Explosion of Outrage Over Phelps and Marijuana 

  Explosion of Outrage Over Phelps and Marijuana 

Posted by CN Staff on February 16, 2009 at 07:01:11 PT
By David Sirota, Syndicated Columnist 
Source: Seattle Times 

USA -- Michael Phelps gets caught smoking weed and American media go into high gear with fake outrage. What's even more inane than our irrational reefer madness is our addiction to the same high that every pothead craves: the high of escapism for the real problems we face.I'm not sure if it's because we're strung out on "Lost" episodes, or if it's because we're still suffering from a post-9/11 stress disorder that makes us crave "breaking news" alerts, or if it's because the economy has turned us into distraction junkies. But one thing is painfully obvious after Michael Phelps' marijuana "scandal" erupted last week: Our society is addicted to fake outrage — and to break our dependence, we're going to need far more potent medicine than the herb Phelps was smoking.
If you haven't heard (and I'm guessing you have), the Olympic gold medalist was recently photographed taking a toke of weed. The moment the picture hit the Internet, the media blew the story up, pumping out at least 1,200 dispatches about the "controversy," according to my LexisNexis search. Phelps' sponsors subsequently threatened to pull their endorsement deals, and USA Swimming suspended him for "disappointing so many people."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 Sixpack — is named for his love of shotguning 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.).So, in the interest of a little taboo candor, I'm just going to throw editorial caution to the wind and write what lots of us thought — but were afraid to say — when we heard about Phelps. Ready? Here goes: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).That said, what's even more inane than our irrational reefer madness is our addiction to the same high that every pothead craves: the high of escapism. Nerves fried from orange terror warnings, Drudge Report sirens and disaster capitalism's roller-coaster economics, our narcotic of choice is fake outrage — and it packs a punch. It gets us to turn on the television, tune in to the latest manufactured drama, and drop out of the real battle for the republic's future.Complete Title: Explosion of Outrage Over Phelps and Marijuana Says a Lot About America's Idiotic Drug PoliciesCopyright: 2009 Creators Syndicate, Inc.David Sirota is a fellow at the Campaign for America's Future. Find his blog at: or e-mail him at:  ds davidsirota.comSource: Seattle Times (WA)Author:  David Sirota, Syndicated ColumnistPublished:  Monday, February 16, 2009 Copyright: 2009 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: Articles:Stop The Reefer Madness! Ban Should Go Up In Smoke

