Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

How TV helped change attitudes about marijuana

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Interesting article in WaPo by Michael Tesler on how sanity began to enter the discussion of marijuana:

My favorite TV show as a kid, “Beverly Hills, 90210,” offers an informative glimpse into just how much of prime-time television’s portrayals of marijuana have changed in only a short period of time. Marijuana was overwhelmingly portrayed in a negative light throughout the teen drama’s 10 years on TV (1990-2000). So much so that cannabis immediately served as the gateway drug to a peripheral character’s heroin overdose death in 1997.

The 21st-century remake of “90210″ dealt with marijuana use much differently during its 2008-2013 run, though. In fact, marijuana was downright cool on the reincarnated “90210.” The young/hip/brilliant high school teacher smoked it every day back in college; the parents mistakenly ate pot brownies, with good-natured hijinks naturally ensuing; and young love even blossomed at the medical-marijuana dispensary.

The evolution of marijuana depictions from the old to the new “90210″ is a microcosm of the growing normalization of weed on TV. The Atlantic documented these changes in an article aptly titled, “How TV Fell in Love with Marijuana.” But others have decried them. The socially conservative Parents Television Council concluded its 2008 analysis, “Prime Time Goes to Pot,” by lamenting the fact that “prime-time television has joined the growing enthusiasm for portraying marijuana use as harmless and even beneficial”

Television’s new love affair with marijuana, of course, coincides with aremarkable increase in support for legalization over the past 15 years. Recent polls by Gallup, Pew and YouGov found a majority of Americans now favor legal recreational use — up more than 20 percentage points since the late 1990s. Moreover, on Election Day, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., joined Colorado and Washington state in voting to legalize marijuana for recreational use. This growing support, however, naturally raises the chicken-or-egg question of whether TV is portraying pot more positively because of growing public support or if those benign depictions are liberalizing attitudes about legalization.

Fortunately, data from the General Social Survey (GSS) helps shed some light on that question. . .

Continue reading.

And the comments to that article are interesting—pointing out, for example, the impact of the Internet as a source of information and a hospitable venue for arguments more complex than can be done on TV—and with the ability to link to supporting studies. And the Mormons seemed to have recognized the Internet’s influence as well: see next post.

Written by Leisureguy

11 November 2014 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws, Media

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