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“Don’t Give Me the Babe in the Woods Routine, MoDo.”

[ 149 ] June 5, 2014 |

Apparently, in addition to being silly, Maureen Dowd’s shock that pot brownies have a delayed reaction was also made up.

Who among us wouldn’t be surprised, unless they had any familiarity with Dowd’s extensive history of inventing things to fit whatever a priori narrative she had decided to advance?

Several commenters beat me to this point, but even had the facts in the column been factual, Dowd is supposed to be an adult. They don’t put warning labels on handles of vodka, but presumably Dowd figured out that you shouldn’t consume one in a single sitting. Or maybe not; that would explain a lot about her work.


Comments (149)

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  1. Theophylact says:

    Actually, they do put warning labels on bottles of vodka.

  2. Denverite says:

    I don’t know if you followed the exchange that we had yesterday, and I’m not going to rehash it (long story short: everyone in Colorado — up to and including an Amendment 64 sponsor — agrees that there are some problems with regulating edibles). But the vodka analogy was addressed. There’s an ingrained cultural knowledge that you don’t drink the whole bottle of vodka. There’s not that you don’t eat the whole candy bar or cookie — to the contrary, as a lot of people pointed out, the general default tendency is, in fact, to eat the whole candy bar.

    This, of course, is a purely theoretical point, because Dowd apparently was warned about eating the whole thing.

    • Malaclypse says:

      There’s an ingrained cultural knowledge that you don’t drink the whole bottle of vodka.

      Have you ever been a 14-year-old?

      • Denverite says:

        Dowd isn’t a 14-year-old. Well, biologically at least.

      • Rob in CT says:

        Seriously. The first few times I drank, I did ridiculously stupid things. I learned:

        DO NOT drink 1/2 a bottle of baileys. OMG.
        Vodka and ginger ale is not a good combination. Also, vodka is strong.
        If you have been drinking and are not a smoker, taking a drag off a cigarette might just kick your ass.

        Now it’s possible that I’m just a hopeless moron (yes, yes, I know), but seriously, this is the sort of thing that teenagers do when they first start experimenting with alcohol.

        Can we all agree on the following things?

        1) Better labelling is a good idea, both for pot edibles and alcohol.
        2) Trying out intoxicants is best done around experienced people you trust.
        3) Maureen Dowd is a waste of space.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Where was the warning label to tell me that SoCo and ginger is a horrible drink?

        • Denverite says:

          Better labelling is a good idea, both for pot edibles and alcohol.

          It’s not the labeling. In Colorado, edibles have to disclose the THC content. It’s that you can’t trust that (because until very recently it wasn’t tested, and even now, only a sample from each batch has to be), and even if you can in the aggregate, the THC often isn’t distributed equally throughout the cookie or brownie or whatnot, which makes dosing essentially impossible.

          • Rob in CT says:

            Ok, fair enough. Consider my comment appropriately edited.

            As I said in the other thread, I’ve had my “woah, those cookies were STRONG!” moments in the past. I get it, really I do. My tolerance for pot is hilariously low (you know that guy who is sloppy after 2 beers? Translate to pot and that’s me), so this is the sort of thing that I absolutely would have to watch out for, were I ever to indulge again.

            With booze, ABV pretty much takes care of things once the user has some idea what they’re doing.

            • Rob in CT says:

              By the way, with booze where it gets trickier is ordering mix drinks in a bar. Say, like ordering Hurricanes in New Orleans (or a LI Iced Tea… there it’s a double danger: 1) many have no idea how to make it properly and the result can be undrinkable; or 2) it’s made properly, it’s really tasty, and it’s got 5 fucking shots in it).

              • Karen says:

                #2 is by far the worst option. There used to be a bar here in Austin that had a signature drink called the Massacre. (Originally the Whitman Massacre because people are horrible). Anyway, the drink was bright turquoise blue and served in a pitcher. It had pineapple and orange juice in it, to mask the flavors of the seven or eight varieties of lethal alcohol. After dancing for several minutes it was very easy to knock back a lot of it and to regret doing that immediately.

        • ChrisTS says:

          Based on personal experience, I would add:

          For your first drinking experiment, stop when it occurs to you to keep the bottle on the table and not get up to get more mixers.

