Tuesday, February 10, 2009

IN THE YEAR 2000: Jemele Hill will still be employed as a writer for some unknown reason

Would Phelps have apologists if he was black?

Perspective should never influence punishment.

Except when you say that it should.

Too often in our society, we practice selective perspective. We're willing to see all the angles only when it suits us. When perspective becomes inconvenient, we can be unflinching, even cruel.

Or we can we can be empathetic.

I'm not suggesting Michael Phelps' being photographed sucking on a bong is high treason. But it's not jaywalking, either.

You're right, smoking pot should be less of a crime than jaywalking. You know this; I know this; everyone who's ever tried weed knows this.

Should Phelps be stripped of his medals?

No. What sort of fucktard would even consider that?

Only someone who hit the bong with Phelps would believe that.

No. "Becoming a brain dead retard" is not a symptom of marijuana usage. At least not in the short term! Buh-zing.

But does he deserve harsh criticism? Absolutely.

Yes, we need harsh criticism because the guy did something that ~20% of Americans did the same weekend. Boo this man!

He has shown an incredible lack of responsibility. This is the second time Phelps has exercised alarmingly poor judgment. The first, of course, being when he received a DUI in 2004 as a 19-year-old and served an 18-month probation term.

Show me an 18-19 year old male who claims to have never done anything that level of stupid, and I'll show you a liar.

But that doesn't mean USA Swimming's decision to suspend Phelps from competition for three months doesn't ring hollow. The governing body's statement explaining Phelps' suspension was rife with hypocrisy. It read:

"This is not a situation where any anti-doping rule was violated, but we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model and a hero. Michael has voluntarily accepted this reprimand and has committed to earn back our trust."

Let's be clear: USA Swimming acted out of embarrassment, and because more than a few people have wondered whether Phelps, who also lost an endorsement deal with Kellogg's, was getting a free pass.

So your beef is that Michael Phelps isn't being punished hard enough, but even though USA Swimming suspended him (when they didn't have to), it wasn't enough because of the way they worded it? Get fucked, Jemele.

I'm wondering why USA Swimming didn't seem to care about the type of person Phelps was after his DUI. That crime was far more egregious. Phelps not only endangered his own life, but the lives of others.

Why no outrage then?

Could have to do with the fact that he was far less of a celebrity then, or the fact that the public doesn't really give 2 shits about athletes (white or black) who get DUI's.

I understand why Phelps sympathizers have argued that his mistake represents only the growing pains of youth and that it was "only weed."

The thing is though, it is ONLY WEED, a substance that's far less harmful than tobacco or alcohol.

In 2002, Rasheed Wallace was given a misdemeanor citation for marijuana possession. The charge against Wallace -- who was 28 at the time -- was eventually dropped after he completed community service, and drug and alcohol counseling.

Boy did 'Sheed ever get crucified for that one? It was such a shame how he lost all those endorsements that he had. The thing that burns me up is that people still bring it up all the NEVER.

But no way would the Portland paper have ever written an editorial as glowing as the one that appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Phelps' hometown newspaper.

It wasn't glowing. It was merely pointing out the inanity of people flipping a shit because Phelps had a bong rip at a party. This is the biggest non-story of all time.

When Josh Howard admitted he and many other NBA players use marijuana, I don't recall seeing a single column like this one on Forbes.com.

I admit the outrage over Josh Howard's comments was idiotic, but he said, in a public forum that he smoked weed all the time. What did he expect was going to happen? Phelps on the other hand thought he was doing something (that shouldn't be a crime) in private where he couldn't influence kids into making the same "mistake" as him.

Look, what Phelps did was stupid, but not unforgivable. The fact that police in South Carolina want to pursue criminal charges against him is a waste of time and resources.

So you think Phelps should be punished the same way 'Sheed was, but you think it'd be a waste or resources for the police to do so. That's fucking brilliant!

President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and even Dawn Wells, the actress who played Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island," have smoked weed before. Studies show that nearly half of you reading this column have tried marijuana at least once.

I just wish that same perspective was used when Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes was busted for marijuana possession.

