So the public health poohbahs are off and running in 2018. The prurient puritans, the humourless harridans, the admonishing androids of the rent-a-quote crowd are getting stuck into members of the Australian test team, notably Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon and Jackson Bird, for being photographed puffing on ciggies while out on a post-Ashes celebration in Sydney yesterday.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, it was all predictable, precious poohbah palaver.
“They are private citizens but the truth is they are role models at an elite level that [who, surely? – Ed] are looked up to by boys and girls and men and women across Australia and they expect a certain level of behaviour,” fumed national president of the AMA, Michael Gannon said.
“It is really poor judgment and really poor role modelling for them to be doing this in public…I would expect better judgment. It goes against their elite sports modelling and their healthy behaviour on the field,” pontificated Sarah White of Quit Victoria.
Maurice Swanson, the President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health was “shocked”. Well, at least he wasn’t flabbergasted. Or constipated.
Good on the Tele for getting the snaps and knowing it had an instant story. But what a confected cornucopia of poohbah hoo-hah.
So the boys were letting off steam after five Tests and a disciplined Ashes campaign. It was not an official function, but a mates’ get-together. A few of them had one or two social ciggies in a beer garden and, on the photographic evidence, not blowing it in anyone’s faces. Presumably, there’s nothing in their contracts that ban them from smoking off-duty: they’re not Shane Warne, who famously was paid to promote a quitting product but kept smoking anyway. And as for being role models, why should they be expected to be on show 24/7? Aren’t they entitled to a private life and let their impeccably groomed hair down occasionally?
Smoking is bad for you, to be sure, but the occasional social puff surely does no harm. Many people abstain except for the odd social occasion, and then happily revert to normal. Even sportsmen are entitled to make their own informed choices without the tut-tutting of the puritan poohbahs.
But why did the AMA’s Dr Gannon and the other killjoys and nannies stop there?
If Shaun Marsh, after smokin’ on field, chose to vape instead of smoking off field, he would have been condemned. Vaping is as bad as smoking to the poohbahs, even though the mounting evidence suggests exactly the opposite.
And our Test cricketers were out on the town. They were knocking back more than a few bevvies. Oh yes indeed, more than a few seeing they partied all afternoon and into the night. I bet they weren’t carrying copies of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines on alcohol consumption – oh, their eternal shame! And if the admonishing apes had their way, that booze they were enjoying would be plain-packaged and taxed even more than it is already.
But having had reached their alcoholic limit and our boys wanted to, as the ads say, “drink responsibly”– especially if they were about to drive – if the AMA had its way, their socially-responsible soft drinks would be slugged with a punitive sugar tax on top of the GST they’re already paying. And they would have been called out as not being positive role models for the kiddies, in consuming the demon sugary sarsaparilla.
For these self-appointed guardians of you and me in their ivory towers, everything we do, everything we consume is to be banned or regulated to death or taxed to buggery, especially ciggies, booze and sugar. It may pay to have good health, but in wanting to sin tax life’s little pleasures the poohbahs take this way too literally.
So our Test cricketers gave two fingers to the critics and did their own thing in enjoying themselves. Good on them. A non-story. Leave them alone. As for the censorious public health poohbahs putting the boot in, they should stop sucking lemons and lighten up. Those Test heroes have done far more for our national happiness and well being than your menagerie of moaning miseryguts mugs ever have, and ever will. So they should stop being prigs and prudes and start being a bit more tolerant and human.
Better still, they should shut up and let people enjoy their holidays.
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