        • SatanicPanic says:

          Vodka and ginger ale is not a good combination.

          Is there no vodka cocktail that’s acceptable on this site?

        • gg says:

          For teenagers, warning labels are useful only in that they provide something to try during the next drinking game.


      • Have you ever been a 14-year-old?

        Fourteen, hell. I’ve known plenty of twentysomethings for whom a whole bottle of vodka is just the best way to start the day.

        • ChrisTS says:

          This makes me think, sadly, of one of my daughter’s friends whose one effort to drink less involved buying a mini-fridge, so she could have orange juice next to her bed for her wake-up vodka.

      • CD says:

        I’m just massively grateful after reading this thread that my folks let me drink with them when I was growing up, so I didn’t first encounter alcohol in the company of other adolescents.

        Dope I had to find with peers, but the weed back then was terrible and you had to do a lot of hard smoking to get any kind of buzz.

    • Autonomous Coward says:

      I’m not going to rehash it

      I see what you did there.

    • Uncle Ebeneezer says:

      There’s not that you don’t eat the whole candy bar or cookie

      But there is a pretty common cultural knowledge that marijuana (and every other drug) is something to be careful of over-doing. I was petrified of weed long before I ever tried it on account of: Reefer Madness type warnings both from the government and urban myths perpetuated by adults, first-hand accounts from older siblings/friends telling me how they smoked/ate too much and had horrible experiences, humorous depictions of freak-outs in countless movies etc.

      Maybe times have changed since I was a teen (late 80’s) but I have a tough time believing that any person about to smoke/eat their first doobie/edible hasn’t been subjected to warnings varying from the common sense proceed-with-caution-with-ANY-drug to the paranoid OMG-pot-will-ruin-your-life! at some point.

      • ChrisTS says:

        Yeah, this. It is a DRUG (flashing lights, sirens, etc.)

        Plus, according to the linked article, she was told about edibles and being careful.

      • JL says:

        Mot of those warnings, though, don’t tell how much of any given substance is overdoing it for a first-timer.

        Like I said yesterday, this is why the first time you try any recreational substance you should talk to a trusted experienced person and also have at least one trusted sober person nearby.

        • Uncle Ebeneezer says:

          Agreed, totally. I was not arguing against warning labels, in case it came across that way. I think they are a great idea (and I believe the edibles I get in CA do have some warning on them.) I was just pushing back against the idea that our culture warns us about excesses of alcohol but not pot.

          • lawguy says:

            I am not sure I have ever seen a sillier discussion of any topic in my life. People have been wondering off and using dope for a long time. This kind of hysterical concern about something that apparently never happened is just strange.

            Incidentally, I have never heard about an experience with marijuana being call a trip in my life.

            • henryporter says:

              THC is a potent psychedelic, so yeah, too much is very definitely a trip.

              There’s this stuff called ‘Budder’….

            • JL says:

              I have seen people trip on marijuana, as opposed to your normal getting stoned, twice. In one case the person was a relatively experienced user who ate a couple of brownies that turned out to have 3-4x more pot than had been claimed. In the other case, the person was an occasional user who was using for the first time since starting a new med and forgot that this was the first time since starting that particular med. In both cases, the people experienced visual and auditory hallucinations, and in one case, the person experienced paranoid delusions. These people were definitely having bad trips.

              Nobody is having hysterical concern, they are saying that it should be easy to tell what you are getting. Of course, in this case, MoDo screwed up, and also acted in bad faith, but that doesn’t mean the concern is an unreasonable one.

              • ChrisTS says:

                My daughter had a trippy episode with pot. She was on steroids for poison ivy and felt jittery. So .. yes, it was stupid and the ambulance guys were very nice. “Ok, Hon. You’re better now. Don’t do that again, ok?”

                • I had a similar experience. Strong pot cookies plus probably more Benadryl than was smart due to a serious allergic reaction equals me grinding my teeth during a cousin’s wedding where not only did the preacher get heavy into “protecting traditional Christian marriage from the evils of the secular world and homosexuals” and included three full, start-to-finish country songs during the ceremony. One was Garth Brooks “Unanswered Prayers”, which is about a guy being happy he didn’t marry his high school sweethearts. The couple getting married are high school sweethearts, and it was all I could do to keep from making a spectacle of myself.

