That Would Be a Joint, Steve


As amusing game show responses go, this one is not quite up there with "that would be in the butt, Bob," but it is revealing. During a recent Family Feud episode, contestants were asked to name "something that gets passed around." One of them immediately hit the buzzer and volunteered "a joint," drawing applause and laughter. Host Steve Harvey professed to be taken aback and mocked the contestant for picking a response that surely did not spring to the minds of the 100 ordinary people surveyed by the show in "some nice little mall across America." But "a joint" was in fact the fifth most popular response (out of the top six). There is a second punch line (which I won't spoil) when the woman on the other side gives her answer.

The first contestant's readiness to say "a joint," the fact that it showed up in the survey, and the audience's decidedly nonscandalized response all illustrate a puzzling facet of life in 21st-century America that Andrew Sullivan notes in the introduction to The Cannabis Closet, his new collection of personal accounts from pot smokers: "How does a society treat something as a harmless, ubiquitous joke, and then arrest hundreds of thousands of people a year for doing it?" It's a good question for former pot smoker Barack Obama, although he probably would laugh at you for asking it.

[via Tony Newman at Alernet]