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Help John Mellencamp to quit smoking.
December 2, 2009 5:50 AM   Subscribe

"1,000,000 to join, my dad john mellencamp will quit smoking" Of course, country rock crooner John Mellencamp isn't MY dad. Rather, John's youngest son Speck (geez) has issued a challenge to facebook -- if 1M people join this facebook group, John Mellencamp will quit smoking. It's legit, unlike that time when you forwarded an email to all of your friends wanting Bill Gates to give you money.
posted by taumeson (114 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I'm trying to imagine a world where I care enough about if John Mellencamp smokes that I'd be willing to hand over all my personal information to a proprietary database. Or a world where John Mellencamp cares enough about me handing all my personal information to a proprietary database that he'd be willing to give up smoking to make it happen.
posted by DU at 5:56 AM on December 2, 2009 [19 favorites]


He should want to quit in order to be around longer for his son, not because one million people join some Facebook group. What a stupid publicity stunt.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:56 AM on December 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


Sometimes love don't feel like it should, DU.
posted by Spatch at 5:56 AM on December 2, 2009 [36 favorites]


In a world where a lot of people are already on facebook, it's innocuous enough.
posted by taumeson at 5:59 AM on December 2, 2009


I'd vote for it, but only so that he can be as miserable as I am when I see his paintings selling for sick amounts of money.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:10 AM on December 2, 2009


The group should probably be named "1,000,000 to join, my dad John Mellencamp will quit smoking in public."

Are there even a million people left who give two shits about Mr. Cougar? I'm kind of an anti-smoking Nazi, but as long as Mr. Mellencamp doesn't smoke around me, or I don't have to catch a whiff of his clothing or hair, I don't really see why I should care about what he does or doesn't do with his body.
posted by bondcliff at 6:10 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Talk about peer pressure.
posted by grubi at 6:11 AM on December 2, 2009


"Mellencamp's only vice is his well-known cigarette habit. He used to smoke four packs a day until a 1994 heart attack forced him to cut down to about a pack a day...Mellencamp blamed his minor myocardial infarction on his four-pack-a-day cigarette habit and poor diet...'It's my fault. I'm a smoking machine. Hell, sometimes I wake up 10, 15 times a night to smoke a cigarette. The moral of my story is that 80 cigarettes a day and a cholesterol level of 300 is like a loaded gun.'"
posted by kirkaracha at 6:12 AM on December 2, 2009


Why am I supposed to care about Mellencamp's smoking habit? And why should he care what a bunch of anonymous people do on Facebook (other than as marketing for his comeback album, I guess)?
posted by Forktine at 6:14 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tough crowd!

I can think of at least two reasons for this to be a good thing.

1. If John Mellencamp is still making records you care about (not true for me, but presumably true for plenty of people) then you might want to increase his lifespan.

2. Even if not: a Facebook group like this attached to a celebrity name publicizes the idea that kids can pressure their parents to quit tobacco, if they want their parents to live a long time. This has benefits for families not named Mellencamp.
posted by escabeche at 6:18 AM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


If John can't do it for Speck he can't do it for a million people or a million dollars. It just doesn't work like that.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:18 AM on December 2, 2009 [10 favorites]


My grandparents smoked this much and it is 5 cigarettes an hour if he's up for 16 hours. Each day. That's insane.
posted by josher71 at 6:19 AM on December 2, 2009


...what we're talking about here, is kindof a heartland feeling. Like, uh, Mellencamp. You know, a Mellen-Feeling. (Saddest country song ever written starts at 1:26)
posted by kid ichorous at 6:19 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


escabeche: "a Facebook group like this attached to a celebrity name publicizes the idea that kids can pressure their parents to quit tobacco, if they want their parents to live a long time, and if they have access to a publicity machine that could plausibly reach millions of people. This has benefits for families named Mellencamp."

ftfy
posted by jckll at 6:21 AM on December 2, 2009


The moral of my story is that 80 cigarettes a day and a cholesterol level of 300 is like a loaded gun.

presumably cutting back to 20 cigarettes a day is like a partially loaded gun?
posted by msconduct at 6:23 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If John can't do it for Speck he can't do it for a million people or a million dollars. It just doesn't work like that.

There are some people who can't quit smoking, no matter how much you, me, or their child wishes that they could. My ex-husband has tried to quit smoking many times - during one try, he had a complete nervous breakdown. He started smoking Camel non-filters in his very early teens. Decades later, the chemicals in cigarettes are part of his brain chemicals. He can't function without them.
posted by tizzie at 6:27 AM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hell, you had enough sense to drop the stupid "Cougar" bit from your name*, you oughtta have enough sense to quit smoking right away, for your health and for your own son, never mind a million people. Man up, Mellencamp!

