The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nothing really funny about IM 13

Online Editor Todd Williams over at the Rapid City Journal has a satire column in today's dead tree version. Todd's a nice guy. And he's a former copy editor, (I have a lot of respect for copy editors, since I was one once) so I can generally count on his work being in English.

Todd writes a lot of list type satire columns. They're born of David Letterman's "Top Ten" lists and Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if" lists, only Todd's are generally geared toward South Dakota topics.

Todd's lists are rarely clever and often sophomoric. Humor is very difficult to write. It's an art, and the last writer to do it successfully at the Journal was Bill Harlan. Successful humor or satire requires a mastery of the art of the set up and punch. Todd just doesn't have that mastered yet.

Today's topic is a dozen election day predictions. The list includes Kristi Noem winning and making her first legislative priority raising the speed limit to 95; Herseth Sandlin winning and making her first priority revamping the definition of Democrat. (I know you're all rolling on the floor right now, but hang with me.)

Then, he adds the following:
"Calling it an electioneering violation, state officials ban the use of the word of "dude" at all polling places where Initiated Measure 13 is being decided."
The problem I have with this is that IM 13 is no laughing matter. Some of IM 13's supporters are not potheads. I do not use marijuana. I support IM 13. The measure has at its core a desire to ease the suffering of others. And, that's not funny. True enough, some of the supporters have the ulterior motive of legalizing a substance that probably should never have been criminalized. Some of the supporters hope that legalized medical marijuana will afford them the opportunity to legally use the product strictly for its euphoria inducing properties.

Big deal. IM 13 will allow safe access to a naturally-grown herb that can be the best, safest method of relieving the pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy. And, that's just not funny.


Bob Newland said...

First, Mike, I appreciate the post. It hits the mark.

Second, I don't have an "ulterior" motive, although I understand your choice of words. for over 40 years I have advocated decriminalization of cannabis. I have really only been aware for about 20 years of its (miraculous in some cases) therapeutic benefits to some people for an amazingly wide range of ailments.

Naturally, having a conscience, I switched the emphasis of my advocacy to getting the most vulnerable and innocent victims of cannabis prohibition off the battlefield.

Our opponents seem to enjoy having to whup MS patients.

After the law changes to give sick people safe access to medicine that works, I'll continue to advocate that peaceful honest people who use a benignly pleasurable herb no longer be put in jail for attempting to alleviate the travails of life, like some of us do with liquor from time to time at the Sun Lounge.

Michael Sanborn said...

Well said, Bob. I agree.