May 29, 2010

"When people smoke marijuana, they smoke it to get high. In every case, when most people drink, they drink to be sociable."

Said Art Linkletter to Richard Nixon, who responded: "That's right, that's right. A person does not drink to get drunk. . . . A person drinks to have fun."

Nixon continues, in a global politics vein:
"I have seen the countries of Asia and the Middle East, portions of Latin America, and I have seen what drugs have done to those countries. Everybody knows what it's done to the Chinese, the Indians are hopeless anyway, the Burmese. . . . they've all gone down....
"Why the hell are those Communists so hard on drugs? Well why they're so hard on drugs is because, uh, they love to booze. I mean, the Russians, they drink pretty good. . . . but they don't allow any drugs."

"And look at the north countries... The Swedes drink too much, the Finns drink too much, the British have always been heavy boozers and all the rest, but uh, and the Irish of course the most, uh, but uh, on the other hand, they survive as strong races."
Nixon concludes that "drug societies... inevitably come apart." Linkletter agrees: "They lose motivation. No discipline." Nixon reaffirms the superiority of the American way of life: "At least with liquor, I don't lose motivation.”


Ritmo Brasileiro said...

That Nixon! He was so knowledgeable! (Especially about things like the 18th Amendment).

shoutingthomas said...

Racist Rimo! What's the racist angle on this story?

I'd say accepting open male homosexuality is the tell-tell sign of a society disintegrating.

Let's see. AIDS epidemic caused by male homosexuals coming out of the closet in droves. Result: international epidemic resulting in millions of deaths.

Response: disapproval of homosexuality = bigotry; open public embrace of homosexuality; billions poured down the drain on healthcare; rivers of propaganda about the delights of homosexuality.

Come on, Racist Ritmo! What's the racist angle here! What's the homophobe story!

An brain dead fool like you should be able to write a book.

AllenS said...

Why in the fuck would someone choose a picture of Buckwheat for their profile?

EnigmatiCore said...

I think I'll head over to the loneliness thread. This one is a mud-fight already.

edutcher said...

Tricky Dick was a lot smarter than the smartasses of the Left ever wanted to believe. His point is not without merit. As the son of an alcoholic, the distinction that people don't always drink to get drunk was driven home to me with a vengeance and it's one reason I don't have much tolerance for junkies of any sort (less for drunks).

AllenS said...

Why in the fuck would someone choose a picture of Buckwheat for their profile?

He thinks he's being cute and making some oh, so cool, devastating Lefty point?

Andrea said...

I came here to drink not to get laid" -- from The Dead Milkmen's "You'll Dance To Anything."

EnigmatiCore said...

That's not Buckwheat. It's Gary Coleman (RIP).

garage mahal said...

"They lose motivation. No discipline."

Linkletter has never seen my yard.

And if that were true that in every case people only drink to be sociable, which it isn't, everyone would drink non-alcoholic drinks.

Paul said...

They're wrong about marijuana, which is used more or less like alcohol.

I suspect they're correct on the hard drugs. There are people who drink occasionally, people who drink regularly but don't let it interfere with their lives, alcoholics who are still high functioning (Hitchens), and dysfunctional alcoholics. I don't know how the percentages break down, but I assume the last comprises a far smaller group than the first four. If heroin, crack, and meth were legalized, would there be a similar spread, or would most users gradually drift into the last category?

I don't know, maybe someone else has more information on this.

Or maybe we'll let Ritmo take over the discussion and we'll all hurl insults back and forth. Some people seem to find that more gratifying than anything else.

Palladian said...

"I think I'll head over to the loneliness thread. This one is a mud-fight already. "

Who wants to go to the loneliness thread— it's too crowded!

Palladian said...

shoutingthomas does like to roll around in mud with the guys, though.

Largo said...

This is a false dichotomy anyway by Linkletter. To say that a person does not drink to get drunk in -not- to say that a person does not get drunk to experience the effects of alcohol. To socialize, to unwind, to sleep, all are effects of alcohol that do not amount to drunkenness. So to with marijuana -- to titrate a small dosage prior to studying a Haydn string quartet is far from seeking to become "stoned"--for all the variation in how that is used by people (to range from "tipsy" to "falling down drunk" in comparison to alcohol).

Which is not to justify its use in music, nor to condemn getting stoned -- but to say there are gradations of effect and purpose in the use of both drugs.

Fred4Pres said...

I remember a history teacher in high school who said the exact same thing. The kids debated him about it (now such a conversation would probably be completely forbidden). Now I realize the pompous windbag stole that idea from Art Linkletter.

The truth is people sometimes do drink to be socialable. Some drink just because they had a long day at work and want to unwind. Some to get completely shit faced. Drinking wine with a meal is very different than drinking cocktails in a bar.