The Santonio Holmes marijuana possession thing was easily the most annoying story line that was barely mentioned at all during the 2 week Superbowl period.

Am I turning this into an issue of race?

No, because it's been about race since the beginning of the article.

While Holmes will have to appear at a hearing on his marijuana charge later this month, he's a Super Bowl hero now. Wallace never has to worry about sponsors hounding him, but he's made millions in the NBA. Mayo's marijuana incident, which was eventually dismissed, didn't hinder him from becoming a dazzling NBA rookie. It's also fair to say Ricky Williams, a once-devoted pot user, received more criticism for bailing on the Dolphins than smoking weed.

So in laymen's terms: "I spent this whole article arguing that Michael Phelps would get different treatment if he were black, and now I'm admitting that the black athletes, who I claimed were wronged, got off with little more than a slap on the wrist, at worst. Ergo, I've rendered the whole argument moot."

An absolutely classic example of Jemele Hill building an argument up, and then torpedoing it in the final paragraphs.

But I'm proposing a wild idea: Let's try to employ perspective with every athlete. Let's not treat Barry Bonds like the worst cheater ever to inhale oxygen, when it appears that arguably the greatest pitcher and the greatest all-around player have used performance-enhancing drugs.

Yes, Roger Clemens got off totally scott-free from the whole steroids thing, and it's hard to imagine a non-white guy, whose popularity is as astronomical as A-Rod's, suffering much from being caught using steroids.

If you believe Phelps is just behaving like "a kid," then Carmelo Anthony -- who pleaded guilty to driving while impaired last June as a 24-year-old -- shouldn't be stereotyped as a troubled thug.

'Melo gets the reputation for being a thug because he was on the Stop Snitchin' DVD. If it gets any more thuggish than telling kids not to report crimes to the police, lest they be beaten/murdered, please let me know.

Likewise, Phelps' shouldn't be more harshly judged now just because black athletes weren't given the benefit of the doubt.

Perspective, after all, is for everyone.

So what you're saying is: Phelps shouldn't be punished for his non-crime, except that he should.

I'll have what she's smoking. (TOPICAL!)

45 comments:

Andy said...

I was totally waiting for this. I'm proud to say that everything I thought while reading the article (except "why am I reading this, it'll just be on FireJay later") made it into your analysis.

Anonymous said...

Jemele Hill is such a fucking idiot. But I will say that a lot of the articles which (rightfully) downplay the significance of Phelps smoking weed tend to overstate it a bit, and this commentary does the same. I don't think it's necessary to make overblown arguments about how weed is "far less harmful than tobacco or alcohol" to prove your point. Over the very, very long term, this may be true. But in cases of isolated, infrequent use (like the type of use Phelps was presumably engaged in) that is obviously not true. Taking one or two big rips off of a bong can mess you up pretty badly and immediately lead to severly impaired judgment, cognitive ability, etc. It takes a pretty large amount of alcohol to get to that same level, and you'd never get there with any amount of cigarettes in a single sitting. Because we're talking about whether to punish isolated use, I think it makes more sense to consider the short term effects. Otherwise, you could say that eating red meat or sitting in an office all day without exercising has more negative health effects than smoking marijuana, but those things aren't really relevant to whether smoking weed should be punished.

Her racism angles are just embarrassing. Dawn Turner Trice of the Tribune does the same thing--strains to involve race in very single article she writes.

Jeff said...

Wow that was some fucked up logic.

Let's summarize Jemele's point: Michael Phelps is getting too much attention for smoking pot, but imagine all the attention he'd be getting if he were black, like (examples), who didn't get that much attention.

Dawn Wells? Wha?

Jarrett said...

I don't get it - I'm supposed to be more upset that black athletes aren't having endorsements stripped from them?

Larry B said...

WHAT? Dawn Wells got caught smoking weed? Holy shit, where was Bruce Hornsby as all this was happening?

Martin said...

Wasn't her contract up in November? With all the people the WWL has let go, SHE wasn't one of them? Ain't no justice.

