Smells Like Surrender


The New York Post reports that Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter has abandoned his defiance of the city's smoking ban. "I find Mayor Bloomberg's smoking laws to be nothing short of asinine and their enforcement to be nothing short of harassment," he said after his third bust for having an ashtray in his office. But Carter's spokeswoman tells the Post the ashtray is gone, while "a source who works nearby" says, "I haven't smelled smoke coming out of his office this week." Violations of the smoking ban (including ashtray possession in a workplace) carry fines of up to $2,000 for repeat offenders.

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  1. Do you think the cops feel embarassed (or ashamed) as they are writing out “possession of ashtray” tickets? I certainly would.

  2. No, ’cause they do it.

  3. Busting people for having ashtrays in their offices? It isn’t even that bad here in California, where, in Santa Cruz at least, you can’t smoke outside while waiting in a movie line.

    NYC, the home of Saturday Night Live, is actually living out a skit worthy of that show — worthy, that is, of the late-70s version, when people would still laugh at such an absurdity. Today, it appears, anything is possible, and so nothing is funny, or everything is.

  4. “Violations of the smoking ban (including ashtray possession in a workplace) carry fines of up to $2,000 for repeat offenders.”

    So ashtray possesion in the workplace is a crime, a Republican government creates a massive Medicare expansion, the Supreme Court rules political speech not speech worthy of protection, and the city of Pittsburg calls Christmas “Sparkle Season.”

    Time to run up the white flag.

  5. JDM,

    That’s “Pittsburgh”, with an ‘h’. And thanks for bringing THAT up again. sigh……..

  6. I didn’t know that about Pittsburg.

  7. Even if you grant that the government has the right to ban smoking in places of public accommodation, banning it in private offices is just crazy.

  8. It seems there is hope:

    “Sparkle Season” has been replaced by the harmless, voidy slogan:

    “Downtown Pittsburgh, A Holiday Tradition With a New Twist.”

    Mark, you need to get on top of these things. Perhaps you missed the memo because I’m deleting our communal email before you can read it.

  9. Here’s a solution. Stop calling them ashtrays and call them freedom trays. Same smokey goodness, without the fine.

    Maybe we could deliver them en masse to workplaces all over New York. How cheap is the lowest price ashtray around?

  10. What I want to know is who keeps ratting Carter out? He should fire the fink.

  11. “Downtown Pittsburgh, A Holiday Tradition With a New Twist.”

    Sounds like a twisted new holiday tradition to me.

  12. I wonder if you could do something like what those hemp-o-rific stores do with bongs. Call them collectables, or decorative glass sculptures, or something.

  13. Tom From Texas–

    Technically, unused antique ashtrays will also get you in trouble. I read a couple of weeks ago, in either the New York Times or the New York Daily News, about people getting busted for pretty ashtrays used to hold paper clips or hard candies.

  14. Pittsburg…Pittsburg…Pittsburg

  15. I wonder if you could do something like what those hemp-o-rific stores do with bongs. Call them collectables, or decorative glass sculptures, or something.

    What they generally do for bongs is sell them on the tobacco-use-only principle. What is drug paraphernalia? You can make a bowl out of a white-out bottle, a bic pen, and some tin foil. It’s all in the application.

    An ashtray, however, probably couldn’t pass as a coaster. Although if you filled it with nuts, I can’t imagine that you’d get a ticket for having a nuttray.

    However, NYPD shoved a broomstick up somebody’s ass and 41 times shot a guy who was reaching for his cell phone, so I wouldn’t put much of anything past them.

  16. So much for “land of the free…” πŸ™‚

  17. “You can make a bowl out of a white-out bottle, a bic pen, and some tin foil. It’s all in the application.”

    Hey, wait a minute, rst. Isn’t it illegal just to KNOW that?? Oh, maybe that bill is still stalled in the Senate. Wheewwww!

    As far as the ashtrays, who’s to say what’s an ashtray and what’s just a hole in the sheetrock in your office that’s been there ever since you started working there (that’s the ticket). Fire hazard, yeah it sure is, but sometimes ya just gotta say what the f__k.

    This stuff is really pissing me off and I don’t smoke either.

    Oh, and someone must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed today, haven’t you “Joe”. You’re starting to make just an awful lot of sense. What gives?!?

  18. I agree with you here, JB.

    A couple of years ago we were at the open air arena at the entrance to Carlesbad Caverns awaiting the nightly exodus of the bats. The air was rich with the fragrance of bat guano, sagebrush, other desert plants (played hell with my allergies), and for all I know lingering fallout of some kind from the nearby White Sands test range. Then a European tourist behind us decided to light up a cigarette. The speed with which three park rangers surrounded him frightened my kids, and even made me briefly wonder if some terrorist nut was loose in the crowd (and this was all pre-9/11).

  19. I agree with JB too. Today we are all Europeans.

  20. JDM,

    I can still smoke in my own damn office in Paris or Lyon. And they haven’t banned smoking in bars or discos and such in Paris either. Americans have gone out of their minds on the smoking issue.

    Tom from Texas,

    Yes, smoking habits are very different between the US and Europe.

  21. So much for “land of the free…”

    Well, we’re not yet quite so free that it’s a crime to mock the flag or the national anthem like in some countries, but we try.

    I’ve still yet to ever hear a satisfactory explanation from a smoker as to where they derive the right to put smoke in my lungs. Can I put stuff that they don’t want in their lungs, too? Or in their clothes? Anyone?

  22. Phil-

    A better question is: what gives automobile drivers the right to put their engine exhaust in your lungs? Smog causes far more lung damage than secondhand smoking.

