Archive | February 2013

Smoking and what should not have been (again)

Last year I wrote a response to the media debacle surrounding the prank phone call made by a couple of Australian radio presenters to the hospital in which the Duchess of Cambridge was staying.

Reading the news yesterday, I learned of another debacle worthy of mention. Another radio presenter in Australia, Chrissie Swan, was put in a difficult situation when a photographer took some shots of her smoking a cigarette whilst alone in her car. The reason it was difficult is because she is currently pregnant. She apparently attempted to bid on the photographs to prevent their being published but lost to a women’s magazine. So to pre-empt the inevitable, she went on radio and television and tearfully admitted to having struggled with her nicotine addiction with this, her third pregnancy, and was having a sneaky cigarette once a day, unbeknownst to her family, colleagues and friends. Her positive slant on the story is that at least now the shame of the whole experience has put her off smoking altogether. But she also said people are “rightly disgusted” by her actions.

There are so many things wrong with this story it’s hard to know where to begin. So I will begin with profanity:

Why the fuck don’t people mind their own fucking business?

I mean really, just because someone is recognisable by their public persona it shouldn’t follow that their private life is a topic open to scrutiny by one and all, especially against their will. Chrissie’s losing bid was allegedly $53,000. She was prepared to pay  that much to protect her privacy. But what’s really disturbing is when the women’s magazine outbid her at the last minute by $2000 she felt her only recourse was to go out and publicly debase herself before anyone else got the chance. How is that acceptable?

Why is a pregnant woman having a smoke such a big deal anyway?

It’s not as though it hasn’t been going on for as long as tobacco has been in use, is it? Obviously if a man smokes alone in his car whilst his spouse is pregnant it’s not exactly newsworthy. So what made this story newsworthy was the fact that a woman was doing something that is seen as being WRONG. Medical science tells us that smoking when pregnant can cause a range of things to happen to the unborn child that may result in health problems later in life. Most pregnant women will be aware of the facts about smoking during pregnancy. A lot of them will attempt to quit, and many of them may succeed. But quitting is hard. Nicotine is a bastard of a drug, horribly addictive. Not to mention easy to obtain and perfectly legal. If a pregnant woman struggles to quit, then that makes her no different to anyone else who attempts to give up smoking. Being either pregnant or a woman should have no bearing on that discussion.

Most importantly, being pregnant does not make a woman’s body public property or the object of public inquiry.

Well, I suppose in reality people seem to think it does. What’s important is that more of us refuse to agree with them.

Migraine

It had all the hallmarks of being a real doozy: The lights before my eyes, blurring of the vision, searing pain that arced across my cerebral cortex like lightning. I think I managed to catch it with analgesia and willpower before it really set in.

So that’s something.

My mind, however, is a complex and multifarious thing that at times delights and astounds.

Today, it was being a real prick.

When I’m trying to keep my shit together the last thing I need is an earworm. I pretty much always have some tune booting around in there and most of the time it’s something I like. Some of the time it’s completely improvised. Like earlier this morning I was grooving along to a jazzy little number that unfolded into something very pleasing. But when the headache kicked in things went a bit nasty.

Mash-ups are a strange but compelling musical phenomenon that have really taken off in recent years as editing software has become more readily available. A friend of mine will sometimes intentionally create them to irritate me. Occasionally he takes requests. Today my mind mashed up two pieces relentlessly in some kind of hateful, masochistic orgy or wrongness. Here are the two tunes:

I really liked the first couple of Coldplay albums. Their more recent offerings are not up my street. Repetitious and drab, is how I’d describe this piece. On its own it would be a diabolical earworm. Its companion in this ungodly meeting of muses was:

From about 1:54, anyway. I’ve managed to cling to my sanity, but only just. I hate Gilbert & Sullivan.

I welcome you to imagine how I managed to combine the two. Add a comment with your suggestion to how it’s done and I’ll let you know how close to my actual pain you are. This is called empathy.

Another most excellent article

It’s probably a fair observation that I should probably get onto writing some more of my own stuff rather than linking to other people’s, however since this piece has arrived for Lammas, I must share it with those like-minded folk who visit.

This article explores the nature of relationships that form between coven members, and the importance of personal integrity in those relationships. But it isn’t hard to take Alicia’s advice out of the context of a coven and into any small group, be they friends, colleagues or team-mates. In any situation where people need to work closely together there is always the possibility that people will start to form bonds which become closer and more intertwined with time and use. What a lot of people seem never to grasp is the fact that those bonds hold people together in fundamental ways. Our emotions, ego and feelings of self-worth are often tied up in these associations and it becomes very easy for us to invest ourselves personally in the activities of others. So small matters are prone to being blown out of proportion, slights against others cut more deeply and disappointment stings more keenly.

Anyone who has experienced or witnessed the break-down of relationships within groups will find something familiar in Alicia’s words.

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