Bengoodfella said...

I am completely missing her point. Everytime I read a Jemele Hill article, I feel like she is arguing with herself, because she creates fake arguments, disputes them, and then jumps over to the next topic. It's bewildering.

So is she upset we don't hold African American athletes to as high of a standard was we hold Michael Phelps, does she think marijuana use is no big deal and we should legalize it, or does she think African American athletes should be scrutinized more now? I am confused.

Just be happy Jack M, you did not include an Apolo Anton Ohno reference when talking about Michael Phelps. Trust me on this, if you did, you would have gotten comments from the 25% of his fan base that is very protective of him...and 50% of those people would be quit angry and have torches.

Bengoodfella said...

I meant "quite" angry. Where is my mom to proofread my work when I need her?

Jack M said...

Anonymous:

Marijuana effects different people in people ways. To say that Phelps was severely impaired because he took a bong rip or two is a huge assumption.

Furthermore, I think the notion that it takes a far larger amount of alcohol to get totally fucked is also wrong. Anyone who's ever hung out with a "two beer queeer" can attest to this.

Moreover, even if Phelps got totally ripped out of his mind from that bong hit (which I doubt, if anything he was probably already drunk as shit) who the fuck cares? Probably 50+% of Americans got trashed on some substance that same weekend. The next day he woke up and (assuming all he did was smoke pot) his body was in far better shape than if he'd drank a fifth of liquor and/or inhaled a pack of cigarettes.

Biggus Rickus said...

Jemele has the honor of being responsible for the final (for now)post on my own FJM ripoff blog. I've conveniently included the link with my handle.

On weed vs. alcohol, it really does depend on the person. Some people get completely out of it on weed while others just get kind of chill. Same with alcohol. I had a girlfriend who said she got crazy on tequila, which I thought sounded awesome until I witnessed it. She was literally fucking crazy, as in she didn't who I was or where she was. It was creepy. She was much better off high.

rondoman said...

Everybody is better off high than drunk.

You have happy drunks, angry violent drunks, crying drunks, etc. When people get high they laugh and mellow out and just chill out.

Alcohol has ruined way more lives than weed ever will.

In fact, my parents were kind of happy when they found out that my lil bro smoked weed rather than getting shitfaced drunk and doing something stupid (like me).

And Jemele Hill is just one dumb bitch.

She sabotaged her whole argument with the paragraph talking about black players pretty much getting off easy as well. But, that's par for the course with Ms. Hill.

Anonymous said...

Jack M,

Your points are well-taken, and the same goes for Ruckus. I still think that when we're debating whether to punish or legalize discrete instances of pot consumpion, the claim that alcohol and tobacco are far more dangerous than weed is off the mark. Regarding your "one night" argument, it is untrue that after a single night of using any of these products the human body will be noticeably different. Tomorrow morning, my body will be in a subtantially identical state to the one it is now regardless of whether I abuse weed, cigarettes, or alcohol tonight.

In the short term, cigarettes are clearly the safest of the three, because they don't impare your cognitive ability. Nobody is crashing their car into a bridge, starting fights, or doing stupid shit because they smoked too many cigs.

As for alcohol, we all have our anecdotal arguments. I'm not going to argue that drinking a ton is safer than smoking a lot of weed in a given night. It's not. I'm simply saying that it's not "far more dangerous" in the short term, so there is no need to make that argument. You can just say that they're basically the same thing, so why the hell are we punishing the weed smoker but not the drinker? I'd completely agree with that argument.

rondoman said...

Anon,

That is correct but a lot of people smoke cigs and drink alcohol more than "one nite."

Nicotine and alcohol also have addictive properties which can in turn make it more that "one nite."

You could say, hey, I'm snorting coke and smoking heroine, just one nite only so it's safe.

The thing is alcohol impairs your judgement to the point where "one nite" could be the last nite of your or someone elses life the way you know it.

As with just about anything, moderation is key to the things in life that we consume.

Jack M said...

