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Jan 03 2014

Please arrest David Brooks

He confesses to criminal behavior. He smoked marijuana in high school, although he later stopped.

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.

I’ve read his essays in the New York Times, and given that response to smoking weed, I suspect he’s still lighting up a couple of times a day.

But here’s the weird disconnect in this particular story: He and his buddies smoked weed back in the day. It was fun. They went at it for a while, and then It just sort of petered out, and, before long, we were scarcely using it. I’ve never done the stuff myself — I have kind of a phobia about smoking anything, from growing up in a house with chain-smoking parents — but that’s what I saw in all my friends, too. There might have been a brief stoner phase, but then they gave it up, or maybe would just have an occasional joint at a party, but it was not a serious problem. I knew more people lost to alcoholism than to marijuana.

Yet the point of Brooks’ column is that Colorado and Washington have made a major mistake in legalizing marijuana! Apparently he was a wise and sensible human being who could try a drug a few times without harm, but all those kids in those Western states? Not to be trusted. And how dare the government abstain from scolding activities that he once enjoyed!

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.

Right. Subtly discouraging lesser pleasures involves throwing young people in jail.

It’s bizarre. Brooks really is a prim little snob; what he got away with should not be allowed for Youth of Today, and he’s got this weird thing going where he wants less government except that the government should be using threats and the police to make damn sure the kids like the arts rather than partying. So…does he also favor shutting down all state-run liquor stores? It would be the only consistent position to take, after all.

But it doesn’t matter. Brooks needs to be jailed, just to encourage a nurturing moral ecology for the rest of us and to get him off the pages of the NYT. If they can’t get him on drug charges, how about arresting him for wanton cruelty to logic and reason?

100 comments

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  1. 1
    logicpriest

    Well Brooks is white and economically privileged, unlike those ragged “urban” youth he fears. Just like prohibition all over again, where alcohol was a plague for the poor immigrants but allowable by the wealthy.

  2. 2
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Seriously. If you started from scratch, and chose based on happiness given vs harm to society, which of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana would you make legal?

    Frankly, if they can come up with a reliable test indicating whether someone is driving/performing a dangerous job under the current influence of weed, it should be legalized, taxed, and sold in stores. I’ve never gotten the weird moralizing about it, especially when alcohol and tobacco, with far greater and more negative impacts on society as legal drugs than marijuana has as an illegal one, are widely and comfortably available.

    Puritanism is weird.

  3. 3
    logicpriest

    ^That’s the word, Puritanism! What’s ok for the wealthy and “hardworking” folks is bad for those simple poor folks.

  4. 4
    bibliotequetress

    If that is the embarrassing high school memory that leaps into his head at 4 AM, he’s the luckiest bastard on the face of the planet.

  5. 5
    Johnny Vector

    Here he is in his August 8 column “The Nudge Debate“, arguing that so long as it doesn’t go overboard, a little bit of paternalism is probably okay:

    I’d say the anti-paternalists win the debate in theory but the libertarian paternalists win it empirically. In theory, it is possible that gentle nudges will turn into intrusive diktats and the nanny state will drain individual responsibility.

    But, in practice, it is hard to feel that my decision-making powers have been weakened because when I got my driver’s license enrolling in organ donation was the default option….

    He then goes on to give several more examples of slightly biasing how forms are written, where the junk food is kept, etc. Apparently “throwing people in jail before they’ve even gotten started on life” is one of the things he meant to put on that list but accidentally forgot.

    What a diktat.

  6. 6
    anaximanchild

    He thinks that there will be MORE appreciation for nature and art with LESS pot smoking?! I think he wasn’t doing it right.

  7. 7
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    True, anaximanchild; someone should point out that “oregano” is not Italian for “really good shit”.

  8. 8
    nomadiq

    You can own an assault rifle and force your kids to not interact with other children until they are 18… but be in possession of something that makes you giggle at things that aren’t normally funny – prison for you!

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t be held accountable for what they do when stoned, but if you grow your own, get high at home, come down while listening to some Pink Floyd and go to work the next day, what wrong needs to be righted? Who gets hurt?

    I’ll tell you how you damage people, you fill their heads with religious shit by home schooling or fill their bodies with bullets. But Brooks doesn’t seem too worried about any of that.

  9. 9
    timgueguen

    Legalisation might discourage some kids from taking up pot. Smoking a joint might seem a lot less hip and edgy when dad and his football buddies toke up on the weekends on the front porch.

  10. 10
    David Marjanović
    government subtly encourages the highest pleasures

    Heh, heh.

    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.

    If you asked him what “ecology” means, what would he say? “Uh… something about the environment”?

  11. 11
    David Wilford

    It would be harder to be a concern troll when stoned, so there’s that in Brooks’ favor at least.

  12. 12
    ttch

    “Mister Brooks: Who was your pusher?”

