Chris Uggen's Blog: hookah pipes

Thursday, September 08, 2005

hookah pipes

Hookah pipes have clearly hit minneapolis, as described by Erin Adler in today's student-run Minnesota Daily and last week's Rake. According to the story, University senior Rudy Nautiyal organizes Saturday night hookah-smoking on the patio of a popular club. “We wanted to mix the traditional aspect with a nightclub environment,” he said in the article. “The main group (of hookah smokers) here is part of a cosmopolitan, jet-set crowd.” Given the indignities of air travel these days, I'm surprised 22-year-olds still use "jet-set" so approvingly.

But why are the jet-setters going for hookahs in 2005? It seems a fascinating appropriation of middle-eastern culture. Is the popularity a product of the increasingly stigmatized status of cigarette smokers? Is it a more social way to smoke? Is it a soft form of deviance that offers entre into the rituals, pleasures, and paraphernalia of the drug culture? Or are they smoking something other than tobacco in said hookahs? It is tough to predict the half-life on a trend like this -- its hipness likely depends in part on its status as an exotic or esoteric taste. I'm not a smoker, but I have to admit that sidling up to a four-headed hookah pipe with my close buds does seem kind of cool. Maybe I'll bring one in for a grad seminar...

8 Comments:

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous sarah said...

Wow, I had no idea. I've only seen a hookah in action once, and that was at an Ethiopian restaurant in Hong Kong. Go figure. It looked pretty cool.

 
At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Minor Threat said...

Chris, as a former Madisonian, it will interest you to know that the coolest bar off State Street in Madison, the Casbah, is well-known for its hookahs and innumerable flavors for its tobacco. As a newly ex-smoker, I of course disapprove but it IS in fact a more social and deviance-lite way to smoke. And, you'd be surprised at how good tobacco steeped in apple juice can taste... Probably not suitable for the marathon runner however.

 
At 11:12 PM, Anonymous chris said...

sarah: i guess we're just not hitting the right clubs these days...

threat: casbah, eh? i'll have to take your word for it on the apple tobacky. hookah smoking *looks* cool to me, but my virgin lungs probably couldn't handle it.

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger American Lung Association of Minnesota said...

See the American Lung Association of Minnesota's take on this trend here:

http://www.alamn.org/media/2005/09/hookahs-and-palookas.html

 
At 1:32 PM, Blogger Rob said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:35 PM, Blogger Rob said...

I went to a Mediterranean restaurant in Phoenix, AZ to watch a band and belly dancers perform. I shared a hookah with my date. Several tables of larger groups also had hookahs. It was very relaxing, yet stimulating. It was a great experience and now I'd like to gather with some friends for a night of hookah.

 
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