In terms of immediate effect, you cannot die from an overdose of marijuana. Nicotine overdose is also nigh-on impossible. However, someone dies every weekend from alcohol poisoning.

The day after effects are also more substantial than I think you give credit for. While I admit that some people experience some thing like a "weed hangover" where they feel a bit drowsy the morning after smoking a ton, I don't think it is at all comparable to a bad alcohol hangover, which can be anything from bit of an inconvenience to just about debilitating. Cigarettes won't give you lung cancer from one night of smoking, but I'm pretty sure they can make you feel pretty miserable if you try to perform at a high athletic level the next day (I honestly don't know because I've never smoked a cigarette; one of the advantages of never leaving your parents' basement).

Also, for the sake of fairness, I know there is some evidence to suggest marijuana can trigger personality disorders in people where the disorder was dormant. I don't know how much smoking is required for that though. However, by the same token, alcohol can trigger alcoholism in those with a family history of it, and smoking increases the risk of cancer if you have family history of cancer (I think).

Larry B said...

Too much mature and calm discussion going on around here these days.

Bengoodfella said...

Larry, you smell like poop and boobs are awesome.

That better?

Biggus Rickus said...

Larry B(itch):

Go eat rhiocerous shit out of an elephant's dirty asshole, you fucknoramous.

rondoman said...

On a Michael Phelps/race card/idiot journalism note:



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/03/AR2009020303468.html?hpid=sec-sports



Michael Wilbon is also a moron, and I usually respect his opinion for the most part.

Andy said...

I love the examples of "Persecuted" black atheletes. 'Sheed, 'Melo, etc. She says how nobody told them it was ok, then mentions how Wallace's charges were dropped (then added that nobody really likes him anyways because he's an asshat).

Tonus said...

I can't wait for Jemele's next article, where she complains that ARod is getting off easy because he's white.

Anonymous said...

"The thing is though, it is ONLY WEED, a substance that's far less harmful than tobacco or alcohol."

A fallacious statement, my friend. I am aware of one study that corroborates your statement; only one problem, though...it was a situational study that placed no emphasis on the amount one smoked (# of packs per day, mean= 2.3 vs # of blunts per day, mean= .8), which is not a valid comparison, considering typical levels of use (not to mention no measurements regarding, nor was this an in-lab study, so they depended on patients to be honest, which any medical professional will tell you is definitely not always the case).

I can point you in the direction of several sources that indicate marijuana is actually WORSE than either tobacco or alcohol. Yes, I am aware one cannot grow physiologically dependent on the MJ as one could with alcohol or tobacco, but it has a much higher psychological dependence than either. Marijuana also has very similar higher withdrawal severity as indicated in the data and abstract of the study done by Vandrey, Budney, Hughes, and Liguori at Johns Hopkins in Jan of last yr (2008).

There is also more aluminum content in marijuana, as confirmed by Exley, Begum, Woolley, Bloor (American journal of Medicine 119(3)), which accumulates in lung fluid, has quite a dramatic effect on lung plasticity and alveolar compliance, leading to various respiratory and NEUROLOGICAL diseases.

I'm sure as you are aware--being that you support what is an illegal drug--THC (known in the medical and scientific community as Delta(9)-tetraydrocannabinol) is the primary reason for many of the risks associated with marijuana use. I would direct you to a study done by Sarafian, Kyououmjian, Khoshaghideh, Tashkin, and Roth (American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular & Molecular Physiology. 284(2)). In this study, they demonstrated THC affect a particularly important cell line in the lungs by diminishing this cell line's metabolic potential by decreasing mitochondrial function. Now, go back to grammar school and mitochondria are the "power houses" of the cell, and it has been shown that as early as 1 HOUR after exposure to various concentrations of THC, mitochondrial function is diminished even after exposure. Compare that to tobacco smoke(also done in the same study), and the cyanide in tobacco actually reduces this energy function LESS!!! LESS???? hmm THC looks to be a lil worse, huh?

