Television Goes Up In Smoke 

Television Goes Up In Smoke 
Posted by CN Staff on August 13, 2005 at 06:14:13 PT
By Tamara Ikenberg
Source: Courier-Journal
USA -- Nancy Botwin is a widowed suburban soccer mom who happens to sell marijuana to support her family. Played by Mary-Louise Parker, she's the star of Showtime's fresh half-hour dramedy "Weeds," which made its debut on Monday. An attentive parent and a member of the PTA, Nancy is one of many sane, seemingly everyday TV characters who relate to reefer.The Supreme Court may have voted against legalizing medical marijuana, but that hasn't stopped pot from cropping up all over cable TV, where you're more likely to see a joint dangling from a character's lips than a cigarette.
You can get a contact high just from watching HBO's Sunday night lineup. On "Six Feet Under," weed is as common as an after-work cocktail. Members of the Fisher family, from frustrated young artist Claire to conservative brother David to matriarch Ruth, light up regularly. Next, on "Entourage," Hollywood hangers-on Turtle and Drama are known to pass a joint while cruising through La La Land, and the show's handsome hero, Vincent Chase, sometimes takes a puff to prepare for stressful situations.Finally, on "The Comeback," the writers of the fictional sitcom "Room and Bored" are known to break out the bong for inspiration. This is hardly an endorsement of the drug, as the material they write is terrible.When you look at the stats on marijuana use, these characters aren't that out of sync with society: According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly half of Americans over the age of 12 have tried marijuana at least once.TV isn't the only medium where marijuana is making a statement. Willie Nelson's new album cover sports the distinctive leaf, and video games such as "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" feature pot in their subplots. The off-Broadway play and "Vagina Monologues" spoof "The Marijuana Monologues" was a huge hit, and radio endlessly emits the reefer-steeped rhymes of hip-hop and rap.But the ubiquitous medium of TV is perhaps the most hallowed frontier for reefer to conquer.Marijuana activists are pleased, for the most part, with the new wave of onscreen pot smokers. Unlike the munchie-prone misfits of the past, many of today's TV tokers are taxpaying family folks with careers and brains. And marijuana isn't the focal point when it's featured. No one makes a big deal out of it."It's definitely coming around," said Stephen W. Dillon, an Indiana attorney as well as chairman of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "There's an increasing awareness that marijuana is not the killer drug, 'reefer madness' that was presented to the parents' generation in the '30s and '40s.""Reefer Madness," a 1936 propaganda film, portrayed pot as the ultimate evil in a time when drug commission head Harry J. Anslinger was militantly crusading against cannabis use. He no doubt would have been shocked -- shocked -- by Showtime's giddy musical send-up of the movie.Anslinger's bud-bashing reign may be history, but there are still anti-drug activists who are less than thrilled with pot's media moment.Gary Oetjen, assistant Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge of Kentucky and southern Ohio, doesn't have cable, but he is bothered by pot's growing presence in mainstream media."Do I think TV influences the younger generation? Absolutely. They're glamorizing the usage of it and these young kids believe they can get away with it. It's always a battle," he said. "It portrays a positive aspect when it should be nothing but negative. They're allowing (kids) to believe they can get away with this and cause no harm."Steve Dnistrian of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America expressed concern in USA Today that cannabis on cable will increase drug use among kids."These are trendsetting shows. They affect behavior and attitudes, particularly teens," he said in an interview with that newspaper. "When glamorization of drugs has climbed, changes in teen attitudes followed."Steve Bloom, editor of High Times magazine, sees the rise in marijuana content as part and parcel of a free TV land."These are premium cable shows, and they are not censored, and they do what they want," he said. "A lot of these shows are on at 9 o' clock or later. It's up to parents to really guide their kids; if they don't want them watching "Entourage," then tell them not to. You can't program TV around the wishes of anti-drug groups."In addition to Showtime and HBO, Comedy Central -- the only TV network to advertise in High Times, according to Bloom -- is also a bastion of bud. "Chappelle's Show" is rife with reefer references, and the subversives behind "South Park" regularly reinforce their proclivity for pot."It represents the TV industry mirroring what's happening in society," Bloom said. "A lot of the writers, directors and producers, probably a lot of them smoke marijuana, probably a lot of them deep down would like to see the laws changed, so they're pushing the envelope by including storylines with marijuana. They want to see it more normalized on TV, and that would hopefully usher in some slight change in society's view of marijuana."Local playwright Brian Walker, creator and star of the pro-legalization satire "Smoke This Play," which was performed earlier this month at Actors Theatre, is encouraged by the more sophisticated status of smoking in entertainment. If it's brought from the fringes to the forefront, he believes, major changes can be made."If you look at the whole gay issue, it started to become not such a big deal anymore when it was