2007-Sep-18 02:43But the cigarettes online itself, outside of its chemical components, gets scant credit. “One must not forget,” Jean Cocteau once wrote, “that the pack of cigarettes, the ceremony that extracts them, lights the lighter, and that strange cloud which penetrates us and which our nostrils puff, have with powerful charms seduced and conquered the world.” To be immune to those charms is naturally Brandt’s prerogative. To refuse or fail to acknowledge them in a history of the cigarette, however, is more problematic, and suggests the question: Is a cheap cigarettes sometimes just a cigarette? Or does the totality of its meanings — up to and including its flavors, fragrance and neurological kick — stem from a cultural moment, a peculiar and corporate-engineered hinge in time and place?
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