Cognition & Reality

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Marijuana: The Point-Shaving Drug

Filed under: Cannabis,Date Rape Drugs,Sports — drtone @ 12:00 pm

They’re not just date rape drugs any more.

In an interview I’m watching about a point-shaving scandal involving players for the University of San Diego and UC, Riverside, once attended by yours truly, the NCAA’s point person for enforcement answered a question about how they investigate such allegations with a nod toward “our contacts with Vegas.” In other words, she does not have any problem consorting with gamblers. The real problem with point shaving is not that it changes who wins basketball games, which it need not. The real problem is that it fucks up the point spread, which hurts gamblers. Consequently, this scandal is not about “the integrity of the game,” as the NCAA rep calls it. It’s about damage to the NCAA’s Vegas contacts.

The scandal indicates the power of gambling and the so-called “gaming industry” in American life. That the fixing of a basketball game (not across state lines) should occasion a federal indictment demonstrates the control gambling interests exercise over our government. Think about it: The point spread is sufficiently sacred that to trespass against it in a game between teams from two obscure schools (sorry UCR!) is deemed a crime against the American people.

A discussion of the scandal on ESPN’s supposedly hard-hitting “Outside the Lines” omitted any serious discussion of the hypocritical partnership between the NCAA and the oddsmakers in Las Vegas, a partnership that appears to be a matter of pride to both parties. One question about the “irony” of talking about the integrity of sport and gambling in the same sentence was directed at the representative of the Las Vegas sports betting association, who of course did not answer it. Much more interest was directed at the question of whether players “need” for money motivates point shaving, and also at the involvement of those indicted with the use and distribution of marijuana. For the interested parties, it would be nice if the public blamed smoking pot for point shaving by college athletes.

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Friday, 3 December 2010

Lester Grinspoon

Filed under: Cannabis,Medical Morality,Propaganda,Psychomyths — drtone @ 4:21 pm

I’m reading a book that I got mainly because I loved its title, Cannabis Philosophy for Everyone: What Were We Just Talking About?. It would appear to be a philosophy textbook, for use in what course not being entirely clear. Like many academic books, it’s an edited volume, with many precincts heard from. The first chapter is by Lester Grinspoon, long the leading academic exponent of marijuana use and the liberalization of marijuana laws. The chapter is a personal account of his experience first studying and then, after becoming the author of an influential book on the subject, first using cannabis. It is an endearing self-portrait that includes his request for accounts of positive marijuana use to be sent to his website. The opportunity to read this one chapter easily repaid the cost of the book.

Although it was of interest for me as a scholar and as a cannabis user, perhaps the most important aspect of Grinspoon’s account is his description of the prejudice that existed against marijuana when he wrote his first book about it. I remember the way things were in the 60s, of course, but it had not occurred to me that the prohibition against cannabis had been bolstered by medical opinion, opinion so uniformed and distorted, as Grinspoon suggests, that it could only be considered pseudo-science. It is a perfect example of how “medical science” colludes in the production of propaganda that supports and perpetuatesĀ  distortions of fact, distortions that can have disastrous consequences.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Hemp, Freedom & Consciousness

Filed under: Books,Cannabis — drtone @ 5:13 pm
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“If the words ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.”

Terence McKenna, 1993, from the epigraph of Cannabis Philosophy for Everyone: What Were We Just Talking About, edited by Dale Jacquette.

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