    “Mister Brooks: Who was your pusher?”

    “Mister Brooks: Who was your pusher?”

  13. 13
    Sili

    unlike those ragged “urban” youth he fears

    In Colorado?!

  14. 14
    Sili

    and he’s got this weird thing going where he wants less government except that the government should be using threats and the police to make damn sure the kids like the arts rather than partying.

    It’s just like how “All abortions are immoral, except mine.”

  15. 15
    sundiver

    Wanton cruelty to logic and reason. I think being as snotty an asshole as Brooks is a felony offense, worthy of 2 to 5 years hard labor. But that would be cruel to whoever his cellmate might be. Can you imagine being locked up with a towering asshole like Brooks for even a month?

  16. 16
    mbrysonb

    It’s so depressing to read this idiot’s drivel. Nothing but excuses for blatant, stupid cruelties and feeble ‘shikata ga nai’ responses to real problems– and always explicitly aligned with current “conservative” talking points. Don’t put him in jail– just take away his stupid column.

  17. 17
    gussnarp

    Does he not realize that by his logic, in fact by any reasonable logic at all that says pot ought to be illegal, it would be even more imperative that tobacco and alcohol be illegal?

  18. 18
    Louis

    I’m no constitutional lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet, I am curious, do individual states’ powers extend this far? From the little I know (and I could well be wrong), isn’t marijuana illegal at the federal level? IS this law likely to be struck down by the federal govt of the USA?

    Louis (A bemused UKian with a sudden desire to visit Colorado)

  19. 19
    torwolf

    PZ is right to call Brooks out for his stupidly-reasoned article although calling for him to be jailed may also be viewed as stupid in some camps… unless he actually endorses imprisoning weed smokers, in which case he ought to be thrown in… I don’t remember reading another Brooks article in which the term “moral ecology” (just threw up in my mouth) was used to frame the redundancy and stupidity of America’s legal system. Fuck it, throw him in.

  20. 20
    Jackie

    Does he think messing up an oral report is worse for a teen’s future than a criminal history and imprisonment? What sort of screwy fantasy world is that?

  21. 21
    dianne

    Ok, I think I’ve come up with a new anti-drug campaign: Kids, stay away from marijuana or you’ll grow up as stupid and pompous as David Brooks. What do you think? Scary enough? Or should Dubya be mentioned as well?

  22. 22
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Nah, you put Dubya on the “cocaine is bad!” ad.

    You could have Obama and Brooks do a bipartisan “marijuana is bad – and I know because I used it, and I’m (crosstalk) the United States President / a complete douchebag white guy with no discernible talent – hahaha” series? It’s a good news/bad news approach. Good news, you could become President. Bad news is, you could become David bloody Brooks.

  23. 23
    machintelligence

    Louis @ 18
    Yes marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level, but enforcement against individuals has been largely left up to the states. If you try to bring weed out of the state in duffle bags I expect the Feds will show some interest. As I recall, tourists (who cannot show Colorado ID) are limited to quarter ounce purchases, and no one can carry any amount through an airport.

  24. 24
    cactusren

    Louis–yes, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Which means someone smoking pot in Colorado could theoretically still be arrested by federal agents, just not state or local police. In practical terms, I doubt that feds would bother with individuals with small amounts of pot, but it remains to be seen how they’ll deal with distributors. In terms of whether or not the law will be struck down, IANAL, nor am I psychic, so I really don’t know what will happen. In the meantime, marijuana in Colorado remains a legally gray area.

  25. 25
    Scientismist

    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.

    Nope, stupid people do stupid things, even when not stoned; and he proved it by deciding to get stoned at lunch. Or was he already stoned that morning, and decided to get further stoned just before giving his speech? If he still wakes up at 4:00 am thinking about this stupid high school embarrassment, how does he get any sleep at all, considering the embarrassing quality of the stuff he’s writing these days?

  26. 26
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

    Who the fuck is he to say what are “higher” and “lesser” pleasures? Arrogant twerp.

  27. 27
    Rey Fox

    In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature

    So, lots of funding for the NEA and NPS, right? Oh silly me, what am I thinking.

  28. 28
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Careful, Thumper, you don’t want to mistakenly fall into (gasp) cultural relativism there.

  29. 29
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @CaitieCat

    You mean it’s part of his culture to be an arrogant twerp?

  30. 30
    Bronze Dog

    It’s hard witnessing all these absurdities in the war on drugs and how people try to justify them. The part I find truly sickening is that it’s never really about the drugs, it’s about discrimination.

  31. 31
    loreo

    “stupid people do stupid things, even when not stoned; and he proved it by deciding to get stoned at lunch.”

    Are you describing… PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY???

  32. 32
    Inaji

    Brooks:

    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.

