On the Huffington Post today, they have a breathless headlline, "Is Jennifer Lawrence Smoking Weed?" with a photograph of the Oscar-winning actress looking like she might possibly be smoking a joint.
I didn't read the article, nor did I get a look at a larger version of the thumbnail photo, but I'm going to take a stab at the answer.
My guess is the answer is 'yes.'
Mind you, I don't know if that's true, but given that she's an actress and working in Hollywood and 22 years-old, I think there's a reasonable chance that, yes, Ms. Lawrence is smoking pot in that picture. But then, I think there's a reasonable chance that any 22-year-old working in Hollywood might be smoking pot. Mind you, I also think there's a reasonable chance that any 22-year-old anywhere on the planet might possibly be smoking it.
It's not just a wild guess on my part. At last count, 100 million Americans have said that they've smoked marijuana at some point in their lives. In fact, 45% say that they've smoked pot by the age of 20. Since Ms. Lawrence has a two-year lead on that group, she's in reasonable-guess company.
It's also worth noting that smoking marijuana is actually legal in Washington state law and Colorado (by state law, not federal). So, if that is indeed a picture of Jennifer Lawrence and if she is indeed smoking the cannabis -- and if the photo was taken in one of those states near California, it would be as newsworthy as a headline asking, "Is Jennifer Lawrence Drinking a Dr. Pepper?"
By the way, for the record, I mention none of this with any agenda. I've long said that I have no chance of being ever elected to any high office because no one would ever believe me when I answered a question swearing on a Bible, "I have never smoked pot in my life. Not one puff. Not even a puff but I didn't inhale." And I work in Hollywood. And even passed time in the '60s. I've just never been interested. That's all, nothing more than that. So, my bemusement at the Huffington Post's oh-so-shocked headline -- which they've used quite a few other times with others celebrities (as have other news media) -- is not for moral, legal or political reasons. It's that I think it's a stupid headline.
Yes, I know that marijuana is a drug. And I know it's illegal. But so is nicotine, and so is driving over the speed limit. So, being shocked that a 22-year-old -- in Hollywood, in Kansas, in Alabama or in Lichtenstein -- is smoking weed is, to me, as much a headline news story as is ''Is Dame Helen Mirren speeding on the I-5 to Las Vegas?"
(By the way, if you think I'm being glib about this, even if you believe that pot leads to harder drug use and down the road to ruin, speeding leads to car crashes. And in the last full year there for which are records, 2011, there were 32,367 auto deaths. And that's the fewest since 1949.)
I'm not suggesting that one should promote marijuana use -- or demean it.
I'm saying one thing, and one thing only: The photo of a 22-year-old adult who might possibly be smoking pot is not a headline news story.
And I would suggest, as well, that making it a headline news story about an Oscar-winning actress smoking pot, something 54% of Americans under 25 have done, only serves to do the very thing being panderingly fake-shocked over -- and that's to glamorize it.
Not that the photo appears to be very glamorous. Assuming it is pot. And assuming it's not in a state where it's legal.
But my bet is, yes, that is Jennifer Lawrence smoking pot. I wonder what odds I can get?
If only betting was legal here. Because, darn, no one bets, except in Las Vegas...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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