Cancer Sticks for the Soul

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Nerve interviews Iranian graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi on her latest book, Sophia Loren's rack, and the spiritual depth of smokers:

Cigarettes are food for the soul. When you're smoking you can actually watch yourself breathing, watch your soul getting out of your body and into your body. Two days ago I spoke in Barnes & Noble in Chelsea. I said that I wrote this book to rehabilitate smoking, and people just stopped laughing. People are willing to eat any bullshit and drink bad water; pollution doesn't bother them. But as soon as you take out a cigarette they act as if you're going to kill them. This is not true! All the shit that they put in the food, all these hormones and pesticides and what have you, the stress, the condition of life, all of that . . . Living kills you anyway.

Charles Freund reviewed Satrapi's subversive Persepolis back in '03.

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  1. When you’re smoking you can actually watch yourself breathing, watch your soul getting out of your body and into your body.

    Mumbo

    Jumbo

  2. sensitive

    writer

    paris

  3. But as soon as you take out a cigarette they act as if you’re going to kill them. This is not true!

    Correct- you’re going to kill yourself.

    I read once that besides the addiction-fullfilment aspect, cigarettes are relaxing because it encourages long deliberate deep breaths in and out. As a former smoker, this I can see. Never saw my soul though. I might have thought I saw my soul at the time, but in hindsight those were just years of my life flying out in front of my face.

  4. She has a point. Smoking is far less satisfying for blind people. I think I’d give up cigars if I went blind. Unless somebody told me to. Then I’d keep it up out of spite.

  5. All the shit that they put in the food, all these hormones and pesticides and what have you, the stress, the condition of life, all of that . . . Living kills you anyway.

    Translation:
    I’m too tired and lazy to actually verbalize an argument that doesn;t rely on ‘truthiness’.

  6. Though her insights into Sophia Loren’s bosom were racktacular.

  7. She should go back to defiantly singing “Kids In America”

  8. “Living kills you anyway.”

    Profound. Does this mean that if we had never lived, we could have lived forever?

  9. There are positive aspects to smoking. Marjane Satrapi’s statement is a reactionary response to anti-smoking sentiments prevalently expressed and enforced these days. She is an artist and she gets all poetic while expressing her thoughts, anyone who has ever smoked might understand the pleasure she describes. I do.

    Did NRO go off-line?

  10. but in hindsight those were just years of my life flying out in front of my face

    Well, at least they’re the crappy older years that aren’t much fun anyway.

  11. I would say not so much “food” for the soul as much as a “noose” or “vice grip”. I remember when I used to think about dying of cancer roughly 20 times a day. It sucked.

    Oh, and I think she means “one hundred percent of non-smokers die anyway”.

  12. I enjoy smoking. I just hold it down to about 4-5 cigaretts a month. The effect of which, regarding my lifespan, is probably nil; my fondness for french fries and green-chile cheeseburgers is probably far more dangerous.

  13. I don’t smoke, but I do smolder with righteous indignation. And I admire the aesthetic value of Sophia Loren’s monuments to the Mother Goddess. Does that give me artistic credentials?

  14. I used to smoke while having sex. Now I use a lubricant.

  15. Oooooh, dark! Is this young filly single? (wink, wink!)

  16. I’m too tired and lazy to actually verbalize an argument that doesn;t rely on ‘truthiness’.

    There is a truth in the argument that other things can kill, but often people turn out to be selectively nannyite. I remember a TV interview of a woman protesting the construction of a nuclear power plant while holding her baby and smoking a cigarette. I have an acquaintance who wouldn’t live within a hundred miles of a nuclear plant. When I pointed out he lives eight miles downstream from a hydroelectric dam he didn’t get the connection.

    There is a certain irony in eliminating secondhand smoke from fast-food restaurants.

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