    Smoking a bit of weed doesn’t change who you are, Mr. Brooks. If you’re a loser when sober, you’re still a loser when stoned.

    In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

    Having a toke or three often enhances enjoying art or being in nature.

  33. 33
    ChasCPeterson

    So, lots of funding for the NEA and NPS, right?

    No, no. More subtly than that. Nothing subtle about money.

  34. 34
    ChasCPeterson
    unlike those ragged “urban” youth he fears

    In Colorado?!

    In Colorado!

  35. 35
    The Mellow Monkey

    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.

    One time I stayed up all night playing AD&D with some friends and then had to give a presentation on Shakespeare in the morning. It was far harder and more stressful than it should have been (certainly more stressful than if I’d had a good night’s rest and just smoked pot right before class).

    And rather than calling for the banning of tabletop gaming, I ensured I never did something that dumb again. The end.

  36. 36
    twas brillig (stevem)

    maybe I’m a stoner, but I can’t get past the inferred contradiction in his statement: “In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.” I.E. isn’t be stoned, being the highest you can possibly be? Isn’t it contradictory to encourage and discourage the exact same thing? Maybe I’m reading too much into this; back to toking/not-toking for me.

  37. 37
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I have some ideas:
    First, instead of teaching your kids “don’t smoke pot never ever because it will ruin your life”, teach them some sensible rules.
    Like don’t smoke during the school/workday. Don’t smoke and drive. Don’t let it become more imprtant than the people you’re with and the things you do. Because kids can see very well that the first argument is bullshit, so why should they believe anything else you tell them?
    Second, make sure the stuff is sold in a safe place. Because back from my days as an occasional pot consumer* I know that drug dealers aren’t actually that keen on selling you pot. The profit margin isn’t great and the stuff is relatively cheap and a little pot goes a long way. They’re much keener on selling the impressionable youth something else.

    *I conducted a series of carefully constructed experiments in my youth. I can conclude with reasonable certainty that pot makes me puke. I actually have a sad about this.

  38. 38
    Inaji

    stevem:

    I.E. isn’t be stoned, being the highest you can possibly be?

    Eh, you’re getting hung up on the word highest. I imagine Brooks would have read more succinctly if he used something like elevated/preeminent/superlative/transcendent, as it seems he didn’t want to come right out with elite.

  39. 39
    Inaji

    Giliell:

    I can conclude with reasonable certainty that pot makes me puke.

    Alcohol did that to me, which is why I stuck to toking in my younger years.

  40. 40
    loreo

    So, David Brooks couldn’t use English well while stoned.

    Meanwhile, Damien Marley, Snoop Lion, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne get faded and drop crazy verses.

    David Brooks: Hater of the Year?

  41. 41
    juliegomoll

    Here’s one of his stoner friends’ replies: http://www.garygreenbergonline.com/w/?p=449

  42. 42
    ChasCPeterson

    Like anything else, it just takes practice.
    In a hypothetical time when I may or may not have been practicing quite a lot, I may or may not have given cogent 2-h lectures without notes on various aspects of human physiology while thoroughly (or not) baked. A little Visine, a little coffee, and I may or may not have been good to go. Hypothetically.

  43. 43
    twincats

    …the government should be using threats and the police to make damn sure the kids like the arts rather than partying.

    Well, when I was one of the “kids” I didn’t like either one of those things and neither threats nor the police would have changed that. Many (many!) years later, I rather enjoy both partying and art, separately and together.

    Besides, hasn’t the government already been using threats to convince the kids to eschew partying? Making sure they like the arts by use of coercion is kind of silly, though.

  44. 44
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Caine
    Toking?
    I don’t know that word

  45. 45
    ButchKitties

    We can’t legalize marijuana. If we do that, how are we going to hide how racially biased the enforcement of our drug laws has been? People are already starting to notice that the racial demographics of the people crowding new stores in Colorado don’t exactly jibe with their drug arrest records.

  46. 46
    Inaji

    Giliell:

    Caine
    Toking?
    I don’t know that word

    Toke, to take a hit from a joint. (To smoke weed.)

  47. 47
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Giliell and Caine:

    Which makes ,a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8tdmaEhMHE”> this even more hilarious. Apparently, no one at the Lawrence Welk Show knew the meaning of the word.

  48. 48
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Screwed that on up (which is, I guess, normal?). Extract the url from my idiocy. Trust me.

  49. 49
    Inaji

    Ogvorbis:

    Trust me.

    Oh gods, I remember seeing that when it aired. One of my great grandmothers just adored Welk and never missed his show. I almost laughed myself to death during that. I mighta been a tad stoned at the time.

  50. 50
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Ogvorbis
    According to the comments, Welk described the song as a “modern spiritual”.

