Imagine If Stringer Bell Had Won

The missus and I are three episodes into High Profits, a reality tv show about the legal business of producing and selling marijuana in Breckenridge, Colorado. It’s not great. But setting the drug trade — which is illegal and aggressive where illegal — on the right side of the law gives this show way more interest than most reality shows. You get to see city council members who have Chamber-of-Commerce outlooks and want to preserve a family-friendly ski resort town figure out what to do with a venture with which they have some experience in their youth. It’s like Walter and Schuyler White finding out there meth business is legit and trying to gain a business license to sell meth in one of the storefronts on Lomas Blvd. in Albuquerque. Or, it’s like Stringer Bell outwitting Avon Barksdale and eliminating the gangster element from slinging cocaine and heroin. The big question is whether drug business can be respectable. Of course, we all know it can. Can you say alcohol? But how do you take a drug that has all the not so attractive aspects of illegality and stoner culture and make it normal, even Chamber-of-Commerce promotable?

As I say we’re only three episodes in and the city council is debating the fate of the only in-town marijuana store. But in light of what I just read about David Bowie, I think I know which way the vote is going to go:

The media is portraying Bowie as a mainstream saint—one whose life and death are worthy of emulation. The Huffington Post ran articles entitled, “What Would David Bowie Do?” and “David Bowie—Our Hero.” In a piece that I first thought was a joke, Morgan Shanahan of advises parents on “16 Ways to Teach Your Kids About David Bowie (And the World).” BuzzFeed may not be a serious journalistic enterprise, but it has its finger on the pulse of society and is the primary news source of many young adults. Shanahan treats them to profundities such as, “Teach them how he was never anything less than his authentic self;” “Show them there are endless ways to reinvent yourself while staying true to who you are;” “Help them see there’s beauty in being different, the way he helped so many of us;” and “Show them the way he saw the world. Teach them to be superhuman.”

How is it that a man who was a drug addict, was extremely promiscuous, and flagrantly flouted all sexual boundaries is being held up as an example for our children to emulate?

11 thoughts on “Imagine If Stringer Bell Had Won

  1. cw, Thornbury justifies his adolescence:

    In a piece written in 2013 entitled “The Hole in Bowie’s Soul,” Turner revisited that idea, advancing the thesis that Bowie’s legacy was about style, not substance. Unlike contemporaries like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and Pete Townshend, Bowie stood for little more than selling himself. Politically and philosophically, Turner implies, The Thin White Duke was innocuous at best or horribly misguided at worst. Religiously, he dabbled early on in everything from the occult to Buddhism. Not good.

    But such a harsh assessment of Bowie seems not in keeping with the actions of a man who, at a key turning point in history, rallied against totalitarianism. In 1987, Bowie returned to West Berlin, where he once lived and recorded some of his best work. With his back to the Berlin Wall, he belted out “Heroes” with his band, crying out for liberty to the crowd in German. Thousands of East Berliners pressed up against the other side of the wall to hear him, and they subsequently began vigorously protesting against the Communist regime. . . .

    The Friday before he passed away, Iman, his wife, tweeted, “The struggle is real, but so is God.” But that isn’t really why believers should care about David Bowie. Not ultimately. His intrigue resides not in some imagined last-minute conversion—however cryptic. It lies in the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts of brokenhearted people who felt like when they were weak, or aliens and strangers in the world, Bowie helped them feel strong.

    He was free. He could change on a dime. That’s the greatest fantasy—to start over. To be born again.

    So much for all that wisdom gleaned from Carl Henry and Jonathan Edwards. What would Al Mohler do?


  2. Thornbury… what you get when all your addresses are pitched to college audiences. Speaking as a prof myself. What’s next, a defense of Leslie Phillips?


  3. So how would you vote, DGH, if you were a member of your local chamber of commerce? You’re being elusive in your commentary. Should we set up little Amsterdam’s throughout metropolitan area’s? Should we release all the drug addicts from prisons and ban all background checks that have to do with the war on drugs? Curious minds want to know.


  4. JohnnY, I’d try to find a work around. A couple blocks off mainstreet? And I’d sure want to set up a bank so these business people didn’t need to deal in cash only. Talk about an accident waiting to happen.


  5. I need to re-phrase- I should have said how would you vote if you were a member of the city council? So I take it you’re all for legalizing marijuana? I agree, better that the money gets out of the gangsters hands and gets distributed more evenly in legitimate business’s. Drug use is privy to the law of diminishing returns. If they were legalized they might eventually go away. The huge amounts of money used to fight the war on drugs could be used for better purposes. I think that is what season 3 of, The Wire, was all about. However, the idea failed and continues to fail due to the moral outrage that has questionable sources behind it all.


  6. JohnnY, the vote to legalize is behind, as you know. I’m just trying to think about how to accommodate entrepreneurs who took a risk and seem willing to work with the town.


  7. People who are for law and order must stand against change because that would be new—violence

    let’s all share the pie
    and deny labor its slice because the invisible hand
    works only for the rich who own the pie oven
    there will always be poor
    workers you can hire at the last hour
    and pay only for that hour
    cats in boxes
    bubbles aren’t really bubbles until
    they prove their existence by blowing up
    it wasn’t us
    who decided to live in this story
    we cannot choose to not choose
    who will be left in the cold


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