*actually, for all I know he hasn't really dropped it, but, I don't see it here, so I'm assuming he dropped it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:30 AM on December 2, 2009


interesting talented old-school musician intersects with technology and it's a dog pile. but if a one-hit comedian rehashes said hit, we go fucking bonkers.

a Facebook group like this attached to a celebrity name publicizes the idea that kids can pressure their parents to quit tobacco, if they want their parents to live a long time.

exactly! if we don't take this to be a marketing effort (and i can't imagine a 14 year old kid being comfortable with having their famous father's PR machine co-opting their online profile) then it really speaks to a not-so-humble yet authentic way to pressure your father into quitting smoking.
posted by taumeson at 6:32 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm all for people quitting smoking, but I am not so enthused about being guilt-tripped into providing free publicity for fading celebrities. Sorry Speck, hope your dad's able to kick the habit without my pageview.
posted by homuncula at 6:35 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


oh, and way to go junior mellancamp. holding your father's lungs hostage for internet popularity? classy.
posted by msconduct at 6:36 AM on December 2, 2009


He should want to quit in order to be around longer for his son, not because one million people join some Facebook group.

Every smoker "should" want to quit smoking -- for their family or for themselves. But that obviously hasn't worked for John Mellencamp. Maybe, for some silly reason, this gimmick will work. And if it works for one person -- albeit a generally uninteresting celebrity -- that would be pretty cool, since that could encourage other people to do it. It's worth trying.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:40 AM on December 2, 2009


interesting talented old-school musician...

Who?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:40 AM on December 2, 2009



If having children isn't going to stop him...
If a heart attack isn't going to stop him...
posted by fluffycreature at 6:40 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait so that Bill Gates thing was fake? Does that also mean I can't get a Red Lobster coupon to print out of my disk drive if I forward this email to twenty people?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:42 AM on December 2, 2009


So which group should we join to get him to double his smoking, start doing cocaine, and playing with explosives? [NOT ANTIMELLENCAMPIST]
posted by blue_beetle at 6:42 AM on December 2, 2009


whatever, "Jack and Diane" RULES, i am TOTALLY joining.
posted by liketitanic at 6:45 AM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


I find this interesting for a couple of reasons:

1) People always seem to pick 1,000,000 for these "If [number] people join, then [event] will happen!" groups, even though (or maybe because) 1,000,000 group members is a nearly impossible task. I couldn't find very many groups on FB that had a million members.

2) It seems like these types of groups are always either A) jokes, or B) set up by people who have no chance in hell of getting a million people into a group. Not that John Junior Mellencamp has a big chance, but it seems like he has more of a chance than "If 1,000,000 join, my boyfriend will marry me!"

3) Putting together 1) and 2), it seems like this is a way to make his kid think that Junior himself has the power to make his dad quit smoking, when in reality it's never going to happen.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:49 AM on December 2, 2009


... Speck Mellencamp?

If a million people favorite this comment I'll quit Metafilter.
posted by edgeways at 6:52 AM on December 2, 2009 [20 favorites]


I'd join the FB group if Mellencamp publicly apologizes for naming his son after a mass murderer.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:56 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hell, you had enough sense to drop the stupid "Cougar" bit from your name...

For the record: the "Cougar" was thrust upon him by the record label when he was just starting out -- they thought that a guy named "John Cougar" sounded more "rockstar" than a guy named "John Mellencamp". As he got more famous, he added the "Mellencamp" back to the end, and then when he made it really big he did indeed drop the "Cougar". The "Cougar" part was never his idea.

What's weird about what I just said is, I've never been that much of a fan -- I just have a head for trivia.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:57 AM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought about this a bit... and about John Mellencamp's music.

Keep smokin', Johnny.
posted by markkraft at 6:59 AM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


If Mellencamp really wanted to make a difference he would start pounding pavement and apologize to every man, woman, and child in North America for releasing "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." and then pay them each $1.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:09 AM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sure, it's silly. But I totally joined.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:12 AM on December 2, 2009


I didn't know he smoked that much. Now I imagine his skin being yellowed and wrinkled like those bog mummies they discovered in Ireland, his teeth blacked like a movie monster, his eyes rheumy and tinted, and his whole self smelling like one of those outdoor ask cans that nobody ever cleans. After a hobo dies in it. And it rains.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:16 AM on December 2, 2009


ash cans, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:17 AM on December 2, 2009


I'm starting a Facebook group to get him to smoke MORE.
posted by mattholomew at 7:18 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If he doesn't quit smoking, I hope he can at least turn the experience into a pseudo-defiant rock song that at times comes close to almost rocking, but never actually does.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:22 AM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


After surviving a heart attack years ago, it shouldn't take a facebook group to inspire him to quit smoking. Having a kid should do the trick. Fucktard publicity stunt destined to fail.
posted by VicNebulous at 7:23 AM on December 2, 2009


Really, what this ought to be is a petition to his record company. If they get 1,000,000 people to join, then his next record will be released as John Cougar Melloncamp, unless he quits smoking.

