My girlfriend thinks I should start a blog called Get Off of My Yard! that features rants the likes of which might be delivered by an angry old man, shaking his fist at the neighborhood children, worrying his two remaining teeth with his yellowed old tongue. Apparently, I sometimes embody this character as I fulminate regarding pop culture, advertising, politics, music, education, the driving habits of Arizonans, etc.
So perhaps instead of launching a whole new blog, I'll just occasionally rant right here, in a charming series called, of course, Git Offa My etc.
Enough with the BS already! But where to begin?
How 'bout with an inspiring little card inserted between plastic wrapper and kale-green cigarette pack brought to us by the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, manufacturers of Natural American Spirit cigarettes. I smoke roughly a pack a day of their admittedly high quality menthols. The menthol flavoring, by the way, comes from mentholated crystals embedded in the filter, maintaining the virginal purity of their tobacco. These are fine, tasty, high-powered smokes, my friends. I felt not a twinge of guilt as Cecil Taylor bummed them off of me, one after the other, during a post concert party in his hotel room in Albuquerque. My pals, who are non-smokers generally, cadge a smoke or two off me without remorse, savoring the "100% Additive-Free Natural Tobacco." A friend who writes screenplays and directs movies calls them "Pimp Daddy Smokes," combining the somewhat shady sleaze of menthol with a kick of nicotine and carbon monoxide mule-like in its oxygen denying ferocity.
But the company's greenwashing is ridiculous.
Text of inspiring inserted card, front:
Bold heading: DIFFERENT Company
"It's refreshing to know a company that produces a product we use actively supports human rights, the environment, and other charitable works."-Scott W.
Never mind the Oxford comma.
Further inspiration on inserted card, back:
"Our people...We believe that the way we do business is as important as the way we grow our tobacco. That's why being earth-friendly is a part of our everyday lives. Whether it's using wind power to run our offices, or contracting directly with organic farmers who grow tobacco using earth-friendly practices, we're dedicated to reducing our footprint on the earth." (followed by the company's logo, featuring an altered zia...symbolism is heavy all around, including an Indian in a full head dress holding up a peace pipe and a handy little gold Thunderbird printed on every fag).
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for reducing footprints on the earth.
But it's the epitome of balls for a tobacco company to jump so hard on the green bandwagon, really. Hey, I have an idea-- maybe my respirator someday can be wind powered? Or perhaps half my lower jaw can be removed using entirely *earth-friendly* recycled bone saws? Or perhaps the radioactive elements used in my lung therapy can be obtained from direct contracts with organic, *earth-friendly* mining companies?
Some small print on the side of the pack seems perhaps too little, too late. Or maybe just so utterly obvious as to be unintentionally hilarious: "No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette."
The stub Wiki article is highly revealing:
"The Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company is a tobacco manufacturer, best known for its production of the Natural American Spirit cigarette brand. However, "Natural American Spirit" brand cigarettes are currently owned by (since 2002) the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, Inc. There is controversy surrounding this brand, both for its use of a 'native American' logo (citation needed), and for its claims to be natural, which many consumers misconstrue as meaning that the product is healthier for you."
I'm fully prepared, obviously, to admit that the only SAFE cigarette is an unlit cigarette. I'm also sheepishly ashamed to have such deep brand loyalty to a company that has obviously gone completely off the deep end of boomer, yuppie PC marketing nonsense.
And so, with gravelly voice and at a nicotine-ratcheted fever pitch, I crow to the marketing department at RJ Reynolds/Santa Fe Natural Tobacco: Git Offah Mah Yard!