Meredith's Challenge 2.0

52 books, one year. Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

#5 Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market by Eric Schlosser

When I first picked this up, I thought that it was just about pot. Surprise! It's not (read a subtitle why doncha, Meredith?). However, I do think that the title essay is the most compelling of the three. The laws on pot use, possession, selling, and growing and the differences between how the states, judges and feds determine how to enforce them is madness, madness I tell you. Yikes. One of the people mentioned was sentenced to LIFE in prision for introducing a grower to a buyer. Both the grower and buyer got considerably less amounts of jail time. Holy crap y'all.

As much as I liked the book, I felt like the last essay about pornography wasn't as interesting as the others. Reuben Sturman isn't a man that encourages sympathy. Yeah, it sucks that the feds were after him and put him in jail but 1) he wasn't paying taxes on millions of dollars of income and 2) what about the people that were used in the making of his porn? Yes, some people do take part in it willingly and eagerly, and Eric (yes, we are on a first name basis) gives us some examples, but what about those who don't have any other choices? or being in porn is the only choice they can think they are capable of doing? I think that is the bigger tragedy, the more human part of this essay. Also, as the boy so aptly put it, "pornography isn't illegal." He said, and I agree with him, that a discussion about prostitution would be more fitting and more interesting.

Eric does a good job of sucking in the reader. I used to not like non-fiction, only reading it when I thought it would be "good" for me. But Eric has taught me the errors of my ways. Fast Food Nation is awesome. If you haven't read it yet, do so. And then go read The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, which also talks about pot and has fascinating insights into apples, tulips and potatoes, I kid you not.

This quote stuck me, "This war is over, if you want it." I think it can be true on many levels. Good job, Eric, good job.


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