  51. 51
    Inaji

    Dalillama @ 50, he does, at the end of the song. Hey, it had Jesus and Mary in it, so…

  52. 52
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Caine
    I didn’t actually play the video, as I was listening to something else at the time.

  53. 53
    Inaji

    It was very strange seeing that again after all these years. And this time, I wasn’t a tad stoned. That would have helped. Gad, what she was wearing…with a pinafore no less.

  54. 54
    betelgeux

    I just don’t understand the stigma behind marijuana use. I’m an *ahem* older gentleman who smokes marijuana regularly (4-5 times per month), and I have a steady job doing something I love. I graduated from a respectable (though not hoity-toidy Ivy League) college with a fine GPA, even though was stoned to high heavens every day. And, quite frankly, it helped me in school. I had always struggled in math, yet when I smoked, saw math as less of a torture being forced on me by hellish graduation requirements, but as a skill that can lead to greater understanding of the patterns that govern the universe (I mean that in a scientific sense, not in a religious sense, BTW). My philosophy, history, science, and English courses became more intellectually fulfilling, and my favorite books seemed even more beautiful and truthful than before.

    Now, not everyone will experience these effects from cannabis. Some people’s minds just don’t seem to be built for it. And that’s totally fine; to each their own. But for those who do reap positive effects from Marijuana, I encourage its responsible use. I think that everyone should try it at least once in their lives, and if they have a positive experience, then by all means do it again. But like all drugs, from alcohol to caffeine, you just need to use it responsibly. Listen to some good music or read a book, or even study for an exam while high, just don’t do anything stupid like drive. It all boils down to responsibility. This is what Brooks and other anti-marijuana advocates don’t seem to understand: just as there are those who use the drug alcohol responsibly, there are those who use the drug marijuana responsibly. And they should be allowed to.

  55. 55
    blf

    Toking? I don’t know that word

    For an example of toking, Ogvorbis-style, see @47.
    </snark>

  56. 56
    playonwords

    Please do not smoke pot. Use a vaporizer vapouriser (US Spelling, Hah!) with the resin or put it in your food or dissolve resin in hot chocolate or find out about how to make retsina style drinks. Smoking is probably bad

    Not that I’d know anything about that or that broiled grilled lamb chops taste very pleasant with a herbal enhancement.

    Note for Agent Mike; it is more then 20 years since I last used

  57. 57
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    blf:

    But I have no style.

  58. 58
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    playonwords
    Since I’m not a smoker I really liked hot chocolate.
    And watching the Munsters has never been the same since…

  59. 59
    betelgeux

    Sorry for the double post, but what really gets on my nerves is that Brooks claims marijuana distracts from “higher” pleasures like the arts. As Caine and several other posters here have pointed out, cannabis only improves the experience of the arts for many of its users. Not only that, but many artists were high when they created their greatest masterpieces. From authors to poets to musicians, marijuana and other drugs have been a part of the creative process. I’m not saying smoking a bowl will turn you into a brilliant artist, lots of shitty works have been created while high as well. But for people who already have a spark of creativity, marijuana and other drugs can act as kindling. Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man”…all were created under the influence of cannabis and possibly other drugs. It’s not just modern artists either, Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and Coleridge all used hashish and opiates. So one could argue that Brooks and other anti-drug advocated are actually stifling creativity in some artists.

  60. 60
    Inaji

    Please, people. Brownies.

  61. 61
    Inaji

    betelgeux:

    It’s not just modern artists either

    Not just us artist types, either. Carl Sagan was quite fond of havin’ a toke. I’d say it appreciably enhanced his appreciation of the natural world and the universe.

  62. 62
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I don’t know about art, but smoking weed definitely improved the taste of nacho cheese Doritos.

  63. 63
    Rey Fox

    So one could argue that Brooks and other anti-drug advocated are actually stifling creativity in some artists.

    Well, we wouldn’t want folks to get too creative.

  64. 64
    unclefrogy

    Brooks is something else. I have heard him weakly defend gay marriage Now he laments the legalization of weed which he confessed used himself..
    He really wants the conservatives and the priests to approve of him even when might not completely agree.
    I predict some kind of breakdown will occur as the result of the internalized conflicts and contradiction of the “ideals” of the conservatives and the policies advocated by the two factions in the conservatives taking place at the present time.

    he should find another way to make a living though it is interesting to watch him squirm. He sounds like he trying to be basically nice moderate christian at the same time supporting right wing authoritarianism and resisting change of any kind.
    He consistently misreads trends.

    uncle frogy

  65. 65
    truthspeaker

    Funny, I thought that in a free country, laws were supposed to reflect culture, not mold it.

    In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

    It that’s a healthy society, I want no part of it.

