Newspapers are littered with random articles about Beijing, all made relevant by the 2008 Olympics.? Reporters poke fun at sloppy English translations, filth in the streets and the general fuck-all attitude of city dwellers.? But The New York Times takes the cake this morning with by far the most prejudiced and badass article on Beijing I’ve ever read.
The article is about smoking, and how even after laws were passed and anti-smoking signs hung, Beijing remains a city of smokers. One in four people smoke. Doctors smoke in hospitals. “… a 2004 government survey of 3,600 doctors found that 30 percent did not know that smoking could lead to heart disease and circulation problems.”
Holy shit, right?? Still: coolest city ever, as evidenced by this headlining pic:
Look at that guy.? Leaning back, puffing on a cancer stick with no less than eight empty beer bottles in front of him.? Who knew Beijing was the Party Capital of the World?? I do, now.
The Times article also shows a mother smoking in front of her two-year-old, telling the reporter it’ll “make [him] stronger,” and people laughing in the face of a year-old ban on smoking in taxis, even after the taxi driver politely says something, even if the taxi driver is, himself, a non-smoker.
Okay, so a lot of the article is disgusting, and paints residents in a ghastly light.? But for all the stories you’ve heard about cancer, death, disfigurement, miscarriages and other light family fare, the mythos of badassery still surrounds smoking.? And because Beijing flaunts its hard-drinking, chain-smoking cowboy ways, you’ve gotta give respect where it’s due.