Thursday, 8 May 2008


Alex Wodak, Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St Vincent's Hospital (my emphasis added) ...

"I don't want to see that [industry] fall into the hands of tobacco companies or rapacious businessmen.

"I'd like to see it fall into the hands of the failed business people Australia seems so good at producing or the Australia Post that seems so successful in driving away customers."

He made the proposal for taxed and legalised cannabis at the Mardi Grass festival in Nimbin on Sunday, but said he would be happy to express his opinion to the Federal Government. A spokesman for the Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon, said the proposal would not be considered.

And here’s Miranda Devine, Sydney Morning Herald columnist ...

Dr Alex Wodak's plan to have the Government sell cannabis in little packets at the post office wasn't just a throwaway line to a bunch of senile hippies at the Mardi-Grass festival in Nimbin last weekend.

It was part of a considered strategy by the esteemed director (for 26 years) of St Vincent's Hospital's drug and alcohol service to convince authorities to legalise marijuana and other illicit drugs ...

Miranda then goes positively whacky with numbers ...

2 million ... 12-to-15 year olds ... 15 per cent ... 6 per cent ... 12 to 15 year olds ... 28 per cent ... 13 per cent ... 6 per cent ... 40 per cent ... 50,465 Swedish Army conscripts ... age 18 ... 2.4 times ... 15 years ... 6.7 times ... 1037 people ... ages 15 and 18 ... age 26 ... 1.1 billion in 1998 ... 1.3 billion in 2010 ... 147 million.

Fuck me, if that wouldn’t give a person a headache.

Now, these 2 letters, also from today’s Sydney Morning Herald ...

"Lest Dr Alex Wodak thinks his is a voice in the wilderness (Cut cannabis use by selling it at the post office: expert, May 6), I would like to assure him that many people share his views: they just tend to be drowned out by the howls of fervor from the committed anti-legislators.

Acknowledging the damage that marijuana and other illicit drugs do, and supporting provision of these same drugs through regulated sources and management of the health effects of use, is not tantamount to advocating use of these substances. It is just the recognition that prohibition achieves its opposite intention.

The most recent figures, quoted by Dr Wodak, that access to marijuana in the Netherlands is associated with less exposure to more dangerous substances than occurs where marijuana is prohibited, again offer facts against fears."

Dr Elizabeth O'Brien St Leonards

"Philip Cooney (Letters, May 7), whether or not a drug leads to sickness is not a valid reason for it to be illegal. If it were a valid reason, tobacco and alcohol would no longer be legal.

Many members of the community use cannabis with little or no ill-effects, yet they risk a criminal record for indulging in a drug that causes less social and financial cost to society than alcohol.

Neither alcohol or cannabis use is good for you, however, it is logical and sensible that the government regulate the use of cannabis, so it may earn revenue from its sale.
Surely police resources could be better used directed at violent crimes that occur every day due to alcohol abuse?"

Mitchell Beston Woy Woy

Note the conspicuous absence of numbers and statistics in these 2 letters and Alex Wodak’s quote, numbers being a thing totally irrelevant to anyone who’s ever smoked a few, or even a large number of spliffs over the course of their lives.

Numbers, however, are the stock-in-trade of those creative typists in the various organs of the media whose job it is is to frantically Google their pretty little heads into a frenzy in their desperately stupid and patently transparent efforts to scare us all shitless through the employment, proliferation and promotion of what Jack Marx once
referred to as junk science and voodoo statistics.

I’ve smoked pot. All of my friends over the many years I’ve known them have smoked it. None of us, not a one, ever went belly up in the brain. This means nothing in and of itself to anyone other than ourselves. However ...

Here’s a few statistics of my own ...

Four of the five women I’ve had significant relationships with over the course of my life were raped as children by members of their own family. By brothers, grandfathers, stepfathers and fathers. Between the ages of 8 and 12. Repeatedly. The perpetrators were never reported, charged, convicted. Nothing. Nada. Scot-free.

Using the same voodoo statistics that Miranda Devine and her ilk regularly employ to promote their self-absorbed and self-righteous moral and intellectual superiority over people who, like Alex Wodak, have actually worked in the front-line of the field of drug and alcohol use and abuse, one could reasonably assume, therefore, that 80% of Anglo-Saxon, Caucasian women from working class families have been raped as children by members of their own families. And not a single perpetrator, which would represent 80% of Australian men, have ever paid for their crimes.

However, this “statistic” is patently stupid. There is nothing, other than my own experience and knowledge, which is personal to me, to support it.

That blah percentage of blah to blah year olds may have blah blahed whilst blahing their blahs in the wind in winter and up a koala’s bum during blah to blah means blah blahs of fuck all, quite frankly.

And take a close look at the emphasised part of Wodak’s quote and the context in which it was delivered, for here is the context in which I feel it was meant to be taken ...

... Australia Post shoved a glossy little brochure in my letterbox a week or two ago, and within its 4 pages were advertised products such as fluffy toys, colouring-in books, staplers, ink cartridges and, wait for it ... compact discs and DVD’s.


It’s not like they would have a dedicated and wide selection of music from Mali and Cuba, or the latest offerings from the likes of Nick Cave or Lydia Lunch nestled among a fine bundle of those lovely box sets that
Rhino do so well which invariably set me to drooling with greed and desire.

It’s a fucking post office for God’s sake. Buy a stamp, send a letter or a package, cash a money order or what not, and leave. If you want a compact disc, go to J&B, for that is what they do, and, for fluffy toys, the children’s department at any K-Mart will surely be able to meet all your fluffy and fluffable needs.

Wodak is taking the piss.

For he well knows that no Australian politician from any major political party will ever, ever have the bottle to argue the case for the legalisation of any currently illegal drug for fear of being stoned to death in a public square by a noisy rabble of tabloid talkback hysterics and half-witted hacks.

He has for 26 years now, as Devine points out, been working directly on matters of drug and alcohol use and abuse, and he has no doubt seen and heard it all. Devine sits on her arse and gets paid to not only make hay, but have her readers work themselves into a feverish sweat looking for needles there that don’t exist.

“Ah, fuck it”, he thinks ... “I may as well bang my head against a wall.”

And thus, his comment; dry, sardonic, darkly humorous, especially the bit about Australia being a world-class producer of insanely stupid “businessmen”, which of course, it is, as any cursory perusal of any newspaper on any day will prove.

A throwaway line, indeed.

Pull your head out of your arse, Miranda. Live in the fucking world.


Terry Wright said...

You bastard, Sharp!

Beat me to it by a day.

Terry Wright said...

He has for 26 years now, as Devine points out, been working directly on matters of drug and alcohol use and abuse, and he has no doubt seen and heard it all. Devine sits on her arse and gets paid to not only make hay, but have her readers work themselves into a feverish sweat looking for needles there that don’t exist.

This sums it all up, Ross. She is a mouth piece, nothing more, giving support to the ultra conservatives, Christian extremists, armchair pundits, arrogant, self obsessed moralists, people hating evangelists and other ignorant, hate filled deniers of reality.

As Henry Rollins said:
These Christian fundamentalist psychotics are so power mad that they will stop at nothing. Willful ignorance, intimidation and suppression of information are their tools.

Ross Sharp said...

Thanks Terry ... Rollins was just out here on tour ... unfortunately he played a week before payday, so I missed out. Damn!

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