on TV, and Showtime and HBO started embracing the subject matter and the regular networks started embracing it," he said. "I think marijuana could sort of follow the same street. The people in entertainment really hold a lot of cards in their hands."In the 1980s and '90s, non-cable networks also wove pot into plots. On "Roseanne," Dan and Roseanne toked up in the bathroom after confiscating drugs from one of their kids, and on "Murphy Brown," Candice Bergen's title character smoked pot during her battle with breast cancer."Medical is the safe way to go when you're going to focus on marijuana," Bloom said, adding that 80 percent of Americans approve of medical marijuana use.But nobody expects the laws to shift immediately just because public opinion and TV's new ganja generation are showing pot in a new light."It's not surprising that even though marijuana is being portrayed more positively in the popular culture, that public officials have not yet caught up to public opinion," said Kris Krane, associate director of NORML.Even though the drug's image is getting an extreme makeover, there are still shows where weed is purely a punch line.Pot fumes have long filled the air of the Forman basement on "That '70s Show," and Towelie, "South Park's" terrycloth toker, remains an icon of inhaling."Who can forget Towelie? He's a funny character," Krane said. "We like Towelie."Note: Marijuana is hitting an all-time high on the small screen.Source: Courier-Journal, The (KY)Author: Tamara Ikenberg, The Courier-JournalPublished: Saturday, August 13, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Courier-JournalContact: cjletter courier-journal.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Showtime's Weeds Infested By 'Weeds' US Braced for Drugs & The Suburbs Wish TV Show Would Go Up in Smoke
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Comment #27 posted by runruff on August 14, 2005 at 16:46:42 PT:
Hey EJ!
I was just having a little fun. I don't mean to offend anybody. I'm not rich but I'm very happy. I hope you 
are too.
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on August 14, 2005 at 13:44:03 PT
EJ I'm Confused
I don't think anyone should be excluded. All I want to know is how will anyone afford a home soon. I can't believe the prices in real estate. 
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Comment #25 posted by E_Johnson on August 14, 2005 at 13:30:22 PT
Are you saying rich should LEAVE movement????
Omigosh, there are some very rich people funding our movement.So they should hang their heads in shame and run out the door, because the marijuana movement is now about open class warfare?Okay fine, whatever. Be careful what you wish for, that's all I have to say.
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on August 14, 2005 at 13:17:01 PT
We just watched a Moody Blues Concert today. Canadians should like NY's new album. A person from the Rust List was able to hear it before the public.
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Comment #23 posted by afterburner on August 14, 2005 at 13:00:07 PT
Meth Madness
I have noticed this past week a tremendous amount of fear and anger. I have been trying to figure out what caused it. All of a sudden, it hit me. People are mostly water. We carry an internal sea within us. We are all connected by the water we share. When a significant proportion of the public *poisons the well* by taking Meth (i.e., speed), it affects everyone. A climate of greed and selfishness influences and pressures all who come in contact with *speed freaks*! Look what happened in the Go-go 1980's with the influx of Columbian cocaine in high (no pun intended) places, business, entertainment and government.Evidence: CN BC: 'Meth Heads' Send Bicycle Thefts Sky High 13 Aug 2005 
Victoria Times-Colonist
"Police are still investigating to what extent the bicycles are being reassembled with different parts, painted and sold on the streets for drug money."poems written by Timothy Leary:
Please do not clutch at the Gossamer Web
"All in Heaven
and on Earth below
Is a crystal fabric...
Delicate Gossamer web
Grabbing hands shatter it
Watch closely this shimmering mosaic
Silent... Glide in harmony."The world needs to chill with some good weed.The Moody Blues - I'm Just A Singer excerpt:"How can we understand
Riots for the people by the people who are only destroying themselves
And if you see a frightened person who is frightened by the people
Who are (scorching) scorching this earth
(Scorching) scorching this earth"I keep on wandering on the face of this earth
Meeting so many people who are trying to be free
And while I wander I hear so many words
Language barriers broken now we've found the key"And if you want the wind of change to blow around you
And you can see exactly what to do
Please tell me
I'm Just a Singer in a Rock 'n' Roll Band"
The Moody Blues - I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock 'n' Roll Band) - Code HOT UK song
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on August 14, 2005 at 12:26:37 PT
That was good. Wealth is really all relative isn't it?
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Comment #21 posted by runruff on August 14, 2005 at 12:16:46 PT:
Being rich.
I too hate high profile consumption. For example. My wife and I settled for standard factory paint on our twin Porsche's instead of the custom colors. We even settled on
a 40 foot sailing yacht instead of the 50 footer we were looking at. We put mom up in the east wing instead of 
sending her to Waiting to Die Gardens and our little pedigree pups have never won best of show but we keep them anyway. Our gardeners do not have a degree in horticulture.