In several journals, it also indicates higher levels of tumor cell development and proliferation as a result of THC versus any of the products in tobacco and even alcohol, especially increased risks for prostate and cervical cancers in non-tobacco, marijuana smokers as wel as increased incidence of adult-onset glioma. Admittedly, marijuana only results in similarly increased as tobacco for lung cancers, and similar rates of colorectal cancers were also found in marijuana and tobacco users. Oh, and the issue that is has medicinal benefits is also a fallacy.

Again, finding reputable studies supporting marijuana are very, very difficult, but when one does come out, someone else repeats that study and finds the opposite results (negative effects) to hold true. So to say it has potential medical benefit is uncertain, but compared with all the risks its implementation has proven to introduce, the medical community will overwhelming refrain from using it for medicinal purposes; it would just turn out as awfully as Vioxx did.

So to say that "it is ONLY WEED" is a really, really uneducated thing to say. To say it's less harmful than either alcohol or tobacco is also one of the most idiotic things to say. Is the reason you're saying that due to common mis-education? Probably, yes. But unless you have adequate support, don't say anything stupid. You're just worse than the writers you're criticizing. btw, if you want more articles, I can send them your way.

Oh, and your argument about whether people do it? yes, people do it. Do a lot of people do it? Yes. But then again, are the majority of cancers preventable? Yes. Are the majority of cancers genetic? DEFINITELY NOT!! Is cirrhosis genetic? Partially, but the majority of cases are due to teratogenic influences. So just because a substantial number of people do something doesn't justify whether it is correct or not.

Jack M said...

The Hopkins study said withdrawal was similar to that of tobacco (a legal substance).

Any negative effect of weed on the lungs can be avoided by baking it into food.

Study showing weed might prevent Alzheimer's Disease:

http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/abstract/25/8/1904

Weed may prevent lung cancer:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17621270

Emerging evidence that marijuana might help patients IBD and Chron's disease:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/28584.php

Institutions supporting the usage of medical marijuana.

- American Medical Association
-The American College of Physicians
-Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
American Academy of Family Physicians
- The American Public Health Association
- The American Psychiatric Association
- The American Nurses Association
- The British Medical Association
- The AIDS Action
- The American Academy of HIV Medicine
- The Lymphoma Foundation of America
- Health Canada

Also, to call me idiotic for saying marijuana is safer than tobacco and alcohol is a bit harsh. Especially in light of the myriad of health problems tobacco causes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_tobacco

Along with the fact that alcohol usage is widely associated with: alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, aiding in the passing of sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancies.

Bengoodfella said...

Wow, that's a lot of data and information.

I will say this from my point of view, I quit smoking pot a few years ago and was able to do so very easily and have no urge to do it again. It took me from 22-25 years of age to quit smoking cigarettes completely and I still want a cigarette about once a week or when something pisses me off. It doesn't mean anything science wise but it tells me a little bit about each. Everyone who drank alcohol to get drunk has a story of something they did that they regret.

rondoman said...

Also, using a vaporizer is another way to avoid smoke in your lungs.

And I will always stand by the statement that alcohol has ruined way more lives than weed ever will.

You know what really pisses me off though, the fact that people are saying Phelps is a role model and how dare he do this when kids look up to him.

You mean the same kids who when watching a game with their dad see unlimited alcohol commercials that are funny, show scantily clad women, and promote how fun life is with their alcoholic beverage?

The same kids watching commercials for erectile dysfunction and penis growth pills?

cs said...

The fact that he smoked weed should be a support for it. See kids, you can smoke pot and still win gold medals and make millions of dollars and function normally in society. Weed does not automatically make you a bum. It is not so bad. But, it was taken the other way... of course.

So the message as always: if you want to alter your consciousness, drink man-made and taxable alcohol.

rondoman said...

Exactly CS, couldn't say it better.

Look at all the crap that is marketed and is bad for kids. Fast food, for example. Kids see their favorite sports heroes in McDonald commercials, or for an unhealthy snack or cereal.

Fast food does more harm to kids than many things, where is the uproar?

I just don't get all the hate over this Phelps situation because when you look at society as a whole, and look at all the bad things that kids see and eat and experience on a daily basis, they are far more harmful than Phelps smoking weed.

