Books v. cigarettes by george orwell — reviews, discussion, bookclubs, lists

Para al m das suas conhecidas obras de fic o (Mil Novecentos e Oitenta e Quatro ou A Quinta dos Animais), George Orwell foi tamb m um prol fico escritor de ensaios. Alguns deles j se encontravam publicados por c , tamb m pela Ant gona, no livro Porque Escrevo e Outros Ensaios, e este Livros & Cigarros proporciona aos leitores portugueses mais oportunidades para entrar em contacto com a obra deste grande escritor.

Livros & Cigarros um conjunto de 7 ensaios que versam sobre livros, as Para al m das suas conhecidas obras de fic o (Mil Novecentos e Oitenta e Quatro ou A Quinta dos Animais), George Orwell foi tamb m um prol fico escritor de ensaios. Alguns deles j se encontravam publicados por c , tamb m pela Ant gona, no livro Porque Escrevo e Outros Ensaios, e este Livros & Cigarros proporciona aos leitores portugueses mais oportunidades para entrar em contacto com a obra deste grande escritor.

Livros & Cigarros um conjunto de 7 ensaios que versam sobre livros, as profiss es de alfarrabista e cr tico liter rio, juntamente com algumas considera es de cariz pol tico e recorda es da vida do autor. No primeiro ensaio, que d o t tulo ao livro, o autor, perante algu m que lhe diz que os livros s o caros, decide fazer algumas contas para comparar gastos entre livros e outras leituras e em lcool/tabaco. A conclus o?

a leitura um dos passatempos mais baratos que existem o mais barato de todos, provavelmente, a seguir a ouvir r dio.

Na minha opini o, esta conclus o mant m se nos nossos dias de facto, para quem compra muitos livros, o impacto no total das despesas grande, mas quando comparado com outro tipo de gastos, nomeadamente em entretenimento, reparamos que acaba por n o ser t o caro assim. N o faltam situa es de pessoas que n o l em com a desculpa que os livros s o caros bem, existem v rias alternativas, s n o lemos se n o quisermos.

Em Mem rias de um Livreiro, Orwell recorda a poca em que trabalhou num alfarrabista, e faz algumas observa es curiosas acerca do tipo de pessoas que frequentavam a loja, os seus h bitos e os livros que liam. Na altura, o autor denotava a fraca popularidade dos cl ssicos, dos romances americanos e dos contos com excep o dos segundos, tenho a impress o que a tend ncia se mant m. Orwell acaba por confessar que, por ter de mentir sobre os livros, lhes ganhou avers o e que, por isso, a profiss o n o lhe deixou muitas saudades. Confiss es de um Cr tico Liter rio tamb m excelente, consistindo numa disserta o sobre o trabalho do cr tico liter rio e em como este, poca, era obrigado a escrever recens es sobre livros que n o lhe agradam, acabando por tecer lhe sempre rasgados elogios.

A Preven o da Literatura o primeiro ensaio neste livro com um pendor mais pol tico. Versa sobre a liberdade de imprensa, associada liberdade intelectual, de manifestar opini es contr rias. O autor demonstra o seu desencanto com a situa o da altura (p s 2. Guerra Mundial), referindo a opress o do comunismo, que n o era referido na imprensa da poca. S o ainda feitas algumas considera es bastante interessantes sobre a influ ncia do totalitarismo na literatura, demonstrando o autor algum pessimismo face ao futuro da mesma.

Os dois ensaios seguintes, Um, Dois, Esquerda ou Direita O Meu Pa s e Assim Morrem os Pobres s o relatos pessoais de momentos da vida do autor influenciados pela conjuntura inglesa. O primeiro traz recorda es da 1. Guerra Mundial e da forma como, n o tendo participado nesta, influenciou o seu crescimento, no seio de um pa s que educava os seus jovens para a guerra. O segundo d uma vis o bastante v vida das dificuldades dos menos favorecidos nos hospitais da poca, pela falta de condi es de higiene e de tratamento igual entre os v rios doentes.

O ensaio final, Ah, Ledos, Ledos Dias, que ocupa quase metade do livro, consiste numa mem ria dos tempos que George Orwell passou no col gio interno de St. Cyprian s. Este texto foi apenas publicado ap s o falecimento do autor, devido a instru es do pr prio nesse sentido, devido ao cariz pessoal que encerra. De facto, muitas s o as reflex es sobre as diferen as de tratamento a que foi sujeito, a neglic ncia de sa de de higiene, e as dificuldades que teve em perceber que n o era ele que estava errado. Orwell faz uma reflex o interessant ssima sobre a influ ncia que a educa o tem para o desenvolvimento do adulto, do que custa crescer e aprender a relativizar as coisas.

