The Onion's lead story
March 26, 2002 11:35 PM   Subscribe

The Onion's lead story this week is about as succinct an indictment of the drug war as you can get. "If you are paying taxes and keeping your yard tidy, we're not going to hassle you if you come home from a hard day of work and want to enjoy a little pot or blow. But if, on the other hand, you're one of these lazy, shiftless types hanging out on the street all day looking for your next high, we're coming after you."
posted by McBain (18 comments total)
I know most of you guys read the Onion, but since we have been talking about the drug war and Ashcroft a lot, I wanted people to notice this. It seems like harmless humor, but I think it is a little deeper than that.
posted by McBain at 11:37 PM on March 26, 2002

i agree with you McBain, it IS deeper... but, ultimately, it's already the truth of the situation. it's much easier to incarcerate the guy who cannot afford a legal team to keep his ass out of jail for a simple possession charge. there's no need to "narrow the focus," as humorous as that point was... the economics of the situation already determine who's gonna serve time and who'll take a walk...

why do you think jay-z is always talking about the importance of being able to afford legal fees?
posted by gangcandy at 11:48 PM on March 26, 2002

An Onion link! This is like coming upon a dodo in the woods. You thought they had been beaten to death, but you turn around and there's this big, clumsy, amusing bird looking at you and trying very hard not to look edible.
posted by pracowity at 11:51 PM on March 26, 2002

I'm not buying that as an indictment of the drug war. Its a funny comedy piece, but it plays a little too heavily on the race/minority card which is an issue larger than the war on drugs. Even if I ignore the stereotype of the welfare guy on crack, its still pretty far out there and from what I can tell just satire.

Drug offenders come in many flavors, from the hempheaded kid down the block, the yuppie with two kids, the college student, the manual laborer, the closeted types that no one suspects of doing anything illegal, etc. There's the larger issue of selective arrests, profiling, justice, etc in regards to the poor but we've gone over that a million times and this onion piece really doesn't go into that at all.
posted by skallas at 11:55 PM on March 26, 2002

Yeah, yeah, I know an Onion link. Sorry, links on MeFi have sucked all around lately in my opinion.

skallas- Yes the larger issue is selective arrests and that is exactly the point of the satire.
posted by McBain at 12:11 AM on March 27, 2002

Sorry, links on MeFi have sucked all around lately in my opinion.

They've sucked so bad you decided to pull out the old tried and true Onion miracle? I don't think you understand what Metafilter is about then. I've gotten plenty of information off this site 'lately'. The Onion's easy, in other words. As are The Guardian and the Washignton Post.

But I hear you. I really wanted to post this article last week. And held off. That one is quintessentially Onion Deep.
posted by crasspastor at 12:28 AM on March 27, 2002

skallas- Yes the larger issue is selective arrests and that is exactly the point of the satire.

Actually the author focuses on "employment" more than anything which is part of the joke. Of course there are nuggets of truth and you can easily turn this into a springboard for just about anything, but as an article its piss poor on content and I've seen much better war on drug satire. Don't let me get in the way of your projections.
posted by skallas at 12:51 AM on March 27, 2002

I've tried to come up with something pithy and amusing to say, but I'm too tanked up on 'ludes to think and I've gotta go look for a job tomorrow. Wait, someone's at the door...
posted by RylandDotNet at 1:36 AM on March 27, 2002

It reminds me of the Chris Morris/ Brass Eye drugs episode, where he says something along the lines of: "I'm taking heroin. Fortunately I'm educated, middle-class and white. But if I was a builder or a black..."

Skallas, you say "Drug offenders come in many flavors", but I don't agree. Where I come from, drug takers come in many flavours, but mostly it's the poor ones and the black ones who get hassled by the police, sentenced and termed "offenders". I'm not saying it's right, but it's the way it is.
posted by skylar at 1:43 AM on March 27, 2002

Where I come from, drug takers come in many flavours, but mostly it's the poor ones and the black ones who get hassled by the police, sentenced and termed "offenders".

Oh agreed and as you can see from my first post I tried to make the point that economic class are bigger problems than the war on drugs and the w.o.d.'s incarceration rates are a symptom of that larger problem. Conversely, I remember watching an episode of P.I. where Mahler reads some statistics about drug abuse being bigger in the suburbs than in the urban areas and no one on the show believing him.

What I was taking issue with was how employment status is not a deep insight into this problem as many drug offenders do hold a job. The irony of the onion piece is that if all drugs were used the way as suggested then a lot of people ignorant about proper drug use and its effects would quickly find themselves just as unemployed.

I think there's a lot of projection on this article that isn't warranted. If McBain posted this as a springboard to go over the the common criticisms on the w.o.d. then fine, but I'm not pretending this onion piece is very deep, informative, or more cutting and sarcastic than their usual articles.
posted by skallas at 2:11 AM on March 27, 2002

For another, humorous take on the subject, check out Mark Fiore's animation from the SF Chronicle, "Just Say Go."
posted by martk at 6:06 AM on March 27, 2002

Oh, man... I'm so high right now... I have no idea what's going on.
posted by uftheory at 7:58 AM on March 27, 2002

Sorry, links on MeFi have sucked all around lately in my opinion.

That's ironic. Usually, it's the discussion that sucks.
posted by ratbastard at 9:23 AM on March 27, 2002

I honestly don't think the links or the discussion has sucked lately. That seems to be more "there goes the neighboorhood.." . Things are just evolving is all. There have been some lame links lately, but we've had an influx of newbies recently. Some are mouthbreathers, but others like iconomy,yhbc and evanizer are excellent, it'll all get sorted out over time.

Also, I gotta agree with skallas here, the Onion has done better work. It's funny, but not fantastic.
posted by jonmc at 9:46 AM on March 27, 2002

This is The Onion at its lamest. Lots of people do issues-based satire as well or better. This story might have appeared in any alternative newspaper in the country. Where The Onion excels is in the unexpected absurd, the kind of context-wrenching dislocation of subject and media that can't be duplicated in stand-up, movies, or conventional alternative journalism.
posted by Faze at 11:25 AM on March 27, 2002

Ok, never again. Every MeFi gets their Onion/Salon/WashingtonPost/Guardian get out of jail free card.

I knew the reaction going in. So I was asking for it.
posted by McBain at 12:40 PM on March 27, 2002

crasspastor: I mentioned in a previous thread, one about this (in my view too editorial-like) Bush humor piece, that I thought good satire needs a little something over-the-top. It needs that little something extra, to be more precise, that shows you the authors were delirious when writing the thing. Anyhow, the "bye" - all by itself - in the Dell piece did it for me. (How often would you read someone saying, "Bye," in a newspaper quote anyway, especially from a stockholder's meeting?)
posted by raysmj at 12:56 PM on March 27, 2002

Here's a recent op-ed piece from a think tank close to the UK government, arguing precisely the viewpoint that the Onion article is satirising, that government should ignore recreational drug use in the mainstream population and concentrate on getting 'problematic' users 'back into the structure provided by work':

'What do we do when the drugs war stops?' (Observer)
posted by Owen Boswarva at 2:52 PM on March 27, 2002

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