Friday, January 03, 2014

Things I Learned About Weed from David Brooks

Knows When To Put the Doobie Away
I was never a big fan of NY Times Columnist David Brooks. In fact, the man is a twat. But it’s just now come to my attention that David Brooks happens to be one of the nation’s foremost experts on marijuana and the effects of its usage on the human anatomy. How did he attain this expertise? Because he smoked weed for a bit in high school back in the late 70’s. That’s right. And he gave it up before he even graduated, so you know he’s an expert on the subject.

And we learn all about this in his cynically titled piece Weed: Been There. Done That. In it, he informs us that he's already done the whole weed thing, knows what it's all about, and is so over it. Because weed is just a phase you go through in adolescence, before you grow up and learn life's real pleasures. Like how Catcher in the Rye once meant a lot to you before you got older and now it seems simplistic and boring. These are all just rites of passage..

Weed's the same way, and anyone who disagrees and wants to smoke anyway should be arrested and have their life thrown away; just like we do with people who still read Catcher in the Rye. Why? Because giving up weed is part of the road to adulthood, and it's the government's duty to prevent you from taking any action that might hinder your personal growth. Because sending someone to jail and ruining their life is sooooo helpful to their personal development. Thanks Brooks, for looking out for us all like that.

And even once you’re a grownup with a successful business, you should still be subject with arrest and imprisonment for possessing weed, because….well because David Brooks doesn’t have an answer to this one since he didn’t smoke pot as a grownup. And since it never happened to him, it doesn’t need to be contemplated whatsoever.  He knows that smoking weed made a doofus like him act like a doofus in high school, and so it must be the same for everyone else even decades later.

And yes, out of all the people David Brooks has met over the years, either in his personal life, or as a writer for the New York Times, or on the various TV studios he's been to and others he has met; not a single one of the pot smokers opened up to Brooks that they smoke pot. And that can only be because they too have eschewed the stoner life when they were teens, or because Brooks is such a complete doofus square that not a man, woman, or child of them told him that they smoke dope.

And so he's fine with people having their lives ruined, because he doesn't have personal experience that allows him to understand what it's like. Because if we haven't experienced something, it must not be important.

David Brooks is Everyman

And sure, that sounds like total crap when you think about it, but that’s just because you’re not thinking of things the David Brooks way. Because everything Brooks says makes logical sense, once you accept certain preconditions that Brooks adopts as unerring truths.

The first precondition is that you must accept that the plural of anecdote is data, and that Brooks’ anecdotes are the best; as they’re universally applicable to everyone. That’s how he can extrapolate proper behaviors for hundreds of millions of people, based upon events that happened to him personally over thirty years ago; even if these events were vague non-events that even Brooks can’t properly identify and might never have happened. I mean, if David Brooks got stoned right before giving a class presentation back in 1977 and made a fool of himself, then surely the same fate awaits us all.

And that leads us to the most important precondition to understanding David Brooks: We all have the same value system as David Brooks. Our life goals are the same, are path to happiness is identical, and we all aspire to have the sort of life that David Brooks has. Because Brooks’ entire argument goes down in shit-stained flames if he’s wrong about this one.

And if someone could be genuinely happy as a stoned surfshop employee in Hawaii or live a full and complete life as a stoned musician, then David Brooks' argument is crap. But Brooks knows that that's not possible, because it's not the path he'd have chosen. And again, we all have his value system and share his life goals, and people who choose other lifestyles are behaving immorally.

One Morality

And honestly, that's not even a paraphrase. He actually mocks anyone who doesn't think some lifestyles are more moral than others. As if playing video games stoned on the couch all day is inherently evil.
“Many people these days shy away from talk about the moral status of drug use because that would imply that one sort of life you might choose is better than another sort of life.”
And the implication is clear: It's immoral to choose a lifestyle that David Brooks doesn't approve of. No longer is morality about how you treat others. In Brooks' world, morality is about choosing the lifestyle that best enables us to reach our full potential. And therefore it’s immoral to do anything whatsoever that might delay our path to maturity in any way; including smoking dope.

And sure, some might argue that we can't reach our full potential without weed, but such a thing can't possibly be the case since Brooks' short experience with weed taught him that it makes people stupid and has no useful purpose besides letting you bond with friends while enjoying yourself. And while that might sound like the same thing he said we could only do without weed, that can't be the case or Brooks would have contradicted his main point yet again.

So without further ado, here's the list. Enjoy!

Thirty Things I Learned About Weed From David Brooks

Alcohol and tobacco don’t exist.

Neither does jail. A full column about legalization, without any hint of jail, prison, arrests, police, or any of the other policies Brooks implicitly supports. Why? Because they don’t exist.

The point of smoking pot is to do stupid things.

People who are high can’t put together simple phrases while speaking in public.

If you smoke weed, you will do so right before giving a big presentation and feel like a total loser because you won't know what to say.

If you give a class presentation while high, you will stumble through it and embarrass yourself due entirely to the weed you smoked and not because you were totally fucking unprepared and you suck.

You will give up smoking dope if you see a smart friend of yours start smoking too much.