Maybe he can't quit for his kids or his health, but maybe he'll do it to keep "Cougar" far away from his name?
posted by explosion at 7:30 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, know what the constipated fly said? "I speck not."

old country joke...
posted by rahnefan at 7:35 AM on December 2, 2009


For all the schlock and dross, Mr. Mellencamp's excellent and self-referential song Pop Singer makes his existence in the universe a net gain for me.

Never wanted to be no pop singer,
Never want to write no pop songs.
Never wanted to have a manager over for dinner.
Never wanted to hang out after the show.

posted by Meatbomb at 7:36 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Paper in Fire is pretty good too.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:42 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like John Mellencamp.
posted by Mavri at 7:47 AM on December 2, 2009


Q: Where do cantalope go on vacation?
A: John Cougar's Melon Camp
posted by porn in the woods at 7:52 AM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


If this comment get a thousand favorites, I'll start smoking again.
posted by fuq at 7:59 AM on December 2, 2009 [12 favorites]


I'm partial to Cherry Bomb, myself. But I am bothered by shlock nor dross.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:06 AM on December 2, 2009


Oh, hey there, haters. That's right, haters, you would be pissing yourselves with glee if you were named after a delicious cured meat.

When Balducci's closed I sobbed like a little baby. Where am I supposed to get my speck now? For those of you heathens who haven't tasted it, speck is like bacon, but INCREDIBLY BETTER.

Haters.
posted by kathrineg at 8:07 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I'll take up smoking and give that up.

Good for you, son. Giving up smoking is one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do. Have a dollar.

posted by porn in the woods at 8:08 AM on December 2, 2009


So a kid sees his dad is having a hella problem quitting smoking, decides to try something, and knowing that his dad has a lot of fans that (presumably) care about his health, starts a Facebook group to try to get a lot of peer pressure going.

How do you see this sequence of events and think "marketing scheme?" Would Casey Waits get this sort of response, or does Metafilter only say "fuck you" to the children of less hip musicians?

Kid wants his dad to quit smoking, and is using every available resource to do so. Good on Speck. I don't care for Mellencamp, but sure, I'll join that group.
posted by Shepherd at 8:08 AM on December 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


Speck (geez)

He's also got a son named Hud. The Mellencamps were a little ahead of the crazy celebrity baby name curve.

I think this is a kind of horrible thing to do: "Sure, kid, IF you can get a million people to sign...", but it probably didn't actually go down quite that way.
posted by padraigin at 8:09 AM on December 2, 2009


Jackie Brown and Jackie O have always been favorites of mine.
posted by Sailormom at 8:24 AM on December 2, 2009


If a million people favorite this comment I'll quit Metafilter.

Trust me, you'll be back.
posted by hermitosis at 8:28 AM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


He dropped "Cougar" completely in 1991.

Furthermore, R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. rocks.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:28 AM on December 2, 2009


What kathrineg says about Speck the cured meat is true.
posted by everichon at 8:32 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought about this a bit... and about John Mellencamp's music.

Keep smokin', Johnny.


I dunno. Scarecrow is a darn good album (even allowing for the awfulness of R.O.C.K., I.M.O.)

1. Rain on the Scarecrow
2. Grandma's Theme (imeem)
3. Small Town
4. Minutes to Memories
5. Lonely Ol' Night
6. The Face of the Nation
7. Justice and Independence '85
8. Between a Laugh and a Tear
9. Rumbleseat
10. You've Got to Stand for Somethin'
11. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.

Also, Uh Huh: Crumblin' Down, Authority Song, and Pink Houses.

... and Ain't Even Done With the Night, I Need a Lover, Hand to Hold On To ... and oh yeah, Jack and Diane.

I'm torn. I hate publicity stunts and Facebook groups, yet I like John Mellencamp. I have to think that he ain't gonna quit smoking no matter ...