Our personal auto mechanic only has a degree from Oregon state instead of MIT but we're ok with that. Horst
did his post grad studies at Stutegard, Germany.
So just so you know there are those of us who are rich but still in touch with the provential life.Ta ta.Master Ruff 
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on August 14, 2005 at 08:25:27 PT
You said: These days, it is shameful to be rich. The rich know it, too.I agree with you. We decided to even build modestly. We could have put some extra things on our house that I would call ooh, awe things but we didn't want to do it. I am offended by excesses. I hope that we can get back to family, home cooking, that less is more as a way of living. 
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Comment #19 posted by goneposthole on August 14, 2005 at 08:07:21 PT
good food isn't at the grocery stores anymore
Fifty dollars worth of expensive Greek black olives here in the US are bought and paid for for fifteen dollars Cannadian at the Canadian Super Store in Regina, Saskatchewan. It pays to drive to Canada to buy groceries. Such is life in the US of A.By everything at sale prices. Housing? Pure bubble. No money in flipping houses anymore. Where to go? Oil market speculation! The oil market will hit a critical mass, too. At some point, people stop buying... everything. Everybody needs to eat, house themselves, and work. However, there a many ways to skin a cat. Who says we need cars? Bicycles can get you there at very little cost. You get into shape. You'll live longer!A good, solid economy has built-in low prices for goods and services with high profit potential. When that disappears, i.e. high prices for everything and wages that won't keep up, everybody is going to lose. All that can be done is to hang on for dear life, literally.What is out there now isn't in any shape or form 'capitalism.' It is predatory economics. It never works. These days, it is shameful to be rich. The rich know it, too. They just don't care. Those fools who are feeding consumerism will be learning a lesson the hard way.Reefer time is anytime.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on August 14, 2005 at 07:38:10 PT
I have been doing a lot of research into housing issues because of the work we are having done at our home. I have spent a lot of time checking out real estate prices in different areas of the United States. How will any young married couple ever afford a home of their own? If you can't buy your own home people are at the mercy of inflated rent. If we had put off this work much longer we wouldn't have been able to afford it. How are people ever going to afford to live comfortably anymore? I am not a doom and gloom type person but how will anyone make it soon? They keep increasing taxes on cigarettes and probably alcohol. We are taking pictures of the construction and we can see how everything is dead because of the drought. Is the drought causing crop failures anywhere other then my state? Will food prices go thru the roof. Are people concerned or am I just over reacting? 
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Comment #17 posted by goneposthole on August 14, 2005 at 07:09:13 PT
Nancy wants to preserve her lifestyle
with a cannabis business. Because, nothing else really works anymore.I spoke with a seventy-four year old German woman who left East Germany in 1955. In 1941, her family left Communist Russia near Odessa back to Stuttgart. Hitler allowed them to return and farm near that city. Nobody wanted to live under communism. Towards the end of the war, the Russians took over the eastern parts of Germany, as we all know. Her family lost everything. They took what few belongings they could, boarded a boxcar and fled to Austria. After arriving, they would scour gardens to find a few vegetables for something to eat. Nothing. "If only we had a few potatoes, we would be rich," she said. She also said that people were packed so tight inside of the boxcars that many babies died. After the war, they were allowed to return to East Germany to farm under communism. They were given ten acres of land. The communists issued them a piglet, she told me. After it had grown, they butchered it. They would preserve meat in cans with lard and then hide it out somewhere in the pasture. They would do the same with the lard itself. The Russian soldiers would always find it and take it. Poppies were illegal to grow. You didn't want to get caught growing poppies in East Germany, you would lose everything. Sound familiar? She said it made good oil and was highly desirable. Farmers would press the oil late at night with no lights to prevent being discovered. What analogous situation exists in the US similar to that? What do you think?She never said how she was able to leave East Germany, but in 1955, she arrived in the US. Anything to get by back then and there in East Germany, much like what Nancy Botwin does today.Reefer time. Have a nice Sunday in 'America,' anyway you know how.Cindy Sheehan is showing George Bush the way out; he's as lost as a puppy.
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Comment #16 posted by E_Johnson on August 13, 2005 at 21:59:47 PT
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
This is a sweet and funny and silly and beautiful and deep movie I'd like to recommend.Bill Murray plays a famous oceanographer named Steve Zissou, who is hunting for the legendary Jaguar Shark he believes ate his seagoing partner and mentor Esteban.His character casually pulls a joint out and puffs on it in all kinds of situations. Just like it's normal.The soundtrack consists largely of David Bowie songs sung in Portuguese by a Brazilian man playing an acoustic guitar.
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Comment #15 posted by runderwo on August 13, 2005 at 21:41:23 PT
Wow, that was a great article from the NY Times. Why can't we get more press like that?
