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Reading the Stuff comments for a higher purpose. Shoot me please. - Tactical Ninja

May. 31st, 2013

09:23 am - Reading the Stuff comments for a higher purpose. Shoot me please.

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This morning I bought my ticket for Under the Spinfluence. Unlike last year, this year I'm quite excited about it because a) I'm not neck deep in the most dryballs Criminological Theory course ever invented, and b) they have ADAGIO! They might even have other people I can climb on! I am ridiculously thrilled by this prospect.

The other thing I bought was a battery charger that can handle LiPo batteries. And any other kind of battery. And has a USB connection. And does not come in white or have the wi-fis. Sorry about that. But it's the snazziest charger ever - that I can afford, anyway.

Meanwhile, last night I installed Evernote Web Clipper into my browser, and went on a legal high clipping spree. There were 89 articles in the Stuff archive that mention legal highs, and even just in the process of clipping, tagging them with the year and saving them, I can see the moral panic developing in exactly the same way it did with LSD. The early articles are mostly factual, things like "Legal highs becoming more available", or "Regulation limits legal highs to over 18s", or "Scientists investigate Kronic contents." By this year, the headlines have moved to things like "Timaru Mum talks of legal high hell", "Teenager collapses after taking legal high" or "Legal high sellers place profits over people" - in other words, human interest stories featuring the opinions of parents (vs, you know, scientists), shock/horror headlines, and conjecture and value judgements regarding the sale and use of legal highs.

What I expect is for this to peak just before the Psychoactive Substances Bill becomes law, and for the number of articles about legal highs to drop dramatically after that, with a likely return to factual articles with a focus on who's been busted for not complying and what the research is demonstrating about legal highs, with the odd opinion piece with someone's Mum saying how much better things are now.

With LSD the framing of the articles went from 'interesting scientific breakthrough' to 'scary social problem' along about the same timeline as the slant went from positive to negative, with the tipping point being when Timothy Leary got sacked from Harvard and when protest against the Vietnam War began to get some real momentum. With legal highs, there was never an 'interesting scientific breakthrough' angle, the slant has always been negative, and it seems that a lot of the moral panic here started about the same time as mephedrone was banned in the UK. The 'interesting' angle is that NZ is implementing this experimental new law to deal with it, which is being hailed internationally as progressive.

I am interested to see how the media deals with that, given that what I've seen so far seems to be exactly the same fare we've always had about drugs - long on emotive leading headlines and short on factual information, with an increasing trend towards "Won't anybody think of the children" as time goes by. There's been relatively little about the new legislation - a few articles, but mostly buried among the Timaru Mums at a rate of about 4:1. It's.. informative and a little bit rant-inducing. I'm focusing on Stuff because it's the main news aggregator site for NZ, most people know of it and it's a fairly good gauge of what your average kiwi is being told about legal highs. Also, my web clipper collects the comments and the polls too - so there might be an interesting aside in the opinions offered or an analysis of the questions asked in the polls and how leading they are. Hmm..

And then off I'll trot and write a thing about it, and they'll give me an Honours degree, right? Right?

So, um, there may be a touch o' the ranting in the next little while as I collect all these articles. Meanwhile have a picture of Relax-O-Cat:

They are here for about another week. Then we are getting the house steam cleaned. By the way, yes I have done all the required work for the Deadline Of Doom. I'm just waiting to hit the button now..


[User Picture]
Date:May 30th, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
Hooray for defeating the deadline of doom with time to spare!
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[User Picture]
Date:May 30th, 2013 10:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm kind of at a bit of a loss for what to do with myself today though...
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[User Picture]
Date:May 30th, 2013 10:16 pm (UTC)
Send Jez wacky haiku by text? That's always good for a laugh ;)
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