On black market economics

I was having a chat with a dear old friend today about the legalisation of drugs. While I am pro-legalisation, he doesn’t believe ANY drugs (even cannabis) should be legalised. His reasons are as follows:

During the 1920s or whatever when alcohol was made illegal, it was so completely illogical that people (read: dodgy gangsters and shit) immediately set up complex systems to smuggle and create it. When alcohol was again legalised, the framework for organised crime was in place; just not any actual crime- and it was through this that both drug and arm smuggling became a much bigger issue. His point is that, when you then legalise cocaine/ heroin/ meth/ pot, the people that make these drugs or smuggle them into the country aren’t going to suddenly turn straight and start being legal drug dealers- they’re going to start shit like arms smuggling and people smuggling, which fucks shit up a whole lot worse than a little bit of mind fuckery.

I was just wondering whether you think this is a legitimate issue with the legalisation of drugs, or just some shielded conservative bullshit to hide his own issues?
Thx bby.

Wow. You actually write with an Australian accent. I can almost hear this guy mansplaining his dumbfuck anti-legalization argument to you over schooners at the pub. I fucking love that.

Unfortunately, the only thing your dear old friend understands less than criminality is basic fucking economics.

First of all, he’s wrong about his underlying premise. As black markets shift from grey to white, the organizations involved really do turn straight and go legal. It proved true after America’s prohibition experiment, and it’s proving true again as we slowly decriminalize marijuana across the western world. Dodgy gangsters are more than happy to become legitimate businessmen. (As if there’s really much of a difference to begin with.)

Secondly, your friend is confusing the criminal underworld’s various command hierarchies with its supply chain logistics. Black markets aren’t a zero-sum game, and the “framework” for organized crime isn’t a rigid thing. It’s not as though with fewer drugs to smuggle, suddenly there’s more room in the cargo hold for guns and Eastern European women. That’s just not how it works.

Your friend is also forgetting the other side of the criminal equation: An obscene amount of law enforcement resources are wasted on the drug war. If those same resources were suddenly freed up to deal with illicit arms dealers and human traffickers, the world would be a much better place.

I’m sorry, but your friend is completely full of shit. Please tell him I said so. His only valid point is that prohibition is illogical. Whether it’s alcohol or any other kind of drug, prohibition in a supposedly free society is nothing more than a grotesque means of social control, and it’s ultimately doomed to fail.

On a sheltered twit

Recently there’s been fat-positive media popping up and I really think it’s great! The problem is that it’s been provoking conflicting feelings in me with the whole “skinny-shaming” trend, like in Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass.

I get really uncomfortable when it gets to the parts in the song where they talk about skinny bitches, since it’s not portrayed positively at all. I really want to like it, but it just makes me really uneasy.

And that’s the whole point, no? I’m feeling uneasy because, for the first time of my life, I’m being confronted with a privilege I have that is problematic. So how do I get over this self-centered view of the whole thing and embrace the fat-positive results that are taking place thanks to it?

Are you seriously writing to me about your mild emotional discomfort with some piece of shit novelty track that panders to the fat acceptance trend?

Your problem is that you really want to like that painfully awful song? Is this honestly what you just brought to my door? Ugh, you sheltered fucking twit.

Your problem isn’t that you’re privileged. (Though clearly you are.) Your problem is that you’re made entirely of soft candy, and you have objectively horrible taste in the kind of pop culture ephemera you choose to consume.

I’d tell you to go get some real problems, but that would be cruel and pointless, because the worst thing that’s ever happened to you is bad cell phone reception, and you aren’t ready for any kind of advice that couldn’t be communicated with emoji.

For now, please just start listening to better music, and rest assured that the concept of “skinny shaming” belongs in the same pile of imaginary bullshit as cisphobia, misandry, and reverse racism.

On more fun-sized advice

what can i tell my friend when she says emotions are a form of weakness?
Tell your friend that pain and vulnerability are not the same thing as weakness.

Why do I want him to want me when I’m not even sure if I want him?
You don’t have to want the boy to still want the validation.

How do I quit torturing myself over things I’ve said/whether I’ve offended anyone after every night out? It’s fucking with my zen mode big time.
Oh, fuck off. You don’t have a zen mode, and you torture yourself because you like the way it feels. You’d rather labor under the false impression that you might have offended someone than accept the fact that nobody gives a shit.

