Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95
(continued from page 14)
Marvin, it's the only way to enjoy a bubble bath.
Bayonne, New Jersey
* * *
By the standards of the greater part of the readership, I am a fledgling cigar smoker, but I'm happy to say that I'm developing my taste for Cohibas at every opportunity. You see, I seem to make a habit out of developing tastes that thankfully aren't mainstream, which is why I'm glad that a magazine like yours exists. There is a certain affluence that's attached to a man who smokes a cigar, as I have discovered there is no such thing as a cheap "good" smoke. The maintenance of a well-stocked humidor is a serious undertaking, but that's good; nothing worth having in this life comes easy.
The common denominator that has escaped the notice of some of your critics regarding the individuals you've profiled is their having worked hard to make their way from obscurity to prominence. It can be argued that the personal politics of Rush Limbaugh are offensive, or James Belushi's opinion of female cigar smokers is chauvinistic, but that in itself does not prove them to be offensive chauvinists, nor does it diminish their accomplishments.
It has been my experience that people will too often pre-judge. As a young African-American man making his way on Wall Street, I've caught my share of "who's he supposed to be!" glares while walking down the street with a lit Macanudo Portofino between my teeth. However, in keeping with the spirit of the people you've profiled, I will neither apologize for the way in which I carry myself (damn good, if I do say so), nor for my tastes, which I take great pleasure in cultivating. More often than not I want to say to those self-righteous masses who would begrudge me, "@#$! you if you can't take a joke!"
Anyone that targets and tags an individual as being anything solely on the basis of their public personas is in my opinion no better than the negative images they project on their subjects. Discrimin-ation without thorough examination is wrong, and unfortunately any person who is either a minority or represents a minority view is a prime candidate for this type of scrutiny.
I am not so naive to believe that beneath the exterior of every sinister cigar smoker hides a warm and fuzzy "Teddy Bear." These things in and of themselves do not give me the right to diminish the strides these men have made to be in positions enabling them to affect audiences globally and nationally. My perceptive abilities are not so perfect that I can look into another man's heart and qualify his soul. A man's politics is one of many barometers for determining the caliber of his character, but by no means the final arbiter. Cigar smokers as a group are stereotyped as being many things, but the reality is we are simply people that enjoy one of nature's treasures--whether politically correct or not.
I believe that people should be judged not only by their outward appearances, but for the content of their character.
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