Let Me Speak for Myself; Don't Protect Me

RECEIVED Thu., April 14, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Cute ads with faceless physicians who spew dismissals of tobacco's relevance to the live music scene ought to relegate themselves to talking about that which they know, such as golf, and their unchanging practices which were forged over a hundred years ago by people with little or no medical training. The truth, dear MDs, is that tobacco sales built and sustained the live music scene all over this planet. It is a fact that tobacco sales account for 10% of income for most bars in Austin.
    The suggestion that nonsmokers are chomping at the bit for the ban to go through, so they can start freely frequenting bars and clubs, borders on absurdist fiction. If there is such an enormous market for these pink-lung'd music-loving ninnies, then why hasn't somebody opened a place for them? I'll tell you why.
    These bars have been opened to the public within the last two years, and they never last more than a few months. A fine case-in-point would be the Parish, a venue in the heart of the downtown area featuring some of the finest touring acts in the world today, while sporting the best sound in Austin. This is a venue which is struggling right now, not having reaped any benefits from shifting to a nonsmoking business model.
    Clubs like 710 and Beerland should be permitted to run their businesses as they see fit, to cater to whatever clientele they wish to pursue, even if this excludes the horde of creeping suburbanites that infest the Bee Cave.
    In closing, as somebody who works at clubs frequently, I take great offense to organizations lobbying on my behalf. I choose to work at a smoking venue, though I do not smoke. What happens after we ban smoking? Do we attack the detrimental effects of alcohol, and all socially destructive activities that occur amongst the inebriated? What about the decibel level of live music? I should be permitted the right to face these risks if I so desire.
    As for the democrats lobbying for the ban to go through, while shouting, "Who will take care of you when you're a wreck?" Well, I don't know. You're the democrat. Aren't you for socialized medicine? Well, caring for your constituency entails more than cutting corners with condescending and cost-efficient substitutes. In the end, the ban amounts to little more than a half-assed alternative to a real solution.
Yours truly,
Max Dropout
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