Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why I Won't Be Attending WesterCon After All

I had intended to go to this year's WesterCon until I learned something unpleasant about the state of California, the city of Pasadena, and the management of the convention's hotel -- the Pasadena Hilton.

First, the idiot government of California, which has managed to run broke the richest state in the country, thinks it has the intelligence to tell What's Best For Everybody -- whether the people want it or not. It's banned tobacco smoking (without legalizing marijuana!) from any building that's open to the public, and a lot of outdoor spots as well. Second, the equally-brilliant government of Pasadena chose to prove its Righteousness by going the state one better, and banned smoking from even more outdoor locations than the state did.

But the bigot's crown goes to the management of the Hilton, who banned smoking not only from all their rooms, not only outdoors within 20 feet of any door, but from their entire property -- even the parking lot. This means you have to go clean out to the public street, or at least sidewalk, to light up.

Now, even if you believe that all the stories about The Evils Of Smoking are true -- and in my next post I'll show good evidence that they aren't -- you have to admit that this goes far beyond science or common sense. Outdoors, a 20-foot distance is quite enough to dissipate smoke from any cigarette, or even cigar, and keep the smell from offending even the most sensitive aristocratic nose. (Yes, I've seen people -- no names! -- who claim to be terribly-terribly Sensitive and allergic to smoke, who go into pretty-good-imitation fits of anaphylactic shock if they see someone holding even an unlit cigarette 40 feet in front of them; I've also seen those same people somehow unable to smell a lighted cigarette 10 feet behind them.) 20 feet is enough. If Second Hand Smoke were as lethal as bigots (and their lawyers) like to claim, nobody would have survived the first colony at Jamestown.

So this lofty policy of We Don't Want That Sort Of People On Our Property is not based on health or science. It's based on something else, something I won't support or condone. I will, however, post a song about it.

SINCE THE CIVIL WAR (c) Leslie Fish, 2000

Where shall you walk tonight my love, to cause nobody pain?
Under the dripping trees, my love, or under the open rain?
You cannot step beneath a roof; the law has made that plain.
'Cause you're a smoker:
That makes you our Nigger now.
You're a toker:
We can use you anyhow.
We can't abuse Blacks or Jews
Or Spanish anymore,
But we can do things to you
The law has said we couldn't do
To anybody since the Civil War.

Don't try to give a cure, my love. Don't say what might be done
With filter-fans or ionizers; all such talk is done.
The point is not sweet logic, dear; the point is dirty fun.
We want victims.
This is our excuse today.
Legal victims.
Don't take our excuse away!
We want free cruelty.
Compassion's such a chore.
Bigotry can be free!
Hard for you, but fun for me.
It isn't just for White folks anymore!

Praise the air, so free of smoke --
While pollution makes us choke.
"Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh --
And the sudden smell of burning flesh."
Soon enough. (Burn the witch!)
Hang tough. (Kill the bitch!)

We weary of compassion, love. We tire of being good.
We're tired of toleration, and of doing as we should.
We want to go and raid again in any neighborhood.
Give us bloodlust!
Oooh, we've missed it for so long!
Legal bloodlust!
Now the taste is sharp and strong.
Just say yes to Righteousness,
And join the cause today!
Love so sweet can't compete
With hunting victims down the street.
Love, I think it's time you ran away.

--Leslie <;)))>< )O(


Brian Dunbar said...

Praise the air, so free of smoke --
While pollution makes us choke.
"Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh --
And the sudden smell of burning flesh."
Soon enough. (Burn the witch!)
Hang tough. (Kill the bitch!


Last year my company banned smokers completely off company-owned property. If you had to smoke at our old office you had to walk a fair bit to get off the property - about a three minute walk, there and back. The HR-reason was to promote healthy employees, I suspect the real reason is we got a break from our health insurance company for doing so.

What it really did was promote longer breaks for the smokers. Which is fine - the guys at work who smoke are in IT and pacing and thinking is what we do best. It may even be that the walk out and back will make the smokers healthier than those of us who swill coffee on our breaks.

Hey, when do they come after the caffeine addicts?

Aya Katz said...

Leslie, how about we organize a filkcon in Missouri? I think you won't run into such laws here.

Mark Horning said...

I'm not going either.

$150/ night for the hotel, plus tax, plus the bastards want to charge $15/day parking.

Screw it, I could buy a nice guitar or handgun for that kind of coin.

Anonymous said...

These delicate flowers with whom we're so abundantly...blessed...these days seem to feel that breathing air with even the most intangible trace of vile tobacco smoke makes life more than they can bear.