                  It is, admittedly, not for everyone.

                • Lee Rudolph says:

                  Please, Matt, tell us that the preacher and the sound track were both just hallucinations.

                • Nope. I asked my brother. He confirmed it and the snickered at me because he’s a rat bastard.

                • ChrisTS says:

                  Holy, whatever, Did the couple actually pick the minister and the music?

              • henry porter says:

                The concern is absolutely valid. A psychedelic trip is probably not on the average first-time user’s mind. It sounds like you say, she messed up, after being warned, it seems. A sitter is (or should be) a requirement for beginners; good thing for her weed is so forgiving.

                Start with Budweiser before you jump into the arms of lady Everclear….

      • herr doktor bimler says:

        I once spent a day strolling around Amsterdam because I couldn’t find my way back to the hostel. With a great deal of concentration I could find my current location on the map, and I could find the location of the hostel, but until the brownie wore off, finding both at once was too much.

        • Derelict says:

          Had a similar experience in Nairobi. Fun and terrifying at the same time. Fun because wandering around lost and wacked in a foreign land lets you encounter all kinds of stuff you’d never get to as the average tourist. Terrifying because you have no idea whether the street you’re thinking about walking down is a “bad” neighborhood or not.

        • ChrisTS says:

          Ah, The Dam.

    • Linnaeus says:

      Did she eat the entire bar? I thought read something about a bite or two?

  3. Malaclypse says:

    I’d think collecting a paycheck in order to conspicuously lie in the paper of record, while most of the internet laughs at you, might have an actual consequence.

    Fuck, who am I kidding? Consequences are for the poors…

    • Nobdy says:

      Jason Blair was fired. Judith Miller was fired.

      I think Dowd is protected not just by her power but by her sheer irrelevance. Who cares if Dowd lies because nobody is paying attention to Dowd.

      If a newspaper columnist lies in her column and there’s nobody there to read it does it make a scandal?

      Dowd lied people yawned.

      • daveNYC says:

        She’s protected because as far as I can tell, the NY Times seems to think that Op-Ed writers just making shit up to tell a story is the way things should be.

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          Years ago I had a buddy who was a journalist. We once had a discussion about which parts of the newspaper were expected by the editors to be reasonably truthful, and in which parts a pack of blatant lies was considered acceptable. He didn’t put it quite that way, but that is what it amounted to. In any case, anything on the opinion page was absolutely fair game for lying, as was anything that constituted opinion (including “analysis”) in some other section, and which might or might not be labeled.

          Other liar sections were pretty much everything except “hard news,” with no clear line between hard and soft news.

          I have since concluded that he was wrong, in both directions. The numerical portions of the sports pages are as close to absolutely reliable as anything on God’s green earth. So too were stock reports, back when newspapers had pages of tiny print devoted to share prices. Really, anything both numerical and unambiguous. I expect reported voting returns to be as accurate as is possible within the given time frame. But once we get away from numbers, all bets are off. I certainly don’t assume a direct quotation labeled with quotation marks is necessarily accurate.

          • I forget who said it (may’ve been a famous journalist, may’ve been a professor at J-school), but it’s something along the lines of true objectivity in an American newspaper can only be found in the box scores of the Sports section.

      • g says:

        It’s pretty easy being an opinion columnist.

      • Downpuppy says:

        Yawned? No. Pointed & laughed.

      • Derelict says:

        Blair and Miller were both reporters. There is a very different standard for reporters (relayers of fact) versus opinion columnists (people who spout opinions).

        But there IS a standard. Bill “Always Wrong” Kristol managed to find the lower bound of that standard by submitting an initial series of columns so filled with easily debunked errors and outright falsehoods/misrepresentations that the NYT was forced to let him go.

        In MoDo’s case, her reign of error is shrouded by the number of columns she submits that are just completely devoid of meaning. (How many “X Democrat is a girly-girl man” columns has she written?)