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Comment #19 posted by Hope on February 17, 2009 at 12:47:28 PT
Sorry about you losing your grandmother. I'm angry, too, and outraged that our government has conspired to keep us from studying and reaping the benefits of the cannabis plant. I'm glad we have another C-News reader and commenter though. Welcome.
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Comment #18 posted by pottalktv on February 17, 2009 at 07:03:09 PT:
We'll stand up for him no matter what
Pot Talk TV cares about how this effects the media. The out look. So we plan to launch a bycott against Kelloge. We plan to show a video of us empting Kelloge cerial boxes into what looks like a giant bowl. When we pull back we reveil that its really a garbage can. "No more Milk."
Got "No more Milk"
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Comment #17 posted by John Tyler on February 16, 2009 at 21:11:48 PT
pick up the tab
I like Phelps. I was saddened to see him denounce himself as if he was in some totalitarian country psychodrama show trial. I’m glad he won’t be charged. The other eight kids are already starting to get a legal “screw job”. Phelps’ fame has brought this down on them. If he wants to be an upstanding guy and fix this, he should at least pick up the tab for all of their legal expenses. I mean get some high-powered legal talent and blow the local prosecutors out of the water. (He can afford it easily as he makes millions of dollars a year.) That would be great PR.Welcome to the shelter knightshade. Sorry to hear about your grandmother’s passing. I lost my mother to lung cancer eight years ago. She was 76.
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Comment #16 posted by The GCW on February 16, 2009 at 18:56:14 PT
The message.
I'm less concerned about Phelps and more concerned about the other 8.The message is that if 9 people are confronted about cannabis issues, the highly public athlete winner gets off, everyone else is treated the same.And it seems part of the reason the other 8 get confronted, some with guns drawn, is because the one who is in the position to help end the farce chooses mammon instead.Sorry Phelps is a sell out, because He could still have the mammon and lead the planet in the right direction and perhaps feel better about that accomplishment than the win of swimming fast.Swimming medals do not change the world.Speaking up for the truth does.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on February 16, 2009 at 13:44:01 PT
News Article From Raw Story
Pot Charges Against Olympian Phelps Go Up in SmokeStephen C. WebsterPublished: Monday February 16, 2009  
 The investigation into Olympian Michael Phelps' bong rip has officially smoked out.The most decorated Olympic athlete in history will not face criminal charges after being photographed smoking out of a water-pipe many claim contained marijuana. The Sheriff pursuing Phelps' case, South Carolina officer Leon Lott, announced the investigation's end Monday afternoon at a nationally-televised press conference.After making eight arrests and promising to follow-up on possible legal penalties for Phelps, speculation on and criticism of Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff Leon Lott has run rampant over the airwaves. "I think they should leave him the f--k alone," writer and comedian Mario Cantone told New York Magazine. "I think it’s appalling, I think that that sheriff is like that guy that Dom DeLuise played in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, you know, he’s just not stopping and he’s trying to arrest everybody."Luckily for Phelps, that's not the case.Complete Article:
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on February 16, 2009 at 13:21:47 PT
Number 7
It's nice to see you. Thank you and that's good news. I didn't think it would happen. It's just a picture and no evidence really. 
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Comment #13 posted by Number 7 on February 16, 2009 at 13:17:26 PT
Phelps not to be charged.
I haven't posted here in years but thougt this article would be of some value.
Phelps not to be charged
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on February 16, 2009 at 13:05:22 PT
I was putting some songs together to make a cd and I put this song on it and it made me smile. This is the zone I have been in with a little humor recently. LOL!Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on February 16, 2009 at 12:48:54 PT
Video: Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
The Whole Michael Phelps Controversy - 02/02/09Should Michael Phelps apologize for being photographed with a bong? Craig thinks not.Free | CBS Length : 08:33Posted : 2/3/2009play video
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Comment #10 posted by MarijuanaSavesLives on February 16, 2009 at 11:33:55 PT
Hugs To kigntshade
Big hugs to you my friend. Hope your doing ok. Keep your head up and keep up the good fight. We are really sorry for your loss. I believe Grandma is here for you just like Obe One and Yoda was for Luke.
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Comment #9 posted by HempWorld on February 16, 2009 at 09:43:34 PT
Thanks guys! Lots of good energy here!
Thanks for the good vibes on CNews this morning.And, for the 1st time ever, while I fear the worst economic recession or depression, I'm starting to feel positive about the hopes for US drug policy reform, etc.I see a quantum shift taking place right now and we owe it to some many things and people, Michael Phelps is definitely one of them. Thanks Michael! He has helped our case tremendously as have an increased cancer rate and other factors.Take care everyone!
On a mission from God!
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Comment #8 posted by knightshade on February 16, 2009 at 09:35:10 PT:
thank you so much
it means a lot to me to have people hear me right now.all of my positive energy and hope is still there. but my anger and frustration comes from being dissapointed with close-mindedness, counter-productivity, and hard-headedness.i have a tattoo of a black heart on my chest and a quote that says 'I feel alive when I hate, it only hurts to love' and that statement means a lot to me. especially because i know how to use the hate as fuel to bring liveliness to the love.and what i mean by that is, granny lost the battle but i can still contribute to the war effort!Sargeant Knightshade REPORTING, SIR!
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on February 16, 2009 at 09:15:39 PT

They are. For me personally the word anger has been how conservatives have attacked us so I avoid the word anger or like the article mentions we are reacting instead of focusing on how to change the law. Maybe it's a woman thing for me. I don't know.Don't let them get your goat. I remember something like that from when I was young.
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Comment #6 posted by BGreen on February 16, 2009 at 09:10:21 PT

The two are synonymous
I don't mean an anger that resembles rage, I mean the type of feeling that moves us to act when we witness an injustice. My anger resembles exasperation, indignation, outrage and passion.The Reverend Bud Green*********************************************************** synonyms: acrimony, animosity, annoyance, antagonism, blow up*, cat fit, chagrin, choler, conniption, dander*, disapprobation, displeasure, distemper, enmity, exasperation, fury, gall, hatred, hissy fit, huff, ill humor, ill temper, impatience, indignation, infuriation, irascibility, ire, irritability, irritation, mad, miff, outrage, passion, peevishness, petulance, pique, rage, rankling, resentment, slow burn, soreness, stew, storm, tantrum, temper, tiff, umbrage, vexation, violence
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Comment #5 posted by 420ned on February 16, 2009 at 08:56:52 PT

the article
VERY VERY VERY well put....couldn't have written it better myself.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 16, 2009 at 08:54:03 PT

I don't know what the difference is between anger and indignation but I am not angry. 
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Comment #3 posted by BGreen on February 16, 2009 at 08:45:52 PT

I share your anger, knightshade
That's why we're here. We're angry, too. We just try to channel the anger into good energy to try and change the laws.I'm so sorry about your loss.You can hang around and grieve with us, then you can stick around and become part of our family.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 16, 2009 at 08:27:06 PT

I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm glad you felt you could vent here.
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Comment #1 posted by knightshade on February 16, 2009 at 08:19:31 PT:

GENUINE outrage
last night, at about 920pm, my grandmother Lillian passed away at age 74 from lung cancer. it was the same day in 2002 that her husband past.and i am EXTREMELY BITTER AND OUTRAGED... no... ENRAGED... that the research and reform required to save her life or at least make her more comfortable in her last days was not started years before now. if it was, she could be cancer-free or in much less pain right now, but most importantly and most likely, still alive. its wicked, evil, diabolical, and downright TERRORISM by their own definition, to keep cannabis from us any longer.this is the only place i have to vent right now. thank you for reading. RIP Granny
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