Happy Friday folks. It’s first round hangover day. Hope you kept it sane last night, you know unless the Browns did something incredibly awesome. Then, I hope you earned your hangover. Regardless, while we’re waiting…
I have no idea who the Cleveland Browns acquired last night, either by draft or by trade. As far as I know the Browns traded Mike Pettine and their entire first round this year and next for Chip Kelly and Marcus Mariota, while Pat Shurmur was sent to Tennessee to head up their dining hall operations. A boy can dream, can’t he?
I just know that as I write this Thursday afternoon, I’m already fast-forwarding to Monday morning when I know what’s actually happened and it doesn’t represent a single thing I talked about for the past few months of Browns rumor talk. That’s why I just don’t have the motivation for it anymore, and it’s all RG3’s fault.
If you remember correctly, I went all in on RG3 when that pick was for sale. I was not only obsessed with him as a QB prospect, but I was obsessed with the process whereby that pick was sold and Mike Holmgren’s Browns missed the boat. I’d written ad nauseum about RG3 on these pages and talked about it on radio shows and podcasts and anywhere else that I had a venue. In the end, I felt sick, not necessarily because the Browns didn’t get RG3, but with myself at how many words and thoughts were completely wasted on a guy who would likely never play a single game in a Cleveland Browns uniform. I didn’t make any kind of proclamation of “NEVER AGAIN!” but it’s kind of played out in such a way that I just can’t do it ever again.
Granted I did talk a lot about Marcus Mariota this draft season, (is he a Cleveland Brown right now?) but it was more in the vague “team building philosophy” with a healthy dose of “should they, shouldn’t they” discussion as opposed to the full-on desire and directive that the Browns simply must do something. I don’t know if it’s a permanent change, mind you, or if it’s just a part of the hangover. We’ll have to see, I guess.
This anniversary is really important to me, but it’s not the anniversary for the day I got married. No, this anniversary is for the date when I quit smoking. In all honesty, I’m a little bit cloudy on what the exact date is, but I know it was sometime around May 2006, meaning that it’s been nine years since I quit smoking cigarettes.
In a lot of ways I’m proud of my achievement, but I also feel a bit sheepish about it. I think “BIG TOBACCO” is pretty despicable and all that, but when it really comes down to it, I blame myself for all that time smoking. I was the one who tried it and kept doing it as it cost me my health, not to mention tons and tons of money. Somewhere in the middle of being horribly addicted to smoking, I started to despise those dastardly chemists who continually doctored their recipes to ensure it would be as hard as possible to quit like I knew I should have. Still, I probably blame myself about 90% and only reserve about 10 for those bastards
Anyway, I’m using this anniversary as an excuse to talk about a nicotine story that hit my news feed this week regarding the CDC and their treatment of the E-Cigarettes industry. It appears that despite the fact that E-Cigarettes are basically delivering nicotine by removing tobacco from the equation that the CDC is still considering E-Cigarettes “tobacco.”
Cigarette usage has declined in high school students from 15.8% in 2011 down to 9.2% in 2014 as vaping has increased from 1.5% in 2011 up to 13.4% in 2014.
Wait a minute. “The tobacco industry” is hooking kids on e-cigarettes? Although tobacco companies have begun to enter the e-cigarette business in recent years, the two industries are hardly synonymous. Leaving aside the question of ownership, e-cigarettes do not burn and contain no tobacco, which is why they are so much safer than traditional cigarettes. It is more than a little misleading to classify them as tobacco products.
Yet that is what the CDC does. When it claims “there was no decline in overall tobacco use between 2011 and 2014,” it is counting e-cigarettes as tobacco products. That makes as much sense as counting nicotine gum or patches (which also contain nicotine derived from tobacco) as tobacco products. This is no mere word game, because it is not true that “there was no decline in overall tobacco use between 2011 and 2014.” The CDC is lying to us.
Obviously, it might be better if people wouldn’t use nicotine at all, either by smoking or vaping, but the idea that we can’t get a large official organization like the CDC to think critically and scientifically about the difference is frustrating.
The one thing that is basically undeniable is that loads of people die every single year from smoking. It’s ironic that I would use a CDC statistic to tell you how many die each year from smoking, but I’ll do it just the same. It’s around 480,000 people when you count up the lung cancer, heart disease and other cancer deaths that are attributable to smoking cigarettes.
So happy anniversary to me. Hope I quit in time to avoid any major long-term side effects. Thanks for putting up with this part of the post today.
Yes! This is exactly what the weekly moment of soccer zen is supposed to be. Using ridiculous speed. Showing a ludicrous amount of calm and patience to let the keeper commit himself out of the play and then watch as two defenders do the same in wild diving fashion. Calm comes over the scene as he eschews brute force or superior speed to put it in the back of the net.
This is a topic I’ve spoken a lot about. I spoke about it last week with regard to Britt McHenry and a lot of you disagreed with me. That’s fine, I’m happy we’re continuing to have the conversation about the new very public world we’ve created and the shame cycles that occur following mistakes, both perceived and real. I’m only halfway through Jon Ronson’s book on the topic, but I’m already far enough in to be able to recommend it. It will make you think and think hard.
My biggest mistake a week ago was defending Britt McHenry. That’s not even really what I wanted to do. What she said wasn’t good. It reeked of arrogance and ugliness. That shouldn’t have been disputed. The real conversation shouldn’t have been about the mistake she made, but how we, as a part of the greater world, reacted to it.
Now that I’ve had another week to think about it, I’m really salty with ESPN over their suspension of her, because they gave in to something that’s probably even more insidious than anything Britt McHenry was guilty of doing. ESPN should have found a way to defend their employee, even in the face of an ugly mistake, from being preyed upon by a public shaming and bullying that occurred because a tow truck employee released an embarrassing tape. What Britt McHenry did was wrong, but so was the release of the heavily edited tape that was released with no other purpose than to try and tear down Britt McHenry.
It’s easy to look at her and say she deserves whatever she gets because people are entitled to their reactions, but I’m not so sure that’s where the conversation stops. We need to be responsible for the world and culture we’ve created, and if that means we take a satanic zeal to virtually tearing people down and potentially costing them their relationships, jobs and other important parts of their lives based on their mistakes is worth considering. We almost universally decide that punishments ought to fit crimes and each one of us aren’t doing anything when we publicly admonish someone on Twitter or Facebook, but when we join a group, I think we might be at least partially responsible for the worst among us who take it too far.
What I’m coming to realize from Ronson’s book is that these shame mobs are fueled by a mass of people who all think they’re in the right. They think they’re helping and creating a fairer world by taking high and mighty people down a peg. As the mass grows larger and uglier though, it crosses a line at some point and those looking for “justice” find themselves reveling in the destruction of another human being. We need to ask ourselves if that’s justice and if that’s the world we want to live in.
Anyway, go buy the book. Read it. Let me know what you think. Does it give you a new perspective on the culture we’ve created and the blurry lines of victims, perpetrators, bullying, crime and punishment?
That’s it from me today. Hope you enjoy the rest of the NFL draft this weekend.