Phelps, Pot, Power and Puritans

February 9, 2009
By

This past week, Michael Phelps received a crash course in hypocrisy and the black hole of American Puritanism that just keeps sucking us back into the past century. Outed by a cell phone pic showing him apparently filling his aqua lungs with a little cannabis haze, Mr. Olympic 2008 was forced to acknowledge he had “acted in a youthful and inappropriate way”.

Timeline:

January 31, 2009
A British tabloid News of the World publishes a cell phone pic showing what appears to be Mr. Olympic 2008 taking a hit off a bong.

Gotcha

February 1, 2009
Phelps issues the following statement:
“I engaged in behaviour which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again,”

Apology

February 3, 2009
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott realizes his “fifteen minutes” is fast fleeting grabs for ink saying he will charge Phelps criminally if he did it in “his county”. (I thought The Dukes of Hazzard was canceled?) “This case is no different than any other case,” Lott said Monday. “This one might be a lot easier since we have photographs of someone using drugs and a partial confession. It’s a relatively easy case once we can determine where the crime occurred.”

“Roscoe” Lott

February 5, 2009
USA Swimming hands down a 3 months suspension and Kellogg’s tucks its tail and runs from his contract faster than a coon dog on scent. (Never mind that Kellogg’s had no problem with his DUI)

Spanky Spanky

February 6, 2009
In typical NYTimes fashion, George Vecsey gurgitates some pius tripe about how he (Phelps) should be doing community service or whatever rather than being supspended.

How DARE He

And then FINALLY, in the first sign of sanity in a week of lunacy, Subway decides to stay with Phelps. While putting him on the back burner for the short term, the fact they stayed with him for the long term means I’ll be eating an extra SubWay now and then. (Just my way to say thanks SubWay for doing the right thing.)

SubWay Substance

For all the hoopla about “individual rights”, “minority rights”, “civil rights”, “animal rights”, “gender rights”, etc, and for all the “progress” we’ve made, the sad truth is Americans still do not have the right to toke a dooby or plant some hemp.

What many may not realize is that marijuana as evil and illegal is a concept purely American and with a history only back to the past century. The details are many but our current laws trace back to the usual sources: an ambitious bureaucrat (Henry Anslinger) and an opportunistic capitalist (William Randolph Hearst). It was a perfect match, Hearst sold more papers, Anslinger accumulated more power. And now 70 years later we pour billions of tax dollars into what has become not much more than a job security program for an industrialized law enforcement complex.

A “Hit” of Reality

Because of that compact between devils those years past a young man of astounding ability and accomplishment is losing millions of endorsement dollars and being fed to the media sharks. He’s forced to apologize for behavior that for the first 6,900 years of human history wasn’t even an issue. And all of it because of nothing more than our current state of societal hypocrisy where we find alcohol acceptable but pot taboo.

Perhaps someday this country will come to its senses and realize the profits and benefits that would come from reform but until then I apologize to you Michael for our ignorance. As you endure the coming weeks and months, hold your head high (no pun intended), walk tall, and know that tens of millions in the silent majority wish you well.

Oh and one last thing Michael, don’t bogart man.

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