Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
George Burns, Winter 94/95
One observation I have while reading letters from your subscribers is the political nature of the cigar. Why is it so many of your readers bring politics into their opinions of your magazine? For example, look at the reaction to your issue featuring Rush Limbaugh on the cover. I can't believe readers would actually discontinue reading your magazine simply because of Rush. If these people are truly cigar lovers, surely they can understand the huge influence Rush has had on the cigar-smoking industry as well as subscriptions to your magazine.
And what of Fidel Castro? Holy cow! You shook some people up. As one of your readers said, "When I want politics, I'll buy another magazine." Who is talking about politics? I thought we were talking about cigars here? Who can deny the relationship between Cuba, Castro and cigars? And what of James Belushi saying women should stay away from cigar smoking? Some of these readers would prefer that you put a disclaimer on each issue: "Opinions or ideas expressed by Limbaugh and Castro do not necessarily reflect the views of Cigar Aficionado." Maybe if you feature cigar-smoking Bill Clinton on the cover, you will get some of those readers back.
If anything, a case could be made that cigar smoking pulls together people of different ideologies. What does Rush the Conservative, Clinton the Liberal and Castro the Dictator all have in common? Of course, they all love cigars. In fact, I think this is common ground to start a meaningful dialog. Let's get Rush, Castro and Clinton together in a neutral site--say a raft adrift off the coast of Florida. Buy a few good Dominican or Honduran cigars. Invite Cosby and Letterman to help break the ice and see what develops. Maybe they could end the Cuban embargo.
Come on people, lighten up. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
St. Louis, Missouri
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As an aficionado of cigars and pipes for nearly a quarter century (and I'm only 41 years old), I am of course dismayed with the onslaught of new legislation, restrictions and personal affronts to smokers. I differ with you and some of your readers, however, in my attitudes and responses.
Although openly hostile and publicly opinionated about many subjects, I am not that way about my smoking. I remember when--just a few years ago--my pipe and cigar were part of my public identity. Like my beard or glasses, people pointed me out as "the guy with the pipe." My entire office building is now totally "smoke-free" as are many of the restaurants and all the stores.
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