How would you define the difference between literary and commercial/genre fiction? I’ve only found either old-fashioned answers or “I’ll know it when I see it” stuff.
There is no difference. Good writing is good writing. The distinction between literature and paraliterature is nothing more than cultural politics at the intersection of art and commerce.

I’m an academic. When a fellow academic says, “Hey, I’d love to talk about your research over coffee”, and when you agree to said coffee, and said coffee is then reconfigured as a dinner that he’s paying for… you’ve just been duped into a date, right?
If you think his intentions are something other than professional, feel free to cancel, but two colleagues discussing research over dinner isn’t a date. It’s business. You haven’t been duped unless he tries to get too personal or makes some kind of romantic overture. If that happens (or if you think it’s going to happen), just put him in his place.

Why do white males always have to make everything about them?
Because everything has always been about them.

I nominate you for the ice bucket challenge.
Go fuck yourself.

How you gonna leave us hanging on VMA night !?
I’m sorry, but I can’t even pretend to give a shit about live tweeting award show nonsense right now.

Do you believe Beyonce is a feminist?
Really? Really?

On fun-sized advice

Your take on the Ferguson Riots?
You mean the Ferguson Police Action?

Is everything extra fucked recently, or am I just paying more attention?

How are we going to make it through this fucking month?
This is nothing.

How do I respond to people that keep saying that Ferguson wasn’t racially motivated and that we “don’t know what really happened?”
Call them racist and watch their heads explode. It’s fun. (Anyone who still thinks the events in Ferguson aren’t racially motivated is in denial about their own latent racism. Go ahead and push their buttons. Fuck with them. They’re assholes, and they deserve it.)

Update more. I need your words injected directly into my veins, please.
I appreciate that, but I’m over here trying to take the whole month of August off. Turns out, I can’t unplug. Not really, and certainly not now when real shit is happening in the world. I’ll be back in a couple weeks. Maybe sooner. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m only gonna be posting if I can’t help myself.

On bad dating advice

I’m no Mensa material, but I’m smart; not hot, but pretty and fit; well-educated (medicine graduate next year) and open-minded (thanks to traveling, mostly). I am also a yoga teacher and know 4 languages. Now, I’m no ideal and I’m not looking for an ideal man either; neither do I want a copy of myself. I just want somebody equal, a partner. My grandma has recently told me that, with my brains and confidence, I probably scare men away, and I should lower my expectations (and pretend to be less smart and versatile, basically). Is she right? Is it that men I’d consider equal are not interested in women like me because they can, as a rule, “do better”? Thanks.

Listen up, everyone: STOP LISTENING TO DATING ADVICE FROM YOUR GRANDPARENTS. Yes, they love you very much, and you love them too. No doubt they are adorable and wise and they have your best interests at heart, but that doesn’t mean they have the slightest clue what it’s like for those of us trying to find a life partner in this century.

Everything your grandmother told you was wrong. You don’t scare men away. You scare boys away, (and that’s a good thing). If your expectations really are just to find an equal, then they are perfectly reasonable, and you shouldn’t lower them. Don’t pretend to be less smart or versatile. That’s insane. (Sure, playing dumb can come in handy every once in a while, but it’s not something you do with a man you respect.)

A man who is your equal by definition won’t be preoccupied with “doing better” than you. I think you may be in a mindset where you believe there is a certain tier of men that are your equal, that it’s something you can identify based on a list of skills and accomplishments. That’s your real problem. You’re looking for a guy who looks good on paper.

I get that you’re a box checker. It’s obvious that’s your style, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but try not to define your equal by matching up resumes. That kind of dating profile mathematics is an exercise in pure frustration.

On a crush junkie

There’s always been a guy in my life who I am completely obsessed with and/or devastated by. It’s the same formula each time: great sex, he’s aloof and emotionally reserved, I agonize over his text messages. I feel like shit during the entire thing, but I crave his attention/validation so much, contact with him is like a high. What is wrong w/ me and how do I fix it?

You just listed what’s wrong with you. Congratulations. You’ve correctly identified your dysfunctional pattern of behavior, and that’s the first step towards fixing it.

The second step is giving it a name. Some folks like to call what you’ve got a “love addiction.” I prefer the term “crush junkie,” because it’s not actual love, nor is it an actual addiction.

The third step is breaking the pattern. This is where things get difficult, because it’s entirely up to you to change your behavior. Stop obsessing over guys. Stop giving them the power to devastate you. Sure, that’s easier said than done, but it’s a lot easier to do when you start recognizing that your boy-crazy bullshit — all the attention seeking behavior and desperate need for validation — it’s all just a substitute for having actual self-respect and self-worth.

