If smoking is the "cause of cancer" everyone with cancer must be a smoker. Barbara Walters recently interviewed Patrick Swayze on ABC’s 20/20 program. The story about a prominent actor battling pancreatic cancer was at once touching and troubling. Certainly, one empathizes with Mr. Swayze and his family, particularly so due to the strength of his thirty-year-plus marriage and supportive wife.
Untimely death strikes particularly hard. That Barbara Walters persistently pressed the issue of smoking and cancer with Mr. Swayze until she received the response she desired – an admission from Swayze that smoking probably caused his pancreatic cancer – was startling and unseemly. Walters’s focus on the smoking issue was completely out of character with the balance of her interview, which focused on the human drama that is unfolding in Mr. Swayze’s life.
Needless to say, media immediately carried forward the Patrick Swayze anti-tobacco sales-pitch that was so callously lofted by Walters. From MTV.com, January 7, 2009, Patrick Swayze Opens Up About Cancer Battle, Blames Smoking (stored), by Brian Warmoth:
“Swayze remains determined to keep busy through his struggle; he worked 12-hour days for five months last year filming his new A&E police drama, ‘The Beast.’ ‘I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, not lived in the shadow of cancer but in the light,’ Swayze said. ‘You can bet that I’m going through hell. And I’ve only seen the beginning of it.’ A smoker for decades, Swayze acknowledged the likely connection between the habit and his condition. ‘I will go so far as to say probably smoking had something to do with my pancreatic cancer,’ he said. While he has not yet kicked the habit, he did say that he has "seriously cut down.’” (Underline added.)
What ABC News and Barbara Walters report must be true. After all, everybody now knows – compliments of American mainstream media, including ABC – that even the odor of tobacco smoke on clothes kills. Hence, normal folks now confront the propagandistic dangers of third-hand smoke. There is, however, a delicious though troubling irony in Walters’s using Patrick Swayze to pander to the anti-tobacco agenda. From Amednews.com, November 24, 2008, AMA Immediate Past President Ron Davis, MD, Succumbs to Pancreatic Cancer (stored), by Victoria Stagg Elliott:
“Ronald M. Davis, MD, the immediate past president of the American Medical Association and a longtime advocate of healthy lifestyles and ending health care disparities, died Nov. 6 of pancreatic cancer. He was 52. . . . With regard to smoking cessation, he was the director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1987 to 1991. From 1991 to 1998, he was the founding editor of Tobacco Control. Before the journal’s creation, ‘it was hard to get articles published in the field, and there was no journal specifically with tobacco as its focus. [Tobacco Control] was just enormous for the movement,’ said Tom Houston, MD, director of the OhioHealth Nicotine Dependence Program in Columbus. Dr. Houston was the director of science and public advocacy at the AMA from 1990 to 2003.”
FORCES has previously noted Ron Davis’s early death. Hindsight being 20/20, perhaps ABC News should impose some adult, fact-checker supervision on Walters’s reports. Being that Dr. Davis succumbed to pancreatic cancer several weeks before Walters’s interview of Patrick Swayze was broadcast, it necessarily follows Walters was negatively-labeling Dr. Davis as a person who smokes, too.
Perhaps anti-tobacco propagandist Dr. Davis was sneaking off to a private bathroom in his office to partake of the evil weed. After all. Elmer Gantry visions of evangelical pastors who inspire their flock by gay-bashing, then engage in crystal-meth-enhanced sexual bouts with male prostitutes, also come to mind.
Such hurtful and mean-spirited shepherds of “targeted” public policy most often experience their just reward, a recent example being a former Colorado mega-church pastor who is now selling insurance to feed his family. The tawdry agenda-hack behavior of Walters with Mr. Swayze in context of Dr. Davis’s untimely death also reminds us that alcohol prohibitionist Carry Nation died in an insane asylum, and it goes without saying that National Socialist propagandist Joseph Goebbels also used similar tactics to promote the Third Reich’s preferred brand of hatred for several “target groups” of German citizens.
The common denominator between Goebbels, Nation, Walters and Pastor Haggard is that each of them sought to use ugly strereotypes, hurtful negative labels, and carefully crafted innuendo to push a self-serving pretense for dominating others.
Accordingly, the thought remains that, since what ABC 20/20 reports must be indisputably and infallibly true, Dr. Davis was necessarily a closet smoker. Were that not the case, according to dogma routinely published in the journal Tobacco Control which he founded, he would be immortal and still be among us, continuing to peddle his hate-filled anti-tobacco snake oil public policy of cigarette taxes and smoking ban nostrums.
Then again, frequent contributors to Tobacco Control, such as Stanton Glantz and James Repace, will undoubtedly reply to the effect of, “That is false! Our most recent, biggest ever study based on smoking surveillance camera footage indisputably proves that a smoker walked by Dr. Davis on a public street on December 15, 2006 at 4:31:06 in the afternoon. It is indisputable that the third-hand smoke odor of tobacco smoke on his clothes was the trigger for Dr. Davis’s pancreatic cancer. Smokers kill innocents around them!”
Reportedly, Glantz and Repace will soon be launching their most-hypocritical-ever anti-smoker campaign: the Dr. Davis Annual Press Award. The Dr. Davis Press Award will replace the Edward R. Murrow award, to praise media figures who present the most internally conflicting reports that support the year’s biggest-ever and most self-serving health risk agenda.
Fortunately, Walters’s pandering behavior need not be examined exclusively in hindsight. Centuries ago some understood the predictable behavior of self-serving dominators with prescient clarity. Swedish inventor, philosopher, and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) wrote in Arcana Coelestia:
“The sphere of him who has regard to himself in everything, appropriates to itself, and, as is said there, absorbs everything that is favorable to itself, and therefore absorbs all the delight of the surrounding spirits, and destroys all their freedom, so that such person has to be banished from society.”
A poignant yet appropriate reminder of the ignorance and contradiction that anti-tobacco advocates such as Barbara Walters so conspicuously display is presented by a closing line to the movie Ghost (1990), starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, which won two Oscars. Swayze says to Demi Moore: "The love inside, you take it with you."
One wonders what Dr. Davis took with him. Did he arrive at the Pearly Gates empty of spirit?