Saturday, February 07, 2009

Michael Phelps Has No Business Apologizing for Taking Bong Hits

From AlterNet:

Plastered all over the Internet right now is a photo of Michael Phelps smoking marijuana out of a bong. Phelps put out a statement saying that he acted in a youthful and inappropriate way and promises it won't happen again. Different people are weighing in on the possible impact of this photo on the gold medalist's $100 million endorsement deals.

Here are a few of my observations on Phelps' bong hits.

Click here to read those observations.

And they're good observations. Here are a couple of mine.

First off, since this essay was written, Phelps has been suspended from international sports for three months, despite the fact, if ESPN's scrolling line at the bottom of the TV screen can be trusted, that smoking pot in the off-season is not considered, by whatever controlling body decides these things, to be the same as taking performance enhancing drugs, and is therefore not a violation of policy. So his punishment is itself a violation of rules. Figures. Also, Phelps lost his contract endorsing Kellog's breakfast cereals. Also figures.

This is all bullshit.

I mean, okay, smoking pot continues to be illegal, but it's bad law, especially when compared to alcohol and tobacco laws. And in this era when Presidents routinely torture people, spy on law-abiding citizens, and purposely violate the Constitution, and when top business leaders rip off their clients, and when Congressmen solicit gay sex in airport men's rooms, store sacks of bribery cash in their freezers, don't pay taxes, and on and on and on, the sacred nature of THE LAW seems a bit absurd.

Phelps really does have nothing to apologize for. Indeed, if he weren't such a douchebag dude, he might have had the wherewithal to say something like this:

Yeah sure, I smoked pot. So what? I wasn't smoking crack. I wasn't shooting horse. I wasn't even drinking or smoking cigarettes. It was just a few bong hits. You think that's bad? Think it's wrong? Well fuck you. Fuck you all. Fuck all you self-righteous cops who bust stoners and lecture them about being "criminals." Fuck all you cops associated with the now discredited DARE program. Fuck all you authoritarian teachers and parents who freak out over something that's relatively harmless and culturally normal. Fuck all you addiction "experts" who have gotten rich "treating" marijuana "addiction." Fuck the totally corrupt multi-billion dollar addiction and anti-drug industries. Fuck all you reporters who refuse to tell the truth, who act as stenographers for politicians and cops seeking political points by piling on pot smokers and others who really are addicts and need medical help. Fuck all politicians for refusing to break with the anti-drug political rhetoric mandate.

Think I'm being harsh? Don't like my use of the F-word? Well, fuck you. People needlessly go to prison for this shit. Lives are ruined. Hundreds of billions of dollars are fucking wasted year in and year out. This is madness. Fuck you all.

I'm gonna go get high.
Of course, like I said, Phelps is a douchebag, and incapable of rhetorically striking out in such a way. I mean, he's a great swimmer and all, but waaay too much of a dude to be able to articulate these ideas. And the poor guy's completely scared shitless, obviously in no mood to defend himself. I mean, I imagine his apology in no way represents some kind of philosophical transformation: he's babbling "I'm sorry" because the whole fucking anti-drug establishment has come down on him hard.

And maybe that's the biggest tragedy of all here. Whether you think pot smoking is okay or not, society's favorite anti-drug tactic is humiliation, bullying, dog-piling. And that's horrifying.