He was born on the fourth day of July
So his parents called him Independence Day
He married a girl named Justice who gave
birth to a son called Nation
Then she walked away


and

Be careful of those killing in Jesus' name
He don't believe in killing at all

posted by mrgrimm at 8:33 AM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Of course is reality town what's on offer is that if a million people click the little button is that John Mellencamp will try to quit smoking. And if he fails as people frequently do when they try to quit smoking what's everybody going to do, demand their clicky back? Sue for disappointment damages?
posted by nanojath at 8:35 AM on December 2, 2009


Ok, you convinced me, Shepherd. That was easy ...
posted by mrgrimm at 8:38 AM on December 2, 2009


Furthermore, R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. rocks.

Those rocks are really just styrofoam packaging beads. It truly is an abomination. When he shouts "Hey!" like that....I mean....it's just...must destroy radio.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:38 AM on December 2, 2009


Take the experience of quitting smoking, then add the stress of the potential for letting down a million people in public. How could it fail?
posted by ErikaB at 8:43 AM on December 2, 2009


Little ditty, 'bout hacking up phlegm
Two ashen lungs pumping air
The best that they can
Wanna see my surgery scar?
I can still walk, though neither fast nor far.

Sucking on a Marlboro, exhale through yellow teeth
Oh-two mask hanging 'round my neck
The tank between my knees
Doctor say, hey you should lay off
You're still cancer-free
Clutch my chest and cough
Goddamn COPD

Oh yeah
Breathing's hard
Long after the buzz
From smoking is gone
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:43 AM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


How do you see this sequence of events and think "marketing scheme?" Would Casey Waits get this sort of response, or does Metafilter only say "fuck you" to the children of less hip musicians?

Honestly, I'd rather believe this is a PR stunt. Otherwise, what we've got here is a kid who's terrified of losing a parent, publicly taking responsibility for his parent's drug addiction. So what happens if his group doesn't get 1m members? Will he blame himself if dad has another heart attack? What if it does get 1m members and dad still can't/won't quit? Will he wonder if he should have shot for 2m members instead? If some celebrikid started a "Make my dad stop drinking!" or "Get my mom to quit snorting cocaine!" group, I think most people would be saddened and appalled, and given that cigarettes are supposedly more addictive than either of those drugs, I'm not sure why we should feel differently about this group.

Sorry for the rambly and long, this is kind of a personal subject for me.
posted by homuncula at 8:44 AM on December 2, 2009


If a million people favorite this comment I'll quit Metafilter.

Trust me, you'll be back.


Yeah, too true, probably as something like - edgeways' gypsy jazz opera mock X-
posted by edgeways at 8:50 AM on December 2, 2009


Not joining the group, but don't understand all the John Mellencamp scorn here either. I love the song Key West Intermezzo fervently and without apology — and the video for it is beautiful too.
posted by orange swan at 8:52 AM on December 2, 2009


If some celebrikid started a "Make my dad stop drinking!" or "Get my mom to quit snorting cocaine!" group, I think most people would be saddened and appalled, and given that cigarettes are supposedly more addictive than either of those drugs, I'm not sure why we should feel differently about this group.

Yeah, I think that's what rubs the wrong way, the guilt trip into joining a Facebook group, i.e. "1,000,000 fans or my dad will kill himself".

I mean, what does it say if only 98,653 people join? And X million can't be bothered? I don't see it ending well, but I joined nonetheless.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:56 AM on December 2, 2009


I love the story of Jack and Diane, two American kids livin in the heart disease land.
posted by fullofragerie at 8:56 AM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


All you haters please get away from my rose-colored memory of the mid-eighties.

Jack and Diane, Pink Houses, Authority Song, Paper in Fire... what would Friday Night Videos be without John Cougar?
posted by rokusan at 9:03 AM on December 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


Honestly, I'd rather believe this is a PR stunt.

And I'd rather believe Sarah Palin is a prolonged piece of performance art.

I can see your side regarding this being a bad idea, but that doesn't make it a publicity stunt.

The sequence of events for it to be a publicity stunt:

Mellencamp's label decides he is inadequately famous.
Mellencamp agrees with the label, and they look at possible options to put him in the public eye.
They decide that a public campaign to help him quit smoking is -- among the literally billions of options available -- the single best way to raise his profile, by portraying him as a hapless slave to nicotine that can't quit cigarettes even when his son pleads with him to.
They then approach his son, a child who agrees to a public sham, faking an earnest attempt to help his father quit smoking. In reality, this raw duplicity is only designed to boost Mellencamp's career, whereupon he will continue to smoke and gloat, smoke and gloat.

