If you watched The Daily Show last night, you probably enjoyed Jon Stewart’s two segments on the current pot legalization debate, ending with an epic putdown of New York Times columnist David Brooks.
You’ll recall that just last week Brooks revealed in a popular (and widely lampooned) column that he had been a toker and a smoker as a young man but “outgrew” it and now that opportunity should be denied others—or put ’em in jail.
Stewart read a lengthy quote from an unnamed writer, celebrating excess (including booze) and complaining about the elites who are too uptight to get wasted on one thing or another. Finishing, he revealed that the writer was none other than our Mr. Brooks, to wild cheers from the audience.
You can watch the Stewart clip below, but I’ve gone back and located the full 2005 column and you can read it here. Here’s the key excerpt:
I blame the arbiters of virtue. Sometime over the past generation we became less likely to object to something because it is immoral and more likely to object to something because it is unhealthy or unsafe. So smoking is now a worse evil than six of the Ten Commandments, and the word “sinful” is most commonly associated with chocolate.
Now we lead lives in which everything is a pallid parody of itself: fat-free yogurt, salt-free pretzels, milk-free milk. Gone, at least among the responsible professional class, is the exuberance of the feast. Gone is the grand and pointless gesture.
But at least we have New Orleans. After stumbling out of Antoine’s, some of us headed across the street to a piano bar run by Gennifer Flowers, Bill Clinton’s old flame. And there was Gennifer herself in a black leather miniskirt, belting out a song called “Ya Gotta Have Boobs.”
It was a reminder that no matter how dull and responsible you become, an alternative and much stranger moral universe is always just one slippery step away.