The Corner

Nanny Dearest

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.”

Most Popular

Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More