Monday, February 9, 2009

The Michael Phelps Saga

Bruce Mirken, writing for Alternet, posted an article the other day entitled, Kellogg's Wimps Out Over Phelps's Bong Hit: What Century Are They Living in? A number of others whom I read and respect have expressed similar opinions, foremost among them is Daisy.

I wasn't going to write any more about this because we covered it pretty well when we did discuss it, but I just wanted to add my voice to those who say Kelloggs made a mistake here.

From the Alternet piece:
Are they kidding? In 2004, Phelps pleaded guilty to drunken driving, but apparently that offense -- just as illegal, and which actually could have resulted in someone being hurt or killed -- was not an issue for Kellogg's.

Let's get real here. If Phelps had been photographed hoisting a Budweiser, no one would have said a word. But there is simply no question that if one wants to relax with a mood-altering substance, marijuana is far safer than alcohol.

I believe this was Daisy's point also. Alcohol is far more damaging, yet acceptable. Can anyone explain that to me? Do the people espousing these hysterical attitudes about pot, not agree with that? When I was a kid, people used to say "pot leads to heroin." Do people still believe that?

What's your opinion? Was Kellogg's within their rights to drop Michael over this? Will it help them to have done so?

Please leave a comment.


  1. Caffine, nicotine, and alcohol are all drugs, but marijuana has been declared by the self proclaimed righteous people in society that pot is immoral. Kellogg's and the other corporate sponsors are catering to their conservative customers in the Sun and Bible Belts in America. I am sure Phelps can get the snack food makers like Doritos and other brands popular with stoners to replace Kellogg's.

  2. Sure, Kellogs was within its rights...that's not an issue...
    hey il principe, Phelps did get the Subway fast food chain endorsement, so they must have made the connection you did!

    And yess, there are a large proportion of Americans who in spite of the fact that they truly know better, will "stonefaced" say tht pot leads to hard drugs.
    I think that prohibition leads to abuse of drugs...but that is another issue.

  3. +1 to Microdot. Kellog can dump Phelps and take on Kervorkian and they have every right to do that.

    I suspect it's a dumb idea, even more so that they didn't care about his DUI.

    As for Mike's question on why we only get upset at SOME drugs, that's a human culture thing. The Inuit people are the ONLY culture in the world that don't have an intoxicant that they culturally engage in.

    Our culture Tobacco and alcohol, as well as caffeen are socally acceptable. Other recreational drugs aren't.

    Of course Mormons don't accept ANY of that, they won't even drink Pepsi if it isn't caffeine-free.

    Go over to Persian or Arab Nations Marijuana, Hashish, and even opium is socially acceptable...but Alcohol is taboo.

    I've read all sorts of stuff that the different tribes of Africa and South America take socially, they may be unaware of many of our chemicals, but I suspect if we handed them some Budweiser it wouldn't be long before it was declared taboo...and of course when somebody brings some of this stuff back to their home land the "War Against Some Drugs" declares them a "Trafficker"

    One point I must disagree with, Microdot. pot DOES lead to harder drugs often. Of course so does other things. I tried Marijuana first because I smoked cigarettes. When people learn they can alter their state of consciousness it's only human nature to explore different methods and avenues.

    Of course the people who declare some drugs evil because they lead to other drugs are being hypocritical as they still support OTHER drugs that very well could lead in the same place.

    Yet another logical fallacy.

  4. There are groups of religious folks beside Mormons (many evangelicals, e.g.)who shun alcohol, nicotine and illegal drugs --yet drink caffeine.

    Caffeine has not been linked to morbidity or death particularly, if at all, though it can be abused in high doses for all-night studying, I guess --and cause sleep disruption if one drinks it late in the day--and should be avoided by those with heart arrhytmias --but it's not as addictive nor escalating in harm and addiction as other drugs , not a gateway drug, nor does it destroy brain cells,incentive/ambition as marijuana is said to do, nor distort judgment and link with violence, general irritability, auto accidents and work absenteeism.

