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  • They Both Die at the End – General Review
    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
  • My Favorite Book – Freshwater
    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Smoking ban just one more attempt to ‘nanny’ students

The Nanny State, the government that wants us to avoid alcohol and drugs and wear a seat belt and be nice to one another, has come to the University of New Mexico. Beginning with the fall semester, all smoking will be banned from campus, except in designated areas. Actually, liquor has long been banned from the University, but such is due to the administration’s fear of lawsuits, not the Nanny goal of protecting us from ourselves. And why are those in power taking this odd action of prohibiting smoking outdoors? According to the administrators, it is to protect the health and sensibilities of the non-smokers on campus and – left unsaid – to hassle smokers into becoming better persons by not smoking. Well, I find it hard to believe that briefly encountering the secondhand smoke of someone puffing away outside could possibly be deleterious to one’s health. And chewing tobacco is certainly not going to have an impact on anyone but the person doing the masticating. Sure, it is a disgusting practice, but even more so are the grossly obese, who are also a burden on our health care system. I personally find the cell-phone talkers very annoying, and what about those who smell, like everyone’s favorite campus nudist? This is social engineering, the generally abortive attempt to alter behavior through legislation, which typically infringes on personal freedom. Smoking is in fact legal, yet there is constant pressure on smokers to mend their ways (in contrast to the mega-eaters), especially by piling up the tax on tobacco products. This is of course a relatively politically painless way to raise revenue, but that is rarely mentioned. Instead, increased tax on cigarettes is trumpeted as a measure to dissuade young people from smoking, ignoring the fact that young people in this society seem to have more disposable income than any other group. And are we responsible for what other people’s children do? Ignored also is the fact that these are regressive taxes, falling more heavily upon the poor, who constitute the major nicotine class in America. The new ban is also unenforceable. The prohibition of smoking on high school campuses does not work well, even though they are more closely monitored than could be the case at UNM. Years ago, the University banned skateboarding on campus. How many skateboarders do you see every day at the university? Are we to encourage student snitches? Will the perpetrator receive a trial? And what about faculty smokers? How can the administration punish them? Decades ago the administration began deducting unpaid library fines from faculty paychecks. That lasted exactly one year. Will a tenured faculty member be terminated for lighting up on campus? Perhaps the University will hire smoking police. There are, after all, a lot of unemployed Blackwater mercenaries available since they were kicked out of Iraq. Or even better: Use all those unnecessary vice presidents and assistant vice presidents to patrol the campus. They could wear cool uniforms, patterned perhaps after those of the NKVD or SS. And, of course, this whole anti-smoking campaign is inherently racist. Tobacco, it should be remembered, is the great gift of American Indians to the rest of humanity. What a fantastic trade-off: Whitey got tobacco and the Indians got distilled spirits, a marriage made in heaven. Smokers and those who support personal freedom unite! You have nothing to lose but – what? Absolutely nothing. Unless the smoke police (the do-gooders who will inevitably rise to the occasion) carry cameras, what are the deans and department chairs and whoever going to do for evidence? Will the University be doing DNA tests on cigarette butts? Ignore the whole thing, just as the teenagers ignore the skateboarding rules and administration ignores the University’s ethical guidelines. Launch a smoke-in. I will appear on campus in my Homeland Security uniform to hassle anyone hassling smokers.

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