The Truth about “the truth”

In the course of writing this essay I have begun to picture an ad for my own campaign for the truth – that is, the real truth. A hundred smokers kick down the doors of “the truth’s” headquarters. Each finds a staffer, takes a big long puff, and blows it in their faces. Then they find the door of the president’s office, flick their butts at it, and post a huge sign on the door (I picture it stuck to the door with a large, Crocodile Dundee-type knife) saying, “WE ARE NOT DUPES!” Then, as they are walking out single file the last one grabs a nearby staffer by the lapels and says, “We actually like smoking, we know what we are doing, so why don’t you shut the hell up!”

I am not a smoker although I have definitely enjoyed a cigarette or two in my time. I don‚Äôt agree with the choices of smokers but I respect the choice and the individual choosing. The true test of one‚Äôs aptitude for living in a pluralistic society is the ability to view the different choices of others as being authentic and worthy of respect. To do so is to practice true tolerance and liberalism. But there is an intuitive attractiveness to castigating the confusing choices of others – those that clash with your own values – as inauthentic and coerced. Such an attitude not only simplifies the world but allows it to be exclusively filtered through one’s own value system. Aberrations need not be explained and respected as being, in some sense, equal to your own views but only need be categorized under the subordinate heading of “illegitimate.” It is in this sense that the ideology of ‚Äúthe truth,‚Äù in addition to numerous other ideologies (the type of campus feminism that believes the majority of women have been duped by the hegemony of the patriarchy), are elitist rather than pluralistic. The first folly of such ideologies designed to help the ‚Äúcommon man‚Äù is the belief that there are, in fact, ‚Äúcommon men,‚Äù who are qualitatively different from the ideologue ‚Äì less knowledgeable and aware and more susceptible to the wills of others ‚Äì and are in desperate need of assistance. It is sad that programs so bent upon assisting in the struggle of the ‚Äúcommon man‚Äù must first satisfy their egos by kicking him into a dark, dank swamp of unforgivable ignorance before they bend down to lend a hand.

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1 Response to The Truth about “the truth”

  1. Brad Lopez says:

    I agree on some points, disagree with others.

    Oh wait, I’m on Symbolic Order, let me rephrase that: I concur with certain assertions, yet find myself compelled to differ with other portions of your thesis.

    I once saw a “truth” commercial with some old lady who was speaking through a voice enhancer like Ned from South Park. At the end of the commercial, she said “Is this the voice you were expecting to hear?” as though big tobacco companies are solely responsible for her sounding like a lo-tech Darth Vader. What a joke. She chose to smoke, no one put a gun to her head and if anyone was fooled into thinking otherwise, it wasn’t me.

    I don’t think that is leading an ideological assault on smokERS, though, just smokING. Essentially, what you do in this essay is take offense to’s commercials on behalf of big tobacco companies. This is a sad state of affairs, because you’re missing what is ultimately trying to prove: that tobacco companies really don’t care about you, they care about profit.

    The truth they are trying to expose is, in part, elitist in the way you described. I’m sure many of the members do think people smoke solely because they were “told to.” What they are more effective at conveying is the point that millions of Americans are addicted to smoking, and that tobacco companies aren’t obligated to care that those addicted are slowly dying. They only really care insofar as the government makes them, by placing warnings on every pack, limiting their advertising power and forcing them to pay for expensive anti-smoking campaigns.

    That is why the imaginary uprising of smokers you spoke of is absolutely laughable. It would be a rebellion of those who are being taken advantage of in the dumbest possible tradeoff: a buzz in exchange for your money AND life.

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