But people drink because we like the effect of alcohol, in some degree, just like people smoke dope because they like the effect of THC. If you take a hit of a joint is that any different than having one drink? Not really, other than dope tends to make you introspective and into watching TV and eating White Castle cheesburgers (well at least it does that to me).

Wanna come to my party?

Thank you Althouse for reminding me of that site again. I forgot about it. The beauty of it is after an absense, it is just as fun as when you first found it. Which is kinda like doing bong hits.

William said...

Nixon was smart enough to get elected President and launch some successful initiatives. Why does he always sound like such a horse's ass on all the tapes that are released? Are they (and we all know who they are, as Nixon would say) selectively releasing tapes or was Nixon truly such an ignorant bigot?

Theo Boehm said...
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Largo said...


Alas, I am not set up for iTunes!

My "Haydn string quartet" was chosen to sound pompous, though classical music is my favorite, followed by jazz (and I will stick some Zappa into either of these categories). The point is that those inclined to go 'pshaw!' might be more taken aback by my mention of Haydn.

It's been perhaps over two decades since I touched the stuff (for various reasons), but it certainly is the case that (at some doses anyway) it makes music analysis easier. It's a fascinating topic, and one that leads to heated rhetoric in the wrong crowd(s).

I used to enjoy rather deep trips, yet I would sometimes microdose with hashish--marijuana being harder to calibrate--to get better into reading a short story for class, or other things.

It turns out that I have ADD, and the doctor who diagnosed me thought I was self-medicating. Maybe that accounts for my micro-dosing (though not my mega-dosing!)

Maybe if I visited Amsterdam sometime... I don't know. Especially with church, I don't wish to have hidden activities, because I would hate to put on a social pretense. But I'm not shy about sharing my thoughts on the subject with anyone.

Largo said...


Well I can't resist sharing an example. Walking home at night in my rural community, hearing a car coming from a distance. There are three distinct sounds: the engine, the exhaust, and the tires on the pavement--esp if the road is damp. Normally one will simply hear this as "a car". Minimally dosed, they are heard as three distinct sounds coming from "a car". There is a tendency for dis-association or dis-integration that does not take deliberation--the sounds just present themselves as such. (With very high dosing, especially with the at-the-moment short term memory deficit that accompanies it, integrity becomes tenuous, but that is an entirely different kind of interesting.)

For the naysayers who would claim this is just an illusion while high: well no, afterwords when straight I can appreciate the features that, as it were, impinged on me while dosed.

I learned to appreciate ice hockey in a similar way, quite by chance, having happened to come across a game on TV at a fortuitous moment. My attention went immediately to the puck and its handling, where previously I had been attending to non-central features of the game. Ever since then, I have enjoyed watching the game, for the same reason (and as I said, I've not touched it for years.)

It really is remarkable.

Ricardo said...

I'm glad you brought up Nixon. Why is it that ... given a population of several hundred million people ... the USA consistently picks these horrendously flawed people to be leaders? Is it because only flawed people enter the political arena as a career? Is the only choice that the voter gets, one of picking between two or more flawed people?

Joe said...

the USA consistently picks these horrendously flawed people to be leaders?

Why limit to the USA?

The reality is that most politicians are narcissists and verge on having full blow Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Democratic systems at least tend to weed out the completely psychotic.

Largo said...

"Is the only choice that the voter gets, one of picking between two or more [horrendously] flawed people?"

I think you need to keep the adjective in your last sentence there, Ricardo. If you hope to be able to pick between two or more unflawed people, you're going to be waiting a long time.

But you say you are glad that someone brought up Nixon. Are you glad that he was mentioned because it gives you an opportunity to talk about flawed politicians?

(I.e. not: Oh, Nixon was mentioned, and in the context of this thread it is worthwhile to make this point..., but: Oh, I'm glad someone mentioned Nixon in this thread. It gives me the chance to make this point! ...) ;-)

Andrea said...

Re the "horrendously flawed" Nixon... Well, if you ask me most of the people we vote into office are horrendously bland, verging on the super- (or sub-) humanly dull. Nixon was unusual in that he didn't hide his personality as well as other pols. Florence King is of the opinion that he was a misanthrope, truly uncomfortable in America's extroverted, glad-handing, "peepul-person" political culture, and it warped him in various ways.

