Category Archives: smoking

Coffee and Cigarettes

Book Report

From the criminally under-appreciated Three O’Clock High (1987):

Music and Medicine

The Cigarette in 20th-Century Portraiture

Before sharing his thoughts on Twenty Cigarettes, film scholar David Bordwell pauses to “reflect for a moment on the powerful role played by the cigarette in twentieth-century photographic portraiture.”

Related posts: Cigarettes are Sublime and The Cigarette Abides.

The Cigarette Abides

Elizabeth Tamny argues that Jeff Bridges is the best smoker in movie history:

There has never been a smoker like Bridges in films, and when I say that I am thinking of all film smokers and all smoking movies, from Bogie to Now, Voyager. Bridges’ relationship with things he lights on fire and sticks in his mouth creates a parallel world of expression in film that he uses to great advantage and it deserves some recognition beyond the tiny gold cigarette that must be dangling from the mouth of his Oscar.

What’s weird is that I’ve never really thought of Bridges as a smoker par excellence before, but after reading Tamny’s piece, yes, of course, duh. I love criticism like this.

(Via Roger Ebert.)

Related post: “Cigarettes Are Sublime.”

3 Substantial Pleasures

I think pipe and cigar users enjoy smoking because it provides three substantial pleasures. First, a high-quality cigar or a well-packed pipe presents occasion for patience …. It takes at least 45 minutes to finish a decent cigar. That is time set aside for backyard meditation or contemplation. Few things better slow down a busy day and bring it in for a relaxed landing than a burning stogie and an iced bourbon. Second, smoking in the company of others enhances conviviality. Conversation as sumes a satisfying pace as the talkers pause periodically to draw on their pipes or cigars. Third, smoking is an excellent aesthetic pleasure. There are the tools – cigar cutters, lighters and pipe cleaners – whose use is a soothing ritual. And smoke itself moves with visual elegance, in serene white or blue undulations, with a languorous ascent into the sky.

Rodney Clapp

(Via Writing in the Dust.)

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

Three of the four elements are shared by all creatures, but fire was a gift to humans alone. Smoking cigarettes is as intimate as we can become with fire without immediate excruciation. Every smoker is an embodiment of Prometheus, stealing fire from the gods and bringing it on back home. We smoke to capture the power of the sun, to pacify Hell, to identify with the primordial spark, to feed on them arrow of the volcano. It’s not the tobacco we’re after but the fire. When we smoke, we are performing a version of the fire dance, a ritual as ancient as lightning.

—Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

Oh, and for the record, I don’t smoke.


Related post: “Cigarettes Are Sublime.”