Anonymous said...

Jack M,

Check your sources buddy, the previous anonymous was right, man.

"The Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U. S. Public Health Service have rejected smoking crude marijuana as a medicine." and seeing as how many medical institutions you listed only will support FDA approved methods, I doubt a simple Wiki search can really prove anything. Wikipedia rocks, but isn't always right. i hate to say it, being a big weed user myself, but the guy or girl is right. oh, and weed has been shown to cause cirrhosis, too. not just alcohol.

I'm actually very interested about this issue as a poli sci major, and looked up some of the things you listed. the ACP (american college of physicians) doesn't support its use, it only supports research to ascertain its benefits and doesn't really acknowledge it per se: "Additional research is needed to further clarify the therapeutic value of cannabinoids and determine optimal routes of administration." (http://www.acponline.org/acp_news/medmarinews.htm). also some of the other organizations you listed have similar stances (APHA adopted official policy in 1995 that encourages research into the therapeutic aspects of marijuana and urges Congress to make marijuana a legal medicine if it is shown to be safe and effective -- american public health association), while some have actually retracted them.

It's really weird cuz http://www.mpp.org/ says a lot of these organizations support it, but if you look at the articles the site links, i get a different impression or they've changed positions since then. maybe i'm just readin it wrong tho.

also, isn't a glass of red wine a day supposed to help heart problems? that's waht my doctor told me

Eddie said...

I agree about this whole issue with Phelps. The guy was partying, and while I don't think weed should be illegal, it does have a lot of potentially/demonstrated negatives in terms of health implications. While i won't completely agree with anonymous and his tirade or with Jack M--let's face it, the "evidence" has shown some benefits, but the research I've seen as a medical student and in journals is very sketch--I've been asking around to various physicians as well as the head of our research department and it doesnt look like it will be approved any time soon even for just medicinal purposes.

honestly, this issue has been overblown. Phelps did do something stupid but it wasn't something intentional. I blame the fuckface who sold out and let the pictures out. who would honestly do that; it only hurts the cause.

Eddie said...

oh, and since i'm gona b a future gastroenterologist, I asked one about ingesting weed, and he told me it def doesn't help Crohn's or IBD because the physiological mechanism is fucked around w/. He said the study that showed that was actually a horribly done study that he looked at and laughed at because of how poorly it was controlled and the subjects and samples used to test it.

BUUUUUT no one can deny how fun it is to do. and just in case you're wondering, I'm not the only supporter of it in the medical community, but I'm more in support of it recreationally.

Jack M said...

"The Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U. S. Public Health Service have rejected smoking crude marijuana as a medicine."

The FDA, DEA, and PHS are all political organizations that will never support the usage of marijuana for anything until we have a President that demands weed be legalized.

That being said, I will concede that I was probably a bit cavalier by inferring that weed is completely harmless. It does have some drawbacks, but I still contend that chronic marijuana usage is the lesser of evils when compared to chronic drinking and cigarette smoking.

As Rondoman said, there are so many horrible things you can do to harm/endanger yourself legally: poor diet, lack of exercise, lifting weights improperly, binge drinking, chronic cigarette smoking, driving while tired, etc. That for anyone to suddenly be outraged that Phelps took a bong rip is fucking nuts.

In regard to the fuck face that took the picture and sold it: definite party foul. That'd be a dick thing to do to your best friend, let alone a national hero who's just trying to have a good time (Phelphs is still a douche, though). I sort of hoped that the incident would open up a national dialogue on why pot is illegal, but: nope.

rondoman said...

Anyone citing the FDA or DEA loses instant credibility.

They are both joke organizations that cave to lobbyists and crooked politicians to get drugs and food passed that may be harmful.

Sorry Anon, but the minute I saw you citing them, I quit reading.

Eddie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If my previous comment about the FDA made you stop reading, ask your Dr if he/she prescribes medications not supported by the FDA. Then stop seeing said Dr. cuz chances are your doc wouldn't be licensed if he/she did.

Passive Voice said...

