Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday afternoon TV watching

A few weeks ago, I noticed that Reefer Madness was coming on IFC. I went ahead and recorded it on the DVR, and finally got to watch it today. Wow.

From the Forward:
Marihuana is that drug – a violent narcotic – un unspeakable scourge – The Real Public Enemy Number One!
Its first effect is sudden, violent, uncontrollable laughter; then come dangerous hallucinations – space expands – time slows down, almost stands still …. fixed ideas come next, conjuring up monstrous extravagances – followed by emotional disturbances, the total inability to direct thoughts, the loss of all power to resist physical emotions … leading finally to acts of shocking violence … ending often in incurable insanity.
In picturing its soul-destroying effects no attempt was made to equivocate. The scenes and incidents, while fictionized for the purposes of this story, are based upon actual research into the results of Marihuana addiction.
If their stark reality will make you think, will make you aware that something must be done to wipe out this ghastly menace, then the picture will not have failed in its purpose ….
Because the dread Marihuana may be reaching forth next for your son or daughter …. or yours …. or YOURS!
[emphasis in original]

It is described later as a narcotic “more vicious, more deadly, than even [the] soul-destroying drugs” opium, morphine, and heroin.

Oh, and then there’s the modern irony of a movie made solely to scare people about smoking marijuana while almost everyone is the movie is smoking cigarettes; there’s even a Philip Morris ad in the background of one scene.

It is pretty neat, though, to see that the federal government actually stuck with its constitutional limitations at one time. A high school principal concerned about the “marihuana” addiction among his students goes to see someone at the FBI in the Department of Narcotics. “You people in the government have got to find a way to put an end to it.”
To which the FBI man replies, “Of course I agree with you, Dr. Carroll, but do you realize that marihuana is not like other forms of dope? You see, it grows wild in almost every state in the union. Therefore, there is practically no interstate commerce in the drug. As a result, the government’s hands are tied.” [emphasis mine]

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching this propaganda. Even outside of the ridiculous message, it’s a really horrible movie, but it is an enlightening view into the early years of our “War on Drugs”.

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