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on August 13, 2005 at 20:33:34 PT
That's what I wanted to know. I wasn't sure other then about Anne Frank how extensive the war was there. I know that Corrie Ten Boom helped the Jews hide but I wasn't sure if it was in Amsterdam. I didn't know how far reaching the war went since I have never been outside the United States and we didn't learn anything about the horrors of that war in catholic school. I have a theory. The more a country and people suffer the more tolerant they will become. I think people who live in countries that have seen devastation learn not to provoke wars by being judgmental. 
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Comment #13 posted by BGreen on August 13, 2005 at 20:20:34 PT
I think there's a seven year wait to get a firearm. No, there's not a lot of guns.The war was so terrible it's really unimaginable. The Germans enslaved the Jews and starved the rest. The Dutch are now the tallest people in the world, but the older people are much shorter because of the rampant starvation under the German occupation.Some cities like Rotterdam were almost completely destroyed, along with a couple of thousand years of history.There are places all around Amsterdam where atrocities happened to innocent people and it makes me very sad.It is in some ways a good thing, though, because it's one of the reasons the Dutch are so tolerant of people and things that don't hurt other people.If the american idiots who gave us cannabis prohibition, bush, $2.50 per gallon (and rising) gas and a war started by lies ever had a war on their streets they'd probably be a little more tolerant and a little less hostile.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on August 13, 2005 at 19:58:53 PT
I remember that picture! 
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on August 13, 2005 at 19:55:36 PT
I'm not sure about what makes Amsterdam tick but I believe it must be more then one thing. Are they allowed to have guns? I don't think they are allowed but that is a guess. This is probably a stupid question but here goes. How bad was the war in Amsterdam? I know about Anne Frank but was this easy going culture born because of the horrors they saw in the past? 
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Comment #10 posted by goneposthole on August 13, 2005 at 19:48:24 PT
a bit off topic
Elvis Presley died 28 years ago on the sixteenth of August, 1977.He was named a 'Federal Agent-at-large' after meeting with Richard Nixon. On the day of the meeting, Elvis was supposedly higher than a kite.He looks high to me.Here's another picture: time
Nixon meets Elvis
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Comment #9 posted by BGreen on August 13, 2005 at 19:41:54 PT
They removed all references to liking it
In the commercial they showed last week, Faythallegra said she really liked the music and vibe in the Dampkring, and they showed the resident cat that I also snapped a picture of when I was there.I guess the drug czar was able to apply a little pressure to remove any instance of them actually enjoying themselves.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on August 13, 2005 at 18:48:38 PT
Thank you I'll turn it on! 
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Comment #7 posted by BGreen on August 13, 2005 at 18:32:45 PT
Satellite channels
Dishnet channel 215DirectTV channel 277
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Comment #6 posted by BGreen on August 13, 2005 at 18:24:11 PT
Heads up on a great TV show
In 30 minutes on the Travel Channel at 10 P.M. eastern time is a show called Five Takes Europe, where five young film makers are going to different cities in Europe each week, and this week they're in Amsterdam.The commercial shows them in a coffeshop in Amsterdam called de Dampkring, a superb coffeeshop where they filmed a scene from the movie, Oceans Twelve.One of the women comments on the great music and great vibe, and that's exactly what I've talked about.This is another chance to see cannabis and coffeeshops presented truthfully on american TV, and I'd recommend everybody with cable or satellite TV tune in.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #5 posted by ekim on August 13, 2005 at 17:53:51 PT
Merc"Let me be the light that shines on the American gulag," 
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Comment #4 posted by E_Johnson on August 13, 2005 at 11:38:46 PT
mayan I'm not so enthused
"I'm still waiting for the next Cheech & Chong movie as nobody can top the old pro's."Personally, I think their movies made marijuana users look like a bunch of brain dead hedonists, and helped promote the negative stereotypes we are struggling to eradicate today.
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Comment #3 posted by Had Enough on August 13, 2005 at 08:36:40 PT
Off Topic
This has nothing to do with the article but thought it was interesting
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on August 13, 2005 at 07:16:22 PT
Some faces I enjoyed looking at...
(except for Ventura's of course. No one wants to look at that face (or head) very long.)
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on August 13, 2005 at 06:51:01 PT
Swollen Ranks
Cannabis is truly making it's way into the mainstream but I sense that this is only the beginning! I'm still waiting for the next Cheech & Chong movie as nobody can top the old pro's. Anyone who supports the caging of cannabis users must be very lonely these days. Our numbers swell each and every day as the numbers of the prohibitionists shrink. The pathetic prohibitionists will soon have to forfeit for lack of players! I guess they can always clone Joyce. What an unpleasant thought! THE WAY OUT...C-SPAN will be broadcasting the entirety of the McKinney congressional briefing on 9/11: THE 9/11 MEDIA BLACKOUT -- March in NYC on Sept. 11, 2005: Scans of Major 9/11 Article in Daily Mail: 
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