  66. 66
    Lynna, OM

    The Brooks column is particularly infuriating because in just a few hundred words it perfectly captures why marijuana needs to be legalized. Here’s this grasping, status-obsessed yuppie who first admits that that he smoked an illegal drug without consequence in his youth, then turns around and tells us, as a graying and bespectacled post-adult, that it would be best if the drug remained illegal for the masses.

    Would David Brooks feel the same way about drug laws if he was one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans arrested in weed-related incidents every year (it was over 700,000 people in 2012)? If he’d been prevented from getting a student loan or getting a state job because of such a bust? If he’d lost a professional license, or had his property seized, or even had a child taken away from him?

    We’ll never know, because by and large, people like David Brooks, or me for that matter, don’t suffer serious consequences for weed arrests.[…]

    That’s an excerpt from “Yuppie Prohibition League Denounces Pot Legalization” by Matti Taibbi.

    I especially like the second paragraph.

  67. 67
    nohellbelowus

    David Brooks = Tool

    Simple math.

    With respect to weed (and yes, I am definitely an expert on the subject), give me a three-month long period of abstinence, two grams of medical-grade White Rhino, and a three-day weekend. After lighting-up on Thursday evening (after work), during the next sixty minutes I experience a blissful, melting euphoria that I can only describe as heavenly. People become wonderful, beautiful, and interesting, my body feels limber and alive, food tastes incredibly delicious, and later on that night every contour of my bed feels like it was designed to massage my body into perfect sleep.

    I wish I could stay in that place forever.

    But thousands of experiments have demonstrated conclusively that I cannot stay there. Even after a second smoke, during the second hour on Thursday night, the feeling isn’t half as good as during the first hour, and the returns continue to diminish after that. A Friday morning “wake & bake” is often nice, mostly due to the significant abstinence period that a night’s sleep comprises (and bacon for breakfast… wow), but then it’s time to begin preparing for a solemn farewell until the next time, because continued smoking will only result in a longer recovery period, which for me means depression, lack-of-concentration, stomach problems, loss of appetite, and insomnia. Quitting can be quite hard, though, and sometimes I simply cannot resist sneaking-in another hit or two on Saturday, sometimes even into Saturday night, and despite any promises I made to myself on Thursday. Learning how to stop, so that I’m ready (if not willing) to return to work on Monday morning, was quite a trial. I personally know many people who, once they start, cannot stop smoking pot without assistance.

    Is the 60 minutes of euphoria worth all the downside effects? The older I get, the more I think not. I spent years thinking it would be great to have enough money to simply drop out and smoke pot all the time, but now I know that’s literally a pipe dream, because after a week of smoking I really can’t even get high anymore, regardless of how much I smoke, or what the “grade” is.

    It’s different for different people, but I don’t think my experience of marijuana described here is all that uncommon.

  68. 68
    zenlike

    Via that RS link at 66, I found this article by supposed liberal Ruth Marcus arguing more or less the same:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ruth-marcus-the-perils-of-legalized-pot/2014/01/02/068cee6e-73e9-11e3-8b3f-b1666705ca3b_story.html

    Yes, the same ‘I did it too, but it should remain illegal’ BS. In fact, that whole column argues against legalising MJ without providing any actual argument against it. And still it tries to be ‘I’m cool but…’ hypocrisy.

  69. 69
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    So it turns out that I have two things in common with David Brooks (and Barack Obama, for that matter): I used to toke, and I spent several years in Hyde Park (Chicago, that is). Regarding the former, I quit some time into my freshman year, and aside from an occasional toke in my twenties, haven’t gone back. But there’s no moral lesson to take from that; it’s just that it became an unenjoyable experience for me and so it was easy to quit. I don’t see any compelling reason to prevent people who enjoy pot from getting it, in whatever form they like.

    Regarding the latter, Hyde Park is a mostly white, mostly upper- and middle-class neighborhood surrounded on three sides by mostly black, working-class neighborhoods (and the lake on the third side). I was a couple of classes behind Brooks at U. Chicago (though I don’t think we ever met); at the time, it was a very white school, and it did its level best to seal itself off from the surroundings (not sure if that’s still the case). So it was easy to avoid the, you know, riff-raff, and still feel like you were having an urban adventure. I don’t know if this says much about who Brooks is today (or who I am, for that matter), but I will say that in my college years I was able to appreciate some of the art going on around me. Though I suspect that the jazz and blues clubs we hung out in wouldn’t rise to Brooks’s level of “art”.

  70. 70
    David Marjanović

    Please do not smoke pot. Use a vaporizer vapouriser (US Spelling, Hah!) with the resin or put it in your food or dissolve resin in hot chocolate or find out about how to make retsina style drinks. Smoking is probably bad

    It also provides lower doses than the other delivery methods, so be careful when you use those for the first time. :-)

  71. 71
    Lynna, OM

    What Utah is doing about Colorado’s new marijuana laws: beefing up Utah Highway Patrol searches of cars coming from Colorado.

    http://www.kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_8929.shtml?wap=0

    Should be just about as effective as trying to stop gay marriage.