      • Royko says:

        Yeah, exactly. I think her consistent awfulness insulates her, because even when she’s exceptionally bad, it’s so hard to gin up enough outrage to get her bounced. Everyone just says, “Well, yeah, she’s awful” and shrugs.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      considering how well Dowd follows instructions from guides, possibly we should all chip in and buy her a climbing trip on Mt Everest

  4. JL says:

    As vapid and terrible as her column was, I was willing to be a little sympathetic to her as a person, because while it’s true that adults know not to drink a whole bottle of vodka, they know that because of socialization, and the underground-ness of pot means that people who don’t hang out around pot users much aren’t necessarily socialized into knowing what to expect. Especially with edibles, which aren’t the stereotypical way of using pot.

    But this is just bad faith, and so disrespectful to the guide who put a lot of effort into trying to give her good guidance.

    • Tiny Tim says:

      That column could have easily been written. “I went to Colorado. I am a reporter with contacts. I made sure to get expert advice about how much I consume. I worry that other people might eat the whole pot brownie.”

      In other words, yes, there is a problem with edibles. Dowd got the advice to not eat the whole chocolate bar, and then ate the whole chocolate bar (Actually, she probably didn’t, who knows).

    • BoredJD says:

      There’s just a lot easier way to do that than to do what she says, which seems like a Reefer Madness type defense of the old system.

      OT but one of my favorite parts of that movie was a scene where they are sitting in a soda shop. Somebody offers the kid a soda and he says something to the effect of “I don’t do that kind of stuff.” Of course everyone, including the wide-eyed innocent who is seduced by the Reefer, has been chain-smoking Luckies throughout the entire film.

  5. mcarson says:

    What is completely incomprehensible to me is how dumb our betters are at doing drugs. Dave Brooks smokes pot on the day he’s supposed to make an oral presentation in English, and then attend the class? Get stoned, cut class, stay straight, go to class is H.S. 101. Sure, lots of people develop the ability to go to class stoned, but it’s a riding your bike with no hands move, not for rookies.

    Dowd gets stoned all by herself? Nobody in Colorado willing to be in the same room with her? A key part of pot is the way it changes the way you relate to others, as in bar behavior. That would be useful information for those who are learning by reading. Again, stoned all alone in a motel room is for someone who knows what they are doing. At minimum, eating pot is initial dose followed by 30 minutes to judge effect, followed by 15 minute additions to get to desired level. And buy a real candy bar to snack on, just in case.

    The “I’m too stupid to be out alone” crowd seems to be incapable of being embarrased.

  6. Autonomous Coward says:

    Speaking of MoDo, was the dropping of her expy’s storyline in Studio 60 just because of the (unfortunate in my opinion) impending cancellation or was there an actual narrative reason?

  7. pete says:

    So she DID do some research, and then did not let that affect her effusions. I think there is a word for that, it’s on the tip of my … hey if I stick my tongue out maybe you can see it? No? … How about that gila monster over there?

  8. Shakezula says:

    The fact that the NYT is offering stand-alone subscriptions to its opinion section just gets funnier and funnier.

  9. Maureen "Pinkman" Dowd says:

    This “Al Gore” weed is Phat, yo!

    • joe from Lowell says:


      A few months ago, someone was busted with packaged of heroin. They had two brand names on the bags: “Kurt Cobain,” and “Obamacare.”

  10. FMguru says:

    I wonder if Dowd’s 16x overdosing was just hubris. The guide told her to take it easy, one or two bites for her first time, and she figured pfffft I’m a grown adult with a Pulitzer, I’ve dined with Presidents and Kings, I think I can skip all this “baby’s first time” training wheels BS. It’s the sort of thing you see on ski slopes and in exercise classes and motorcycle showrooms all the time – alpha dog figures they don’t need the hand-holding treatment starting out, hilarity ensues.

    • Nobdy says:

      More like:

      “If it takes 30 Quaaludes and 3 bottles of Zinfandel to get Mama right there’s no way this sliver of candy is going to do it. Bring on the kingsize.”

    • TG Chicago says:

      I wonder if Dowd’s 16x overdosing was just hubris.

      I don’t think so. I think she knew that she needed something dramatic to justify the trip out to CO, so she purposefully played dumb. I imagine this was her plan from the moment she pitched the idea to her editors.