The sequence of events for it to be sincere:

Speck Mellencamp really wants his dad to quit smoking. He really likes Facebook.
He notices his dad has a lot of fans on Facebook.
He thinks that maybe if he gets a shit-ton of people to sign up to a group to encourage his dad to quit smoking, that might do the trick.



Now, one of these sequences seems more plausible to me than the other. I wholly agree that it might set a bad precedent in some respects, but I applaud the kid for trying.
posted by Shepherd at 9:04 AM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


He thinks that maybe if he gets a shit-ton of people to sign up to a group to encourage his dad to quit smoking, that might do the trick.

I can see John Mellancamp promising his son he'll stop smoking if the group hits the threshold, meanwhile thinking he's pretty safe because not enough people will join.
posted by orange swan at 9:07 AM on December 2, 2009


Y'know, I used to like his music when I was...young. Then, when his "moment" had passed, I went through a long phase where I just lumped him into the "washed up/no real talent" category...but I came to realize that ain't exactly true. This view was cemented after I heard an interview with him on Fresh Air in which he came off as thoughtful, reflective and humble. He made it clear that his music had moved on, even if my perception of his music was still locked in 1988. And while he's not Bob Dylan -- one of his musical idols, BTW -- he does have something to say, and he usually says it pretty well. And he seems sincere. This may be a stunt, but I believe it's his son's, not his; I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. I'm not on FB, but I do hope he quits smoking, for his son's sake if not for mine.

Rock on.
posted by mosk at 9:08 AM on December 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


If I start smoking again will he smoke more? That sounds like a bargain to me.
posted by clarknova at 9:15 AM on December 2, 2009


Make decisions based on Facebook? Oh, but ain't that America.
posted by ALongDecember at 9:18 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Shepherd, the sequence of events I imagined went more like this:

-Mellencamp's label decides he is inadequately famous.
-Mellencamp agrees, and they look at possible options to put him back in the public eye.
-They realize that the last time Mellencamp was in the press, it was for the heart attack caused by his massive addiction to cigarettes.
-They decide to harness the power of social networking and the increase in anti-smoking sentiment in the US in recent years by creating a "Help Mellencamp Quit" Facebook group.
-They approach the kid. Kid figures what the hell, he'll get a couple thousand Facebook friends out of the bargain and maybe the old man really will quit smoking.
-If the campaign gets enough publicity, John Mellencamp announces he has given up nicotine for good, while continuing to duck out Obama-style for furtive smoke breaks.
-Step 7: Profit!
posted by homuncula at 9:19 AM on December 2, 2009


Honestly, I'd rather believe this is a PR stunt.
And I'd rather believe Sarah Palin is a prolonged piece of performance art.


My eyes.... they feel open.
posted by rokusan at 9:24 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If 10,000 people join my facebook page I'll take a shit after lunch, if not, I'll wait till after dinner.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:30 AM on December 2, 2009


Taumeson, I like the "personal army" tag. Nice concept.
posted by tizzie at 9:30 AM on December 2, 2009


If you become my Facebook friend, I'll play Lexulous with you.
posted by box at 9:37 AM on December 2, 2009


If he gets throat cancer will he hire a roadie to blow smoke into his trach tube?
posted by Tube at 9:51 AM on December 2, 2009


Maybe I'll start a Facebook group asking for a million members to give a big Bronx cheer to Mr. Mellencamp for those many lost hours spent having to hear his jingle "Our Country" hawking Chevy Silverados.
posted by blucevalo at 9:52 AM on December 2, 2009


Has anyone considered the possibility that cigarettes are addicted to John Mellencamp? Why doesn't anyone start a facebook group for that?
posted by ob at 9:59 AM on December 2, 2009


They'd only need 500,000 members to quit, I'd wager.
posted by ob at 10:02 AM on December 2, 2009


In 1982, I was working at a record store where we had flats tacked up all over the bathroom. American Fool chanced to be at eye level behind the toilet. When I hear his name, I still reflexively say to myself something that sounds like loof nakereema ragu-ock nodj.

Thanks, Mr Mellencamp, for helping me pee and earn a pay check. I hope you quit smoking and lower your cholesterol. Oh yeah, life goes on.
posted by pracowity at 10:26 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If a million people stop smoking I'll join Facebook.
posted by mazola at 10:41 AM on December 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


FWIW, Speck was Mellencamp's grandfather's name. Not sure about Hud, tho.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:48 AM on December 2, 2009


blucevalo: "Maybe I'll start a Facebook group asking for a million members to give a big Bronx cheer to Mr. Mellencamp for those many lost hours spent having to hear his jingle "Our Country" hawking Chevy Silverados."

