Why Big Media should Stop Using Marijuana Puns
It seems today that everyone can get offended over everything whether it’s because you mispronounced something, feel strongly about a particular topic or simply mispronounced a pronoun. Personally, I could give two shits about the personal offenses of the world. The world is a hostile place and your safe space is an illusion you wish to impose on the rest of us.
To be honest, I’m an offensive douchebag too that uses offense for the sake of comedy. I hardly every have mal intent to anyone whenever I’m saying shit “I’m not supposed to be saying”. Having said that, personal offense is no big deal. You can call me what you will and I’ll simply shrug it off and keep on going.
However, there is something to be said about the puns in media.
Let’s talk about puns
As a person who has clocked more than 5,000 cannabis related articles over the years, I have done my fair amount of research. I read everything from books, studies and even media articles about the latest pot bust in order to understand the totality of the culture of cannabis.
One thing I frequently see when I conduct my research is the usage of cannabis-related puns mostly being used by Big Media.
“Up in Smoke – Cannabis activists get arrested” or “Don’t whip out the Cheetos just yet” are headlines you get to see scattered all over the internet and in major print media publications. While this is meant to be “humorous” and a play on words for the author of the article, there is a deeper subtext to the entire ordeal I’ll be breaking down a bit further.
I use puns in my articles. The difference between me using puns and Big Media using puns are worlds apart. I recently wrote an article called “The Dank Side of the Moonrock” playing on the Pink Floyd title “The Dark Side of the Moon” which I thought to be relevant to my analysis of smoking Moonrocks for the first time.
Why did my pun work? Because I am a cannabis consumer and know that many of the older “trippers” out there listens to Pink Floyd. It’s a part of our culture and has a welcoming feel to it.
When Big Media uses puns, it’s more like a quiet “fuck you” to the stoner community. It’s almost as if a Cowboy hat wearing white guy uses the word “nigger”. It doesn’t feel so “homey” at all. In fact, you can almost certainly pick up on a hint of hatred within this particular example.
The Effect of the Pun
When it comes to Big Media using cannabis puns in their headlines the intention is just like that of the “Cowboy-hat-wearing-white-guy” example from earlier. There is no love within their usage of the pun.
In fact, if you were to take a step back from the usage of the pun and look at the effect of the pun on the national discourse on cannabis, it becomes a shady tactic used to sustain the status quo.
You see, the United States has a long history of utilizing media-fabricated propaganda to reinforce government positions. Some might even argue that this is the purpose of corporate owned media companies; to condition the mass opinion of the nation on a particular topic the government wishes to pass.
Some might call me a crazy conspiracy theorist; however, I don’t look at information from the ‘regular viewpoint’. I have a long standing work history within the marketing field. I have used these very tactics used by most advertising companies such as the “hell sell” where you embed horrid pictures within an image to address the subconscious of the viewer. [I won’t get into all that]
The point is that I don’t simply wish to push an agenda (trust me, if I wanted to push an agenda you’ll never know about it and simply accept it as truth).
Big Media uses cannabis puns within marijuana related content not for the purpose of humor, but rather to reinforce a negative stereotype about cannabis users.
“Up in Smoke” is an obvious reference to Cheech and Chong. Many people have heard this and many more have seen the movies. And while I absolutely love those movies, the stereotype of the stoner portrayed within the film isn’t all that flattering to all the “professional stoners” out there.
The moment you plug “up in smoke” within your headline, you instantaneously trigger the negative stereotype portrayed in the movie and suddenly the way you perceive the article is shifted ever so slightly.
It’s the reinforcement of this negative stereotype that gets me pissed. Today’s cannabis consumer is a responsible professional, a mother, father, grandfather. These are tax-paying, law-abiding citizens that are being discriminated against purely because of their consumption choices. It’s as if you make fun of someone for liking white bread.
This is my peeve with Big Media using puns within their cannabis related content. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all media outlets, far from it. However, there are certain outlets that utilizes this as a way to keep reminding you of the negative stereotype dreamt up by the government to classify all cannabis consumers as “losers”.
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