  72. 72
    Lynna, OM

    Note poll on same page as Utah Highway Patrol story (link in comment #71). Scroll down just a bit to see the poll in the right hand column:

    Do you agree or disagree with Federal Judge Robert Shelby’s decision to overrule Utah’s marriage amendment?
    I Agree
    I Disagree

  73. 73
    ck

    David Brooks = Tool

    Nonsense. Tools can be useful.

  74. 74
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    Out here in Washington (where they’re still sorting out who gets the licenses for the marijuana stores etc.), it’s been pointed out that a large part of the state is federal land, and taking one’s legal marijuana into, say, Olympic National Park might be risky.

  75. 75
    demonhype

    Re: Federal Law

    The Fed started considering this right after the vote in 2012, and decided that it would not interfere with state laws that legalize marijuana. I think there is a list of provisions, such as not allowing drugged driving and not allowing people under 21 to purchase it, but for the moment they’re staying out of this and allowing states to run their own experiments in legalization.

    playonwords @39

    Actually, studies are showing no connection between lung cancer and smoking marijuana. Possibly because marijuana is supposedly showing some strong anti-cancer properties. Not that I’d begrudge anyone using a vaporizer or any other method that works for them. When cannabis is legal AND drug testing is eliminated, I will probably try out the various delivery methods, but I rather suspect I will prefer food-based methods because I have sinus issues and often can’t handle strong smells, and even then I rather suspect I’d probably like vaping better than smoking. I truly hope this can be accomplished soon, because I am so high-strung and have been told by many people that I should toke. My mom, my own mother, actually told me that marijuana could probably do me a world of good, both personally and artistically.

  76. 76
    randay

    #19 thorwolf “PZ is right to call Brooks out for his stupidly-reasoned article”. That applies to all of David Brooks’s articles.

    #25 scientismist, “Nope, stupid people do stupid things, even when not stoned; and he proved it by deciding to get stoned at lunch.” He has also proved it by all of his writing. Maybe it would be less stupid if he still smoked weed and used other mind-altering chemicals. Or you could argue that maryjane permanently impaired his “thinking”.

    Hell, there are many people who take heroin and still go out and do their jobs well. And what would happen to Wall Street if cocaine wasn’t available?

  77. 77
    David Marjanović

    Note poll on same page as Utah Highway Patrol story (link in comment #71). Scroll down just a bit to see the poll in the right hand column:

    It’s a bit weird:

    0.05%
    60.48% I Agree
    39.45% I Disagree

    Maybe 0.05 % is what one vote is at present?

  78. 78
    ChasCPeterson

    taking one’s legal marijuana into, say, Olympic National Park might be risky.

    If only someone, anyone, had been brave enough to try that experiment before it was State-legal…

  79. 79
    John Phillips, FCD

    Smoking is probably bad

    No probably about it. Because of the way you smoke a joint, i.e. usually hold the breath for maximum effect, smoking a joint is the equivalent of smoking around 5 cigarettes of the same size as the joint but smoked as cigarettes are normally smoked, i.e. without holding the breath for any length of time. This means that a lot more muck gets deposited in the lungs from a joint than from a cigarette. If you must smoke rather than take it some other way, use a water pipe. That at least removes a lot of the gunk, especially the heavier muck.

    Emphysema caused purely by smoking joints is increasingly common and is also usually significantly more advanced in those who smoke both cigarettes and joints than those who smoke only cigarettes if they have smoked for roughly the same number of years. So by all means, enjoy it if it is your poison of choice, after all, I still personally find it one of the most effective pain killers with the least side effects for my SNRA, just avoid smoking it.

  80. 80
    ibbica

    Is it wrong for me to be happy knowing it’s not just Canadian politicians who are so very hypocritical?

    That link is to a very real political radio ad that’s been airing this fall across Canada, in which the Conservative Party informs voters that Justin Trudeau (Liberal) wants to legalize marijuana, making it “available just like alcohol and cigarettes!” which would send children (won’t someone think of the children!) “the message that recreational drug use is OK!”.

    Er…

  81. 81
    ChasCPeterson

    smoking a joint is the equivalent of smoking around 5 cigarettes

    equivalent how? ‘muck’ ≠ ‘muck’. got a reputable link?

    Emphysema caused purely by smoking joints is increasingly common

    citation please?

  82. 82
    David Marjanović

    ‘muck’ ≠ ‘muck’.

    Soot = soot. Charred, pyrolyzed organic matter = charred, pyrolyzed organic matter.

  83. 83
    consciousness razor

    I truly hope this can be accomplished soon, because I am so high-strung and have been told by many people that I should toke.

