Salaried troll Andrew Alexander dangles his maggot off the riverbank in the Mail today with a piece entitled "The truth about tobacco? It's lost in a smokescreen". Pop over there and have a read if you like, but it boils down to: "I like smoking. People say it's bad for you but boo, wurrrrrgh, nur-nur-nur-nur-nur." Well maybe not quite, but:
An outright lie is also included in the anti-smoking campaign.
Tobacco manufacturers have to warn purchasers that, among other things, 'smoking kills'.
If one said that prussic acid kills, it would be true. A more honest statement would be that tobacco can kill. Only the illiterate or mentally idle will fail to see the difference.
I wouldn't criticise the illiterate and mentally idle if you're writing for the Mail, Andrew, as that's kind of alienating your core readership; but still, it's a fairly flimsy bit of hair-splitting. You could say: "Jumping off a cliff might kill you. Only the illiterate or mentally idle would think it definitely does." Which would be literally true, but realistically ridiculous.
Second-hand smoke is claimed to cause many deaths and is the basis for tyrannical curbs on offices and pubs.
This figure is arrived at by guesswork, inspired by hysteria, and masquerades as scientific 'proof' - a process which characterises our age.
I wonder which sort of publication might run articles about the dangers of passive smoking?
Naturally I'm not saying all of those articles are entirely correct, given where they're appearing and the subject they're talking about. And of course there's nothing wrong with Alexander calling his own publication 'hysterical' and deciding not to read what it's had to say about the subject before writing his ill-informed bollocks. Nothing at all. Indeed, I would encourage a similar approach. Let's hope we see a Mail columnist talk about their immigration stories as 'guesswork' and 'hysteria' which is 'masquerading as proof'; that certainly would be refreshing. Though I wouldn't hold your breath.
Alexander also says:
Sensibly, I returned to the habit. Pipe-smoking is a very ruminative process. It creates the right spaces and pauses for a writer.
Pity you didn't do any actual research instead of lighting your pipe and thinking about what complete cobblers to write about this week, Andrew; your article might have been better. Searching out facts is also quite a ruminative process, you might discover.
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