      And the editors knew it, too. They didn’t send Maureen Dowd, of all people, to do something even-handed. They sent her because they knew she would come back with something dramatic! that would get people talking — regardless of whether it was true, truthy, or downright false.

      If it wasn’t this, she would have come up with some story about kids hanging outside the dispensary or people leaving the place smoking up and driving or whatever she needed to say to justify herself.

      Everybody that was involved with this — Dowd and her editors — knew perfectly well that she wasn’t going to come back and write “I went there; the people were nice; I got high and had a good time.” That was never a possibility. She was going to find some alarm bell to ring. That’s why she’s on the payroll.

    • Karen says:

      Ski slopes — My husband and I are good blue slope skiers and our older son skis pretty much anything on the mountain. This spring Son and I rode up on the lift to one of the harder blue slopes with a guy from Safety Patrol (Ski Patrol that takes care of terror and less serious injuries.). He was going to rescue a family of five who had decided after one lesson to try out Upper Twister, a mogul-filled black diamond slope. We saw him later and he had succeeded in getting everyone down safely but for Macho Dad, whose rented boots were destroyed. No actual harm, though.

      The thing is, you can bloody well DIE on a ski slope — see Bono, Sonny and Mrs. Liam Neeson. Those were publicized events, yet morons still think one lesson is quite enough to do the stuff on a 50 degree slope with rocks and trees.

      • Denverite says:

        I’m an OK skier and can at least get down pretty much anything accessible by lift (I suspect I’d have trouble handling some of the back country terrain that you have to hike to), but the harder blacks just aren’t that fun. I have to be so slow and cautious to not hurt myself. Why do that when I can fly down an easier blue-black or similar?

      • FMguru says:

        I guess it’s one of the side effects of growing up in a warning label/padded playground equipment era – a willingness to blow off safety instructions, even though there are places in The Real World that aren’t that forgiving or threatproofed. White water rafting is another good one where some bros with a cooler of tallboys and rented gear figure they can shoot a Class V canyon because pffft how hard could it be?

        Around here, there are a lot of young men who decide to try motorcycles and figure their 2-hour mandatory state safety course (plus their inherent awesomeness) means they should buy the fastest, most powerful Japanese crotch-rocket for their first bike so they zoom around at a zillion mile per hour.

        It keeps the organ banks supplied, so who am I to quibble?

      • Linnaeus says:

        This is why cross-country is the only skiing I do.

  11. TG Chicago says:

    If the NYT had wanted a reasoned, in-depth article on the possible dangers of edibles, they would have sent a real reporter.

    Obviously they wanted a hyperbolic scare piece, so they sent the person they knew could get the job done.

  12. InnerPartisan says:

    Most people seem to focus on how difficult it is to regulate edibles, mostly because how difficult it is to reliably dose edibles. And yeah, that’s a problem – but let’s consider something else:
    According to her own account (which, of course, is highly unreliable to say the least, but nevertheless), Mo-Do ingested just about sixteen times the recommended “recreational dosage” of cannabis. All that got her were a few unpleasant hours spent outsider her own skull.
    But, and sorry to hark on that old comparission, do y’all know what ingesting sixteen times the recommended recreational dosage of alcohol would have gotten her? A prime spot in some Denver morgue, that’s what.

    • Hayden Arse says:

      This is a point that bears repeating: had she ingested 16 times the dose of just about any drug but cannabis, the consequences would have been far more severe than a couple of hours of paranoia.

      • Karen says:

        Including perfectly legal ones. Tylenol causes liver damage at even twice the correct dose. I know of tow people who ended up in the hospital from OD’ing on painkillers they were taking for broken bones.

  13. so, our Miss Maureen had herself a little party, and didn’t realize she HAD A GOOD TIME??

    Coincidentally, Doonesbury is running a flashback strip of Duke waking up after a week-long Thanksgiving drug coma. Leave the drugs to the professionals, MoDo.

    However, I am a bit surprised no one has linked to or mentione Zevon’s song “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead”

  14. Lee Rudolph says:

    I never did read the original column, but catching up on the story just now I read this excerpt:

    As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.

