Drugs and Behavior Popularized in the Media

Drugs and Behavior Popularized in the Media (Psyc: Drugs and Behavior Assignment 2011)

“Harvard Man” Analysis:

A film that illustrates the prevalence of drug references in modern day society, are very common in college films such as “Harvard Man,” where Alan Jensen, the lead role, ingests a large dose of LSD, which later turns into a “bad trip” and exacerbates his situations in real life. Jensen’s character appears to sober people touring the campus just as by textbook definition would describe as “under the influence of hallucinogens” and his actions reflect his feelings of enlightenment and the breakdown of ego until feelings of impending doom fill his world with nightmares and realizations in response to receiving news that drug dealers and law enforcement were after him. Special effects in the movie create a successful image of what a user is likely to experience on a high enough dose of LSD or other hallucinogens.

“Naked Lunch” Analysis:

“Naked Lunch” was a controversial book written by William S. Burroughs, published in 1959, and was briefly banned in Boston and Los Angeles in the early to mid 1960’s due to obscenity. I have read the book and seen the movie in order to understand and obtain insight into it’s ill­received perception or condemnation and found it’s vile offenses to be off the charts to an extent that it would only appeal to a selective percentage of the population and likely to acquire cult following with it’s taboo sexual dipictions, poly­drug abuse or addictions, and general assaults on humanity. It is heavily loaded with instrumental drug slang which explains and attempts to contain all elements of chemical dependency and abuse, from provoking visual and auditory hallucinations to paranoid acts of violence, humiliation and debasement. The intimate nature of the author’s storytelling indicates the close relationship to his own experience with drugs and interest in personality disorders, as illustrated in the complex adventures and interactions of his characters in the imaginary setting of Interzone.

“Time to Pretend” by MGMT Analysis:

Music has always been an outlet for expression of beliefs and philosophies by popular musicians who often make references to drugs, drug use and the drug culture that surrounds the music scene. A particular song off MGMT’s album “Oracular Spectacular” called “Time to Pretend” promotes a carefree lifestyle and idea of “live fast and die young.” It also makes reference to some drugs with lyrical passages such as “I’ll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and f­uck with the stars. You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars.” Though the ultimate message of the song is to not waste your life away with a boring job and obligations but to live it up and enhance it with spontenaeity and start the cycles over again, “anew,” because the cycles are “fated” to start over again, the reference to drugs and high life are noticable. This is just another example of the prevalence of drugs in the media.

“Cruel Intentions” Analysis:

One of the earliest movies I remember seeing, as an adolescent, that contained a drug reference was “Cruel Intentions.” I was actually somewhat impacted by this movie because it shined an undesirable light on cocaine through the manipulative behavior of one of the main characters. This character, with her manipulative dispositions, had an elitist yet charming persona coupled with some backstabbing tendencies concealing even bigger motives. At the end of the movie, she is exposed as another character pours the cocaine out of the hidden compartment of her necklace in front of a crowd of respectable people, which ruins her reputation. Basically the character ends up representing a characteristic “coke” addict, the behaviors they may engage in, and how easily it can ruin a reputation. Though this was not the premise of the love story, it was interesting to find out what actually was behind all her aggressive and trivial behavior throughout the film.

“Repo! The Genetic Opera” Analysis:

“Repo! The Genetic Opera” is a rock musical that emphasizes the use of an addictive painkiller synthesized from corpse brains called Zydrate, which eases the pain of those “addicted to GeneCo surgery” or “addicted to the knife” as the musical number would put it. The song exhibits an enticing element of peer pressure when Paris Hilton’s character “Amber” steps onto the scene, receiving an injection in the thigh prior to her provocative dance sequence, seductive speech and eventual passing out; an image typically associated with drug use. Apart from the addictions of Zydrate and surgery, a metaphorical perception exists in the storyline as characters that receive GeneCo surgeries are subject to contracts on their life if payments aren’t met. This represents that the biotech/organ transplant/pharmaceutical company, GeneCo, has control via death contracts on the lives of those who receive services and don’t pay the price for their biomedical “improvements.”

“A Midsummer Nights Rave” Analysis:

Another movie centered around drug culture, called “A Midsummer Nights Rave” illustrates the behavioral effects of club drugs, such as MDMA, at a modern rave party. The movie mostly promotes the positive aspects of drug use such as the sense of “love” accomplished when taking Ecstasy. The movie is targeted at a younger college age group and provides a variety of characters to identify with the stages of stupor, inhibition, enlightenment, hallucinations and other effects. The connection with crime to drugs is also followed through with the inclusion of drug dealers who are also under the influence of some kind of illicit, psychoactive drug.

Kottonmouth Kings Analysis:

The Kottonmouth Kings are a musical group that has dubbed their style as “psychedelic hip hop punk rock” and they are true advocates for legalization as they express their views through their lyrics. Though some of their songs mention other drugs, marijuana is their main focus and all of their songs mention marijuana. With albums titled “Hidden Stash,” “High Society,” and “Rollin’ Stoned” amongst others, it is obvious to see what they represent. Their music style is attractive to kids and young adults which may influence excessive “weed­smoking” behavior as the music reinforces a belonging to the drug sub­culture. It is not unlikely to expect or suspect that a child listening to bands like the Kottonmouth Kings would also be smoking marijuana. Teens already engaged in smoking marijuana can relate to their songs and their influence upon marijuana drug culture extends into their frequent appearance in High Times magazine. They are interesting to follow for their outspoken promotion of legalization and stepping into the popular media with our societies increasing acceptance of marijuana.

“Vicodin” Peer Review:

The subject I have chosen to interview described his experience with Vicodin, prescribed to him for pain management of Lyme Disease and the conditions he has sustained from the disease. He describes it as giving him “a warm buzz in the back of the head which sends a numbing relief of pain throughout the body. While it can make me drowsy, I feel a bit more focused and alert, but it makes my moods more serious,” he says. The subject feels confident that he will not develop drug dependency because it is controlled and may not be prescribed. He says that it “makes you feel so good that it makes you want to take it every day.” His concerns are attuned more to the issue of suffering rather than with the potential for abuse and side effects of Vicodin.

“Marijuana” Peer Review:

The subject is a fourth­-year college student of about 115 lbs and an inexperienced user of marijuana who has tried it for the first time about a month ago. She describes her experience as “unaffected” and “slightly fatigued or irritated.” Based on research and evidence supported by our textbook, this is typical for inexperienced users because of their inability to achieve results through improper or unrefined techniques of inhalation and thus ingest only trace amounts of THC (perhaps not even enough to achieve the effects of intoxication). It is significant to note that she is not a smoker and may have not followed or received good instruction on how to “get high” with marijuana. She admits to “fears surrounding the mystery of experimentation with marijuana” and that “expectations were not met” so she resorted to drinking alcohol the rest of the night.

“Alcohol and Amphetamines” Peer Review:

As a divorced, single parent, alcoholic approaching her early 50’s, the woman I’ve interviewed has dealt with alcoholism and drug abuse throughout her lifetime and has come to admit to the troubles which drugs and alcohol have caused in her life. Abuse with primarily “speed” and amphetamines in her 20’s has left her with a criminal record, of which has loomed like a phantom over her reputation and limited her career options. It has perhaps attributed to her blood pressure problems, dental caries, mental difficulties and other health problems later in life. Alcohol abuse attributed to the collapse of her marriage due to the abusive and enabling behaviors of both parties. The compromise that she made was that she chose “alcohol” over her “marriage” and felt that they were “enablers” to each other. Fortunately, her mechanism for improvement is shown in her positive attitude and continued development of her own philosophy for sculpting a positive outlook for her future.


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