How Variety and its film critics support drug war fascism
by Ballard Quass
Letter to Variety
When are Variety and its movie critics going to stop celebrating Drug War fascism? Dennis Harvey should be PANNING films like "Running with the Devil" that makes a case for torture and murder in prosecuting the Drug War, not writing as if the abhorrent movie premise were somehow unremarkable. Not only does Natalie Reyes' DEA character torture a suspect -- and threaten to cut him open -- but she shoots the unarmed "cook" at the end -- WHILE SHE'S SMOKING A CIGARETTE CONTAINING TOBACCO -- a drug far worse than the coca leaves that the agent is determined to suppress. Yet, from the director's point of view, the movie goer is clearly meant to sympathize with the DEA agent? That's the sort of cinematic message that Stalin and Mussolini could have gotten behind (or Leni Riefenstahl for that matter), but Thomas Jefferson would have been appalled.
The last thing that a democratic country needs is a movie that glorifies violating the constitution in the name of the Drug War. Nor does the DEA deserve to be glorified like this.
Fishkill & Egbert review the patriotic movie classic from 2019 entitled Running with the Devil, in which Natalie Reyes combats Christian Science heretics with the good old-fashioned all-American expedients of torture and assassination.
It is a lying and self-serving institution that has blocked valuable drug research ever since its founding in 1973 (still saying to this day that there's no therapeutic value in psychedelics, a flat out lie ignoring both recent cutting-edge clinical trials and thousands of years of breathtaking evidence, including the Eleusinian mysteries and MesoAmerican ritual), forcing folks like myself onto addictive Big Pharma antidepressants by default, when just a few sessions with outlawed and inexpensive psychedelics like psilocybin or ayahuasca could have given me a new outlook on life and insight into my human condition. As for the violence that Natalie battles in the movie, wake up: It's all caused by the outlawing of plants in the first place! We outlawed Mother Nature and surprise, surprise: we created a huge black market. What did we expect?
Besides depriving folks of godsend medical therapies, the DEA is stealing elections in America by arresting a million Americans every year for drug possession and removing them from the voting rolls, Americans who would have otherwise thrown the Drug Warriors out of office. Russia is not stealing American elections, it's the production companies behind anti-democratic movies like this that are stealing elections - and they're being aided and abetted, sad to say, by publications like Variety that refuse to speak out against the increasingly anti-American message of Drug War movies like this one, movies that attempt to morally justify torture and extrajudicial murder -- all in the name of criminalizing the therapeutic plants that grow at our very feet.
DEA Job Opening: Hit Man apprentice
Must be willing to not simply flout the US Constitution, but to heap scorn upon it along with its so-called legal protections for American citizens. (Hah!) Ideal candidate will have documented experience as a schoolyard bully.
PS I'm writing you in this venue because your comment form does not show up when I click on "leave a comment" under Dennis Harvey's review - also because this is not just a comment about that one review but about all drug-war movie reviews published by Variety, in the hope that you will start denouncing movies whose message, like this one ("Running with the Devil"), is so thoroughly anti-American and pro-fascist
NOTE: Some will say that this is only a movie, to which we respond that Riefenstahl's 'Triumph of the Will' was a movie, too, but it was also a symptom of a sick fascist society. Besides, if "Running" is a libel on the DEA as it actually exists, we have yet to hear the DEA indignantly denounce it as such. To the contrary, they love these sorts of movies, because the popularity of their fascist messages suggests that the DEA has many long years ahead of it of treating Mother Nature like a pariah and American citizens like dirt -- at least those who dare to recognize the psychological benefits of Mother Nature's much slandered pharmacy. And so we continue treating plants as pariahs when the villains of the piece are the profit motive combined with superstitious Drug War lies according to which banned substances are evil incarnate, and not amoral substances that, like anything else, can be used for both good and evil.
Author's follow-up note: November 14, 2019
Surprise, surprise. Variety magazine didn't get back to me. Apparently they're quite satisfied with their policy of bigging-up fascist flicks. [sighs]
Are you wondering why I stopped you? Well, aside from the fact that you're Black, of course. No, seriously, seriously! (Sorry, my mom always said I should have been a comedian.) I stopped you to give you a warning. No, not about your dodgy right headlight (tho' you really should get that fixed). I wanted to warn you that this website is all about criticizing the willful ignorance of society when it comes to so-called "drugs." It is not -- I repeat NOT -- about encouraging either "drug use" or the LACK of "drug use." Ya feel me? It's about encouraging EDUCATION about substances rather than DRUG WARRIOR DEMONIZATION of substances.
Got it? Okay, repeat after me, then: THIS WEBSITE IS ABOUT ENCOURAGING EDUCATION ABOUT SUBSTANCES RATHER THAN DRUG WARRIOR DEMONIZATION OF SUBSTANCES!!!
So if you're contemplating using anything from table salt to heroin, you've come to the wrong site. The author is neither a doctor nor a pharmacologist. This is a philosophical website, not a practical website. You dig me? You need to study up on any and all substances using reliable sources: don't get your medical opinions about specific substances from a philosophy website like this one, for Peter's almighty sake! Ya feel me? Is the copper right or is the copper right?
Now, be on your way -- unless, of course, you're Black, in which case, get out of the car this instant and put your hands on the top of my vehicle! Move! Move! Move! Papa's gonna rough you up a bit. (Tee-hee.)
Just kidding. I really should have been a stand-up comedian, you know.
And get that right headlight looked at, ya numbskull!
Bone up on slam-dunk arguments against the drug war, starting with the fact that it was a violation of natural law to outlaw plant medicine in the first place. Check out
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for fun ways to learn more about the manifold injustice of the status quo, including many knock-down arguments never made before. Why? Because even the majority of drug-war opponents have been bamboozled by one or more of the absurd assumptions upon which that war is premised. See through the haze. Read on. Listen on. And Learn how tryants and worrywarts have despoiled American freedom, thereby killing millions around the world, totally unnecessarily, ever since the fateful day in 1914 when ignorant America first criminalized a mere plant -- and insisted that the rest of the world follow suit or else -- an act of colonialist folly unrivaled since the days of the genocidal Conquistadors.