having a ball with the watchmen?
August 29, 2008 1:43 PM   Subscribe

What are they smoking in the Watchmen?

OK, so the presence of costumed heroes (particularly Dr. Manhattan) changes the course of history; electric cars, blimps, etc. But what in the heck is the Silk Spectre (and others) supposedly smoking in those glass ball pipes? Is it tobacco, opium, what?
posted by leotrotsky to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd always considered it to be tobacco, but I can't confirm that without checking the text. Plus, having heard various 'rumors' about Alan Moore's own smoking habits, and the cultural context of what is smoked in the UK, I'd say, still, tobacco. Perhaps some of the minor characters are mixing in hash, spliff-style.

I've always wanted to use one of those pipes.
posted by Minus215Cee at 1:59 PM on August 29, 2008

Probably tobacco. I don't think it's ever actually specified, but a quick search through the Annotated Watchmen indicates that it's readily available, publicly advertised, comes in packs, and can give you cancer. (Cigarettes do exist in the Watchmen universe, but only hand-rolled ones.)

The Ozymandias motif shows up on one of the ashtrays, so the pipes could be a Veidt Industries product.
posted by zamboni at 2:09 PM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

I think it's another nod to showing that we're in an alternative universe - rather than just smoking normal cigarettes, there's a trend towards these odd looking pipe affairs.

It's never implied that it's anything other than tobacco. Occam's razor and all that.

On a side note: for the love of all that's holy - can we stop referring to it as "the" Watchmen. It's simply "Watchmen" (and there is no group in the comic called "The Watchmen").
posted by panboi at 2:52 PM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Panbol: Would you prefer "Who watches Watchmen?"
posted by leotrotsky at 3:04 PM on August 29, 2008

Panbol: Would you prefer "Who watches Watchmen?"

You're conflating the graffitti in the book with the book's title. "Watchmen" is a theme that goes through the book at many levels - but doesn't refer to a specific group of people. The people charged with promoting the forthcoming film have made the same error, so no worries.
posted by panboi at 3:54 PM on August 29, 2008 [3 favorites]

On page 4 of chapter 3, Laurie says "I gotta go find a cigarette," (emphasis original) and since she's the one you see most often smoking the weird crackpipe dealys, I'd have to say that the morphology of cigarettes has just changed in the alternate universe of Watchmen. It would seem odd to just invent a whole new slang for that one quote where "cigarette" referred to a non-tobacco product.
posted by LionIndex at 8:09 PM on August 29, 2008

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