Then again, I think the whole Watergate thing was overblown. It's worst effect wasn't upon politics, where it's business as usual (most pols have just become cannier at hiding their nefarious activities than "Tricky Dick" was), but on the "profession" of journalism. First of all, it used to be called "reporting" and it wasn't a profession, just a job. Thanks to the hysterical hero-worship of Woodward and Bernstein, suddenly newspaper hacks were elevated to the secular priesthood, and reporting (which is the craft of being able to ask strangers intrusive questions without blushing) became "journalism" -- which is still a job where you ask strangers intrusive questions but now you do it with the mandate of heaven, your excuse being "you're in search of the Truth" and "fighting corruption."

Jeff said...

"They lose motivation. No discipline."

Ho-ly crap. I don't believe Mr. Linkletter could have given a more accurate description of my personal experience with college potheads.

The best positive argument for it's effect I've ever head from a regular user is that "it just makes things better."

Which explains a lot about stoners. Your crappy guitar noodling suddenly sounds awesome. The latest re-run of Family Guy is hilarious. That 7-11 microwave burrito is totally fucking delicious.

All of which takes away a huge motivation to improve one's situation in life and be happy with mediocrity. I could easily see being a regular user if I was trapped in some shithole like Somalia with no hope of escape, but in a rich west nation it's about the closest thing we have to Brave New World's Soma.

Largo said...

"The best positive argument for it's effect I've ever head from a regular user is that "it just makes things better."


What do make of what I said above, to Theo, regarding this?

Cedarford said...

William - "was Nixon truly such an ignorant bigot?"

No, he did make generalizations about races as a shorthand when understanding or explaining geopolitics to others - but they tended to be generalizations that were accurate shorthand.
Hard drinking N Europeans WERE more productive than Jamaicans on ganga. Japan had hard working, hard-drinking people of high inteligence dedicated to family and excellence in all endeavors while Pakistanis would never amount to anything except being a foil to Soviet-influenced India.

He thought Jews were smarter than Arabs, but about as trustworthy.
Nixon thought if white America picked up the bad habits of inner-city blacks, the country would decay.

The guy can be right or wrong, but what strikes me is the honesty of the man. Calling a spade a spade, perhaps in both contexts of the phrase.
Whereas, a slick politician not only would smoothly lie to the public, but lie with close friends, then lie to himself when he was all alone. (See JFK, LBJ, Reagan, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Barry Obama).

Theo Boehm said...
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Theo Boehm said...
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Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the problem here is that they were right, at least to some extent. Pot smokers are, on average, less productive than booze drinkers. Or, at least that is my impression, and may be inaccurate due to the fact that much of this country drinks, at least on rare occasion, while most have not smoked pot for some time, if ever.

Yes, there are those who pathologically drink, and maybe that is it, that we just don't see that many older adults who smoke pot who do not do it pathologically , while we see plenty of people who drink socially.

One of the scarier parts of long term marijuana usage in my mind is that it seems to oversensitize those involved. Smells that most of us do not detect become overpowering. That sort of thing. One friend, who is nearing 40 years of pot usage, has not been able to really hold down a job for most of the last decade. Invariably, there will be some sort of environmental issue that will cause him to overreact and get fired. Mostly it is smells, but once it was (and I kid you not) a nearby radio station that was illegally broadcasting well over its FCC limits. One time it was dogs (and their hair) in the office. Another, it was the furnace. I think that many also become too sensitive to inter-personal issues to get along with co-workers.

That is not to say that everyone who smokes pot on occasion for a long period of time becomes like this - I know one very successful attorney who smokes pot in high stress trial situations and in his downtime. But not otherwise, and I suspect that he is an exception that proves the rule.

The problem with what Nixon and Linkletter were saying is that back then, we weren't talking long term pot usage, but rather, what was starting to go on on the campuses. But most of those smoking then gave it up by the time they left their 20s. Or, at least mostly - I remember a Homecoming a decade or so ago where magic brownies were baked and consumed by classmates of mine. But none of those involved, all successful, did marijuana on even a yearly basis.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Nixon's problem was that his hold on a non-paranoid existence was about as firm as shooting Tom's ass's grasp on sanity and civility generally.

Best someone as paranoid as Nixon stayed away from the weed.

I look forward to shooting Tom's ass's take on how "teh heterosexuals" were responsible for herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, the plague, influenza, tuberculosis and every other epidemic.

Gahrie said...

I'm glad you brought up Nixon. Why is it that ... given a population of several hundred million people ... the USA consistently picks these horrendously flawed people to be leaders?

Because everyone else in the world does such a great job at picking their leaders....right?

BarZ said...

That is funny, cause you ask anyone who likes to get high... why they like to get high.. and you will get a range of responses from "it makes me more social-able.. or it relieves my pain, or it helps me sleep, it helps me wake up.. (that last one is mine) so yea alcohol gets people drunk.. its what they like.. and when your drunk your more social-able.. soo that is really just a trick in wording.

reginag said...

Glad I quite a long time ago!