Thursday, August 26, 2010

Teaching intolerance . . . spreading hate

“We were going down the street grabbing cigarettes from people and running off. It was so funny." So says one of a group of young thugs in the UK calling themselves the “Ciggy Busters”.

According to an account in the Medway Messenger, film director Margherita Gramegna, the artist in residence at the Hundred of Hoo Comprehensive School, set the students the task of devising a film about smoking. According to Gramegna, the students considered most anti-smoking commercials too tame and ineffective.

“Some of the students were smokers themselves and said that they didn’t think the current anti-smoking adverts actually worked. They thought that Chatham, in particular, needed a stronger impact - something on the street - something that could resonate better than an advert you see polished up on the telly. The final idea was to go out and literally ambush smokers and take their cigarettes off them. The adverts don’t work, so we are going to make you stop smoking.”

Ambush smokers and steal their fags? Force them to stop smoking? Huh?

So, this was apparently a school project; under (alleged) adult supervision. Just what the fuck are they teaching kids at the Hundred of Hoo Comprehensive School these days? How to be good little Nazis?

And, that's perhaps the most disgraceful aspect of this entire story. The teacher (?) and the school apparently encouraged these youngsters , providing them with video equipment, funding, and one assumes time off from their arduous school day, to accost responsible adults, with their message of intolerance and bigotry.

And, of course, the local congregation of the Holy Church of the Anti-Smoker were there to offer support.

Gramegna said she proposed the film to her students after speaking to a friend in the Public Health Directorate who said the high level of smoking was a problem for them. Support also came from “A Better Medway”, a joint initiative between the council and NHS Medway, that encourages healthy living and which partly funded the project.

In the Medway Messenger article, the author, Ruth Banks describes the students as “gutsy”. “Gutsy students from Medway have been snatching shoppers’ cigarettes, in an effort to persuade them to kick the habit.”

Gutsy? Assault and theft by self-righteous young thugs is considered gutsy? Harassing those who choose to use a perfectly legal product is gutsy? What in hell are these people thinking?

According to organizers, it was just another school outing; as innocent as a trip to the zoo. The victims, they said, were willing participants. Well, maybe not all. But, most smokers, we're told, reacted with good humour.

Said Gramegna: "I knew we could not really go and film in public and attack people in that way and take goods off of them, so we devised a cunning plan. We planted some people and we started with them. People were watching and following us and at the end we tried with some other people and they were very happy." Uh-huh.

Rachel Noxon, Medway's tobacco control strategic coordinator, said that the exchanges between students and smokers were "carefully stage-managed".

“We were going down the street grabbing cigarettes from people and running off. It was so funny."

Sounds like some of the kids didn't fully understand that it was all just make believe. Or was the “cunning plan” meant to cover the asses of the imbeciles who concocted this “learning experience” in case some disgruntled smoker smacked one of the kids upside the head? “Oh, we were just having some fun with those filthy smokers, constable. There was no need for violence.”

Video footage of the students having fun harassing and ridiculing smokers was available on You Tube, until the filming became a matter of controversy. It is no longer available. Did the video make it clear that this was a “carefully stage managed” event? Was there a “Don't try this at home” disclaimer? Or might other young people view the harassment and intimidation of smokers as acceptable behaviour? Might they think it “cool” to accost smokers and steal from them? Might they be encouraged to copy the behaviour?

The anti-smoker freaks will say they were merely providing a lesson in social activism or, trying to show the kids that the use of tobacco in modern society is no longer acceptable.

Unfortunately, they are also teaching them that intolerance and bigotry are perfectly acceptable, even admirable, character traits as long as they're attacking a government sanctioned target group. Maybe someone should explain to those “responsible” adults the difference between education and indoctrination.

Over-reaction? Maybe. But nothing like the over-reaction which would likely have ensued had I been one of those confronted by this marauding bunch of brain-washed youngsters and their brain dead mentors.

Additional Reading:
Big Brother Watch
Freedom 2 Choose


Anonymous said...

If one of these filthy nazi kids assauled me they would be peeing through a catheter for the rest of their miserable lives.

St. Moritz (patron saint of smokers) said...

I really do hope they try that in my area, their screams will be music to my ears.