Find your own internal source of validation, and let it be independent of any relationship. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s necessary for you to stay emotional healthy, and it will help you to consciously choose not to let yourself get wrapped up in the experience of infatuation.

You can still enjoy the early romantic stages of a relationship, but when you can resist the urge to obsess over a guy because you know in your heart you don’t need his validation, you’ll also find that you won’t feel like shit anymore.

On fun-sized advice

I am not familiar with the idea of a cigar of shame.
You’re obviously too young to remember the Clinton Presidency.

Have you ever dated someone really rich? What’s it like? And don’t get cute with me talking about metaphorical wealth I mean $$$$$$
You realize that when you date someone wealthy, it doesn’t suddenly become your money, right?

How do I get and keep a rich boyfriend?
You’re not hot enough.

I’m having trouble distinguishing the difference between one bad instance and a mark of true character. How do you tell?

A guy I just started dating and I had sex for the first time in the middle of the day and he was going down on me while Sam Smith was on and it was the best orgasm ever. Now I can’t stop listening to Sam Smith.
Nice. That’s how I became a fan of alt-J.

Why is everybody like “Robin Williams” and nobody like “Lauren Bacall”? It’s Lauren Bacall, for Christ’s sake!
Lauren Bacall is a legend and a badass, but she hasn’t been culturally relevant for half a century. Plus, she died during the refractory period of our collective grief-gasm for Robin Williams. We didn’t have another one in us quite yet.

Thoughts on D/s relationships? Have you ever been in one, and do you have any advice for someone who’s considering it? I’d appreciate it.
I’ve been in several. It’s not really my thing anymore, nor is it the kind of subject where generic advice is particularly useful, and since I don’t know anything about you, the best I can do is point you to a book called SM 101 and either the Bottoming Book or the Topping Book (or both).

If it is all about oil then would we as a nation be smart to do what Germany is doing and move quickly to 100% renewable energy? Or we might keep our ban on exporting oil and use all the oil we just found in Utah to stay caked in the stuff till we no longer need it. Thoughts?

If we were smart, we wouldn’t just make it about us. We’d spearhead a multinational push for renewable energy. I talk about that more in depth in my post "On Our Ecosystem."

On cigars of shame

I’m confused about why you’d reward someone for referring to Michael Brown as a robbery suspect…?

This question is in reference to my tweets that "I’m gonna go steal a box of cigars today," and "Anyone who refers to Michael Brown as a robbery suspect is gonna get one of my stolen cigars and a fucking lesson in victim blaming."

You’re confused because you fail to understand that this is not a cigar of reward. It is a cigar of shame.

If someone refers to Michael Brown as a robbery suspect instead of a shooting victim, that asshole gets a cigar to prove a point that says, “Here. I stole this cigar. Now you’ve got a stolen cigar. Are either of us any less human? Do the police suddenly have the right to murder us in the streets?”

Whether Michael Brown shoplifted a pack of Swishers from a convenience store is completely fucking irrelevant to the excessive use of force by police, and it’s disgusting that the Ferguson Police Department would try and use some petty teenage misconduct to shift attention away from their murderous violence.

On playing chess in the desert

So what you’re really saying about Israel is that it’s the rook protecting the king, the United States/West from harm and blame, and the Palestinians are being exploited for the sake of continuing instability in the middle east to ensure western dominance. Or am I misunderstanding something?

America isn’t the king. America is the player. The king is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and as the rook, Israel isn’t so much protecting the king as it is left vulnerable to attack while the king uses the rook for shade.

Since you guys seem so interested in exploring this chess metaphor, the opposing king is the Islamic Republic of Iran. The opposing player is either China or Russia, depending on the move. (Although some would say at this point, America is also playing against itself.)

The queen is Iraq, although it could also be Egypt, depending on the game. (Egypt used to be the queen until Sadat was assassinated. After that, diplomatic relations shifted, and Iraq became the queen. Hell, under Nasser, Egypt was the opposing queen.) The opposing queen is currently the Assad regime in Syria, and the opposing castled rook equivalent would be Hezbollah.

Both sides use Palestinians as pawns. America uses the State of Palestine as a pawn, and the opposing side uses Hamas as a pawn. Either way, pawns are meant for sacrificing, and the Palestinian people suffer.

Oh, and the game isn’t about western dominance. The game is about global energy policy. In a word, oil. Everything else is public relations.