The Ban WagonOpinion
OPINION — Banning things is not a new concept. Back in the late 19th century, the Boston city council started banning any book, play, or song they thought was suggestive or risqué. And to a city council made up entirely of Puritans and Irish Catholics, pretty much everything was suggestive or risqué. The situation finally came to a head when the council determined that everyone on the council was either male or female, and therefore suggestive and risqué, so the council banned itself.
Smoking has already been banned just about everywhere people breathe. That was a huge issue for a while, until people got used to it. At first, restaurants tried having a smoking section and a non-smoking section, but that didn’t work worth beans, because the smoke didn’t know which section to stay in. It was like having a ‘no urinating’ section in a swimming pool.
Airlines banned smoking on planes altogether, which created a few problems. People figured they could get away with smoking in those tiny airplane toilets, so the airlines started hiring bigger, burlier, meaner flight attendants. When someone was caught smoking in the toilet they were invited to sit in the cargo section, and then ejected through a hole in the floor. No refunds were issued, but luggage was returned to the next of kin, along with a stern warning.
But everybody pretty much agreed smoking was bad, so we gradually accepted the curtailment of our freedom, in the interest of national health. Also in the interest of not getting thrown out of planes. Now, though, I think bans are getting a little out of hand.
The city council of Beverly Hills doesn’t seem to think so. They recently voted to ban the sale of tobacco products inside their city limits. You want to destroy your lungs? You’ll have to buy your smokes someplace else. Unless you’re rich.
Gas stations, convenience stores, pharmacies, and grocery stores in Beverly Hills – places where regular people go – won’t be allowed to sell tobacco anymore. But some wealthy residents, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, managed to lobby the council to offer exemptions for their favorite places. High-end hotels will still be able to sell tobacco, along with places like the Grand Havana Room, which is an extremely exclusive, members only club with two locations, one in New York and one in Beverly Hills. I thought about joining once, but I was rejected on the grounds that I look too much like Brad Pitt. Also I’m broke.
Above: Arnold Schwarzenegger & friends managed to lobby the council to offer exemptions for their favorite places.
California and Seattle have banned plastic straws, believing, in their immense arrogance, this will make a dent in the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans. Then New York decided to ban plastic grocery bags, so California upped the ante again by banning those little plastic bottles of shampoo they put in your hotel room when you’re not looking. Wonderful idea, except that visitors who fly to Cali can’t bring large bottles of soap, because airlines have banned them. I guess if you decide to spend a few days in LA you’ll have to buy a large bottle of shampoo, and then throw it away before you fly home. So California, in trying to save the world, is destroying the world. Bummer.
And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio certainly is doing his part. Bill is one of the few people in the country dumb enough to believe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s prediction that the world will end in just over a decade unless we stop flying in planes (except for her), stop driving around in big SUVs (except for her), and stop cow flatulence (except for her). For the record, AOC recently pointed out that her claim that the ‘world’ would ‘end’ in ‘twelve years’ was not literally ‘literal.’ But then she panicked all over Twitter because of a little tornado warning, prompting Kansans to continue to ignore everything she says.
Above: Bill is one of the few people in the country dumb enough to believe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
But Bill is on board the Green New Deal train with both feet. Congress shot down national implementation of AOC’s plan, but Bill filed that memo in his personal recycle bin. He says New York will end city purchases of ‘unnecessary single-use plastic foodware’ and ‘phase out the purchase of processed meat, cutting beef purchasing in half,’ among other things. All NYC schools already started their ‘Meatless Mondays’ campaign in 2017, because ‘kids don’t need protein, not really, you know.’
Bill said, “Estimates tell us that we have only twelve years to get it right. Let’s be clear, we have until 2030 to change things fundamentally, or our lives won’t be the same.” I think I can safely say that our lives won’t be the same, if we listen to Chicken Littles like Bill. But that’s me.
Banning stuff in New York and California is one thing, but Woody Harrelson has lately hooked up with peta to try to get Texas Governor Greg Abbot to ban the annual Bandera Bacon Bash, which raises money for some good causes. Call me a skeptic, but I think talking Texans out of their bacon, for any reason, is going to be a hard sell. Maybe Bandera needs to adopt a version of the Gonzalez ‘Come and take it’ flag, with a hog on it instead of a canon . . .
Above: Woody Harrelson has lately hooked up with peta to try to get Texas Governor Greg Abbot to ban the annual Bandera Bacon Bash
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and minister who only eats bacon when he’s alone or with someone. Write to him at [email protected]
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