David Brooks is down to seeds and stems

The Baltimore Sun

You might start to wonder what they're smoking at The New York Times this year. 

First, Nicholas Kristof writes a self-indulgent and widely ridiculed column about dropping the middle initial from his byline. (I joined in.) If the action was intended to avoid the appearance of priggish self-satisfaction, the column merely reinforced it. 

Now, in the second shocker in as many days, David Brooks reveals that he smoked some weed as a teenager. This, too, has been so widely mocked on Facebook and Twitter that I decided to have a look. What is most interesting is what he didn't say. 

What he did say, a precis: He and some pals smoked dope a little. He did some foolish things. He and most of his friends grew out of it. He thinks it should be illegal, because legalizing recreational use of marijuana, as Colorado has done, essentially gives moral approval to an action. 

The things he lists as dangers of using marijuana, that you can do foolish things, that driving under the influence is dangerous, that you can become addicted, are the same as the dangers of drinking, though he does not mention alcohol at all. Of course, if he did, he would have to write about Prohibition and explain away all the parallels. 

But the one big thing that he never mentions is Privilege.

Indulging in pot, though illegal, was OK for him and his friends, because they were responsible kids, kids who were going to school, who would go to college, kids of the Right Sort for whom a little law-breaking was, you know, Innocent Boyish Fun.

But we have to maintain our moral and legal disapproval to keep the stuff from the Wrong Sort. I think we know who falls into that category.

Imagine what The Times might bring us tomorrow. 


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