CIGARETTES ARE SUBLIME (2/9)
Cigarettes are not positively beautiful, but they are sublime by virtue of their charming power to propose what Kant would call “a negative pleasure”: an inevitably painful pleasure that arises from some intimation of eternity; the taste of infinity in a cigarette resides precisely in the “bad” taste the smoker quickly learns to love. Being sublime, cigarettes, in principle, resist all arguments directed against them from the perspective of health and utility. Warning smokers or neophytes of the dangers of smoking only entices them more powerfully to the edge of the abyss, where, like travelers in a Swiss landscape, they can be thrilled by the subtle grandeur of the perspectives on mortality opened by the little terrors in every puff. Cigarettes are bad. That is why they are good – not good, not beautiful, but sublime.
Cigarettes Are Sublime (1993)