Nanny Dearest

by Jay Nordlinger

Near the end of Impromptus today, I have a little note on a visit to the Village Vanguard, the famed jazz club in Manhattan. In the course of that visit, I noticed a dog not barking. From my column:

Yes, I know Mayor Bloomberg is “Nanny Bloomberg,” and that the Vanguard by rights ought to be filled with smoke. But still: Rather pleasant, to sit in a jazz club, smoke-free. Wrong. But pleasant (for some).

Back when these smoking bans were being debated, I did a fair amount of writing about them. I was against them, mainly, on what I will call, for a convenient shorthand, “freedom grounds.” Yet I was not deaf to other arguments. (Hard of hearing, maybe, but not deaf.)

Anyway, a letter from a reader:

J, you made me smile about the jazz club being non-smoking. I used to feel guilty about enjoying Big Brother stopping the smoking. I always told people that I hated it in my mind but I loved it in my heart. Kind of like libs who constantly want to raise taxes but you know they enjoy the lower taxes just like the rest of us do.

One thing about the smoking bans: The sidewalks and such are, of course, choked with smoke (often). Years ago, at the intermission of a concert or opera, I’d go out for some fresh air. But now the air is all smoke-filled.

This new development was captured perfectly by a Spectator cartoon, some years ago, in which one man out on the sidewalk says to another man, “I’m just going to pop in for some fresh air.”