Se h um tra o comum entre todos estes textos, a clareza de racioc nio e da sua passagem para palavras. Sempre com uma escrita clara e cativante, Orwell consegue quase sempre agarrar o leitor pela precis o das suas conclus es. ineg vel o facto de estarmos perante um grande pensador e de uma pessoa muito frente do seu tempo. Apesar de achar que a leitura deste livro sair beneficiada com algum conhecimento pr vio da vida do autor, julgo que todos estes textos s o v lidos nos dias que correm, com as devidas adapta es. Gostei bastante.(less)

Christopher brauchli: cigarettes and senators

For thy sake tobacco, I would do anything but die.
Charles Lamb, (1775 1834)
A farewell to Tobacco

Money talks. Frequently it finds its voice only when it is given to others. Consider Senators Mitch McConnell (R KY) and Richard Burr (R N.C.). Senator Burr, having received $534,000, has the distinction of being the recipient of more money from cigarette companies than any other member of Congress, according to statistics compiled by the non partisan Center for Responsive Politics. His colleague (and the minority leader of the Senate) Mitch McConnell has received $456,000. The money that cigarettes have paid the two men, as well as some of their colleagues, makes them understandably sensitive to the well being of their donors and they have expressed their gratitude by letting Europe know that it can’t follow in Australia’s footsteps and impose restrictions on how its donors are portrayed to the public. But first, a bit of history.

In August 2012 the High Court of Australia issued an opinion that was exceedingly unfriendly to the package in which the cigarette is delivered. The court, depriving individual cigarettes of that which causes them to standout from their competitors, said all cigarettes had to be sold in uniform packages. Company logos can no longer be displayed on packages. All printing on the packages must use identical fonts and the package must have a dark brown background. To add insult to injury, the Australian Court said graphic health warnings have to cover 90 percent of the back of the package and 70 percent of the front. That ruling was especially distressing for the cigarette because it came just a few months after the United States Federal Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit had approved rules issued by the Food and Drug Administration that required graphic displays of warning images on cigarette packs. It also approved the rule that required graphic warnings to be placed on the top half of the front and back of each pack. In its opinion the court said We can envision many graphic warnings that would constitute factual disclosures… A non exhaustive list of some would include a picture or drawing of a nonsmoker’s and smoker’s lungs displayed side by side a picture of a doctor looking at an x ray of either a smoker’s cancerous lungs or some other part of the body presenting a smoking related condition a picture or drawing of the internal anatomy of a person suffering from a smoking related medical condition a picture or drawing of a person suffering from a smoking related medical condition. Australia plus the 6th Circuit created an air of gloom among cigarettes that no amount of smoke could dispel. The U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia dispelled it.

Ten days after the Australia Court ruled, the D.C. Court declined to approve the graphic warnings the FDA had required. Among one of the more catchy images it refused to approve was a picture of a man with cigarette smoke coming out of the tracheotomy hole in his throat. Saying that many «of the images chosen by FDA could be misinterpreted by consumers.» It suggested, as one example, that the tracheotomy image could be construed by the consumers as suggesting that receiving a tracheotomy «is a common consequence of smoking.»

Since two courts had arrived at differing conclusions it was widely assumed that the U.S. Supreme Court would weigh in and let the cigarette know which court got it right. It was not to be. On April 22, 2013, the Supreme Court let it be known it would not resolve the differences between the two Courts of Appeal. Although the domestic threat is at bay until the FDA comes up with new rules, the cigarette’s need for vigilance goes on and it is in Europe that it enlisted the aid of those it has supported.

In December 2012 the European Commission proposed significant restrictions on tobacco branding and flavoring. On the theory that for a cigarette to be fully appreciated, it should taste like tobacco and not like peppermint, it banned flavorings such as menthol. On the theory that cigarettes are harmful, it said graphic warnings on the front of the package that now take up 30 percent of the package must be increased to 75 percent. The rules also require that the packages include the kinds of graphic warnings favored by the 6th Circuit and not favored by the D.C. circuit

On June 7, 2013, it was reported that Senators McConnell and Burr along with Senator Rand Paul (R Ky.) and Kay Hagan (D N.C.) had written to the European Union warning of dire consequences should the Union adopt the regulations on cigarette packaging it was proposing. The senators said the proposed regulations would violate international trade rules and adversely affect trade relations with the United States. It’s good they explained. Otherwise one might have thought it had to do with all the money the cigarette companies pay them in order to preserve their friendship.
Christopher Brauchli can be emailed at brauchli.56 For political commentary see his web page at


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