Rondoman:

How DARE you disparage bonerpills? Everyone knows one's worth is proportional to his girth.

Cornelius Talmidge said...

I think this whole debate has sidetracked us from the main issue here: should we judge Michael Phelps negatively for taking a bong rip on camera? All things considered, the answer is clearly, "yes."

It doesn't matter if there are worse things you can do for your body, if weed is better/worse than alcohol and tobacco, or if you think weed should be legal. There have been repeated accounts of Phelps acting like an immature party dude since his success in Beijing, and this bong picture and its accompanying story are just further confirmation of what we already know about Phelps: he is a phenomenally talented idiot. With so much invested in his public image, he is dumb as hell to constantly go around making an ass of himself at college parties, plain and simple. There is nothing more that needs to be read into this story, and it doesn't warrant a debate on the merits of pot.

Someone made the comment that they'd hoped that this would spark a debate about legalizing marijuana in America, but this story should hardly be the onus for such a discussion. I understand the position one could take that this picture demonstrates that pot users can be successful, etc. But what this picture really demonstrates is that kids love getting high on weed, and that Michael Phelps likes to party. No more. Sure, it demonstrates that people can be successful despite smoking weed, but is that really an argument for legalization of weed: that it won't necessarily lead to failure?

Look, whatever the potential benefits of weed, they are outweighed by the negatives. I think we can all generally agree on that (people with cancer, glaucoma, etc. excluded). So, in the end, all you have is some kid out partying and ripping a bong to get fucked up. Just because he happens to be an incredibly successful athlete during the day doesn't magically transform his bong rip into a socially significant act. He was dumb enough to do it in front of someone with a camera despite the obvious potential for some serious p.r.-related fallout. Therefore, he's a dumbass and worthy of the entire world labeling him as such. The rest of the world does it? Untrue--the rest of the world doesn't have multi-million dollar endorsements depending entirely on their public image. If I had a deal with Kellog's, I wouldn't be caught doing drugs on camera.

My point is, let's not demean the legitimate arguments in support of legalizing weed by attaching them to a douche bag who got caught taking a bong hit, just because that douche bag happens to be able to swim fast.

Biggus Rickus said...

Um, the guy's in his early 20s and loaded. Almost any man in his situation would be an immature party dude. Why does anyone care (apart from companies who gave him endorsement deals)? Also, why are South Carolina authorities so hell bent on building a case against him?

Jack M said...

@Cornelius

I remember when you were on the run from the retirement castle, and who could forget that rube that was living in your bed while you were gone!?

In regards to your comments about how Phelps was in the wrong by setting a bad example, etc:

Michael Phelps is the embodiment of the duplicitous nature of public figures in America today. We hold athletes/celebrities/politicians to such high moral codes that the second they step the least bit out of line, we tear them down.

I think the whole "Phelps shouldn't smoke weed because he has an image" argument is complete bullshit. His image is a facade, constructed by a highly paid PR firm. The real Michael Phelps goes out and parties when he's not in season. To become morally outraged that a 23 year old guy would engage in binge drinking, pot smoking, and promiscuous sex is complete hypocrisy on the part of anyone who ever went to college.

In terms of why it should be a platform for discussing marijuana legalization: the argument is not that "it won't necessarily lead to failure." The argument is that marijuana is just as safe (if not safer) than alcohol and tobacco, which are legal. So safe, in fact, that world class athletes (Phelps, Randy Moss, Josh Howard) can all use it without experiencing drop offs in performance.

Cornelius Talmidge said...

I don't think it makes any sense to phrase the issue the way you do, Biggus. The companies paying him millions to maintain an image care how he acts. Phelps, and anyone else in his position, should realize the importance of public perception in such a circumstance. Yet, for months he has shown virtually no discretion whatsoever with respect to how he presents himself in public. Therefore, the rest of us can safely call him an idiot. There is no distinction to be made between Kellog's caring or the rest of us caring--we care because Kellog's cares--we can label him an ass, bc we know how much he stands to lose. If Phelps didn't have millions in endorsements on the line, I wouldn't think he was a dumbass (probably still a tool), and I wouldn't consider his behavior, in itself, to be particularly stupid or noteworthy in any way.