My dad compulsively mutes commercials, so I have to blame Mr. Mellencamp for making me watch hours of captions [Rock] ♫ ♫ THIS IS OUR COUNTRY♫ ♫.
posted by kathrineg at 11:00 AM on December 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


-They approach the kid. Kid figures what the hell, he'll get a couple thousand Facebook friends out of the bargain and maybe the old man really will quit smoking.

See, maybe it's just because I'm a wide-eyed naïf fresh off the turnip truck, but I just can't picture that conversation. At all.

"Son, my career hasn't been doing so great, so my record label and I thought we'd harness the power of social networking and the increase in anti-smoking sentiment* and we need you to create a sham Facebook group to encourage people to encourage me to stop smoking."



*I mean, seriously. Nobody ever wakes up in the morning and thinks "Not smoking! Now there's a star I can hitch my wagon to! It's all up from here, baby!"

Off the top of my head: he could record anti-Afghani (or pro-Afghani) war (or protest) songs for a quick boost, become a temporary Birther, champion smoking if he really wants some media attention, punch some Hare Krishnas, take up extreme Frisbee, cut off his nipples for charity, cut off someone else's nipples for charity, have some Hare Krishnas punch him, become a Hare Krishna, appear on Dancing With The Stars, start a series of YouTube videos called "Cookin' with Mellencamp," claim he'd been abducted by aliens, claim he'd abducted an alien, abduct an alien and have it turn out to be a Hare Krishna, write songs exclusively about tea, change his name to Cougar-Cougar Mellencamp, undergo surgery to actually resemble a cougar, go on a diet of nothing but lima beans and Twitter about it every six seconds, create a concept album bemoaning the lost franchises of yesteryear like Orange Julius and Yögen-Früz, record a rap album, become a costumed crimefighter, run for Mayor, paint himself blue. Any or all of these things would give him more visibility -- probably more than a Facebook campaign (which, in terms of markets, skews way, way outside what I imagine the target market for John Mellencamp fans is). I'm expending a lot of effort making an argument for l'il Speck Mellencamp's sincerity, but I want to believe, dammit.
posted by Shepherd at 11:13 AM on December 2, 2009


I wish him luck because quitting smoking sucks. But not as much as having that damn 'Authority' song stuck in my head. Grar.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:21 AM on December 2, 2009


Dude still puts on a pretty good show: caught him this summer in, of all places, Stockton, CA on a mixed geezer bill including Dylan and Willie Nelson. Having seen some mind-blowing geezery shows makes me wish I'd been able to catch a few of them back when they were younger and full of even -more- piss and vinegar. None of that set is ever going to recapture the popularity they once had but damn, man -- they're still creating some OK music both live and in the studio. Hope I have so much creative juice in my late 50s and beyond...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:45 AM on December 2, 2009


Went to see a really cool exhibit* in a museum in San Diego earlier this year; one thing that was shown in high detail was lungs of smokers vs non-smokers, a LOT of information and actual in-your-face tissue of smokers, the illnesses which you will get and the illnesses you stand a very good chance of getting, should you continue smoking. My nephew -- a great guy, who has set down drinking and drugging and changed his lifestyle in so many positive ways -- just after this piece of the exhibition, he excused himself and went outside the museum to smoke a cigarette or two.

I can't even begin to understand this.

Except that I sortof do understand it. Long years ago I read somewhere (some character in some novel I believe) a saying that's hung with me over the decades: "We all go to hell our own way." I guess it stuck with me because I know smokers who are workout fanatics, non-smokers who are killing themselves with their diets, non-smoking, thin and fanatical diet people who are out there practicing totally unsafe sex, on and on.

There's a lot to a life lived well, beyond a doubt, but even if all a person does is strip themselves of whatever way(s) they go to hell, that's a lot, it's one hell of a lot.

Good luck, Speck and John Melloncamp, and to anyone reading these words struggling with their fork or their fuck or their cigarettes or whatever else -- I wish you peace, and ease, even if only momentarily.

*Bodies: The Exhibition--which features actual human specimens--allows people of all ages access to sights and knowledge normally reserved only for medical professionals. Take the opportunity to peer inside yourself, to better understand how your elaborate and fascinating body works, and how you can become a more informed participant in your own health care.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:50 AM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just want to point out that in German, 'speck' means 'bacon.'
posted by grounded at 12:12 PM on December 2, 2009


"We all go to hell our own way."