    Just so you know, it doesn’t turn everyone into a stereotypical carefree pothead. It can make some people even more high-strung, like one of my college roommates for example. Some of that apparently depends on the variety of marijuana. And probably also your mood at the time, since that’s not a constant.

    This means that a lot more muck gets deposited in the lungs from a joint than from a cigarette.

    Assuming that’s accurate, how many joints do you think people can stand to smoke in one sitting? By “can stand to smoke,” I could even mean it literally: how long until they actually fall over? Is it anything near the amount a typical smoker, much less a chain-smoker, would have? Do you think someone could smoke five cigarettes within the span of an hour or two and have no immediate problem?

    I’m honestly not clear about the concept of “muck” either. Is the problem basically just any burnt plant matter, or is marijuana muck different (perhaps even worse) than tobacco muck?

  84. 84
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Indeed, as ChasCPeterson says, “citation needed”. Anecdotally, I have (ahem) a friend who once used, hypothetically, about 10g/mo (approximately a third of a USan ounce). My friend, if she had in fact used it, would have done so using a small pipe, with a capacity on the end of about half a cm deep, with the diameter of a common ballpoint/biro or pencil (call it 0.5cm x 0.5cm, and you won’t be far wrong; 0.125 cm^3), which might by some be called, oh, let’s pick a random couple of code names – one-hitter, or bat, maybe. She might be someone who used it medically, for its appetite stimulant, anti-nauseant, and muscle relaxant properties, to combat a seriously disabling twenty-plus-year chronic pain condition, if she had such a thing. If, indeed, my friend uses the pronoun “she”.

    Anyway, she might have found, over ten years of such hypothetical use at this level, maxing out at maybe 20g/m (two-thirds of a USan ounce) in bad months, that such a level of use had had no appreciable impact on her wind while playing a high-energy team sport over that period. That she never coughed, had no notable increase in quantity or change in quality of phlegm, and continued to show heart health characterized by a cardiologist as appropriate to someone 20 or more years younger.

    That’s what I imagine to be the case, anyway. Anecdotally, as my friend told me. But I expect she was just blowing smoke. If she even said it.

  85. 85
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Soot = soot.

    True, but the oils and tars in the soot, the extras in the smoke, vary greatly depending on what vegetable matter is being burned. The difference between the smoke/soot from a burning chili pepper is very different from the soot/smoke from a burning pine tree, or a burning cigar (and just with cigars, there are so many different flavours (earthy, nutty, chocolate, coffee, peppery, etc)), a burning bush (eternal, of course), burning poison oak, or burning hemp. Each one has different levels of tar, oil, and other components.

  86. 86
    ChasCPeterson

    Here‘s the latest of which I’m aware.

  87. 87
    Stardrake

    The pointing and sniggering has reached the BBC: “http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-echochambers-25597331″

    They refer to Marcus’ column, too. Good to know that for once, the hypocrisy is being called out….

  88. 88
    John Phillips, FCD

    Unfortunately I can’t find my main list just now, sorry too many pharma meds today, but this link to a British Lung Foundation PDF has a slew of references to various papers at its end as a starter. Though they are admittedly a mixed bag with, as usual, much more research needed. However, there is enough there alone, IMO, to avoid smoking cannabis for good health reasons, especially as there are plenty of other good and enjoyable ways of taking it. When I can get it together to dig out the other list, I shall.

  89. 89
    David Marjanović

    Here‘s the latest of which I’m aware.

    Thanks.

  90. 90
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Here‘s the latest of which I’m aware.

    That’s smoking pure pot, not a joint which is usually tobacco and pot.
    But, seriously, do we need to discuss that smoking is bad for you?

  91. 91
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re “soot = soot”:

    Lacking citations, my hypothesis is, ‘dosage matters’. And not ‘single joint vs single cig.’ but the long term dosage of a ‘smoker’ vs a ‘pothead’. Typical smoker has ~1pack/day (20 cigs/day), even a ‘real pothead’ is maybe 2 or 3 joints per evening several times per week. Isn’t that a significant difference? And pot has a side-effect of health benefits, what are the health benefits of tobacco?
    But, yes, smoke, of any kind, is bad for the lungs, in any qnty.

    Re “other delivery methods”:

    THC is processed through the stomach and liver a little differently than through the lungs. I’ve read (online; no citation, sorry) that THC (digested) gets transformed into a variant that is slightly more hallucinogenic than the raw THC absorbed by the lungs. But even so, the emphasis is “slightly“, not anywhere near LSD hallucinogenic, just a slight bit more than raw THC. Though I’ve both toked and ‘brownied’, I never noticed any difference, maybe the ‘effects’ won’t let one notice any difference, ;-D But that was all long ago and there’s no need to investigate it any further (myself).

    Enough ‘confession’ and ‘speculation’.
    –Dave ain’t here,
    –I’m Dave, let me in.
    –No, man, Dave ain’t here….

