Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Truth About Drugs

I, like many other people, remember that throughout elementary school, my teachers would say that, "drugs are bad". Guest speakers would come into school and tell me and my classmates that "only bad kids do drugs". They would tell us that doing drugs would ruin our lives and drug-users undoubtedly end up dead or in jail. Well, my teachers and these guest speakers were full of feces. The War on Drugs is dumber than Ayiia from the Real World.

Many of my friends have done drugs; some have done a whole lotta drugs, including marijuana, mushrooms, ecstasy, speed, LSD, cocaine, and probably a few others (I don't think any of my friends have done crystal meth or crack. I guess I hang with the high-class drug users). Most of my drug-using friends are successful college graduates. None are in jail. I am aware that some people become addicted to drugs. I am aware that people die from drug abuse. I am also aware that most recreational drug users never die, end up in jail, or become addicted.

We shouldn't outlaw drug use because some people can't handle their shit. We don't outlaw alcohol just because there are alcoholics. People argue that there would be many more drug-related deaths if we legalized drug use. First off, I don't think most people refrain from using illicit drugs because doing drugs is against the law. I don't think many people say, "I really want to do heroin, but I'm not going to because that shit's illegal." Secondly, I would accept a few more drug-related deaths if I could buy weed from 7-11. That may sound insensitive, but keep in mind that there would be far fewer car-related deaths if we outlawed driving. Freedom has a price that I'm willing to pay. Call me Uncle Sam.

The anti-drug campaign is so utterly dishonest, patronizing, and ridiculous that it makes you laugh, until you realize that our government spends millions of dollars to produce commercials that infer that smoking marijuana can cause you to run over a little girl riding her bike. The government tells our youth that if you try drugs, you will end up being a 40 year-old man who has poor hygiene, no education, and lives in his parents' basement. Or, you will be supporting terrorists. Or, you will accidentally shoot your friend. Perhaps we should shoot the people who make these commercials.

People want to neglect the fact that using illegal drugs can have positive effects. Marijuana can alleviate nausea or make generally unhappy people just a bit happier. Artists, musicians, comedians, etc. claim to have drawn inspiration from the effects of illegal, mind-altering substances. Sure, many of our favorite entertainers have died prematurely due to drug abuse, but if they had never tried drugs, would they have been able to create art of the same caliber? Here's a list of people who have owned up to past drug use: George Clooney, Barack Obama, Ben Stein, John Edwards, George W. Bush, and recently, LeBron James. None are living in their parents' basements and none have shot their friends (I don't know if Dick Cheney has admitted to trying drugs).

Typically, drugs only pose a serious problem when they are used in excess. However, doing anything excessively is generally bad. Too much fast food, shopping, gambling, or masturbation can have severe negative consequences. Actually, excessive masturbation is not that bad, but personal research has shown that masturbating more than four times a day is probably unhealthy.

So, let's stop the madness of our War on Drugs. Future generations are going to mock us and laugh at our uptight, nonsensical views on drugs and our draconian drug laws. We will be viewed as we view Puritans who spoke out against dancing, as we view current Christian wackos who believe they can "convert" homosexuals (these "converters" are always closeted gays). I don't think that we should all use illicit drugs, but I believe that we should have the right to do so. Just like we have the right to do other dangerous things like marrying a crazy woman, jumping out of an airplane, and wearing an "I LOVE GEORGE W. BUSH" t-shirt in San Francisco. Now, I'm gonna stop my preaching and do something productive. Later.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Celebrity Soapbox

For the past few years, celebrities seem to have become more vocal in their activism. They preach, protest, and tell the rest of us how we should behave. Leo wants us to stop global warming, Bono wants us to give more money to people in Africa, Sarah McLachlan wants us to stop beating animals and Angelina Jolie wants to kidnap a kid from every continent. Sure, there has always been activism in Hollywood, but in years past, celebrities seemed to have been more focused on solely being entertainers.

So, what has caused this dramatic change? Why do superficial, generally uneducated (at least formally) people think they can enlighten the rest of us on injustices and how to correct them. I'm not knocking Bono, Leo, Angelina, or any of the other Hollywood do-gooders. However, I wonder what they feel entitles them to be our teachers. It seems that for every cause, there is a celebrity spokesman. Michael J. Fox teaches us about Parkinson's, Jennie McCarthy teaches us about autism (and has spread harmful myths), George Clooney teaches us about genocide in Darfur, and the Jonas Brothers teach us how to stay in the closet by wearing purity rings. Why do we turn to Michael J. Fox for information about Parkinson's instead of a doctor? Well, the answer is sadly obvious. The general public would rather listen to Michael J. Fox than any doctor. I know I would. Marty McFly is the shit.

Celebrities have so much power because we give it to them. We view them as super-humans who are closer to gods than they are to mere mortals. In reality, celebrities are just people who have capitalized on their connections, looks, good fortune, and talent (in some cases). But, in the era of E!, Us Weekly, TMZ, and Perez Hilton, the lives of celebrities have become more important than our own. People devote countless hours to watching "stars" dance. Young girls aspire to be the next Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. Young boys aspire to be the next Reggie Bush so they can bang the next Kim Kardashian. Many people spend more time talking about who Lindsay Lohan is dating, how much weight Kirstie Alley has gained, and what they would do to Miley Cyrus if she were 18 than they do cultivating personal relationships.

When Britney Spears had her first baby, the birth of Sean Preston Federline was the lead story on virtually every news program and major news website. In a time when the United States was fighting two wars, no single story in the world was deemed more important/interesting than a baby head popping out of Britney's hoo-ha. You can't blame Britney if she thinks her shit don't stink when so many people would pay money to smell her shit.

The people I do find most puzzling are those who form their beliefs based on celebrity opinions. It's hard to understand the guy who voted for McCain because Chuck Norris thought that was the right thing to do. If you voted for Obama because Ben Affleck and P.Diddy told you to, then you should be put to sleep because you're already brain-dead. However, I have to admit that when I heard Aubry from Danity Kane strongly urging people to vote for Obama, I had a strong desire to vote for a different candidate.

I don't think we can expect celebrities to stop their preaching, activism, and holier-than-thou routines any time soon. Believe it or not, many celebrities are self-absorbed and long to be in the spotlight (insert sarcasm). The only way we can stop this madness
is by not caring so much about what celebrities think or do. In the near future, that seems impossible. Thankfully, we have people like Trey Parker and Matt Stone to make fun of these sanctimonious, self-righteous celebrities. In the words of Justin Berkman, "if you can't beat 'em, talk lots of shit."