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 If you're going to the Chicago Show....

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ZuluCollector

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Location : Arlington, VA USA
Registration date : 2007-12-12

PostSubject: If you're going to the Chicago Show....   Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:28 am

(I wrote the following as today's post on my blog, but recognizing that many people don't read it, I thought I'd post it on the boards where I am a member. This message is important to me and I hope to you as well. Forgive it's length. I tried to edit it, but I tend to be long-winded, unfortunately.)

This post may come off as somewhat preachy, though I will try to keep it from being so. If I fail, please forgive me. I believe that a friend calls people to their best and highest selves. That is my intention here, to simply remind us all that we are gentlemen - first, last, and always.

There is outrage among the anti-smoking contingent toward our exposition and toward the management of the Pheasant Run Resort. These people believed that their draconian law made an event like the Chicago show impossible to mount.

They are outraged and have expressed the same to the management of Pheasant Run, the Mayor’s office, and presumably others, including the media. They may organize protests. They may try and disrupt the event. They may even make an eleventh appeal to the courts in hopes of curtailing smoking in hopes of driving the event out of Illinois or better, killing it altogether. The only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know what may happen. We can’t control what they do. We CAN control how we behave, however.

The American Cancer Society – which is at the vanguard of the anti-smoking movement – cannot help but know what we know, that the risks posed by second-hand smoke are ludicrously low – especially compared to other far more prevalent health risks. Understand this; facts are feeble old octogenarians when they are mugged by conventionally believed truths, however inaccurate. Most people believe that second-hand smoke is dangerous, whether it is or not.

Non profit organizations cannot raise money opposing the use of automobiles, the consumption of junk food, or the laying of out-gassing carpets in homes, offices, or retail stores. Americans love these things and won’t fund campaigns against them. They can and do raise a lot of money fighting the noble fight against the evils of tobacco, however.

I’ve worked with these organizations and many organizations like them. I know them. I know that they are better than anyone at turning lemons into lemonade. They have doubtless already realized that we are a juicy fundraising opportunity. Our event can be used as an example that more money must be raised to plug the loopholes in the law. They know that if they can find a way to make us behave poorly that they will look all the more noble in comparison. I worry that we may oblige them.

We can choose to be their poster-child or not. It’s up to us. How those of us who attend the Chicago show choose to comport ourselves matters. We are at an inflection point in history. Our actions may very well determine whether we have our show in the future or not. I speak out strongly for doing all that we can to ensure its future. We must NOT be helpful in their cause by acting like the lowlife scum they characterize smokers to be.

Frank Burla and his team have worked very hard over the years to build the world’s best pipe and tobacciana exposition. We owe it to them, if not to our own self-interest, to act in the event’s best interests so that it is preserved.

A number of people have written or called me, worried about how we will behave. For starters, since there are only 81 smoking rooms at the resort and 4,000 people attending, not everyone will get a smoking room. Getting ugly with the staff at the front desk when they report that there are no more smoking rooms won’t create any additional smoking rooms (The law restricts the number of smoking rooms the resort can have).

What surly behavior might do, however, is change the staff’s opinion of us from liking us to disliking us, hoping that we go away or worse, giving hope some help. The Pheasant Run people have been our allies. Let’s treat them as such. Let’s thank them for their friendship. Let’s tip better, smile more, and be more thoughtful.

Though the resort may or may not choose to enforce the $200 fine for smoking in a non-smoking room, I propose that we forego smoking in our rooms if they are designated as non-smoking. Doing what one can get away with is not the same thing as doing what is right. I suspect that we will be closely watched. If we are to be observed, let us be seen as what we are – law-abiding, cooperative, courteous, civil, and congenial.

Chicago is no stranger to mobs and riots. Many of us remember the mob scenes at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. There are few things uglier than a surly group united in anger – especially one that feels righteous and justified in their cause.

If you are imagining mob mentality, you’re probably thinking about the anti-smoking crowd. It would be just as easy for us to behave that way. All the ingredients are present. We see ourselves as unfairly portrayed, discriminated against for no good reason, and as having our freedoms abridged. If you’re honest with yourself, you will probably admit that you feel righteous in your anger about these things. Mobs always feel they’re right; they rarely act constructively, however.

The political process involves the nuanced control of mobs. Mobs must be outraged enough to act but not enough to riot. The fundraising machine at the American Cancer Society’s Illinois branch could really make hay out of our event. They are probably scheming even now how they might do so. A protest or disruption of the event might prompt an ugly response by some show attenders that could prove newsworthy. Protesters are usually accompanied by television cameras. Remember that.

No matter how despicable or contemptuous the behavior of others may be – especially toward us and our hobby by rabid, deceitful, or unreasonable anti-smoking people – by reacting in kind we are most likely to become our most effective enemy. I do not want to see us wound ourselves more fatally than those arrayed against us could ever hope to accomplish.

Let’s not be a mob. Let’s not be self-righteous. Let’s remember who we are.
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Dock
BoB's Team
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Age : 106
Location : @ The Gym
Registration date : 2007-12-15

PostSubject: Re: If you're going to the Chicago Show....   Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:48 am

Beautfully written Neill and all so true. I would advise all of those attending to fully enjoy the show,act respectfully and don't let these sorts of folks ruin your weekend...

Best,
D.J.
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regor



Age : 72
Location : Huachuca City, Arizona
Registration date : 2007-12-17

PostSubject: Re: If you're going to the Chicago Show....   Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:02 am

Very well done!!! sunny
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Justpipes
The Duke
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Age : 58
Location : Randolph County, NC If you don't know, you wouldn't understand.
Registration date : 2007-12-17

PostSubject: Re: If you're going to the Chicago Show....   Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:15 am

Very well said Neill! I hope that everyone attending the show will take these wise words to heart.

It truly would be in all of our best interest if pipe smokers continue to strike a vision of a gentleman when people think of pipe smokers.
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Midnight Blues
Vinyl`meister
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Age : 59
Location : Upstate NY
Registration date : 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Re: If you're going to the Chicago Show....   Thu May 01, 2008 7:31 pm

Neill,

I couldn't agree more. Its always best to behave respectfully, though at times as we loose many of our freedoms as pipe smokers its difficult at best.

Please enjoy the show and good times....
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Winslow

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Age : 71
Location : Midlothian,Va.
Registration date : 2008-04-11

PostSubject: Re: If you're going to the Chicago Show....   Thu May 01, 2008 9:23 pm

I will use my "Death Ray" on these people if I feel like it.

Winslow
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