About this blog

Drug testing is an ineffective, unreliable, and inexcusably invasive form of security theater forced on the American people based on deliberately skewed data, public ignorance, and moral panic, and it continues operating on those frauds to this day, mostly because those of us who are aware of the facts must live in fear of being targeted as addicts. This blog is intended to raise public awareness of the real facts about drug testing that the testing companies don't want you to know, and to provide some tools to the public by which they can raise awareness while maintaining anonymity. I will also be accepting guest posts, if anyone has a story about drug testing injustices they would like to get out anonymously, or if anyone just has something to say against drug testing in general.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Drug War/Drug Testing in Pop Culture Part 2: Sly Cooper: Band of Thieves

Remember the PS2 game "Sly Cooper"?

I not only remember it, I still play it.  In particular, the best game IMO, which was the second one "Sly Cooper: Band of Thieves".  It was amazing fun, with an interesting storyline, fun story-based challenges, and best of all, the optional challenge of finding 30 "clue" bottles in every overall open-ended chapter environment.  Plus you could just wander around and pick the pockets of the various guards if you wanted and build up some loot to use later--or just because you want to go around playing a game where you run around on your own terms and pick pockets as you please with no particular goal, whatever you like.

But there was one thing about it that both irks me and makes me laugh, and that is the Drug War element of the plot.  It's clear that the game-producers really wanted to have some kind of gritty drug-trade-based storyline but couldn't do it directly because, despite the fact that it's a game about a master thief and his thieving buddies who come in constant contact with criminal villainous types, it's-also a cartoony and light-hearted game directed at children.  Enter "spice".

You see, one constantly recurring theme in the plot was this plant-based substance known as "spice", that is clearly a euphemism for drugs.  Presumably some kind of really hard drug, since at some point they directly refer to this plant as causing "insane violent rages" in those who use it, and the only people who still believe that about marijuana are the chowder-heads who still think "Reefer Madness" was fair and accurate.  I swear, every time any character uttered this coy euphemism--with the comical levels of melodramatic doom usually reserved for vaudeville--my late brother and I would fall about laughing our guts out.  (Yes, I know that there is supposed to be some kind of drug called "spice" now, but I think this pre-dated it, or at least pre-dated widespread awareness of it, otherwise why would they use the word as a euphemism to make it acceptable for children?)

And seriously, who ever took a drug where the only result was "insane violent rage"?  Even alcohol which is legal and, depending on the circumstances and user, can make a person violent, is not imbibed strictly for its violence-inducing properties.  Any "insane violent rages" induced by any drug are a side-effect, and I've never heard of a drug where it was an inevitability or else you wouldn't have to pretend to need to drug test to find people who were using--they'd all already be in jail for assault!  I rather suspect that the same thing is at work here that is at work at all "anti-drug" messages aimed at children--to take one negative result of a particular kind of drug use, extrapolate from that to all users, and present this to the children as the single and solitary result of taking any drug--and, by extension, the single and solitary reason anyone takes drugs.  Because if you told them the real reason people end up trying drugs INCLUDING alcohol (which is the "high"), you might intrigue them enough to want to try it.

And since you're presenting all illicit drugs in this category and in this light, at some point the kids will try marijuana, they will know the older generation has lied through their teeth about it, and assume at that point that maybe cocaine or heroine or some harder drug is equally harmless.

Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy this game and play it every year or so.  (Ironically enough, its particularly fun when you're buzzed on some rum or vodka--you can just pick pockets for hours and if you get caught, you don't care, you're running and laughing, and I can only imagine how it might be to play it after a puff of MJ!)  But every time I play it I can't help but look forward to the day when Drug War references like this will be looked at as a quaint and curious relic of one of the mistakes of the older generations, the way old Prohibition I propaganda is regarded today.

That will be sweet.  Let's make it happen, people!

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