I was asked to write a weekly article in a soon to be established internet group that centers around the FDA’s shenanigans. This, due to the recent comments made by the junior state senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, at the Senate Appropriations Hearing, who “brought up the Deeming Rule and the current impacts on the premium cigar market. Senator Rubio asked FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb if there were any plans to re-evaluate the inclusion of premium hand made cigars in this rule. Rubio also pointed out that premium cigars are not marketed to children, and that there is a difference when it comes to premium cigars.” (CigarCoop – see below)
This balanced discussion caused a maelstrom of chatter over the internet giving Senator Rubio the kudos he deserves for highlighting the situation.
Not long after his appearance and subsequent statements, I received the call from one of the more pro-active heads of one of the more legendary cigar manufacturers in the industry based in the DR. His request took me aback. I was not at all sure what his intentions were but from what I could gather, he felt, since I am a blogger with a following, I could do some good if I were to write about the situation in whatever manner I felt appropriate to “make noise” as he is so often heard saying in conversations with him.
I immediately was hesitant to agree. I told him that I have been very active in citing the idiocy of the FDA and its knee-jerk reactions to the premium cigar industry. I did not bring up but surely recalled, that every time I broached the subject of the FDA in the style that I write that I was drilled a new bodily orifice by readers who vehemently disagreed with my assessment. My guess is that they formed this “safe” stance by not reading the entire article and formed their opinions of what I was saying by just scanning the lead, or listening to a third party’s take.
Journalism is my second language. I know how to write a news story. I know the formula of who, what, when, where, why and how of a standard news item. But I don’t write like that. Period. I bend words. My form of writing is based on imagery and my slant is delving into the emotional aspects of a subject rather than directly reporting on it. There are enough cigar news bloggers out there who do a fantastic job of reporting the daily stories that crop up in the industry.
When I wrote, what I am convinced were well-thought out challenging articles, I was exposed to being called egregiously foul names by readers who I can guess only read a portion of the stories. I felt the vitriolic wrath of Carlito Fuente Jr. who debased my words and ideas to the point of outright hatred. How am I to know the level of a reader’s interest in absorbing other forms of expression and representation. But to attack a writer in such a mean spirited way I found to be shocking and extremely disturbing. But I continued as the days went by to scrawl what I felt inside – I am not afraid to express myself. I do not conform.
So I have yet to make up my mind. I want to see what this new group is all about. I want to see what its motives are and is it an open forum such that – if I may be so bold – to accepting artistic editorializing that expounds on a particular subject or political viewpoint from the prisms of factual yet imaginative elocution.
I do know one thing, should I decide to contribute, my style will not change. If the reader is familiar and savvy to know my bent, then there will be no stinging words thrown at me – or the copy I pen. If they are not used to my style, then perhaps they will sludge through and find that I am simply coming at the subject from a different angle. We are all in the same industry, yes? Why would I write something to hurt, damage or destroy it? Nonsense, eh? (I shrug with indignation.)
(Commissioner Gottlieb’s response can be read and heard on https://cigar-coop.com/2017/06/cigar-news-fda-commissioner-gottlieb-addresses-premium-cigars-at-senate-appropriations-hearing.html) (CigarCoop)