Triumphant Thursday is a look at several things I've found in the last week that are just awesome. We celebrate victories, both individual and globally. I share my own and those of others.
So here's the first Thursday Triumph. As a note, I love John Oliver and everything he does.
SMOKING RATES DROP PRECIPITOUSLY; HUMANITY BREATHES A SIGH OF RELIEF
In this segment, John Oliver discusses smoking across the world and how it relates to the tobacco industry. It's hilarious, as his show tends to be, and he doesn't hesitate to take the industry to task for being ridiculously stupid. My favorite line: After a short commercial from Philip Morris International, targeted at its employees to explain why they're using a particular slogan (Don't be a "maybe"), Oliver said...
"That is a pile of horseshit."
And it's true. But that's not entirely what the triumph is about (although, seriously, watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UsHHOCH4q8). What it is about is something that he said at the very beginning of the show and that I later confirmed: In the last fifty years (from 1965), smoking rates in the United States have dropped from 42% to 18%.
That number astonished me, so I checked for the official figures at the CDC website. You can find them here: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/tables/trends/cig_smoking/. They have the rates at 19% for 2011.
Also! Australia passed a "plain-packaging" act, removing the branding from tobacco product and replacing it with disgusting (but awesome) images of eyeballs, lungs, and toe-tagged corpses to illustrate the dangers of smoking. As a result, smoking in Australia, as of March 2014, was at its lowest ever...and they even beat the tobacco companies' lawsuits to make it happen!
But the coup de grace is Jeff, the diseased lung. Presented by Oliver as a new mascot for Marlboro, there are ALREADY BILLBOARDS with Jeff in Uruguay! I can't believe it! Seriously...I don't "lol" that often, but seeing Jeff next to the citizens in Uruguay made me.
And then there were the Jeff-themed shirts that the show sent to Togo. Oh. My. God.
That's fantastic! I'm sorry, tobacco companies, but your PRODUCT IS A POISON. You don't have any right to say that it's not. You don't have the right to hide it. Stop trying.
JK ROWLING WINS LIBEL LAWSUIT, FORCES PAPER TO APOLOGIZE PUBLICLY
Many of you know JK Rowling as the author of the incredibly influential, best-selling-in-every-list-ever Harry Potter series. As a public figure, everything she says or does in public is scrutinized for meaning, slip-ups, etc.
In September, 2014, Rowling published an article in Gingerbread (article: http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/1901/J-K-Rowling) that discussed her efforts as a single mother before hitting it big with HP. It was an uplifting piece about struggle and commitment and all the other great things that we hope to hear from our heroes.
And then, The Daily Mail, a tabloid located in England, ran a piece that accused Rowling of composing a "sob story" about her time as a single mother. It said that she made negative remarks about her fellow church-goers and that they were bewildered and confused by the accusations.
Of course, none of this is true. And so Rowling sued them for libel and defamation. They fought back, saying that there was "no way" their article could be seen as defamatory.
And...she won! Ladies and gentlemen, good wins out again. The paper was forced to apologize, publicly, and have it read aloud in court.
Rowling plans to donate the damages to charity, seeing as how she doesn't need it. Congratulations!
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