Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 4 years – in which case, welcome back! – you may have heard of a young singer named Justin Bieber. He’s quite popular. The kids love ‘im.
Recently, he was inadvertently involved in the death of a paparazzi after a young guy (who had been stalking him for a week, let’s not forget) got hit by a car after he crossed freeway traffic to get a picture of Justin Bieber who wasn’t even in the car at the time. The reason the paparazzi was after Justin so vehemently is because he thought he’d seen Justin smoking marijuana.
SMOKING MARIJUANA. This is a massive crime, right? Stop the presses, everyone, a teenager got high!
Here’s a new incriminating photograph (not taken by the paparazzi) of Justin allegedly smoking pot:
TMZ – who profit, by and large, on the misfortunes (and sometimes deaths) of celebrities – ran this as a giant story. At first glance that might actually be a good idea: after all, sensationalism drives headlines, and Justin is one of the biggest names in music. Marijuana is also a drug, yet is so entrenched in popular culture that nobody bats an eyelid when, say, James Franco hosts the Oscars while totally high.
I mean, look at this guy.
Is marijuana really that big a deal in 2013? Is a teenager getting high really a news story? Must I always put three questions in a row? No, no, and yes.
Marijuana hasn’t been controversial to the majority of the American public since the mid 1960s. It has been proven to be less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol, both of which are totally legal… and totally taxable. Not to bring out the old line that marijuana is illegal because you can’t tax it but marijuana is illegal in this country because it’s difficult to tax. Tobacco, which kills 6 million people a year and one person every 4 seconds, is completely legal. Between 1999 and 2007, there were 26 reported death from marijuana. According to the CDC, you’d have to smoke 800 joints in a day to die from marijuana. While some people might welcome that as a challenge, the fact is that marijuana is pretty damn harmless compared to most any other adult addiction.
Bieber smoking a joint shouldn’t be headline news and TMZ should know better. While I understand they have a job to do and a pageview quota to fulfill (don’t we all in this wonderful new age of journalism?) their battles shouldn’t be against marijuana – smoking marijuana is no controversy. Which is why this URL seemed way, way, way out of place:
It links to this article, which talks about Bieber performing at a children’s hospital for a terminally ill leukemia patient. Why throw in a pointless dig at pot in the URL? Maybe Bieber needs to fucking unwind after something as heavy as being a savior to dying children. Maybe he needs a mental vacation from being a multi-million dollar cash horse for a shadowy record company.
While I’ll be the first one to say that substance abuse is substance abuse no matter how you slice it, the fact of the matter is that this substance is next to harmless. Nobody bats an eyelid when Kristen Stewart smokes cigarettes like it’s going out of fashion, yet when Bieber smokes a joint it’s the end of the world. Take a look at how much press was given to Bieber having a drag:
And how much press was given to the death of the guy who was trying to snap a picture of it:
In a country where over half the popularion supports the legalization of marijuana, it only goes to show how two-faced TMZ is. They’re profiting off of the death of one of their own while damning one of the most harmless drugs out there. Yes, marijuana is a drug. But so is Tylenol. This is 2013, TMZ. It ain’t 1940 anymore and you don’t need to run with an anti pot headline like marijuana is some damning thing that turns you into an animal. If anything, it makes you want to eat Cheetos. Life goes on.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get Bieber’d while watching “Simpsons” reruns.