Reefer Madness Essay

Reefer Madness Essay

Length: 1071 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

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I. Introduction and Overview
     There is something very interesting about a book with a cover promising lurid tales of sex, drugs, and cheap labor. The persona of Eric Schlosser's subject and the effective marketing behind it are very verbose in nature.

Here in this book, Eric Schlosser is keeping with the long tradition of the so called, “yellow” journalism, in wresting the black market, from the back alleys of public consciousness and putting it on display in the storefront of the eye of everyone. In the painfully, yet enjoyable essays, Eric Schlosser takes us on many numerous excursions through the war on marijuana, the lives of immigrant farm workers, and the very dirty sex industry in the United States. He paints a very graphic image of hypocrisy in the policies of the U.S. government by examining the power of the economy of the underground and the misuse of government resources in legislating morality to its public. .

II. Major Issues
In each of the authors essays in this book, is the truth of the smut and other things of the American ideal. You could say it is a liitle bit Weber's Protestant Ethic meets Larry Flynt. In each scenario, whether through agricultural facility and personal liberties, in the case of marijuana criminalization; immigrants in search of a better life, in the case of stigmatized farm workers; or punishing a successful businessman because of his lack of morals, Eric Schlosser returns to the unpleasant image of America as a bundle of hypocrisies.
     On one level, each scenario is of an American archetype of success. For a country that prides itself on its immigrant history, hard-work ethic, and financial success stories, it seems strange to make these folks look like the villains. This is what Eric Schlosser is getting at: that these people would be heroes if the American ideal were anything more than a myth. Forgotten in that ideal, rationalized somehow, is the fact that our national heritage also includes a strong grounding in Puritanical morality somewhat. This is perhaps one of the most dissatisfying aspects of Schlosser's book, that the exploration of our moral grounding is never explored all that deeply, even though it is criticized. However, it is indisputable that the author, Schlosser, feels that the American ideal has a dangerous and powerful hold on the public co...

... middle of paper ...

...ese topics, or is he attempting to establish himself as a liberal?

     Perhaps, ironically, Schlosser's book is attractive for the same reasons that its subjects are, it is a type of book you do not want to be caught reading. In the United States, especially in the patriotic surge following the 2001 terrorist attacks, it is unfashionable to question nationalistic conventions. If teenagers are drawn to marijuana because their parents forbid it and married men are lured by the pornography stands because it is immoral, is it also possible that disenchanted citizens are tempted by a book that portrays its government and policies as laced with duplicity? We may never know.


Table Of Contents

I. Introduction and Overview

II. Major Issues In The Book

III. Conclusion

“Reefer Madness” overview

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