Where There's Smokes

There's Hypocracy

Hideouswhitenoise,Issue #30

by Mr Forehed

The cigarette smoker. Once a sexy symbol from the silver screen, nowa shaky frail addict, forced to do their foul deed behind the woodshed,or on the wind swept sidewalk of a downtown building. They have becomethe pariah of society. They not only content to kill themselves with theirfilthy habit, they also kill those around them through second hand smoke.What was once thought of as something as the height of fashion is now onthe same footing as a heroin addict, or a child abuser.

There is another killer cruising the street that makes the cigarettesmoker look like a kindergarten bully. They have their own habit and itkills far more effectively then having a butt. You know their kind, theirform hunched, one hand draped over the steering wheel, while the otherlightly caresses a stick shift. A pose copied so many times in commercialsand movies. They race around the country thinking its their dog given rightto drive like an arsehole and run down anyone who gets in their way.

To say the automobile is equal in its damage as that of the cigarette,would be a horrible injustice to all who have been crushed, punctured andmutilated by the number one killer of people under 21 in North America.The automobile and the multi-billion dollar industry that surrounds itkills and destroys far more then the lowly cigarette could ever hope tohope to achieve.

While cigarette smoking is now socially unacceptable to all those exceptthe manufacturers, the automobile is placed higher and higher on an evergrowing pile of bodies, a monument to a society that has lost sight ofwhat is right and wrong. Putting economic growth ahead of human life.

As a society, we place more emphasis on economic damage then we do onhuman life. Witness when a natural disaster happens, or a fire consumesa city block the news always gives the damage in dollars before they givethe damage in human life. And the same is how them compute the cost ofsmoking to society.

We have all heard, at nauseam, how much smoking cigarettes cost theeconomy, costs in work hours, costs the medical system. Well, how muchdoes the automobile cost? How much the government on all levels subsidizethe use of the car?

Letıs start with the government shall we. The Ontario Government, thesame bunch who want us all to tighten our belts in these hard economictimes has no problem subsidizing the automobile industry to the tune ofBillions of dollars a year. This includes $2 Billion dollars for maintenanceand construction, 1.173 Billion yearly interested paid out for car applicabledebt as well as a couple of hundred million more for policing the highways.No other toy would have that many batteries included.

Once you factor in the 800 000 hours of police hours, the 74 000 hoursof emergency visits, the 38 000 ambulance calls and the 9 000 calls performedby the fire department the total cost of traffic collisions in Ontarioreach a staggering 9 Billion dollars a year.

So what, the car driver is in the majority, they want to drive theircar and everyone enjoys the economic benefits the automobile brings toour society. If you excuse the pun, it puts the drive in our economy. Thebenefits of the auto industry in Ontario far out weigh the few billionswe shell out to keep it going. A conservative estimate would put 50% ofthe jobs in Ontario dependent on the oily teat of the auto industry. Itsworth having our children grow up in an increasingly paved world to continueto reap those benefits. Not really, the Ontario government collects abouta billion dollars less then what the auto industry pumps into the provincialeconomy and only 550 million is in taxes.

So, at least in Ontario, ours to recover, the economic benefits isnıtexactly that great. We pay over $8.5 Billion extra to have people run downon the city streets and crushed on the highway. This does not include thepersonal cost of running a vehicle in Ontario. Try $6000.00 a year forthe average motorist who is lucky enough to have a job to afford a car.

The automobile is not exactly the healthiest thing for the economy ofthe province and it isnıt the healthiest thing for itıs citizens. You canıtput a price tag on the cost of stress and decline of quality of life dueto the automobile, but you can put a price on health related illnessesdue to automobile exhaust. In Ontario it is estimated to be $645 million.

The average transportation emission of carbon dioxide in Urban Canadaper year per person is 70 000 000 tonnes. Total transportation relatedcarbon dioxide in the GTA in 1990 was 13 442 kilotonnes just think whatit is in 1997. What this means is a startling increase in asthma and otherlung related diseases. Gee, maybe all the cancer related deaths shouldnıtbe put at the front door of DuMaurier and Players.

More people have been killed in the United States by the automobilethen in all the United States has been involved in. A quarter of a millionpeople in the world die because of car accidents. Over a thousand peopledie in car related accidents in Ontario alone. The chances that a childwill be a traffic fatality is 1 in 6.

