The Natural American Spirit is produced by the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, which sprang up in left-wing Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 1980s with a new innovative approach to cigarette-making. The American Spirit consists of “100 % Additive-Free Tobacco,” without the nuanced chemical combinations that give most mass-marketed cigarettes their savory taste and potent impact. As such, the Spirit satisfies a growing niche market of left-leaning types who want smoking’s well-documented coolness without earning it through hard respiratory work.
This brand’s very existence is a response to the cancer research conducted by various academic elites in the second half of the 20th century and promoted by the mainstream media. Like most products that appropriate the hallmarks of a great American original but update them for our sexless and mediocre modern era, the American Spirit is a banal letdown from the very first drag.
Packaged in innocuous baby-blue and yellow packs and decorated by a portrait of an American Indian, the American Spirit purports to provide “full-bodied taste.”
Slow-burning as to be lifeless, the Spirit requires multiple inhalations before a sufficient smoking process even begins. Its taste, if detectable at all, suggests little more than smoke itself. Cigarette enjoyers weaned on superior chemically-tinged brands wait patiently for that God-given all-American burst of tough pleasure. But as the seconds pass we find the sensitive backs of our throats woefully unfulfilled. One drag barely necessitates a proper exhalation unto itself. Even after two or three consecutive puffs, the smoke omitted from the user’s mouth is negligible.
The user finds himself divided over whether to even go on with this flaccid exercise. Even in adjusting his expectations as the cigarette slowly burns to completion, the smoker still finds only a moderate degree of pleasure. Nevertheless, the smoker detects in his throat that old familiar soreness, rendered irritating if not tragic by the joyless experience that precipitated it.
In 2010, California Gov. Jerry Brown successfully forced Spirit packs to note that this product is no healthier than typical cigarettes. In so doing, Brown acknowledged the pathetic appeal of this progressive faux-cigarette. This is a “weekender” cig, an occasional tourist attraction, marketed to people named “Josh” who go biking on the weekends with his roommate Dylan and his old bandmate Hunter and puff on a once-in-a-while Spirit because, hey, it’s Sunday and his nonprofit office is taking tomorrow off anyway for Arbor Day so he’ll have enough time to hit the treadmill and work it out of his lungs.
The personality type that would be attracted to an addiction-free product is passionless by design. What book would advertise, “You’ll be able to put it down if you want”? What movie would bill itself as a “sit-back-in-your-seat experience”? What man would desire an average woman’s cold, perfunctory goods when the coy brunette two tables over offers mystery and danger?
A man who deems himself too important to take a risk.
As with most progressive phenomena, America’s embrace of a healthy lifestyle is nothing more than petty self-interest imbued with the illusion of importance. We are all just too important to get sick, you see? Our own personal health is just too important to society. Thus, we will only smoke once in a while, so long as it’s additive-free and Elizabeth Warren is on the packaging.
This is highly offensive to my people.
My people hack phlegm onto parking lots outside courthouses where they’ve just contested speeding tickets. My people have to stop for breath after chasing t-shirt tosses at minor-league baseball games. My people are in tune with the comedy of life and caustically prepared for its inevitable conclusion.
This is a lifestyle. This is a community.
American Spirits morally disgust me because they do not physically disgust me.
The American Spirit is not a cigarette. And it certainly is not American.