Also, I don't "care" in the sense that I think this is a massive issue that the should rock the sports world or that I condemn him for smoking weed. I only "care" in the sense that I think he's a dumbass for getting repeatedly trashed in camera-friendly places while surrounded by strangers.

Cornelius Talmidge said...

Jack M--excellent catch.

Jeff said...

Wow, I'm amazed at the level of discussion on Pot in this thread. You guys have way too much energy to be potheads, but care/know way too much about it not to be.

I didn't actually read all that shit so i may have misinterpreted.

rondoman said...

Hell yeah JACK M., you are tearing shit up on here!!!!

It's 2009, there are virtually no camera free areas for a 8 time gold medalist to party WITHOUT being caught on camers.

Imagine being told you to live your life. . .

Cornelius Talmidge said...

Look at it this way: Phelps is an employee, and Wheaties et al. are his employers. We're all smart enough not to let our employers see us getting trashed and smoking pot. Phelps is not. We all have fake facades we develop to enhance our image in the eyes of our employers. Yes, Phelps's burden is larger and more difficult to meet than ours, because he is a public figure, and we're all Joe Schmoes, so noone is trying to get us on film. Accordingly, he gets paid millions, while we get paid comparative scraps. He is amply compensated for his enhanced duty to act differently than the average 20 something. The same comparisons apply across professions and jobs--lawyers are held to more demanding standards of public behavior than cab drivers; plumbers are held to different standards of behavior than doctors.

Phelps gets caught by his employer smoking pot; he's an idiot. The same thing would be true if it happened to me. What is not fair about that? Jack M and company: you're obviously intellgient, so I would assume that you would try to temper your behavior a bit if fortunate enough to land in Phelps's position.

I'm not morally judging Michael Phelps. I'm not making any public commentary on the legality of weed. I'm just saying Phelps was dumb as hell to risk millions for a few nights out partying.

And to the question of whether this story lends itself to a discussion of the legality of weed. All that matters is that at the time he was ripping that bong, weed was illegal. Anyone could have predicted how Phelps's "employers" would react to his engaging in illicit activity on film. That is the only analysis necessary for me to label him an idiot. If you feel that the situation nonetheless warrants discussion re how society perceives drug use, its heroes, etc., that's fine. But nothing in those topics can in any way change my assessment of Phelps's behavior. Pot could be legalized tomorrow, and the whole country come to a consensus on the marvelous wonder and merit of pot--that won't make his decision to smoke pot on film yesterday, when it was still illegal, and when Wheaties frowned on that type of behavior, any less dumb.

Jack M said...

@Cornelius

While I agree with you about any one who is employed in any sort of "white collar job" could be damaged by a photograph depicting marijuana consumption, if I were in the situation, I'd still be a bit peeved that I was getting punished for an act that is no better or worse than smoking cigarettes and/or drinking alcohol.

In terms of the fact that it's illegal, if Phelps had gotten a ticket for driving 85 mph in a 55 mph, no one would've batted an eye, despite the fact that he would be endangering far more people in that scenario. In fact, as little as people cared about Phelps's DUI, they cared even less that he had been drinking underage.

rondoman said...

No doubt.

There are laws broken every day by millions of people in all walks of life.

Speeding. Jaywalking. Underage drinking. Underage smoking. Buying alcohol/cigarettes for minors.

When you start getting into "it's against the law" arguments, that opens up a whole new can of worms.

The sad thing is Phelps probably could've been stumbling drunk and videotaped and would not have gotten as much flak as he did for taking a hit of weed. Cuz, you know, alcohol is legal and all that. . . and the fact that of all his sponsors, only one dropped him, kinda shows that they didn't see it as that big of a deal either.

Chris W said...

y'all are some serious dudes.

This is the only reason to comment:

"and even Dawn Wells, the actress who played Mary Ann on "Gilligan's Island," have smoked weed before"

wtf