....LMB: "Local Boy Makes Good"....

May 17, 2002

"After a teenager in Covington, Washington, turned his father in for growing marijuana, local TV news reporters and daily newspapers fell all over themselves calling him a hero."

So begins "Dope", a nice bit of media and social commentary by journalist and sex columnist Dan Savage.

Savage points out many flaws in the "druggies bad, cops good" coverage (for example, the very real possibility that the pot-smoking father was using the drugs for his numerous medical conditions), but then shifts from the specific to the general. How does the media cover drug-related issues? What are the realities of drugs, addiction and drug-prevention programs?

For the record, I don't smoke pot, do drugs, or even drink alcohol. It's easy to imagine that anyone who criticizes US drug policy is doing so for self-serving reasons, that they want to get high in peace. I'm not one of those people. I've got no problem with folks using any controlled substances, provided that they don't harm other people in the process (and frankly, nearly any form of drug addiction is bound to harm someone you're close to).

Savage discusses D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), a program that tries to teach kids not to use drugs. I had it when I was in school. It was basically a bunch of anti-drug propaganda mixed with role-playing exercises that kinda/sorta/didn't teach kids how to resist peer-pressure. At my schools, DARE was always taught by a police officer who came to campus. The most amusing aspect of DARE to me was that the most hardcore stoners on campus would always befriend the DARE officer, who was always amazingly oblivious to the fact that his new pals weren't taking his lessons to heart.

What always bothered me about DARE is that they weren't honest. They didn't just say "this drug makes you feel these things, but does this damage to your body, so think carefully." That method treats kids like human beings with brains in their heads, so we can't be having that. Instead, they try to sell fishy-sounding exaggerations about how one puff on a joint will inevitably turn you into a crack whore; and when you suspect that someone's trying to trick you, you don't pay much attention to what they have to say.

Here is something that most of the non-drug-using folks in America don't seem to realize: people who use drugs are usually very aware of the negative effects of what they are doing, and choose to do it anyway. Just like some folks eat fatty foods, skydive, or play professional football. There is potential health danger in all of these activities, but for whatever personal reasons, some people choose to do them just the same.

There's a lot of ground to cover on this topic, and I won't do it here. Read Savage's article, it's long and covers many of the important points.

Posted by Jake at 11:58 AM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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