  23. Phil,

    Every day you put stuff in your lungs that isn’t necessarily good for them – cigarete smoke, perfume and cologne, auto exhaust, pollen, smoke from burning leaves, pet dander, etc. My non-smoking aunt from a non-smoking household died at age 54 of pulminary fibrosis brought on, her doctors decided, by years of driving in Houston traffic with her car windows down and breathing auto and chemical plant emissions. Breathing itself can therefore be construed as a harmful act, so where do you draw the line?

    Spending a few minutes or even seconds in the proximaty of a lit cigarette isn’t going to kill you. I would agree that spending hours in the proverbial smoke-filled room isn’t what the doctor ordered, but the total hysteria that is possessing anti-smokers is going more than a bit too far (and I’m a non-smoker).

  24. So, neither of you actually have an answer to the question, is that correct? It was a fairly simple question.

  25. Phil,

    The short answer is: You’re an idiot.

    The medium length answer (which is not as erudite, I guess, as Texas Tom and Jennifers’) is:

    Look man, they aren’t putting smoke into your lungs, they are putting it into the air. Don’t breath the air with the smoke in it, dufus. If that means you must frequent a nonsmoking establishment, feel free to do so. Leave the rest of us the ____ alone.

    And Jean Bart, I will consider Europe more free the next time I can walk around in downtown Paris with my .38. The smoking thing pales in comparison, though it indeed shows a real non-understanding of freedom by NY City’s and others’ administrators plus Phil.

  26. “Freedom Trays’ has a nice ring; but French Trays makes a beter European connection and gives back something we took away when we started eating Freedom Fries.

  27. Jimmy Antley,

    I’ve walked the streets of Paris with a .357 before; I guess you like less killing-power. πŸ™‚

  28. Jean Bart,

    I meant legally, though.

    If that’s what you meant, more power to ya!

  29. I decided not to stand for the National Anthem at a baseball game once, just to see what would happen. I got a few glares, but most of the fans didn’t seem to care. A little later on I lit up a big Churchill and enjoyed it through several innings. Again, no big deal.

    That was in 1982.

    I think both are illegal now…

  30. Ed,

    Does a non-citizen have to stand for the national anthem as well?

  31. Jean Bart is right about smoking: a much more sensible attitude prevails in Europe. There are non-smoking rules for lots of shared public spaces here in Germany, but I can smoke in my private office. And I do, with glee–though the thrill has diminished somewhat after about a year.

    The US has certainly gone off the deep end on smoking.

  32. Jimmy Antley,

    Try walking around downtown D.C. or NYC displaying that .38 sometime. We’re not quite *that* free.

  33. Ken,

    Yeah, I meant to say in America. I figure that implies that I don’t mean Washington city or New York City. You mean those shitholes haven’t been kicked out yet? ;-}

    But I guess Jean could say the same about Paris vs. the rest of France, possibly.

    Yeah maybe the NRA will go international the same year they grow a pair. What you need is your own version of GOA, Jean.

  34. What’s wrong with openning a beach on the Seine? Providing waterfront access is one of the most successful urban initiatives of the past 20 years.

  35. My friend made a lamp out of Ashtrays.

    I wonder what kind of fine you’d get for that. There are probably 10 or so in it’s construction.

    First they ban guns in NYC – and then the authoritarian crackdowns begin.

    Unfortunately, it looks as if the terrorists have won…

  36. Pittsburg, Pittsburg, Pittsburg, Pittsburg,
    Pittsburg, Pittsburg, Pittsburg, Pittsburg,
    Pittsburg, Pittsburg, Pittsburg, Pittsburg,
    Mushroom! Mushroom!
    Ahhh! A snaaaaake!

  37. joe,

    Nothing is wrong with it; I thought it was a brilliant idea. Now the Mumia issue … well, it wasn’t. The American phrase is “batting even” right? πŸ™‚

  38. Joe,

    Re-reading my earlier post, I see the problem; stupid was meant only as a descriptive adjective for the Mumia citizenship issue.

  39. Jimmy Antley,

    Well, gun laws in France are not nearly as bad as people think they are; gun ownership is also much more common in France than likely Americans think (though not as common as the US). I think the strength of the views of gun owners in France was felt in the 2002 election as well, the French hunter’s party receiving ~5% of the vote, which virtually secured gun and hunting rights in France at least for a few years. To own a gun in France, you have to belong to a gun club; as I recall at last count there were ~150,000 gun clubs in France.

  40. The man needs to put a deadbolt on his office door, or start ashing oout of the window.

    Next up for banning in NYC, car alarms:

    To be followed by the banning of screaming “rape”.

  41. Jimmy Antley,

    Its really the UK which has the horrible gun laws; the 1997 gun law being the most draconian in all of the West as far as I can tell. It led to the confiscation of priceless heirloom duelling pistols as I recall, and other such non-sense. As far as I can tell, guns are even more common on London’s streets than they were before the law.

    France supposedly has more legal handguns than the UK, and several other EU countries combined; and France is the only EU country that I know which which has both a urban and rural gun culture. Anyway, there is a lot of variance across the EU, there are ~20 guns per 100 people in the EU, which, though well below the US avg., is probably the highest level outside the USA for such a comparable large populatio.

  42. Jimmy,

    I keep on waiting for the NRA to come to Europe. πŸ™‚

  43. Jean,

    If you’re still looking at these posts … it’s:

    Gun Owners of America

    Glad you’re interested,


  44. EMAIL:
    DATE: 02/28/2004 08:28:42
    Good people strengthen themselves ceaselessly.

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