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Jewish World Review July 24, 2000/ 21 Tamuz, 5760

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports

Fired up and grossed out
over stupid Canadians --
PARENTING has taught me -- and television shows such as South Park have confirmed -- that gross is good. In the world of adolescent boys, disgusting is even better.

So efforts to make smoking unappealing by emphasizing the repulsive repercussions of flipping your Zippo nearly guarantee the opposite effect.

Want to make a 13-year-old boy beg for Marlboros?

Package them with photos of a cancerous tongue, as the Canadian Ministry of Health is insisting tobacco vendors do, beginning next year.

"Eewww, awesome. Wanna trade a brain cancer for a lip lesion?"

The gruesome-photo campaign is Canada's latest attempt to protect stupid Canadians from themselves.

Could it be that stupid Canadians are even stupider than stupid Americans? Should we be saying, "Thank God for Canada," the way South Carolinians always have genuflected at the mention of Mississippi?

Here's how stupid Canadian smokers are. They actually asked for the photos. They're so unhappy being smokers - and so incapable of taking the simple step of quitting (I did after 16 years, so don't whine in my space but do blow your smoke this way, please.) - that they want horrifying images to remind them of just how stupid they are.

Studies allegedly report that as many as 70 percent of smokers wish they weren't, and in Canada they have asked for the grossest reminders possible.

"Smokers said to give us the biggest warnings, the toughest warnings with pictures and graphics," said Garfield Mahood, executive director of Canada's Nonsmokers Rights Association. "They say they need all the help they can get in the process of leaving the market."

Make us hurl, in other words, but don't let us smoke.

Couldn't self-loathing smokers just, I dunno, take up whittling or something?

Studies also show, by the way, that in time smokers become inured to simple warnings about the hazards of smoking. It's sort of like pornography, I guess. The more you see, the more you need to become . . . presidential.

Thus, Canada's cigarettes must come adorned with graphic, colorful pictures of various smoking-related images -- a bedridden person dying of lung cancer, the brain of a stroke sufferer, mouth cancer, as well as inserts explaining how to quit (Hint: don't buy cigarettes.).

The 16 pictures will rotate with stronger label warnings, such as: "Cigarettes are highly addictive."

Gosh, really? (Insert photo of stupid smoker slapping forehead here, knocking himself out.)

Another warning plays the child card and features two boys next to a warning: "Don't Poison Us."

But my favorite -- certain to have been a bestseller among my hilarity-seeking high-school chums -- features a limp cigarette with this message: "Warning: Tobacco Use Can Make You Impotent."

My mercy, what's next?

How about this?

I've noticed that enormously fat people often are seen putting sugary, fat-saturated foods into their mouths. Can there be any doubt remaining that such ingestions produce globs of unhealthy, not to mention unsightly, fat?

I can't insist enough that McDonalds, Burger King and all others worshipped by the squat 'n gobble set be required by the Ministry of Improved Attractiveness to place photos of diseased hearts, clogged arteries and cellulite thighs on burger wrappers, alerting consumers to the probable consequences of their revolting eating habits.

Next, shouldn't we put photos of fatherless children and battered women on bourbon bottles? Beer guts on Buds? Bankrupting phone bills on high-end Chardonnays?

The potential, you have to admit, is thrilling.

If I were a betting sort, I'd put my money in tobacco. With a new generation of potential smokers rising -- and given current high tolerance for revulsion -- the gross-out tobacco product is a high-yield winner for savvy investors.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


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07/11/00: School essay watchdogs cannibalize our children
07/06/00: Youths fear marriage --- blame boomers
06/28/00: Eminem might just have a point
06/21/00: Bridging the day-care divide
06/15/00: N.Y. baby case ends up with multiracial scrambled eggs
05/31/00: The war only time wins
05/25/00: The opposite of sex
05/18/00: World War II gave us our true heroes
05/11/00: Boy Crazy! stacks deck against guys
05/09/00: Finding out where the boys are
05/05/00: A born Ms. Leader -- Barbie for prez
04/25/00: From here to paternity
04/14/00: Boys should be boys, not viewed as criminals in training
04/11/00: Oh, for a standard of what is socially, morally acceptable
04/06/00: Womyn's Contempt for Commitment --- and the bastards it creates
04/04/00: Sue-happy American society is out of control
03/30/00: Duct-taped baby serves as warning
03/28/00: Stay-home parents know that their kids need them
03/24/00: No 'Great Expectations' when schools shun the classics
03/21/00: It's common sense to restrict Internet usage in libraries
03/17/00: You want to be just a mom? For shame!
03/14/00: Colonoscopy: Important, but bad TV
03/10/00: I made a mistake about trigger-locks
03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
01/13/00: Fools in love: Premarital counseling could help school kids
01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

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