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Reefer Madness encouraged at New York Times Book Review

With an bizarrely titled review of Julie Myerson’s book “The Lost Child: A Mother’s Story,” Dominique Browning descends into the depths of the real Reefer Madness herself.

Browning tells us that the book shows how the author

…was finally forced to throw her eldest son out of the house — and change the locks — when his cannabis habit so deranged him that he became physically violent. He was 17 years old.

Browning also decides to tell us herself, as supposed reviewer of a book, how dangerous this stuff is

Even as stronger varieties are being bred and marketed, medical research is linking cannabis use to behavioral and cognitive changes reminiscent of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and anxiety disorder. And yet we find ourselves arguing about whether pot is addictive or a gateway drug or should be legalized. We are collectively losing our minds. “The Lost Child” is a cry for help and a plea for a clear acknowledgment of the toll this drug is taking on our children.

Reefer Madness, indeed. This is nonsense from a book reviewer who knows nothing about the subject, and who, apparently, also knows nothing about the book.

Fortunately, Maia Szalavitz is on hand to do another outstanding job, this time with a scathing review of the reviewer.

“The Lost Child” purports to tell the story of a mother struggling with her son’s harrowing marijuana addiction; but — and readers of the review aren’t made aware of this – the son has claimed that his mother’s story is false. His revelations have stirred furious debate in Britain and considerable criticism for the author, a noted novelist and journalist, who has been accused of being addicted to using her own family for copy.

As t he antagonist in the story, Myerson’s son, Jake, told the Daily Mail:

“I was just a very confused, unhappy teenager who was too young to know who he was and the cannabis all became tied in with normal teenage rebellion… My mother talks about losing her little boy, but what mother doesn’t lose her baby at some point? It’s called puberty.”

[…]

Surely a review of the book should have at least noted his protest—and perhaps, the fact that he has now changed his name as a result of the book, and that his mother came in for widespread oppobrium in the British media, both from critics and people posting comments on the news articles? And surely this controversy should have raised some element of caution in seeing Jake’s story as a policy prescription for teenage drug addiction?

No kidding.

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5 comments to Reefer Madness encouraged at New York Times Book Review

  • Nick Zentor

    “I was just a very confused, unhappy teenager who was too young to know who he was and the cannabis all became tied in with normal teenage rebellion… My mother talks about losing her little boy, but what mother doesn’t lose her baby at some point? It’s called puberty.”

    Exactly! This is extremely reminiscent of many of the mothers who supported the “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign escalated by the Reagans and Bushs in the early 80s. They were all too dumb to recognize simple adolescent psychology and typical teenage rebellious attitudes towards authority, so they blamed it all on cannabis, which was the most popular drug at the time.

    Suddenly, cannabis was the gateway drug to harder drugs and so demonized, it became much more difficult to find and cocaine turned into the next best thing to cigarettes and alcohol. Nice going, American Moms! (And, apparently, many Brit moms too!) The DEA loves you!

  • Carlyle Moulton

    That the potency of marijuana is increasing seems believable to me. An inevitable consequence of prohibition is that traders in the prohibited commodity try to increase the ratio of effectiveness to size to make smuggling more effective. During prohibition spirits displaced beer and it makes sense for marijuana smugglers to increase the THC concentration if they can.

    Rational people should applaud the increasing strength as users need smoke a less for the desired effect thus doing less damage to their lungs.

  • kaptinemo

    Nick, you could say the return of ‘reefer madness’ as national policy was symptomatic of the times: the rise of authoritarianism after a brief ‘liberalization’ of society thanks to the fallout of social unrest from the Viet Nam War.

    It wasn’t that the control freak ‘parents movement’ didn’t recognize the usual rebelliousness of youth; on the contrary. This was a pure power play on their part, nothing more. But, if you read Dam Baum’s Smoke and Mirrors, you learn how the naive leaders of the ‘parents movement’ got rolled by sharp-eyed opportunistic bureaucrats like Carlton Turner and used as astroturfers (i.e. in lobbying for random drug testing) for the future featherbedding of such bureaucrats when they jumped to the DrugWar servicing companies they helped create with their ‘public service’.

    While the kids toked, anyway…and laughed behind their hands at their anal ‘concerned parents’. Who only wound up making things vastly worse with their arrogance and ignorance.

  • kaptinemo

    It should also be pointed out that the kinds of illicit drugs available back then were much more limited than they are now; the 1980’s-onward escalation of the DrugWar brought us crack, meth, ‘cheese’, etc. All because some anal-retentive parents wanted to ride herd on their childrens’ every move and make sure their lungs were never tainted with THC, the absolute least destructive drug in the world. Some success story, huh?

  • DavidST

    I read this from a commenter’s link yesterday. It makes a lot more sense now thanks to your additional research Pete. I almost wrote the author of the NYT article a letter, but I gave up since I had to get back to work.