    Caffeine is seen as a temporary perk-me-up, barely discernible in its effect, with no obvious, measurable withdrawal symptoms --IMHO. I think people can feel jittery if they over-consume, but correcting that is not as difficult as with other "mood-altering substances."

    I think mj is a gateway drug as nicotine is. My MD husband says they rarely see kids on hard drugs whose parents were not smokers and/or drinkers. And I wonder how many hard drug users started first with nicotine.

    The thing is, if you start to smoke, knowing you ought not, you lack that barrier in your will that says NO to avoidable risks and harms to your mind and body. In that way nicotine and MJ are gateway drugs. The person who refuses the cigarette and the alcohol is less likely to end up addicted to any mood-alterers.

    Hubby tells me about a girl he treated years ago who tried crack cocaine just once ---and lost a thriving business, bankrupted, because she just had to have more coke. Some would say, "make it legal and cheap"?? It still would make her dysfunctional --that would be no help. A faster track to abuse and addiction.

    Legalization tends to remove stigma and the determination to avoid known, bad activities --like abortion.

    I disagree with Microdot about prohibition leading to abuse of drugs -- it does criminalize drug use (alcohol in the 30's) --but it doesn't cause more to use and abuse --in fact, they know that the prohibition of alcohol in the US caused a reduction of per capita consumption that lasted at least 4 decades. Now we've exceeded the alcohol per capita use and addiction that brought on the Prohibition era in the first place.

  5. Let's say all heroin addicts started with marijuana, just to round it off. And lets say, of all the people who try pot, only 1% become heroin addicts, just to round that off. Can we say that pot leads to heroin, or not?

  6. Mike, I'd say 100% of them decided Heroin would be worth a try.

    "Gateway Drug" is nothing but a tool of Ignorance.

  7. Yup, a gateway drug IS a tool of ignorance (I don't think Weer'd means what I do.) I bet 100 percent of heroin and cocaine users DID start with nicotine, alcohol, and/or marijuana --all gateway drugs. If you don't excuse and use the starter drugs, you won't "graduate" to the hard stuff. It would be an interesting study to see if MJ is a likely step between nicotine/alcohol and hard drugs.

    Granted, maybe it's a small percent who go on to hard drugs but I bet all hard drug users have the 'soft drug' history. You don't want to see your kid start any of these in his youth for fear he'll be vulnerable to temptation to try other things.

    HIs disregard for the law makes me wonder if Phelps used any performance enhancement drugs that are not detectable.

    It's such a bad example to youth when users achieve great things --like Obama, a smoker, being president. Typically, lives dependent on substances are short-circuited from their optimal potential. It's negative risk-taking.

  8. Barb, Don't you think this is asking a lot from our leaders?

    "It's such a bad example to youth when users achieve great things --like Obama, a smoker, being president. Typically, lives dependent on substances are short-circuited from their optimal potential. It's negative risk-taking."

  9. submitted without comment:

  10. I wouldn't refuse to vote for someone because he smokes; I know people I respect who are addicted. But I think it makes them irritable people always needing another fix to calm them temporarily. It also makes them high risk for cancer and heart disease and a shortened life. those who open this door are more likely to open doors to other addictive substances --even if those are illegal and known to be unhealthy.

    I know 4 young men raised in our church, taught not to smoke --who all took up smoking and now regret the addiction. My kids, on the other hand, and my husband and myself, and many people we know, have never even tried a cigarette because we believed it would be a sin to unnecessarily take this risk of being addicted to a harmful habit --as the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    all 4 of these young men were raised by single moms, and I think smoking was seen as a rite of passage to manhood by them --a risk-taking macho tough guy independence from Mom and church, teachers, etc. Unfortunately it's a departure from good sense, also. Obama was the child of a single mom.

    Granted, I'm overweight, but my mother started me on food at a very early age. I'm a victim!

    BTW, I think we tend not to elect obese people to high office.