Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #056: Oh, Yeah. It’s For The Children. Sure.

Damn near every time the self-appointed, self-righteous so-called morality mavens are opposed to some significant change in our social structure, they proclaim they’re stopping it “for the children.” If you oppose their efforts, therefore, you must hate children and unless you’re W.C. Fields that means you are evil.

To this, I loudly and profoundly call bullshit. Little kids who can barely read have been marching around carrying placards saying, “I’m sure glad my mother didn’t abort me!” for so long they’re putting those signs in the hands of their own little kids.

Yeah, sure. It’s okay to traumatize little kids in the name of shoving your religion down some stranger’s throat, because telling little kids that people who do not share their parents’ worldview are evil is good and appropriate.

Every time I hear some hysterical loser hide their agendas in unknown babies’ diapers, my Spidey-Sense goes off like a foghorn in an old British movie. They might have a decent premise somewhere in their argument, but when you stop to think about it – if you do stop to think about it – they pull the rug out from under their own argument by implying causation links that do not exist.

Let’s take smoking tobacco, which is a regular target of such activity. On the face of it, I agree with the concept of not smoking and the immorality of encouraging people to smoke tobacco. I tried my one and only cigarette shortly after my Bar Mitzvah, so my ox isn’t being gored here. But smoking tobacco in acceptable non-public venues is completely legal and if it doesn’t significantly inconvenience others that is their right.

If you want to think less of them for smoking, fine. There are plenty of impolitely judgmental folks out there, so you are not alone. But that doesn’t make you right, and that doesn’t mean you are something other than an asshole who likes to force people to march to their own tune.

I’m a baby boomer and about three-quarters of everybody with whom I went to school smoked tobacco at one time or another, and usually prior to their turning 18 … or 21; your state mileage may vary. I’d say that today over 90% of these people have stopped doing that. The tobacco industry always has marketed their wares to kids. Baseball cards were created to entice kids to sample their products.

Even today, two-thirds of a century after the surgeon general’s report, many parents smoke in their homes and their cars – in the latter case, after strapping their youngest into backwards-facing safety seats in order to protect their health. Yeah, irony. Gotta love it.

Now we’ve got flavored tobacco in vape cartridges, and damn near every non-tobacco producing state is tripping over their peers to ban the stuff. Well, marketing St. Joseph’s Orange-Flavored Tobacco For Children wouldn’t sell me because I think the base element sucks. Hell, I wouldn’t even try barbecue-flavored vape pens. But as our traditional conservative friends (sadly, this is no longer a redundancy) would say, these new laws are completely unnecessary.

And they’d be right. It already is illegal for an underaged human to buy nicotine products. It already is illegal for retailers to sell nicotine products to underaged humans. Still another law isn’t going to stop kids from smoking tobacco, and we’ve got at least 143 years of marketing history to prove that. There is no reason to restrict the choices of smokers of legal age.

Do you smoke menthol? Sorry, under these proposed laws you’re shit out of luck. The internet tells me (so it must be true) that people of color are the major market for menthol cigarettes, and back when billboard advertising of that stuff was acceptable most neighborhoods of color contained an abundance of such promotion. So… is this still another means to shit on minorities?

Think about that before you jerk your knee.

6 thoughts on “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #056: Oh, Yeah. It’s For The Children. Sure.

  1. “The internet tells me (so it must be true) that people of color are the major market for menthol cigarettes, and back when billboard advertising of that stuff was acceptable most neighborhoods of color contained an abundance of such promotion. So… is this still another means to shit on minorities?”

    If it is, so is this:

    Most Planned Parenthood facilities are in minority neighborhoods. 36.0% of all abortions in the U.S. in 2014 were performed on Black women, however, only about 13.3% of the total population is Black, so Blacks are being disproportionately aborted. Kind of a bigger issue than smoking.

