At first, I shuddered to read what David Brooks would say about pot. Could it be as hilarious as hoped for? Could it be utterly devoid of original, NON-cliché, non-doctrinaire thought? Could he live up to the minimal sheer promise of such douchiness?
Weed: Been There. Done That
David Brooks / New York Times
For a little while in my teenage years, my friends and I smoked marijuana. It was fun. I have some fond memories of us all being silly together. I think those moments of uninhibited frolic deepened our friendships.
Ah, right. Deep admission. Stunning revelation.
Thus far, it reads EXACTLY like an essay written to a court officer to get consideration for a lighter cocaine possession probation. (The literacy gives away the upper-middle/professional class; and, as we all know, when caught with drugs, THOSE folks only get probation, unless they’re trying to sell kilos of cocaine to the FBI to finance one’s automobile company and are caught dead-to-rights on videotape doing it. Oh. Wait.) And, as with ALL such letters …
You KNOW that this MUST be followed by the inevitable “BUT” right? Right:
— But then we all sort of moved away from it.
But, of course, these are the core questions: Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature*, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.
In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.
Paul Krugman is off today.
“Nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be” ?!??
[* I’m not sure, but this might be a product placement ad for Architectural Digest.]
Are you SURE you quit smoking weed, Davey boy? Because THAT is the sort of argument that one makes when more than one toke over the line.
As I said yesterday, when you know where they’re coming from, you already know what they’re going to say. They could say something else, something creative, something shocking, something contrarian, or, in Brooks’ case, even something INTELLIGENT, but, as I said, doctors don’t dress like plumbers and plumbers don’t dress like doctors.
David Brooks is a scold. A holier-than-thou ass, who has taken the old former slut mom tack: “I did these awful things, and I was unfulfilled until I met your father, gave up the heroin and the gang bangs and let me tell you, this POT stuff may SEEM like fun, but it only leaves a track of wreckage and ruin in its wake.”
To which we all silently reply: You would have been a slut and a mess WITHOUT the trimmings, and you don’t know NUTHIN about me. When I grow up I’m NEVER GOING TO TREAT MY KIDS LIKE YOU TREAT US! etc.
(Model is Professional Yogi. Don’t try this at home.)
There is no patronizing WORSE than precluding the child from the sins of the parents, and nothing more futile. The lesson that no mother ever learns is that, try as one might, you can NEVER stop your kid from falling down, from sticking its hand on the stove, or sticking a finger in a live light socket. That kind of knowledge CAN’T be passed on. Each human must learn for themself.
As near as I can tell, we only have ONE data point: Brooksie smoked pot, didn’t get it, ends up as a columnist for the New York Times.
Well, roll me a doobie, then. If smoking pot (and then giving it up) gets one to the editorial pages of the Times, it can’t be all bad, unless you’re a Conservative, who, SECRET SECRET, smoke pot too.* In which case, it IS all bad, probably.
Thanks to Jesus and Ayn Rand
[* Else how do you explain the House Republicans’ decision to let Paul Ryan PERSONALLY write budgets, an act of autocracy that has never before occurred in the Congress, no, not even to Carpenters Hall. Budget compromise is the quintessential act of American representative democracy. To mindlessly engage in such an act could not happen without the enforced short-term memory loss of pot smoking — and term limits. Institutional memory has vanished from Congress, and it is obvious that our legislators have been not merely DRINKING like fish, but toking and puffing in the Little Engine That Couldn’t*. ]
(* and isn’t it about time for another Congressional Sex Scandal? Like a Big West Coast Earthquake, it’s overdue.)
This is, alas, the ultimate fallacy of the scold: MY experience is ALL experience, and, therefore, MY conclusion is the ONLY conclusion.
This didn’t work with any parent that ever lived, and it doesn’t work for the scold, Brooks.
But then we all sort of moved away from it. I don’t remember any big group decision that we should give up weed. It just sort of petered out, and, before long, we were scarcely using it.
We didn’t give it up for the obvious health reasons: that it is addictive in about one in six teenagers; that smoking and driving is a good way to get yourself killed; that young people who smoke go on to suffer I.Q. loss and perform worse on other cognitive tests.
I think we gave it up, first, because we each had had a few embarrassing incidents. Stoned people do stupid things (that’s basically the point). I smoked one day during lunch and then had to give a presentation in English class. I stumbled through it, incapable of putting together simple phrases, feeling like a total loser. It is still one of those embarrassing memories that pop up unbidden at 4 in the morning.*
[* Oh, the pot didn’t make you stupid. You made yourself stupid just as much as if you’d drained a flask of hootch. White lightnin’. Liquor. Was it the pot that made you stupid, or was it that you stupidly decided to smoke pot before a public speaking gig? Duh.]
We gave it up, second, I think, because one member of our clique became a full-on stoner. He may have been the smartest of us, but something sad happened to him as he sunk deeper into pothead life.
Third, most of us developed higher pleasures. Smoking was fun, for a bit, but it was kind of repetitive. Most of us figured out early on that smoking weed doesn’t really make you funnier or more creative (academic studies more or less confirm this). We graduated to more satisfying pleasures. The deeper sources of happiness usually involve a state of going somewhere, becoming better at something, learning more about something, overcoming difficulty and experiencing a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
One close friend devoted himself to track. Others fell deeply in love and got thrills from the enlargements of the heart. A few developed passions for science or literature.