    Ma’am, I hate to be the one to tell you, but that wasn’t paranoia.

    • The Dark Avenger says:

      That’s not an uncommon reaction with newbies who go swimming in the deep end of the cannabis swimming pool without leaning how to tread water in the shallow end. You can listen here to a cop took a plunge from the diving board with his wife, courtesy of the drug dealers he took the mj from.

  15. ChrisTS says:

    I’m beginning to think the whole thing was made up.

    1) The tour guide mentions that she was with a friend. I have been doubting that MoDo would try mj by herself. Not because she isn’t that stupid, but because she’s too much of a wimp.
    2) What ever happened to the room service order?
    3) Her description of the episode is so, so like any number of ‘bad trip’ stories one can find online. (Absent, of course, the bizarre pants.)

    I don’t think she tried it.

  16. Dr Ronnie James, DO says:

    There’s a much simpler chain of events that explains this:
    1) Dowd ate small piece of THC-infused candy bar
    2) Dowd got munchies
    3) Dowd noticed candybar on table & ate it.
    4) Dowd’s ego too large to admit truth.

    • Autonomous Coward says:

      I’ve had similar experiences with mushrooms and pot.

      And watching The Crow that night was *probably* a bad idea…

    • I’ve done that. I was at a wedding reception and there was some pot muffins that tasted awesome. Because they were made by a professional grower from Portland and not some dipstick in his kitchen, they were much stronger than I was used to, but tasty as hell so I ate three full ones and split one with my brother. About 45 minutes after that last one, a friend pulled me aside and told me that perhaps this wasn’t the best moment to explain in such great detail to the father of the groom my theories on the Illuminati’s influence on ’70s country radio, why sacred geometry should be taught in grade school, and why Kolchak: The Night Stalker was awesome and shouldn’t have been remade, and “Maybe you should head on home, Matt”. I agreed, and it was a fantastic walk through a lovely spring night where all was right in the world and all creatures were full of joy and love and light.

      MoDo just doesn’t know how to have a good time.

    • henry porter says:

      This, right here.

      She got high and goofed. This is why you have a sitter, first-timers!!

  17. Denverite says:

    I suppose it could have been worse for MoDo. This could have happened while she was in town and high:

    There’s probably no coming back if you see that during a bad trip.

  18. RogerAiles says:

    If only she had listened to Leon Wieseltier and Aaron Sorkin when they were doing blow together at Pinch’s weekend place.

  19. MoDo told me not to come/That ain’t the way to have fun, son

  20. W. Kiernan says:

    The last time I flew into Hong Kong, I was chit-chatting with the taxi driver about this “ethanol” that’s all the rage amongst today’s smartphone-connected youths. He winked at me and said, “Would you like to try some? Right over there… ” – pointing – “is a ‘liquor store’ where you can get a ‘bottle’ of ‘booze’ if you like.” At first I was a little nervous, but then I figured, if it didn’t hurt Lindsay Lohan it certainly couldn’t hurt me. So we stopped, I handed the driver a hundred dollar bill, and he went inside and came out with a “bottle” of something called “Scotch Whisky.” It was harsh and frankly it tasted dreadful, but I managed to drink down the entire contents of the “bottle” before we got back to my hotel. My memories after that are kind of hazy.

    Oh what an awful experience! I thought I was going to die, and you should see the dry cleaning bill for the suitcase full of clothes I vomited into.

    – T. Friedman, NYT columnist and pundit

  21. herr doktor bimler says:

    If you were speculating what Ross Douthat would write while shrooming, you can stop now:

  22. Of course, Dowd will be complimented at all the summer’s cocktail parties for being so brave to risk her mental health in such an experiment, and the lower classes and the youngs would do well to heed her advice. Would you like another pink martini, Maureen dear? No, Peggy Nooners is just fine; she’s only on her second handle of Grey Goose and the projectile vomiting hasn’t started yet. We are, after all, professionals.

  23. Kaleberg says:

    Dowd’s problem is simple. She’s a chocoholic. If you served her a tray of chocolate covered car engine parts she’d be a V-8 by breakfast. I’ve met a lot of people with this problem, mostly women, but chocolate addiction is a serious problem.

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