High School Indeed


The right will yelp about Obama's youthful dope-smoking, the press will pile on, and people won't care.

You'll be hearing a lot of that word. We learn this morning from the Playbook a little anecdote about Potus from David Maraniss's upcoming book. In high school, as the group was passing a joint, Obama would grab it when it (if I'm understanding it right) wasn't his turn and say, "Intercepted!" and take a hit.

Buzzfeed expands on this considerably, listing fully 13 rules of smoking pot with Obama. I was especially struck by number four:

When you were with Barry and his pals, if you exhaled precious pakalolo (Hawaiian slang for marijuana, meaning "numbing tobacco") instead of absorbing it fully into your lungs, you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around. "Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated," explained one member of the Choom Gang.

My friends and I had similar although rather more elaborate rules that I won't go into. There was a point system, is all you need to know at this juncture.

I would imagine the right will hit this pretty hard after the book comes out. And, I would imagine, very few Americans will, or should, care. Of course conservatives have the advantage of a nominee who's never smoked or drunk anything, and they'll try to press that as an advantage, and the media may even fall for it, but meanwhile the truth will be that the vast majority of Americans, having gotten plastered and-or high when young, will silently take Obama's side in this front of the culture war.

The broader point here is the wide, wide gulf between the reality of most people's lives and the myths that must be sustained in political discourse. To the extent that Obama's example can chip away at those myths and all that make-believe, so much the better. Poor Douglas Ginsburg. Incidentally, I wonder what he thinks of the Affordable Care Act (Anthony Kennedy took the seat that was intended for him).