I wonder: Will Michael Phelps’ cell-phone-documented encounter with a bong prove to be the event that finally — FINALLY — pushes Americans into a sensible, rational, adult discussion about drugs, legal and illegal?
Thirty years ago, Phelps would have been crucified (figuratively speaking).
Now? People are arguing that it was no big deal, and getoveritalready, and by the way, let’s boycott Kelloggs. (I chose to link to this particular version of the boycott story only because it’s completely mainstream. Ain’t just a bunch of cranks like me talking about it.)
See, for example, this piece at the decidedly mainstream Big Money blog (and, as always, make sure to read the comments.)
And it’s worth mentioning a point that’s so obvious it’s easy to overlook: When the Phelps story first broke a few weeks back, reporters covering the story assumed that the average reader/viewer/listener knew what a bong was. Thirty years ago? Not only would the average reporter/viewer/listener not known, but even if he/she did, he/she wasn’t about to admit it. Prolly because, ya know, statistically speaking, a huge chunk of adult America is the much-hated baby boomer generation, and if you can find a baby boomer who doesn’t know what a bong is, well, he/she is either lying or was so boring back-in-the-day that he/she isn’t worth the time of day now. If that makes sense.
And another enormous chunk of the American population is the almost-as-large demographic known as the Echo Boom, and I’m pretty sure most of them know what a bong is, too.
Indeed, I think maybe illegal drugs are about to become hip. You wait and see: Any day now, Bill Clinton’s gonna say “Oh, sorry, I lied about that. I DID inhale.”