Sunday, January 30, 2011

“The horror! The horror!”

Via JammieWearingFool:
Breaking wind is set to be made a crime in an African country.

The government of Malawi plan to punish persistent offenders ‘who foul the air’ in a bid to ‘mould responsible and disciplined citizens.’

I have to say I didn’t see this one coming. My money was on New York Nanny Michael Bloomberg to be the world’s first fart regulator. President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, not so much.

UPDATE February 2, 2011:

Well, that didn’t take long. Embarrassing third-world potentate New York Nanny Michael Bloomberg strikes back—his City Council lackeys approve an outdoor smoking ban in all parks and beaches, starting in 90 days. He’s told New Yorkers what they can’t eat, what they shouldn’t drink, and where they can’t drive. How far off is the ban on perfume in the workplace? in bars? on the beaches?


EdC said...

You should check out Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi. The extraterrestrials communicate by smell.

Tania said...

I hope perfume bans aren't the next step. I agree with smoking bans - public smoking is indefensible. But I would hope even this guy could see the difference between unwilling exposure to carcinogenic smoke, and a difference of opinion about a harmless cologne over-application.

Avery Gilbert said...


I took your suggestion. Glad I did.

Avery Gilbert said...


Public (i.e., outdoor) smoking is indefensible? So there is no risk level, no matter how miniscule, that is acceptable? If that's your view, you just opened the door for the Suede Denim Secret Police to grab your perfumes.

Nanny State busybodies like Michael Bloomberg are not interested in reasonable accommodation or cost-benefit analysis. They're all about control.

Time to wake up and smell the coffee. And hurry--now they want to ban Four Loko.

Tania said...


I think you're confusing indefensible with unacceptable.
What I'm saying is that there's no reasonable defense for the act of smoking in public. It's purely selfish.

So, no, I'm not saying that "there is no risk level, no matter how miniscule, that is acceptable'. Of course we have to accept some level of risk from smoke. While people still smoke, it's hard to completely avoid it.

I'm not in the business of telling people what they can & can't do to their own bodies - if that's what Bloomberg is doing, he's a control freak and a fool. But it makes good health sense to minimise passive smoking, so I support smoking restrictions in general.

It would be nonsense to treat harmless perfumes in the same way as carcinogenic smoke. I don't know if Bloomberg plans to ban scents, but such a ban doesn't naturally follow from smoking restrictions. As far as I know, there's no evidence to support it. So I think he might have a hard time getting that one in. Or not - I'm assuming a sensible form of government, here... :-), but maybe he'd take bribes from 'fume-phobics, who knows?

I've never heard of Four Loko, I had to google it. Sounds pretty much like vodka & Red Bull to me. Which I wouldn't recommend, but I wouldn't ban it either.

On a tangent - I think we need another word for interfering public office busybodies, rather than 'nannying'. If you think about it, what nanny worth her salt wouldn't prevent a child from harming others? It's not interfering, it's part of the job. I say, reclaim the word 'nanny'! :-)

Avery Gilbert said...


Some people would view wearing perfume in public as "purely selfish", so I'm not sure you've improved your argument much.

And since you posted, the nannys in the progressive paradise of Portland, Oregon have voted for an anti-scent policy. The scent facists are on the move.

(Back in the Sixties liberals were all in favor of freedom against repressive government. Now they are the repressive government. What the hell happened?)

As for the nanny tangent: the point, I think, is that adults don't need nannys. Free citizens don't need the Bloombergs telling us what not to drive, eat, wear, drink and smoke.