Wednesday, January 27, 2016
It has finally
happened: a centenarian has credited cigarette smoking with
her longevity in a media report.
Batuli Lamichhane says she's been puffing butts for the past 95 years, and she has an unusual technique to get her nicotine fix.Or maybe it's her way of "puffing butts" that did it. You never know with today's sloppy reporting.
Instead of holding a cigarette with her index and middle finger, Lamichhane uses her entire right fist, which she then holds to her mouth to inhale.
What a breath of fresh air! It seems that every single time I have ever read about the venerable, there is something about what they credit for their great age. And if that something is in line with a behavior or attitude that our betters -- who went to journalism school -- want us to adopt, you'll never hear the end of it.
Smoking cigarettes -- at least those made of tobacco -- is definitely not on that short list of alleged virtues, as we are admonished by the first line of the piece: "A Nepalese woman has defied science by living to the ripe old age of 112 -- despite her 30-cigarette-a-day habit." It's as if the reader is going to dump everything he knows about smoking upon hearing about one lucky crackpot who treats that filthy habit like it's a bodily function.
To be fair, any sane person would say, "despite" here, but when I consider how much propaganda-disguised-as-news I've seen over the years, such an attitude would make sense. Someone who has spent years thinking of himself as a sort of guardian of the people will -- especially if he sees them as easy to manipulate -- perhaps forget that many of us have minds of our own.
Nothing will change about this kind of reporting unless our general culture changes, so expect the next vegan centenarian to be held up as a shining beacon to the Fountain of Youth. But perhaps, one day, we shall enjoy reports on what the venerable allege to have kept them alive for so long, that respectfully assume that the reader is capable of independent thought. Many of us -- dare I say most? -- are fully capable of deciding for ourselves whether a given centenarian is still making sense, or ever did.
Today: Corrected a typo.