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a quick note about Charles Bowden

I am still looking for someone who can explain the ongoing unrest in Mexico in terms that make sense to me. Because Michael Newham thinks so highly of Charles Bowden, and on the basis of a couple of things I’d read by Bowden, I thought he might be that guy.

I heard an excerpt of the presentation above on an ABC Radio National podcast first [link], and if I heard him correctly he said some pretty sensible things (e.g. there are things about the dominant media messages about the Mexican Drug War that don’t make much sense; the narrative in the right-leaning press that people entering the US from Mexico on foot are vectors for drugs and violence doesn’t make much sense; etc.).

Unfortunately he also seems to talk about the social cost of alcohol and the imagined social cost of legal marijuana as if they were the same thing, and he talks about the legalization of drugs generally as being the solution to the Mexican Drug war without dealing with any differences between the legalization of marijuana (which, I understand, isn’t really the drug being sold by Mexican drug lords anyway) and the legalization of heroin (which, I understand, is). If he really doesn’t personally make these distinctions, and he’s not just saying these things because they make for stronger talking points, I have to wonder (wait for it) what he’s been smoking.


  1. August 19, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Correction: Something around 60% of the drugs being trafficked from Mexico to the US is marijuana. Mexican cartels are also responsible for much of the large scale illegal marijuana cultivation in US national parks, private land, etc.

    Here are more interviews by Bowden: http://anthrome.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/author-charles-bowden/

    If you haven’t already, read Murder City, Bowden’s most recent book.

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