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Posted by on Feb 16, 2009 in At TMV | 11 comments

Weed & The Feigned Outrage Over Phelps

UPDATED 3:00P.M. AP: “…sheriff says there will be no charges filed against swimmer Michael Phelps following the marijuana pipe photo.”

Andrew Sullivan enjoyed himself immensely at Friday the 13th, “The critics were a little too harsh, methinks.” He’s on to something. Rotten Tomatoes’ Top Critics give it a 23% while the RT community gives it a tasty 72%. (My nephew wanted me to go along with him; it sounds like maybe I should have).

But the movie is just the jumping off point for Sully:

Among the realism is a simple assumption that marijuana is a staple among the next generation. Pot carries marginally less stigma than alcohol at this point. The puffing, like the sex, is not portrayed in some prurient way. It’s just there – like the now ubiquitous gay sex jokes among straight dudes. From American Beauty through Weeds and the Harold and Kumar series, let alone Pineapple Express, there’s no question to my mind that there’s a tectonic cultural shift out there. The law remains anomalous – as it does on gay questions. But the next generation is past this debate; and one wonders when the law will fully catch up.

And at Salon, David Sirota sees the Michael Phelps saga as yet another example of our addiction to feigned outrage:

America is a place where you can destroy millions of lives as a Wall Street executive and still get invited for photo ops at the White House; a land where the Everyman icon — Joe Six-pack — is named for his love of shotgunning two quarts of beer at holiday gatherings; a “shining city on a hill” where presidential candidates’ previous abuse of alcohol and cocaine is portrayed as positive proof of grittiness and character. And yet, somehow, Phelps is the evildoer of the hour because he went to a party and took a hit off someone’s bong.

As with most explosions of fake outrage, the Phelps affair asks us to feign anger at something we know is commonplace. A nation of tabloid readers is apoplectic that Brad and Jen divorced, even though one out of every two American marriages ends the same way. A country fetishizing “family values” goes ballistic over the immorality of Paris Hilton’s sex tape … and then keeps spending billions on pornography. And now we’re expected to be indignant about a 23-year-old kid smoking weed, even though studies show that roughly half of us have done the same thing; most of us think pot should be legal in some form; and many of us regularly devour far more toxic substances than marijuana (nicotine, alcohol, reality TV, etc.). …

America’s drug policy is idiotic.

Doctors can hand out morphine to anyone for anything beyond a headache, but they can’t prescribe marijuana to terminal cancer patients. Madison Avenue encourages a population plagued by heart disease to choke down as many artery-clogging Big Macs and Dunkin’ Donuts as it can, but it’s illegal to consume cannabis, “a weed that has been known to kill approximately no one,” as even the archconservative Colorado Springs Gazette admitted in its editorial slamming Phelps. Indeed, it would be perfectly acceptable — even artistically admirable in some quarters — if I told you that I drank myself into a blind stupor while writing this column, but it would be considered “outrageous” if I told you I was instead smoking a joint (FYI — I wasn’t doing either).

The video above is Seth Meyers on SNL last week asking, Michael Phelps: Really?!?

…If you’re at a party and you see Michael Phelps smoking a bong and your first thought isn’t, “Wow, I get to party with Michael Phelps!” and instead you take a picture and sell it to a tabloid you should take a long look in the mmirror because you’re a dick. I mean, really?!?

The Friday the 13th Trailer is here.