23 May 2008

Decline in Smoking Correlates With Decline in Coolness

A few busybodies in our fair country may say that the decline in adult smokers has contributed to better public health. But did these buzzkills ever stop to think about the effect smoking cessation would have on the overall coolness of our country? They certainly did not! The New York Times reports that more and more niche groups are abandoning smoking:

It was a time when the percentage of adult smokers in the United States fell to 21 percent from 45 percent. As the investigators watched the smokers and their social networks, they saw what they said was a striking effect — smokers had formed little social clusters and, as the years went by, entire clusters of smokers were stopping en masse. So were clusters of clusters that were only loosely connected.

It has been scientifically proven that smoking automatically elevates an individual's coolness factor. It would follow that a societal trend of declining smokers would lead to an overall drop in the worthiness of our culture and music scene. The graph below represents exhaustive research compiled by this blog for the purpose of this study:

(Note: All data compiled from the CDC and the author's perception of coolness)

1978 (34.1% Smoker Rate) - The Bitchin' Period: NYC sees the rise of punk rock with the musical simplicity of power chords and The Ramones. CBGB's becomes a mecca for coolness in light of the recent disco trend that has swept the nation. Los Angeles follows the new punk uprising with bands like Black Flag, The Circle Jerks, and The Germs. Smoking, pogoing, and face-punching were all in style. However, even if a person chose disco over punk, they were guaranteed to get laid at the inevitable swingers party that followed a night of dancing and cocaine.

1985 (30.1% Smoker Rate) - Awesome Times: Big hair and hot chicks were everywhere on the Sunset Strip as Motley Crue ushered in a new era of decadence and awesome. Of course, this scene didn't leave our middle American peers behind, as the parking lot at a Judas Priest show was all anyone needed to have a good time. Most people smoked, but everyone was getting shitfaced on Budweiser and trickle-down economics. Times were good.

1993 (25.0% Smoker Rate) - Meh, it was sorta cool: A new type of music disenfranchised with the ridiculous glamor of MTV began to emerge. Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and Soundgarden all spoke to a cynical generation tired of mainstream fluff. Unfortunately, that music became "trendy" thereby defeating it's purpose, which culminated with Nirvana's appearance on MTV's Unplugged. The people who understood the irony of this madness smoked, and they were sorta cool.

2006 (20.8% Smoker Rate) - Welcome to Squaresville, population YOU: Music and culture has become so watered down that the youth are forced to watch hallow renditions of their generation appear on American Idol and make imbeciles of themselves. People take out small loans to go see a horrible concert of Jack Johnson where no alcohol is served, and the lone individual who dares to light up a cigarette is promptly escorted from the premise. This is your Orwellian reality.

Sure, our children may have a healthier future without the demon tobacco polluting their little lungs, but it's a future of lameness in which the the separation of cool vs. uncool is indistinguishable. All that is left a boring hallow middle, where the best they can hope for is an aging Metallica to do a reunion tour. Why do you non-smoker people hate the children anyways?