it. Don’t worry, they don’t burn it in this country because that would contaminate the air and make everyone a nicotine addict. They ship it abroad.

To Iceland.

Why Iceland? Well, Iceland owe the UK loads of money so they have agreed to repay the debt by disposing of UKBA’s confiscated baccy. You see, another reason we don’t want it burned here is that the Government are trying to reduce emissions and burning all that tobacco would produce lots of CO2 and also require running an incinerator. That would cost energy and boost emissions.

Iceland have volcanoes (can you see what it is yet?) so rather than running an incinerator, they dump all the tobacco into the volcanoes. It costs them nothing, it doesn’t make a difference to a volcano’s emissions and it helps them repay their debt. It’s a win all around.

Until a volcano erupts.

You see all that ash that’s now falling all over the country? Well...


How can anyone resist having fun with this? I don’t have to pretend to be evil. The drone army are already convinced of it. They wouldn’t bat an eyelid if I sprouted horns. You can invent anything bad as long as it relates to their conditioned hate and they will fall for it every time. Truth? Forget it. They have, a long time ago.

Put down the swords and pick up the pens. There can be no compromise with these people and no reasoning with them. They will never stop pushing and they will never listen.

So let’s terrify them to death. Push the absurdity as far as it can go and that’s quite some way yet. Some will come to their senses when it goes too far for them - but those who don’t, well, they’ll just have to get used to high blood pressure and shortness of breath and permanent terror.

When they call for compromise, the only answer is ‘no’. Any compromise position will just let them start all over again. Trying to persuade them of the truth is futile, they won’t hear it. Their world is a fantasy Utopia entirely constructed from their beliefs.

We can turn it into Hell.


Anonymous said...

OMG - you are SO right on this one.

Quick - start the rumours going everywhere on the internet - the volcano belching out of Iceland is drenching the entire UK in second-hand tobacco smoke.

Yes - marvelous idea!

Mark Wadsworth said...

Brilliant idea. I'll see if I can sneak it in somewhere.

George Speller said...

five-a-day fruit and veg numbers . . . I read the California fruit and veg growers needed to shift more stuff so they set the figure above the current level of consumption. Still bollox, but follow the money . . .

Slamlander said...

This is soo evil and soo funny ... ;)

Between you guys and the BBC, I don't want to ever travel there anymore. But then Heinlein did say that people generally get the sort of government that they so richly deserve. The rest of us have to figure how to live with it or leave.

In the US, the third option (revolution), is rapidly being neutralized.

Anonymous said...


How the five-a-day mantra was born
April 13 2010

"It is one of the most successful indoctrinations in modern Britain, filtering into every aspect of public life."

"The Department of Health was searching for a motivational tool for a nation of poor eaters and the ready-made American campaign based on the number five seemed catchy."

"In 1991 the American Government adopted the five-a-day policy, as growing numbers of experts were stating that bad food was causing cancer.

First and foremost among them was Britain’s esteemed Sir Richard Doll, the scientific hero who established the link between cigarettes and cancer. In 1981 he estimated that a third of cancer deaths in the West could have been avoided with a better diet.

When Sir Richard spoke, the world took notice and, by 2007, says Willett, the experts proclaimed that eating a load of fruit and veg could reduce your cancer risk by 50 per cent. The American National Cancer Institute upped its recommendations to nine-a-day."

“It was Susan Foerster, the head nutritionist in California. She had the bright idea of promoting fruit and vegetable consumption in a state which was a big fruit and vegetable producer.”

The American National Cancer Institute admits that “no studies have tested the impact of specific numbers of servings on cancer risk”. But it says five was chosen in California in 1988, as it doubled the average consumption, and “the number five was memorable and provided a platform for creative message and programme delivery”.

Bunch of con artists.How about just saying they taste good instead of threatening everyone with Death.


free fountain pen said...

even obama seems to be at this superfictionalization lark - yesterday, he dated his signature '2008' in the westminster abbey guest book. he must surely have meant this 'slip' as a deliberate sleight against a british establishment which he regards to be stuck back in the bush era (ie before obama), however, in the context of an american presidency which has continued to prosecute and escalate a meltdown-war against the muslim world, hundreds of millions around the globe will, on the contrary, view barack obama's arrogant chronological vandalism at the historic london monument as a public confession that it is he himself who has failed to change the calendar and signally omitted to ring in a new era. after all...let's face it, we're talking about a man who has done for freedom about as much as the british monarchy's done for mixed-race marriages. maybe the president should have dated his entry '3bo'.

ryan diggs said...


apologies, i entered by name incorrectly - it should have read: 'free fountain penalty'.

Anonymous said...

My mother believed in the five-a-day mantra when she used to work for the State in pushing that agenda.

Once she retired from that particular job she read a book about the five-a-day scam. It changed her opinions on the whole thing overnight. It was like a lamp had been switched on.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the fact that advertisers are now cleaning up by using 5 a day as an advertising tool ("drink our fruit juice - contributes to your five a day") has contributed to the spread of the doctrine.

So I'll have five melons per day - you have five grapes. Lets see who shits best, and so I will get even less colon cancer than you!

Anonymous said...

Do tobacco leaves count as part of your five a day? They are vegetable in origin - no?

smokervoter said...

Kind of makes you wonder why some smart entrepreneur hasn't made a killing by selling T-Shirts with I SMOKE emblazoned in huge letters across the front and back. People who don't fancy waiting in stretched out queues would buy em' up in spades.

Leg-iron said...

Tobacco is suitable for vegans.

That should be on the packets. It's on everything else that contains no animal products.

The best way to play this game is to drop the information into the pot, wait a while and then argue against it.

Well, smokers are obviously going to deny the existence of a smoking-related problem, aren't they?

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