The latest to have been caught lying his arse off is Mike Daube over the ban on the opera Carmen, reported on recently by Snowdon. You may remember Daube being the one who thinks passive smoke is more dangerous than exhaust fumes in a drive-in queue; who thinks Cadbury's are evil for sponsoring the Olympics; and who believes e-cigs are a tobacco industry conspiracy.
To cut a long story short, a state government body, Healthway - of which Mike Daube is a board member - forced the West Australian Opera to ditch a production of the 1875 composition because it is set in a cigarette factory. This prompted global hilarity at Aussie state censorship, but had Western Australia's Premier spitting blood about the embarrassment and the Australian Prime Minister chipping in with condemnation too.
Daube then promptly apologised for his organisation's huge error of judgement ...
... no, of course he didn't. The oleaginous creep instead tried to save face by swearing it wasn't Healthway's fault and blaming the opera company!
He told Radio 6PR that if WA Opera had no alternative, Healthway would not have had a problem with Carmen, providing smoking elements were excluded from any potential performance at schools.
"If we're talking about censorship, this wasn't censorship because it was WA Opera's decision."This, as it turns out, was a lie from the top drawer; a real tobacco control industry humdinger! You see, not only did Healthway leave the WA Opera no option whatsoever, but it was none other than Mike Daube himself who was the prime factor in ensuring the ban on Carmen went ahead.
Leaked minutes of Healthway's April meeting show its arts advisory committee put forward three options to handle problems caused by a longstanding ban on funding performances that contained depictions of smoking.
The minutes are directly at odds with versions of the funding row given by both Healthway and the WA Opera.
But the minutes show the bid to water down the policy was vigorously opposed by anti-smoking campaigner Mike Daube.
"Professor Daube stated there was no pressure for Healthway to change its current position," the minutes say.
"He stated that while some art productions may warrant a smoking component, organisations would need to understand that for the season where smoking appears as part of an arts performance, they would be ineligible for Healthway sponsorship."
"The board provided strong support to maintain Healthway's current position of not sponsoring arts organisations that allow smoking on stage."So, erm, it was WA Opera's decision only in the sense that they could perform another opera with money, or Carmen without any money.
What's more, it turns out that this isn't the first time it's happened.
WHEN the Blue Room Theatre in Perth staged an acclaimed play about addiction several years ago, lurking in the opening night audience was a bureaucrat who demanded one scene be axed from future performances.
The man watching the first local production of British playwright Martin Crimp’s The Country was employed by the West Australian government’s health body Healthway, one of the theatre’s main sponsors.
“He came to us afterwards to tell us we had to remove one scene that featured smoking,” recalled Blue Room former executive director Jansis O’Hanlon.
“We weren't allowed to have smoking or language about smoking, and we weren't allowed to show any smoking paraphernalia ... The play was about addiction and there was also a scene with (heroin) needles, but they had no problem with us showing that.”
Beggars belief, doesn't it?
Ms O’Hanlon said the theatre withdrew from the sponsorship deal rather than compromise its artistic integrity. “It was a big gulp for us to say no,” she said, recalling that Healthway also had demanded to approve all scripts."
This, it seems, is what Daube and the tobacco control industry call 'choice'. It's their way or the highway, with censorship front and centre as a reason for their sponsorship. And if you get caught ... lie. Erich Honecker would be so proud.
As we are on an arts theme, perhaps paraphrasing a Shakespeare meme is in order. Mendacity, thy name is tobacco control.
H/T The ATA