The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Friday, March 07, 2008

One More Reason To Love The Wire

The best TV drama series ever, The Wire is showing it's last episode on Sunday. This just my opinion, but it's shared by many. It portrays a world I could never know, unless I get lost driving in Baltimore, but it still strikes a solid emotional chord. The unofficial theme of the show is "everything matters" and illustrates that point with unforgettable characters put into untenable situations exacerbated by the very systems constructed to prevent it. The show is so dense, when they started showing it on BET I wondered how they could hack 12 minutes out of it for commercials. The answer was to make it an hour and a half.

Each season expands the focus on a new element of systematic dysfunction. When I started watching, it was the beginning of last season when it was on how the education system has failed and how "No Child Left Behind" has just made it worse. This season it's been the press and from how TV critics have responded to it, it might be a little too on the nose for their comfort. The implication is that we assume as outsiders that the priority of the educational system is education, the justice system's is justice, and the press is to report the truth, but they'll prove you wrong.

The writers of The Wire had spent many years chronicling these real life failures before crafting them into the spiderweb of lives that make up the show. I've never seen an episode that wasn't excellent, but there have been plenty that have broken my heart.

Which brings me, finally, to my point. The writers of the show have written an excellent editorial for Time Magazine. If we've learned anything about ourselves is that we need to be honest with ourselves. Demonizing drug users doesn't move anything forward, it just hurts us as a society.

The War on Drugs is one of those thinks that we fight because of morality instead of practicality. As long as we try to fight it we can feel like we've done "the right thing" regardless of the fallout. And what is said fallout? 1 out of every 100 people in jail? We should be ashamed of ourselves, how much more obvious can it be that something needs to be done. And no, building more prisons is not the answer.

Legalizing drugs won't solve all the problems associated with them, in fact it'll probably create new ones. But it will move things forward. It'll clear out much of the violent crime associated with it being illegal. It'll be a pretty big strike in the War on Terror, since a lot the Taliban's funding are generated by the booming poppy trade. The medicinal applications for illegal drugs can finally be used; besides marijuana, both LSD and MDMA were making inroads as miracle drug to treat mental illness before becoming illegal.

The problem is that the scare tactics, like "Reefer Madness", still resonates with people who don't know anything about drugs. But anyone who knows ANYONE who has ever smoked pot knows that there is no kind of weed that makes you wild-eyed and crazy and hasn't been because no one's looking for it.

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