Skip to main content

Pipe Smoking Making a Comeback???

..................................Actually, this IS a pipe...

As a pipe smoker, I feel I should point out to all two of you who still read this august blog that the Wall Street Journal today ran a story about pipe smoking. The story says, basically, that pipe smoking, once the province of old men, is now catching-on amongst people in their 20s. It said that the downturn in the economy may have something to do with it, because pipe smoking is a cheaper than cigarette smoking.

I don't believe people are making a conscious choice to switch to the pipe because cigarettes are more expensive. No one thinks to themselves, "Gee, cigarettes went up 50 cents. Time to buy a corncob pipe and a sack of 'baccy!" For one thing, the sensations aren't equivalent. Pipe smoking is much less immediate, much less jolting, packing nowhere near the "fix" you get from cigarettes. Still, some people try to wean themselves off cancer sticks by smoking a pipe, which does sometimes work.

I personally think its just one of those brief blips in popularity that happens when college kids glom onto some out-dated activity. A few years ago, young women were taking up knitting again, so much so that I used to see it on the subway in New York. To my knowledge, the "fad" has died back down (if it hasn't I'd love to know about it). So I don't believe there's any real danger of a serious, sustained pipe smoking mania coming back into vogue amongst young people, or amongst any people. Pipe smoking is just too laborious, and requires to much ritual to be absorbed by popular culture. And furthermore, thank God...

The worst thing that could happen to any kind of "cult" activity or product is that it become embraced by mainstream culture. Corporations then proceed to mass market it and make it absolutely palatable to everyone. Everyone starts doing it, and it flourishes for a brief time...right before people become absolutely sick of it and start hating it, bankrupting the last company that got into the business of selling it. Just like when [some company] bought the rights to the very sucessful George Foreman Grill franchise and then went belly-up...because everyone already had a George Foreman Grill. Do you see anyone using them now? Exactly.

So, as nice as it is to see something about pipes in the mainstream news, I'd just as soon not hear about it. Let pipe smoking remain the activity of old grandfathers, cartoon characters, romantics, and Hugh Hefner. There'll always be a market for it, but that market will always be small and very select, and that's the way it should stay.

But, if you want to buy a pipe, I've got a fine selection of them for sale...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Holiday Q&A, Volume 1

These questions come to us from Grace. Thanks for sending your questions!! Answers below:
What is the most thrilling mystery you have read and/or watched?
The Eiger Sanction (book and film) by Trevanian is what's coming to mind. International espionage. Mountain-climbing assassins. Evil albino masterminds. Sex. Not a bad combination. Warning, this is completely a "guy" movie, and the film (feat. Clint Eastwood) is priceless 70s action movie cheese. But in case that's your thing...
What's the deal with Narcos?
Narcos is a Netflix show about the rise and fall (but mostly the fall) of Columbian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Thus far there are two seasons of 10 episodes each. RIYL: The film Blow, starring Johnny Depp; the book Zombie City, by Thomas Katz; the movie Goodfellas; true crime; anything involving the drug trade. My brief review: Season 1 started out a bit slow and I know a bunch of people who never made it past the first few episodes. Some of the acting is a…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…