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How Variety and its film critics support drug war fascism

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

November 10, 2019

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 Leslie Bibb' 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.


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]

Next essay: Harold & Kumar Support the Drug War
Previous essay: Common Nonsense from Common Sense Media

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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

I agree that Big Pharma drugs have wrought disaster when used in psychotherapy -- but it is common sense that non-Big Pharma drugs that elate could be used to prevent suicide and obviate the need for ECT.
Just think how much money bar owners in the Old West would have saved on restoration expenses if they had served MDMA instead of whiskey.
Getting off antidepressants can make things worse for only one reason: because we have outlawed all the drugs that could help with the transition. Right now, getting off any drug basically means become a drug-free Christian Scientist. No wonder withdrawal is hard.
I looked up the company: it's all about the damn stock market and money. The FDA outlaws LSD until we remove all the euphoria and the visions. That's ideology, not science. Just relegalize drugs and stop telling me how much ecstasy and insight I can have in my life!!
Check out the 2021 article in Forbes in which a materialist doctor professes to doubt whether laughing gas could help the depressed. Materialists are committed to seeing the world from the POV of Spock from Star Trek.
The formula is easy: pick a substance that folks are predisposed to hate anyway, then keep hounding the public with stories about tragedies somehow related to that substance. Show it ruining lives in movies and on TV. Don't lie. Just keep showing all the negatives.
Besides, why should I listen to the views of a microbe?
David Chalmers says almost everything in the world can be reductively explained. Maybe so. But science's mistake is to think that everything can therefore be reductively UNDERSTOOD. That kind of thinking blinds researchers to the positive effects of laughing gas and MDMA, etc.
America created a whole negative morality around "drugs" starting in 1914. "Users" became fiends and were as helpless as a Christian sinner -- in need of grace from a higher power. Before prohibition, these "fiends" were habitues, no worse than Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson.
The DEA rating system is not wrong just because it ranks drugs incorrectly. It's wrong because it ranks drugs at all. All drugs have positive uses. It's absurd to prohibit using them because one demographic might misuse them.
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You have been reading an article entitled, How Variety and its film critics support drug war fascism published on November 10, 2019 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)