  2. Well, George, as you know you and I are never going to agree on abortion, and most people seem to be pretty well dug in on this issue. There are reasons why the proportion of black woman seeking abortions may be twice as high as white women (you don’t site your source) is because it’s far easier for, on average, white women to afford and get birth control than it is for black women. Similarly, you don’t site a source for the locations of Planned Parenthood clinics — their headquarters is in what is now a very high rent neighborhood that is pretty well integrated. I don’t know if your statistic only reflects PPP clinics (it seems that way from your context) or if hospital abortions are included in your numberor even if hospitals are compelled to report these numbers. Certainly, white women have greater access to private hospitals than black women, by and large. PPP tends to establish clinics where they are most needed, when they are not blocked by zealots.

    But comparing abortion statistics to smoking statistics is a wonderful example of apples and oranges. I don’t think the folks at Viacom billboards used to think “oh, shit, we can’t advertise menthol cigarettes any more so let’s go sell us some abortions.” They are two completely different things (do black smokers have more abortions then white smokers — and, if so, what’s the difference anyway. However, I did ask — emphasis added here — “is this STILL another means to shit on minorities?”

    And, as you know, there are many other minorities than just black people. According to the most recent statistics I could find from H.H.S., women of fetus-bearing age who are capable of bearing fetuses are indeed a “minority.” If you do not belong to at least one or two minorities, you probably aren’t an American.

  3. OK, some sources:
    “Minority groups have complained for decades that Planned Parenthood has been targeting their communities, and Life Issues Institute’s research substantiated that claim with clear evidence. Unfortunately, the effect of these abortion facilities in minority neighborhoods has been both cultural and lasting.”
    “Planned Parenthood president, Cecile Richards, has inadvertently underscored the group’s repeated attempts to downplay its commitment to abortion. Richards met with Ivanka Trump last year to discuss the group’s future, and Trump suggested that Planned Parenthood split into two financially distinct groups, one of which offered no abortion, allowing it to receive government money without compromising taxpayers’ consciences. Richards refused, calling it naïve and saying that Trump failed to understand how central abortion is to Planned Parenthood’s mission.”

    And finally. I find it discouraging that you say. ” it’s far easier for, on average, white women to afford and get birth control than it is for black women.” If affordability is the issue, how much more does an abortion cost than birth control?

    1. Well, I neither endorse your sources nor to I believe in their impartiality, and they’re pretty dated. But I said we were unlikely to agree on abortion; you don’t want it safe and legal, and I do. So there.

      And, as for your final statement, I understand why you’re discouraged but it is quite possible for disadvantaged women to get a low-cost or even free abortion, while birth control is pretty expensive when it’s not covered by the same people who cover boner bills.

    2. George getting an abortion means needing a certain amount of money at a specific time, which anyone on a budget will tell you can be a crisis. Think about being on fixed income and you suddenly need new brakes
      So even if a woman spends only a little more than $200 over the year for her birth control it’s usually a monthly or quarterly expense that can be planned for. Abortions for the most part are for unplanned pregnancies so assuming that a person can come up with both the time and money required is the problem. I messed up taking my birth control and found myself pregnant. So there was a month where I had to pay for both my regular monthly birth control pills AND a medical abortion. Not every woman, of any race, can just come up with any extra amount of money in a few days.

      As for PP being in “black” neighborhoods perhaps we should look at this as a two fold issue: they are servicing an under-serviced community. Middle Class and up women tend to have and go to their regular ob/gyn for the services PP provides. But also how easy do you think it is to get the approval to put a PP clinic in a swankier neighborhood? NIMBY comes into play and being a nonprofit means you have to put your clinic in a an area where you can afford to run said clinic. Oddly the rents are often cheaper on the darker side of town…

    3. George you don’t have a uterus so your opinion on abortions is really moot. Should I get a say on what you do with your body?? I don’t know why on an article about a stupid e-cig ban & the marketing of tobacco to children, you turn it into an abortion debate.
      The whataboutism is ridiculous.
      Please stop it.
      I’m saying this in my official capacity.

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