Something sad happens to people as they sink deeper into pothead life.

If you don't stop smoking pot, you will become a pothead.

People give up pot once they discover higher pleasures.

Smoking pot is repetitive.

Smoking pot doesn’t make you funnier.

Smoking pot doesn’t make you more creative.

Academic studies more or less confirm that weed doesn’t make you funnier or more creative. Because yeah, humor and creativity are things that can be objectively tested in an academic setting.

Smoking weed is not exactly something you are proud of yourself for and it's not something people admire in you, for reasons that even Brooks admits are vague.

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. But none of these things can happen if you smoke dope, because weed made David Brooks act like a doofus when he was a teenager.

Smoking pot prevents people from becoming integrated, coherent, and responsible. And that's because it prevents you from using reason, temperance, and self control; which we all know because again, it made Brooks act like a doofus when he was a teenager.

Everyone has the sense that the actions they take change them inside, making them a little more or a little less coherent. (Editors Note: We have no fucking idea what this means.)

The vast majority of people who try drugs, grow out of it and leave it behind. This is why we need to punish as many people as possible for smoking pot, because a small minority of them might continue to use it and thus stunt their personal growth.

Being stoned is not a particularly uplifting form of pleasure.

Smoking pot all the time won’t do much to enhance your deep center.

You’ll have a better shot at becoming a little more integrated and interesting if you smoke weed sporadically. (Seriously, he said this)

It's simple economics that if you drop the price of a product, more people will buy it.

Complex economics involving inelastic demand continue to elude David Brooks entirely.

Colorado and Washington are creating more pot users, because there are apparently people who aren't pot users, but would like to be if the price came down.

Laws mold culture. Like the way the War on Drugs molded drug culture. Oh wait... Or how anti-porn laws molded porn culture. Oh wait...

In healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. And it achieves this subtle tipping towards self-governing citizenship with police raids, drug dogs, and prison time for those who prefer not to grow up. Very subtle.

If you're stoned, you can't appreciate life's highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature. Because potheads are infamous for hating nature and the arts in Brooks' reality.

Legal marijuana enhances individual freedom.

Legal marijuana nurtures a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be. Unless, of course, the sort of person we want to be is someone who can smoke pot without fear of being punished; in which case legal marijuana most definitely helps them be who they want to be. But of course, since we're all David Brook; such a person couldn't exist and doesn't need to be contemplated even hypothetically because all the grownups gave up weed before growing up.

And finally, alcohol and tobacco don't exist.

Giving the Game Away

But all joking aside, if one reads between the lines of Brooks’ column, you’ll find at its heart exactly what you’ll find in almost everything he writes: A liberal position being shoehorned into a conservative framework. And he gives the game away twice. Not only does he say that sporadic use of weed can be helpful, but he outright states:
“I don’t have any problem with somebody who gets high from time to time…”
And boom, that’s it. That’s the end of the discussion. His argument is that people should go to jail for using weed because it makes them lazy, but then outright says there isn't anything wrong with getting high. And that’s game over. In the third sentence of the tenth paragraph, he undermines his position entirely. I mean, as much as he had a position, of course; since none of it made sense.

And that leads us to what his piece was really about: David Brooks is against lazy people who smoke dope all the time, because he doesn't think they're living to their full potential. And well, he's got a point there. Smoking pot really *can* make people stupid and lazy if they do it all the time, and that's not a good thing. Who amongst us doesn't know someone who threw their life away getting stoned all the time?

And yet…is it really the government's business to force us to maximize our potential by denying us things that might distract us from that? And because pot *might* distract someone from their full potential, it makes sense to spend millions of dollars to ruin the lives of as many of these people as possible? What?! Should we go ahead and cap everyone in the knees to make sure they succeed in sports? How does locking someone in jail help anyone reach their potential?

But again...jail doesn't exist in David Brooks' universe. So he doesn't need to explain this idiocy at all. He's just trying to get teens to give up weed and join the real world. That's all. It's about whether or not we should encourage people to spend all their time getting high, or if the government should encourage us to engage in more mentally stimulating activities. I mean, it's not like he's advocating for anyone to go to prison or anything. Oh wait...

David Brooks Supports Legalization.

Because that’s the thing: Brooks didn’t write a piece that supports the criminalization of marijuana. He wrote a piece against people getting high all the time. And even then, he never even hinted as to why they should go to jail for this; since he didn’t discuss jail at all. He's just saying it's a bad idea and shouldn't be encouraged. But he never says they should go to jail for it. Why? Because I don't think he wants them to.

So basically, he’s once again talking gibberish, because he needs to take the conservative position, but it’s obvious that the liberal position is the correct one. So he’s playing a word game, where “legalization” means something ridiculous and he’s supporting the sensible position, where it’s perfectly ok to smoke pot as long as you stay productive, and nobody goes to jail for it. In other words, the exact opposite of the position he’s trying to defend.

Thanks for playing, David Brooks. Perhaps if you smoked a little doob you'd realize what nonsense you had just written.

Dude, ever notice how bong rhymes with wrong? Dude!