I am unaware of any statute that forces them to continue to bear it.

And if serious tobacco-smoke allergies were anything like as common as some people let on, they'd have been noticed lang syne. From about the early 1920s to the 1980s or thenabouts, the assumption was that adults smoked. My parents (WWII-vintage; I'm a very late Boomer chronologically, although I'm more of a Gen-X type culturally) told me that non-smokers were generally considered to be weirdos, and misfits.

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Brian. Ah, yes: talk about Unintended Consequences! Prohibition had some, too.

Hi, Aya. I've never organized a convention myself (only been on the staff a couple times), so I'm the wrong person to ask. Thing to do is go over to rec.music.filk and ask there. A lot of those folks have organized cons, especially filk-cons, and can give you a pretty good idea.

Hi, Mark. So, what're you doing for the 4th? I'll probably stay home and work on this for-hire novel, or take in the show here in Mesa.

Hi, Eric. Yes, I have to wonder what these sensitive types did back before there were any no-smoking laws -- or any air-pollution controls, either.

BTW, has anyone done any research on the electronic cigarettes? Now that the govt. has cut off sales for the Indian Res. cigarettes, I can't afford the commercial brands anymore. I'll have to roll my own or use e-cigarettes, and I have no idea where to find those.

--Leslie <;)))><

Leslie Fish said...

BTW, I learned from an informant on Facebook that the entire Hilton chain has been bought up by the Chinese. That might explain a few things; China seems to have no idea how to run businesses except in the style of old-fashioned Chinese landlords, which is no model to follow.

--Leslie <;)))>< )O(

Antongarou said...

As someone who hates tobaco smoking and cheered when public vanues were forced to give 75% of their space to nonsmoking area, with separate ventilation, I must agree this is nonsense. Most places here simply put tables outside for smokers and abide by the law that way- I'm yet to smell anything from within the nonsmoking area.

Anonymous said...

As someone who gets very bad headaches from smoke I still think this and other regulations against smoking are absurd.

Those folks that are "allergic" are probably just like me which means they also get headaches from perfumes or solvents or any strong smells. The laws don't cover people who douse themselves with cologne, just those "evil" smokers.

Unless I'm heavily exposed for a fairly long duration the headache goes away rather quickly upon breathing cleaner air. I consider my sensitivity to be My problem. Infringing on others rights is no way to take care of a problem and is rather short sighted.

And to be a bit fan-boy for a moment, I would gladly take the skull-splitting headache to be at a filk circle with Leslie.

Leslie Fish said...

Awww, thank you, Anti. In fact, I've done a bit of research on electric cigs, and learned some eye-popping facts. I invite anyone who's interested in both avoiding smoke and giving smokers their rights to have a look at www.vapeatron.com. I've ordered an e-cig kit for myself, and I daresay I'll be using it next time I go to California. Heheheheh. Let's see how the bigots react to that!

--Leslie <;)))><

Anonymous said...

Are they letting people use e-cigs indoors, on planes, etc where reagular smoking isn't allowed? That seems like it'd be great. Don't see why it shouldn't be allowed but since when does reason have anything to do with it.

Are you going to be at FenCon this year? Do you make it to any cons around the Texas area? We're moving to Dallas soon. Missed getting to try and catch you in California while we were on the west coast.


KateGladstone said...

" [not-really-allergic-to-cigarette-smoke people]who go into pretty-good-imitation fits of anaphylactic shock if they see someone holding even an unlit cigarette 40 feet in front of them; I've also seen those same people somehow unable to smell a lighted cigarette 10 feet behind them. ... 20 feet is enough [to dissipate the smoke if you really are sensitive]"

As someone who documentably is _not_ among the fakers (I can smell, and be nauseated by, smoke from a cigarette that I cannot see, or that was extinguished before I entered the room), I agree that 20 feet is enough distance: for me, at least.
One way I know I'm not a faker is that I was nauseated by cigarettes even before I was born: when my mother (then a heavy smoker) became pregnant with me, tobacco suddenly became seriously nauseating to her, for the duration: apparently from the moment I got attached inside her womb until the moment I was delivered. (She was quite happy, when I was born, that she could once again light up. I wasn't happy: and, once I could talk, I spent A LOT of my early childhood begging her and Dad not to light up around me, until they finally quit in 1968.)
As a fetus in 1962-1963, and then an infant in 1963 — well before the don't-smoke crusade became powerful — I am unlikely to have been paying much attention to the (then) few media-warnings against tobacco.