I think of it more along the lines of a "pick your poison" kind of thing. None of us live a perfectly healthy and functional life. Some people drink too much, some people eat too much, some people have unsafe sex, some people gamble too much, some people beat their kids, some people cheat on their spouses, some people have toxic hearts and minds (e.g. racists, homophobes, etc.).

Me? I smoke. I've tried to quit numerous times. The last few times I tried to quit with the help of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. I've have had varying levels of "success," but always temporarily. I am well and truly addicted to cigarettes, physiologically and psychologically, and they work for me. I smoke about a half-pack per day and it literally keeps me sane. I do my best to not inconvenience others with my habit (i.e. I don't light up around non-smokers, I go onto my laundry porch to smoke at home, I don't smoke in the car, etc.).

The truth is, smoking has been a lifesaver for me, and I'm not going to feel guilty about that.

But anyway, getting back on topic, I like John Mellencamp a lot (whether he smokes or not). I wish him, and his family, well.
posted by amyms at 12:18 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wish everyone would stop smoking, and if one click from me could possibly get one person to stop smoking, why wouldn't I click? I don't care if it's Mellencamp or some dude on the street.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:36 PM on December 2, 2009


The truth is, smoking has been a lifesaver for me, and I'm not going to feel guilty about that.

Smoking is a lifesaver for you because makes you feel better when you have withdrawals from not smoking. Smoking created a condition for you that only smoking can cure.

In the very same way, heroin is a lifesaver for many people because it is the only thing that really can address their withdrawal from heroin.
posted by flarbuse at 12:41 PM on December 2, 2009


Actually, smoking can be helpful for various psychological problems (of course the side effects are nasty so no doctor is going to be prescribing them any time soon).
posted by kathrineg at 12:51 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Smoking is a lifesaver for you because makes you feel better when you have withdrawals from not smoking. Smoking created a condition for you that only smoking can cure.

Not quite. I know it's convenient to think so, but that's too simplistic of an explanation. For me, smoking is an effective form of self-medication for anxiety and depression. It may not work that way for others, I don't know.

Smoking works for me the same way that prescription medication works for others. If someone is taking Xanax or Prozac or what-have-you, would you say that those medications "created a condition" that only they can cure? I have tried anti-anxiety meds and anti-depression meds, and they don't work for me consistently or reliably. Smoking does.

I know my viewpoint isn't a popular one, and I'm not interested in an argument, but I wanted to address flarbuse's point above, at least as it pertains to me personally.

Smoking may indeed be the thing that kills me someday. But I know that I'll have lived a saner and more functional life as a smoker than I would have if I had continued the physical and emotional roller coaster of trying to find effective substitutes.

As I said, I'm done feeling guilty about it.
posted by amyms at 1:09 PM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just quit.

I understand sometimes you need encouragement. But, the best way to quit smoking is if you have many reasons, not just one. 1,000,000 facebook friends shouldn't be the only reason.

I quit cold turkey about four years ago after smoking 1-2 packs a day for nearly 20 years, though I realize not everyone can. I had many reasons, and all those reasons were more important than any cravings I had. That's what keeps you from going back.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:22 PM on December 2, 2009


Not quite. I know it's convenient to think so, but that's too simplistic of an explanation. For me, smoking is an effective form of self-medication for anxiety and depression. It may not work that way for others, I don't know.

It used to work that way for me. I found that quitting smoking brought the anxiety up, and gradually it got better, but it didn't go away. Turns out I had ADD. Adderall works better for me than cigarettes. But I had to address my underlying issue. I'll always crave a cigarette due to the many years of reinforcement, but I know now I really don't need it anymore, though if I hadn't been diagnosed and treated for ADD, not sure if I'd get to this point.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:25 PM on December 2, 2009


In the very same way, heroin is a lifesaver for many people because it is the only thing that really can address their withdrawal from heroin.

It's not at all the same thing. Sorry, but you're wrong. Not only that, but quite a lot of addiction is just self-medicating other issues, so even a junkie probably has other problems besides addiction, and those issues must be addressed, or kicking becomes nearly impossible.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:27 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, Adderall. Is there any stimulant Adderall can't replace? I went from 9 cups of coffee a day (approx) to 0 cups of coffee a day in about a week. Not as hard as getting off nicotine, of course.

amyms, glad you found something that works for you. Hope the prices stay affordable for you (something else in common with prescription drugs!)
posted by kathrineg at 1:37 PM on December 2, 2009


Smoking improves processing of auditory stimuli (sensory gating) by patients with schizophrenia and may lessen negative symptoms by increasing dopamine in the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal and frontal cortex.

