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raphael_vassallo
Raphael Vassallo

My Little Phoneys

Either Joseph Muscat and Simon Busuttil have gotten slightly ahead of themselves, and started smoking marijuana before actually legalising it... or else, my nostrils detect a dollop of ‘My Little Phoney’ poo somewhere

raphael_vassallo
Raphael Vassallo
11 May 2017, 9:25am
My Facebook time-line looked like a herd of ‘My Little Ponies’ had stampeded all over my Facebook time-line, after feasting on a diet of pure laxative
My Facebook time-line looked like a herd of ‘My Little Ponies’ had stampeded all over my Facebook time-line, after feasting on a diet of pure laxative
I am not a big believer in ‘fate’, ‘destiny’, or the argument that ‘everything happens for a reason’. In my experience, a lot of stuff just happens for no reason at all... and if there is any attempt to rationalise, it will invariably come after the event, not before.

But I do believe in coincidences. And sometimes they can be quite hairy, too. Once, quite recently, I chose to wear a KISS T-shirt – not so much out of deep-seated admiration for that iconic rock band from Brooklyn... more because it was on the top of the pile mentally labelled ‘clean enough to wear’. As I put it on, I thought of a friend (whom I hadn’t seen or spoken to in ages) who is a lifelong, diehard KISS fanatic. He should be wearing this, not me, I thought. 

Well, what do you know? Half an hour later I am strolling down the Gzira seafront in my KISS T-shirt... and who drives past me and honks... with KISS stickers emblazoned all over his car? [Note: you get 12 points from Azerbaijan if you correctly guess the (well-known) identity of the friend.]

Was there a reason that happened? Not that I can see. But it happened; and for a second there, I seriously wondered if there was some kind of subliminal message in the occurrence: a vocation or calling, perhaps... to paint black stars all over on my face, and surgically enlarge my tongue so it can droop all the way down to my knees...

Like I said, coincidences can be hairy things. And we seem to be living in times when you can’t get out of bed without stepping on one like a lego brick.

Consider this example: it freaked the hell out of me. After a period of ‘serene reflection’ (as they say) away from Facebook, I return one day to find my feed awash with colour. People no longer post ordinary sentences against neat, white backgrounds: everything now has to be all blown up in big, brightly-coloured boxes of sorts. At a glance, it looked like a herd of ‘My Little Ponies’ had stampeded all over my Facebook time-line, after feasting on a diet of pure laxative.

Then my attention was drawn to the election campaign headlines. There was one about Joseph Muscat urging us all to embrace one another in 1960s-inspired new era of ‘Free Love’ (and that grin... OMG, that grin...). Others were about how both parties are dishing out goodies and freebies like it was Christmas every day from now until June 4.  And, most astonishing of all, both party leaders suddenly come out of their ‘zero tolerance drug policy’ closet, and declare themselves in favour of fully legalising marijuana. 

It wasn’t just my Facebook feed that looked like a corny psychedelic cartoon version of Woodstock. The whole country has been plunged into a re-enactment of Boogie Nights. It is suddenly all awash with love, rainbows (which reminds me – ‘Qawsalla’. Honestly, what were they even thinking?), hugs, kisses, and cute fluffy pink bunny-rabbits in bowties.  When, only a few days before, it was submerging beneath an ocean of unmitigated venom and spleen.

What happened while I was away? The entire country was prescribed Prozac? (Mind you, not a bad idea now that I think about it.  Nothing else seems to work.) Seriously, though. How did we go from death-threats and harassment, to... THIS?

But then you begin to notice certain things. Let’s start with the colourful boxes on Facebook. The status update format may have changed – there are new features, such as an automatic ‘My Little Pony’ button – but the messages are still the same. If they’re not political, they’re still an assortment of ‘This week, I’ll be eating nothing but Weetabix with boiled turnips’... or ‘Imagine there’s no Heaven’: Albert Einstein’. Same shit, different coloured background.

As for the political ones... I’ll admit the new format does help a bit. It means you no longer have to actually read the post to know if it comes from a diehard, bloodthirsty Nationalist or Labour fanatic. You can tell at a glance. This saves time and trouble, and in the long-term may even improve the nation’s state of mental health.

But the crap you read (if you bother) against that bright background is no different from when we were all seething with rage and bitterness. It’s just a bit of smudgy online camouflage, that’s all.

As for the political campaigns, and all the ‘Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll’ headlines... well, the way I see it is this: either Joseph Muscat and Simon Busuttil have gotten slightly ahead of themselves, and started smoking marijuana before actually legalising it... (let’s face it: it is something they can do, just like they can break all other laws and get away with it every time)... or else, my nostrils detect a dollop of ‘My Little Phoney’ poo somewhere. 

There is, of course, the possibility that both Joseph Muscat and Simon Busuttil are being honest: that they really did ‘see the light’, like the Blues Brothers at the temple of James Brown. But if that were the case...

... well, for one thing, the drive to legalise marijuana would come accompanied by a natural relaxation of the enforcement of the existing (highly confusing) drug laws. If both party leaders (that is to say, Government and Opposition: or Parliament, in brief) think marijuana is safe enough to contemplate legalising: why are people still taken into custody and interrogated just for smoking it?  Even after it was supposedly ‘decriminalised’ in 2014? Why is Daniel Holmes still languishing in jail for 10 years, over an ‘offence’ which is now regarded as less serious than parking on a double yellow line? How about just issuing a Presidential pardon, if we’ve all agreed that the punishment was excessive (even by the standards of the older laws)?

Sure, there will be legal answers to those and other questions... except perhaps the last: there is nothing stopping both sides of the House from agreeing on this – but that is a small part of the conundrum. The fact remains that I don’t see any genuine corresponding policy evolution in the direction of ‘legalising marijuana’ in either party at the moment. There have been calls from social workers, and even from the Magistrate’s Court itself, to amend or clarify the post-decriminalisation drug landscape. But I don’t hear those appeals echoed by either PL or PN. 

‘Legalisation’ is just something they are saying, while their body language indicates they have no real intention of even looking at the stuff again after the election. A bit like drug-dealers, actually. They dangle the ‘soft drug’ before your eyes, before luring you onto harder stuff.

I’d call that a cheap, cynical vote-catching ploy if I ever saw one myself. But I don’t want to spoil the parade for everyone else. Corny and fake as it may obviously be, I still prefer all this ‘Free Love’ crap to the borderline Armageddon scenario it replaced.

So what can I say? Peace, bro... now hand me that Prozac bottle, will ya?

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