Letters for November 27, 2003

Dope-smokin’ teens
Re “Smokin’ airwaves” [RN&R, News, Nov. 20]:

If Nevada State Medical Association Director Lawrence Matheis really doesn’t think that Nevada has a bigger use of marijuana by teenagers than Holland, he needs to spend more time studying the literature.

The figures quoted in our commercial come from the most recent U.S. government figures and national Dutch surveys, and they are consistent with previous research findings.

Readers should note that on the Web site, www.stopteenuse.com, the Marijuana Policy Project has done something that opponents of reform like Richard Gammick or White House Drug Czar’s John Walters have never done: We not only list the source of our statistics, we’ve posted the full studies on the site—every word, every statistic, every footnote—for anyone who wants to draw their own conclusions.

In fact, research has consistently found that criminal penalties are ineffective at reducing marijuana use. In a White House-commissioned study published in 2001, the National Research Council concluded, “In summary, existing research seems to indicate that there is little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and the prevalence or frequency of use.”

Our current laws aren’t working. Gammick and Walters may not like it, but it’s time for an honest discussion, based on real data, of which approaches work and which don’t.

Bruce Mirken
Marijuana Policy Project

Don’t believe the hype
Re “The myth of the ideal female body” [RN&R, Essay, Nov. 20]:

I’d like to thank Lacey Graham for speaking out (and the RN&R for printing it) about an issue that’s more important than people seem to realize.

People have become hosts for the virus of advertising, mindlessly pursuing the projected image of perfection to their own destruction. Women seem to be the easiest target, and I can’t help noticing that this image—projected not only by advertisers but by the rest of our society’s media—is quite conducive to the subjugation of our gender. A woman whose primary goal is looking perfect enough to secure her desired mate is not really much of a threat to a male-dominated world, is she? In fact, her role reinforces the idea that males are dominant. Perhaps we have come a long way, but more insidious methods of keeping women in their place keep cropping up. It’s time women stopped letting faceless advertising execs (who undoubtedly view us merely as machines that will cash out if the right buttons are pressed) dictate how society should view us. To be fair, I’ll also note that there is definitely an “ideal male” depicted by advertisers and that this can be destructive to men’s mental and physical health as well. We really must stop mindlessly latching onto images projected in the media.

I wholeheartedly commend the RN&R for printing such a socially responsible article, yet on page 18 of this same issue appears an ad for Duke’s Casino, which displays a young, beautiful and scantily clad woman holding out bottles of beer. This picture strikes me not so much with its lowbrow appeal (though it has plenty, I’m sure) as with its exploitative nature. So perhaps the RN&R should practice what it preaches.

Vanessa Flannigan

Editor’s note: Contradiction noted, but, by allowing Lacey and Duke’s both to exercise their First Amendment rights, we are. Come to think of it, we didn’t censor you, either.

C’mon, I want to ask
I would like to know why no one has asked the current president, “Mr. President, why did you OK the exodus of Osama bin Laden’s family out of the United States without questioning them, within two weeks of the destruction of the Twin Towers, and do you believe any of them might have had useful information about his whereabouts?” Simple question, plain talk. Then I would ask a follow-up. It would be either, “Has the Bush oil business ever had dealings with the Bin Laden oil business?” or “Who arranged the September 2001 Bin Laden family flights back to Saudi Arabia?” The man or woman who asked this would not be unpatriotic. Someone give me a press pass. I will ask.

David Singelyn
via e-mail

Conservative bias
Re “Gathering of the info warriors” [RN&R, Essay, Nov. 13]:

I truly do not get it. Nathan Gove hides behind Al Franken’s book, which is described as political satire “that attacks the conservative bias in the media.” Are you and Gove kidding? Why is Ann Coulter a liar and Al Franken a “political satirist"? How can anyone intellectually state there is a conservative bias in the media? Yes, there are Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, but there are also CNN, ABC, CBS, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and, as Gove mentions, Bill Moyers, a PBS journalist. Maybe being an “activist” is what allows one to write so irresponsibly.

Tom Burton
via e-mail