This is just the regular stuff, we still havenıt figured in the environmentaldamage and other hidden costs of the car culture. Damage due to acid rain,because yah know 20% of acid rain is car related, in Ontario is $13 million.Loss of farmland comes in at just over a billion. This doesnıt includethe oil spill generated every week-end by mechanics around the continentwho change their oil and dump the old stuff down the drain, or into theground. Enough to fill the Exxon Valdez. And speaking of the Valdez, youcan lump in the environmental damage every time one of those huge tankerssplinter on the rocks.

And let us not forget the price of ripping the material out of the groundto make the damn things, the 42% of urban land used up for parking androads, the wildlife slaughtered on the roads every day as well as beingdisplaced by construction as well as the eyesores known as suburbia andmalls. AAAAAAAAaaaaaaaargh I canıt take it anymore. Thatıs it, the higherthe tower, the higher the calibre.

So, you tell me whatıs worse?

But who is going to save us from this horrible creature industry hascreated. Certainly not the politicians. When Toronto City Council, at leastthose who were in favour of a ban against the evil tobacco were asked ifthey would support an automobile ban the response they gave came as nosurprise. The majority replied with a resounding silence. they obviouslythought the subject to ridiculous too contemplate.

The three that did reply, Dan Leckie, Barbara Hall and Peter Taubinresponded in a way expected of those who want to hang onto their jobs inthe next election. Dan Leckie said he was supporting certain areas thatwould be blocked off from automobile traffic and that he couldnıt supporta ban because the political will was not present.

The Mayor, or whoever replies to her mail responded that she understoodthe parallel between exhaust from automobiles and cigarette smoke and thoughshe would not support a ban at this time she was involved with many projectsthat would cut down the reliance of blah blah blah and so forth.

It all came from the same skipping record. We care about the publicıshealth, we know that car exhaust is harmful. None of them mentioned anythingabout the out of control traffic in Toronto, about the 20 000 injured,the over seventy people who were killed by automobiles in Metro last year,.

The courts and police go along with the same idea. The automobile isthe king of the road. They can drive anyway they want, kill as many peopleas they can and those who are in power, those who are elected to look afterus do dick. No, they would rather do something better like ban tobaccosmoking in restaurants and get re-elected.

Perhaps Dan Leckie, councilor for Ward 5 said it best when he said therewas no political will because people have been brainwashed by and thatis in our leaders. No one wants to do anything about the car thang becauseeveryone is neck deep in it and loving every minute of it.

From our birth we are inundated with millions of images and half ofthose are probably of how sexy the automobile is. You can do anything,you can be comforted by them, you can get laid with them, they will saveyour life.

You see it in every car commercial, in most movies, whole televisionshows are built around fast cars speeding around, chasing other fast cars,doing amazing stunts. We donıt have to go into here what a great influencethese images are in our popular culture. People mimic these things andbecause of it people die.

If movies flagrantly showed people having as much fun with cigarettesas they do with a car, the government and all those self righteous carbonburning fresh air preener would have invaded Hollywood long ago and demandedit be changed. Oh wait a second, that did happen.

Slap the same advertising ban on automobiles as you do on cigarettesads, perhaps people would come to the realization that the automobile isslowly choking us to death. If your going to have a specific speed limit,why make a car that goes faster then that? You would certainly have lesshigh speed pursuits by police officers.

None of this will happen because our society is locked in a dance withapocalypse. Every day the world gets into their cars, and those who donıthave a car dream about getting in a car and driving around, looking importantand trying to impress people. We have been brainwashed by the automobilecompanies and their billions of dollars in advertising dollars that thecarbon burner is an indispensable part of our world.

Well you canıt ban cars, just think of all the jobs you would lose,just think of the economic ruin. Well then there you have it. That is whyTobacco is being chased into the ground and the auto industry is beingleft alone. General Motors is the biggest employer in the world. The AutoWorkers have one of the most powerful unions in the world. Advertisingagencyıs spend billions of dollars a year on tv, magazine and billboardspots. What politician would mess with that kind of mixture.

And if youıre still not convinced that cigarette smoking is as bad foryou as car exhaust, why donıt you spend an hour in a garage with a fewchain smokers and then an hour in a garage with one running car. See whathappens.

TheAutosaurus from adbusters


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