  92. 92
    demonhype

    consciousness razor @83

    Yeah, I know it’s not some magic cure-all for that, but it’s definitely worth a try. Alcohol can accomplish the same thing, but as you said, you really have to watch your moods before you take anything like that and figure out whether it works and when it works best. If I’m even slightly depressed or likely to become depressed in the immediate future, I avoid drinking even a wine cooler. I learned that the hard way. But I’m hearing around that MJ has anti-depression qualities too, which would also be extremely good for me.

    I think my mom, who came from a family of raging alcoholics, would much prefer for me to unwind with marijuana because she believes it skips a generation and she has this terror of her kids becoming drunks. She’s also the one who taught all us kids how to be responsible with alcohol and informed us of what it could do to us if we didn’t respect it, because unlike the prohibitionists she realized that trying to hermetically seal us away from alcohol wouldn’t work and would make things worse.

  93. 93
    Enopoletus Harding

    @ unclefrogy #64

    He sounds like he trying to be basically nice moderate christian at the same time supporting right wing authoritarianism and resisting change of any kind.

    -I think Brooks should convert to Christianity, specifically, something like Methodism or Presbyterianism. It suits his overall positions.

  94. 94
    Rob Grigjanis

    CaitieCat @84:

    …that such a level of use had had no appreciable impact on her wind while playing a high-energy team sport over that period.

    Also anecdotally, I’ve always had good wind, despite smoking a pack a day for 35 years*. Injuries have limited my intense activities to the stationary bike, but I still put out 200+ watts for 45 minutes several times a week, with heartrate going to 150-160, no problem.

    That said, I was diagnosed with COPD a few years ago. If I don’t quit, my wind could probably disappear pretty quickly.

    Point being, I don’t think apparent fitness necessarily correlates with lung health.

    *Down to half pack in the last few years.

  95. 95
    ChasCPeterson

    a joint which is usually tobacco and pot.

    No, it’s not, not here in the USofA. Almost never, in my (ahem, considerable) experience. The tobacco-and-hash thing is pure Europe.

    do we need to discuss that smoking is bad for you?

    We’re not. We are (or were) discussing whether smoking dried leaf A is as bad for you as smoking dried leaf B.

  96. 96
    Inaji

    Giliell:

    That’s smoking pure pot, not a joint which is usually tobacco and pot.

    No, not in the States. Here, a joint is all weed, no tobacco. I know lots of people who smoke weed who have never smoked tobacco in any form.

  97. 97
    chigau (違う)

    We never mixed in Canada, either.
    (long ago, don’t know what kids these days are doing)

  98. 98
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Yep, put me down as one who’s never smoked tobacco.

    Also, most of my friends in the UK who’ve used don’t smoke tobacco either.

  99. 99
    stripeycat

    @92 Demonhype, if you do go ahead, have someone sober or experienced as a spotter for you! I’ve never tried pot, but I had a paradoxical reaction to a relaxant aromatherapy oil (!?!) that sent me into fullblown mania for several hours: my poor boyfriend had to stop me trying to climb the wall by digging my fingernails into the plaster, among other things. After that, I learned to approach any sort of new psychoactive substance with extreme respect. There are a few other, common, herbal remedies and suchlike that I avoid for similar reasons (a commercial sleeping aid that made me hallucinate was particularly memorable, though not as spectacular as the clary sage oil incident). I have no idea if this is a hereditary, biochemical idiosyncracy (several relatives react badly to anaesthetics and sedation), or mental health issues making my brain even screwier than usual, but be careful self-medicating.

  100. 100
    demonhype

    stripeycat @ 99: That’s good advice, and I’ll take it! But I doubt I’ll have much of a chance for a long time, as my state, while not Southern, is still pretty backward and doesn’t even have an MMJ law much less legalization.

    You’re right, you have to be pretty careful even with OTC painkillers too. Over a period of a few years I had increasing headaches and migraines until I hit a point where, for a few months, I had a headache nearly every day and several migraines a month, and by that time the OTC painkillers (naproxin, NSAID, acetaminophen, you name it) had stopped working entire because I’d used them so frequently for so long. I had no idea that could happen, and now that I’m paying attention I realize that I probably got off easy, as acetaminophen hospitalizations happen pretty often! I lucked out in that the source of my stress went away, resulting in fewer headaches and only one or two migraines a month, and then I went on a challenge diet (as in, my father challenged me for two weeks) and realized after that time that several headache and migraine triggers had passed by me without triggering any pain. So I was lucky enough to find out that my bad diet, full of fat and sugar, was enabling the headaches and migraines, but I feel so sorry for people who have those problems and don’t have an easy and non-pharmaceutical way to control it, and I really hope they can get the chance in the future to try MJ for it.

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