10 (2007), Nr.3/September



I smoked one cigarette only against aesthetic apartheid. 2661 Zeichen.


I smoked one cigarette only, this year, as I consumed three last year. Last November I sucked and tasted and respired that peculiar kind of dust of one cigarette in das Möbel, a mix of a bar and interior design store in Vienna. There are offered, for 35 cents each, cigarettes of all kinds, served in high slender liquor glasses covered by a flat packet of matches. What a pleasure! What a service! More of it! I don’t give a damn about health arguments (only). So give me a break! As a matter of fact, cigarette consumers are attacked today not just because of pre-post-industrial air pollution shifted to individuals. Also cigarettes realize or symbolize leisure, a time admitted less and less which is spent for instance with books the usage of which conveniently leaves enough space for smoking. Even more important is the still increasing dominance of cell phones. It has been observed that the crusade against smoking set in with the emergence of cell phones in the US 1970es. Implying a trained handlung or technology of connecting to objects, the book lost its key status with mass culture while the cell phone has occupied its place. Today, the hands for the slow down alcohol and cigarette seem to have been re-functionalized by the speed up energy drink and the constraint of permanently being alert to picking up the cell phone, an object that in size is jealous of the cigarette pack. In order to defend the prospective aesthetic minority of active smokers, passive smokers need to take into their hands something. You do not want to lose the certain scent not just indispensable to bars - not only the scents of various kinds of cigarettes, in some cases perfumed, but in the long run the scent of fresh unlighted cigarette tobacco as well. Also, compared to the cigar or the pipe, the smoke of a cigarette is more tender, more inconspicuous and unobtrusive. There are other aesthetic qualities. I remember watching a dance curator smoking. She was capable of blowing wonderful figures of smoke up to the air. Also, listen to the burning of a cigarette, taste the smoke of it, that grey, fur-like, sandy, slightly bitter taste! Bear in mind the powers for individuals equipped with the expressive means of that short white thing, eleventh finger – symbol for phallus, writing utensil, you name it – , a small pass-stück sculpture (Franz West). Picture those small societies visually structured by white sticks in certain positions, leave alone the glow you can get used to watching as a ballet calming down the situation even when lights go off. The cigarette is not so much a systematic sin as suggested by those who do not tolerate it for reasons of symbolical correctness. It’s a synaesthetic sign and a thing in itself (Immanuel Kant) at once to be put under protection. My suggestion against current cigarrettophobia is the following. For the on the market add a single cigarettes offer to the pack with twenty cigarettes each as well as in the slot machines! Let’s do something against aesthetic apartheid.


© Peter Mahr 2007

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