From here

Nicotine has been seen to have some benefits for Tourette's

Smoking is undoubtably bad for your health. But it's a serious subject for research so there's no need to dismiss people who say it helps them cope.
posted by kathrineg at 1:46 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, Adderall. Is there any stimulant Adderall can't replace? I went from 9 cups of coffee a day (approx) to 0 cups of coffee a day in about a week. Not as hard as getting off nicotine, of course.

Well, I was using caffeine for a while as a substitute, but it didn't work very well. Nicotine didn't really work beyond dealing with some anxiety, but not all, and it didn't help at all with focus. However, caffeine and sugar did work pretty well for a while, but that's really not good for you, and wasn't working with my body after I hit 30. Adderall really does all the things I was trying to do with that other stuff, and it does it much better. Thankfully, I quit smoking long before I dealt with all this other stuff.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:59 PM on December 2, 2009


Ah, hmm, I think that might have come out wrong. I take Adderall instead of caffeine and am happier for it.
posted by kathrineg at 2:16 PM on December 2, 2009


My grandparents smoked this much and it is 5 cigarettes an hour if he's up for 16 hours. Each day. That's insane.

How did they get any work done at all? I guess I can see how Mellencamp did; musicians can smoke while recording and performing, but if you have a regular job? Do you take smoke breaks every hour? Is that even allowed? I'm just curious about how heavy smokers structure their day. Do they think it's a drag on productivity?

As to the FB group, my initial reaction was that it seemed really silly. If Mellencamp wants to quit he should just quit. But after reading more about how his son started it, well, I still think it's a bit silly, but if makes a 14 year old boy feel like he's helping his dad, then that seems valid to me. Could the accountability of his son and 1,000,000 Facebook fans watching motivate him to stop for a while? I won't be joining the group.
posted by bluefly at 4:04 PM on December 2, 2009


If I recall, Pee Wee Herman's dog was also named Speck. Now I'm wondering if John Mellencamp named his son after Pee Wee Herman's dog.

I also wonder what John Mellencamp thinks about cougars. Especially these. Yikes.

Fortunately it's almost happy hour so these trifles will fade from my mind in about a minute. Mmmm. Blueberry martinis.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:15 PM on December 2, 2009


FWIW, Speck was Mellencamp's grandfather's name. Not sure about Hud, tho.
posted by wemayfreeze at 6:48 PM on December 2


From the eponymous character Paul Newman played in the movie.
posted by pinkbuttonanus at 4:41 PM on December 2, 2009


Well I clicked, it's certainly no sillier a thing to do than the other junk I get sucked into on Facebook. Already over 85,000 members, here's an update from Speck:

I wanted to thank everyone for joining my group. Your support has been overwhelming. I think the coolest part of all of this is that a lot of you have committed to quitting smoking if my dad will. It’s no longer only about my dad, but it has become something bigger. Today at lunch my dad promised that if the group gets... to 100,000 he will start cutting back. Thanks again for all of your support. I enjoy reading your stories. -speck
posted by saffry at 4:59 PM on December 2, 2009


Today at lunch my dad promised that if the group gets... to 100,000 he will start cutting back.

Man, there's just something really creepy about all this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:23 PM on December 2, 2009


There's no way he's going to be successful at quitting just because a million people joined a stupid group. If he really wanted to quit, he would have done it already.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:23 PM on December 2, 2009


If 10 people favorite this comment I'll smoke a joint and quit facebook.
posted by tehloki at 6:39 PM on December 2, 2009 [11 favorites]


I've always remembered an interview where JCM said that he smoked in the shower. Not once, but frequently. He's a smoker.
posted by armacy at 7:20 PM on December 2, 2009


If 14,000 people friend me, I will go find John Cougar whatever and MAKE HIM stop smoking. This will free up quite a few people to waste their time elsewhere.
posted by jcworth at 9:07 PM on December 2, 2009


Man, there's just something really creepy about all this.

If enough people friend him, videodrome will order John Cougar Mellancamp to kill his way back to the top of the music industry, and then smoke a dutchmaster with tehloki. Don't hold back now!
posted by kid ichorous at 9:13 PM on December 2, 2009


He should just quit. And I should just lose thirty pounds. And we should all floss daily. And Al Gore should have won that election. Really, I don't know where this expectation of rational behavior comes from.
posted by mecran01 at 9:24 PM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


I will quit with John.

I joined, but I am hoping that 1000000 users do not join the original group. I love being a member of the lowest common denominator, thanks.
posted by crataegus at 9:45 PM on December 2, 2009


damnit why did you do that now how will i keep in touch with the people who treated me like crap in high school
posted by tehloki at 4:42 PM on December 3, 2009


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