Thank goodness my bong is finally working!
Right, because NOBODY ever accomplished anything on pot, and nobody ever read a book on pot, and nobody ever had magnificent 10 hour sex on pot. Why, the devil weed makes you INCAPABLE of love.
Do I really need to go into just how specious this Sunday School tract is? I wonder, BTW, if Brooksie has any problem knocking down a couple of Manhattans at his favorite club, whilst jawing with his compatriots about the devil weed, Mary Jane?
Because, otherwise, he’s just a hypocrite, attacking a form of intoxication he no longer appreciates. Alcohol is, in many ways, far worse, and if you’re going to make this kind of stupid argument, then INCLUDE the friend of yours who, instead of becoming a pothead (I have a feeling his buddy might have gone on to darker pursuits than weed), became a full-blown alcoholic.
A specific jape that them edumacated types — nature
and the arts — will instantly understand from the title.
Then justify why pot can’t be legalized but alcohol can, OR make a blanket prohibition and take a position that very few will agree with or tolerate.
Where is your great Moral Stance THEN, Mister Brooks? Is there any recycling in your Moral Ecology, or is it just compost heating up?
Lips that touch
liquor marijuhuannana shall never touch mine!
And, what ever happened to the old “personal responsibility” Republicans?
Is the mere availability of legal marijuana SO DANGEROUS that it will change anything, other than some insipid mystical argument that our laws must encourage “moral” behavior, but since you grew out of p0t and a friend became a stoner, SOCIETY should not allow this Evil Measure?
Seriously, I’d like to refute this idiocy, but it pretty much takes care of that on its own. Only Sunday School teachers and former slut moms will find it convincing, but they aren’t actually participants in the question at hand. No longer capable of masturbation, they substitute Moral Indignation for orgasms and slither darkly to Gehenna and Oblivion.
I’d like to make some HILARIOUS jokes, but Brooks has, in fact, beaten me to the punch (line):
One close friend devoted himself to track.
For the cold showers, no doubt. You know: GET HIGH ON LIFE! (Not mentioning that he merely became addicted to his own endorphins, naturally occurring heroin that comes, ofttimes with the added perquisite of being able to be a Food and Exercise Nazi to all y0ur inferior friends. Give me the stoner, please.)
It’s only this big. That’s why I’m so mean.
Finally, I think we had a vague sense that smoking weed was not exactly something you were proud of yourself for. It’s not something people admire. We were in the stage, which I guess all of us are still in, of trying to become more integrated, coherent and responsible people. This process usually involves using the powers of reason, temperance and self-control — not qualities one associates with being high.
I think we had a sense, which all people have, or should have, that the actions you take change you inside, making you a little more or a little less coherent. Not smoking, or only smoking sporadically, gave you a better shot at becoming a little more integrated and interesting. Smoking all the time seemed likely to cumulatively fragment a person’s deep center, or at least not do much to enhance it.
Created by NON pot smokers? Seriously? No way!
Because that’s clearly what happens: if you smoke pot, you inevitably smoke all the time. If you smoke all the time, you then become my argument against your smoking at all, and, by implication, ANY smoking of the Noxious Weed, the Devil’s Marlboro, the Wanna that makes one Merry, well, it’s “not exactly something you were proud of yourself for. It’s not something people admire.”
Rocky Mountain High
Er, WHICH people, Brooksie? Fascist Republicans who declare that poor people not only shouldn’t get health care, but actively deny Medicaid to make CERTAIN that they don’t? THOSE people?
WHO THE HELL wants their approbation other than your dumbass self, Brooksie?
I know I sure don’t.
It’s only this big. That’s why I’m so mean.
And, if sm0king pot is the surest way of pissing off and disgusting the Mitt Romneys, the Eric Cantors, the Mitch McConnells; the George Wills (see yesterday’s column and tell me Will doesn’t have a bong the size of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan in his living room to come up with hallucinatory oddments like THAT!), the Paul Ryans, the Rand Pauls, the Ted Cruzes and all the other flaccid, idealess scolds and haters that make up the current GOP, well, if that’s the way to do it, I will make the sacrifice, if needs be.
Because, in any Moral Universe I’m on the other side from those selfish, vicious thugs.
This was merely the obligatory scolding from someone who had pursued an anti-human, anti-compassionate, and anti-sensical agenda unremittingly prior to this. Which is why there is no reason to believe that Mr. Brooks’ allegedly NON-drugged ravings of the day are any more sensical than his prior political delirium tremens.
More votes, Mr. Cantor? Excellent!
When you already know what someone is going to say before they say a thing, it is not the hallmark of free will, rational thought or original cognition. It is the response of the robot, which is what GOPs resemble more than anything else these days: in utter contradiction of their tenets by actual facts on the ground, they mindlessly repeat their failed programming: Eric Cantor announced yesterday that, despite 40 previous votes to “repeal Obamacare” that have made the House GOP the laughingstock of the nation and the world, they are going to have MORE votes to repeal Obamacare.
And he DOESN’T smoke pot? Maybe he OUGHT to.
So, since there’s no point in refuting, and no point in japing, the only thing to do here is bid a fond farewell, and leave you with a song.
David Brooks is a gold plated, 24 karat boob.
And not the kind that are fun to play with, either.
Boobies? This is what I do with boobies!