Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The timeless metaphor of Simon Chapman

The Australian sociologist and imbecile Simon Chapman released his book about plain packaging last week. It's called Removing the Emperor's Clothes. Chapman seems to have missed the whole point about the emperor's clothes which is that he didn't have any and, therefore, they couldn't be removed. What, then, has the story of the emperor's new clothes got to do with the plain packaging saga? One is about a vain and gullible leader being talked into doing something foolish by some professional confidence tricksters and the other is a fairytale by Hans Christan Andersen (thank you, I'm here all week).

I haven't read Chapman's book and I probably never will, but I did download it (it's free) because I wanted to see if he'd libelled me (he hasn't) and because I wanted to see if he was still a tedious self-plagiarist.

To recap, back in July, I spotted a running theme in the work of Australia's greatest living half-wit...

He [Chapman] ends his letter thus:

Like Monty Python’s Black Knight talking about “just a flesh wound” after losing all four limbs, this is not likely to be the last round of denials from Big Tobacco.

It's a nice little analogy because it diverts attention from the fact that it is Chapman who is flailing around while his ridiculous idea falls apart in the most predictable way. He must be proud of this line because he used it two days earlier when writing a black-is-white propaganda piece for ABC (in which he introduced yet another layer of wrong, see Dick Puddlecote for details).

Like Monty Python's Black Knight talking about "just a flesh wound" after losing all four limbs, this is not likely to be the last round of denials from Big Tobacco.

In fact, he's very proud of it, because he used it in August 2012 when writing about the legal challenges to plain packaging...

Like the mortally wounded Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Big Tobacco will now be hoping that, despite losing its right arm and buckets of blood (just flesh wounds), two other cases will see off the scourge of plain packs, against all the odds.

And he used it again in October 2012 in a completely irrelevant context...

Professor Chapman says tobacco companies will do anything to create a sense of "intrigue" about their products.

"They're a bit like the Black Knight in Monty Python in The Holy Grail; you cut their legs off, you cut their arms off and they keep on saying, 'it's just a flesh wound, bring it on'."

And he was using it way back in 2001 when writing about the claim that pylons cause cancer (see page 251 of Velvet Glove, Iron Fist to appreciate the irony of Chappers debunking dodgy epidemiology)...

Those in the media who believe that high voltage power lines and pylons cause cancer in children are like the plucky, armless black knight in Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail: they just won't give up.

And it didn't stop there...

On Twitter, Jon Fell has directed my attention to page 174 of a book published in 2007 titled Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control. Can you guess the name of its author?

With Chapman's track record of crowbarring the same Monty Python reference into any document in any context, it was with some trepidation that I opened the PDF and searched for the word 'Monty'. Could he possibly wheel this strained and exhausted metaphor out one more time? For a few seconds the search came up blank, but as it whirred away finally a page came on screen.

And not just any page, the final page of the whole book. Here it is, the grand finale. A closing treat for the valiant few who can make it to the end. Ladies and gentlemen, behold a literary genius at work...

It is a humbling experience to be in the presence of such a creative force.


  1. Isn’t recycling great? Isn’t recycling great? Isn’t recycling great?

    Well, the jayniuss, Simon Crapman, has been rummaging through
    the recycle bin again.

    This time it’s his hare-brained radical idea of licenses for smokers:

    His hare-brained “radical” idea isn’t new. He recycles it every year or so for “discussion”.

    More on Crapman’s “radical” idea over the last few years:


  2. (cont'd)


  3. Chappies must've really enjoyed Monty Python LOL

  4. Didn't the con artists remove the emperor's clothes, to replace them with fantastic, invisible 'new clothes', with no substance that only 'the wise' could see?

  5. When someone; Simon in this case, puts their agenda above the health of others or science it's a disgrace. I never thought using a safer method of supplying nicotine to my body would cause such a stir. Countless methods/individuals have undermined this alternative method to smoking; called vaping; involves no smoke, in an attempt to squash the life saving industry (as we know it).

    Go home Simon and do some more research. Come back with a new enlightenment on the benefits; against your beliefs/agenda, and work towards healthier/happier nicotine users.


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