Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dope Sick Love Still Blows 

Check out this comment I got from 'Sarah,' who took umbrage with my negative review of Dope Sick Love. I really don’t know why I am even wasting my time responding to this little electronic snit, all quivering in its self righteous indignation. I truly hope it was written by a teenager because I would really worry about an adult who takes herself this seriously.

This movie is an un-biased and "REALISTIC" window into the real lives of dope addicted people trying to forge a life, no matter how meager, and do what we all attempt to do in this world, find and hold on to love and or commitment in it's rawest form. Apparently your only interested in the reality of addiction and disease when it's sprinkled with a little intervention and hope to make YOU feel better about it. This is the reality of 99% of the drug addicts out there and the movie set out to accurately document the real life goings on of people who live this way. It wasn't intended to leave half witted librarians with a sense of decensy, although apparently it did make you feel better about yourself and you were succesful in further degrading and demoralizing people who clearly didn't need any help to begin with. So, really it wasn't a total waste, you were able to pass judgement and feel holier than thou throughout the entire experience, right? And deep down that's all your ever really looking to do now, isn't it? I found the movie to be accurate and realistic, and although I didn't always feel good about what I saw on the screen I felt a sense of empathy and compassion for these people. I hope they are able to find whatever they truly seek....What eludes us all. Even you 'Foxy' (your name speaks volumes)Self value and true love.

I frequently encounter and serve the likes of the cast of Dope Sick Love at work and on the streets of my neighborhood, so please don’t tell me I’m not interested in their reality - it’s a daily part of my life and job. My colleagues and I at a large urban library are on the front line. We have to deal with the fallout and consequences of this nation’s public policies - misguided, misdirected and ineffective as they are.

The documentary was irresponsible and exploitative. And I’m sorry, but the way those addicts were portrayed was anything but sympathetic. The absolute last thing the subjects stirred in me was compassion, and I'm pretty damn bleeding heart (AND I put my money where my mouth is by working with these people.) What angered me the most about the documentary was that any Blue State/Middle American who watches it will only have disgust and loathing for these people and the way they live, which is, the way they see it, by whoring, scamming, lying and stealing. Do you think that the next time the average citizen who watched that is asked to cough up tax dollars for rehabilitation, needle exchange or other harm reduction programs (which have PROVEN to be effective) that they will want to pay for anything but locking the addicts up and throwing away the key? The documentary was like a propaganda film made by the most neo-conservative, zero tolerance, anti-social program lobby. This film said to me, “See? These people are scum and deserve to be locked away. They are filthy animals not worth saving.” Forge a life? My God, all they are trying to do is feed their next fix by any means possible.

My biggest beef is that this documentary didn't put these people in any sort of context nor did it try to explain why they became the way they are. A documentary that accomplishes this and successfully and powerfully humanizes heroin addiction is Black Tar Heroin, Dark End of the Street. Stephen Okazaki, who spent years with his subjects, effectively shows the sometimes inexorable societal and familial forces that result in the tragedy of addiction. As harrowing as the documentary is, he ALWAYS treats his subjects with dignity and compassion. The street domestic between Sebastian and Michelle, the one where she chases after him and he kicks her down and throws her bag in the street while she screeches at him like a scalded crow? Grotesquely comic, yes, but not a sensitive and dignified portrayal of the situation. Using the word ‘love’ in the title of this documentary is a sick parody of the word.

Also, how did you arrive at your decision that the documentary is the reality of 99% of all addicts? That’s really preposterous - there are millions of addicts in the US and only a small percentage live on the street. The fact is the majority of addicts manage to hold down jobs and remain, for the most part (except for the drugs), law abiding citizens. The addicts portrayed in this documentary are at the extreme of the most extreme end of the spectrum. What I find so powerful about the television show Intervention is that most of its subjects are highly sympathetic (except for the rapping former child prodigy gambling addict) and from ‘normal’ families. They are GOOD people who have lost their way and become ensnared by addiction. It shows how addiction can happen to anybody and how salvation from addiction is possible, that there is a way out besides death or jail or the streets. Shows like Black Tar Heroin and Intervention raise awareness and national levels of compassion concerning addiction without being luridly exploitative.

After watching the documentary, the only useful lessons I walked away with were:

1) I must shred my receipts so I don't enable an addict to scam a store

2) Some men will stick it into anything, and are gullible enough to believe that an emaciated, filthy junkie is an undercover cop

3) I need to tell my neighbors in my condo that if they every buzz a stranger into the building I will kill them

4) That Starbucks needs to install black lights in their bathrooms, as many have in Vancouver, so junkies can't find a vein

So, Sarah, why don’t you lighten up and then run along and learn the difference between it’s and its and your and you’re. After you master basic diction, go watch Requiem for a Dream for I’m sure your 50th time because you think it's the best, 'realistic' movie ever so you can continue to convince yourself that you really know what an accurate portrayal of drug addiction and the human condition is.

Foxy (By the way, your not liking the name speaks volumes about you and your tiresome, self righteous lack of a sense of humor)

Right on, sister!! Great response. I was going to comment about the reality of life in the inner-city library myself, but you did it for me. :)

(We used to have black lights but apparently they're really easy to get around (rubbing alcohol and urine glow in the dark on your arm, bring in a flashlight, etc.) and they made the bathrooms look really sinister to the little old ladies, so we took them out.)

I enjoyed your response to "Sarah" and particularly appreciate the spelling lesson you gave. You are the most readable of the bloggers. I, too, have the "privilege" of dealing on a daily basis with a number of exotics, although of a different sort than yours.
"'Foxy', your name speaks volumes..."
What an astute observation by Sarah! Volumes, I say. Perhaps you should change your blog to HalfWittedLibrarian.com so you can keep your street cred with the Blog Trollers.
you go girl. sarah's probably some valedictorian or something.
Ha ha ha. I'm glad you had the decensy to write that. Its funny. Your the best!
i like how she put 'realistic' in all caps. that's a nice touch. everyone knows that when you put WORDS in ALL CAPS they instantly BECOME more IMPORTANT!!
Foxy! Awesome response. That is all.
oh my g-d girlfriend, this is the celebrity we as beautiful, and smart librarians have to deal with. jealousy is ugly, no matter what you wear it with. we just have to learn people will always secretly want to be us.

matthew(aka WDL)
So, you're a librarian...probably another English major who has no idea how useless her degree is or how little she actually knows. You probably can't set up your own email, balance your check book, or do long division. Hell, you probably couldn't jump start your own car if your life depended on it. You put books on shelves and type in a spreadsheet for...$15/hour? A reasonably focused 13 year old could do your job as well as you could. You have no actual skills or problem solving ability. I wouldn't point this out to you if you didn't take your silly job and your silly opinions so seriously.

Despite your silly moralizing, I did like your comment about how some men will stick it into just about any woman they can find (including junkies). That sounds like my Saturday nights before I met my girlfriend. I used to buy a $10 crack hit, divide it in two parts, and put each part in a pipe. Then I would go find a couple of junkies and tell each one that they could have "all the crack in this pipe" for a bj. 4 out of 5 times I'd get sucked off for $5 worth of crack! Some of those desperate little junkies were pretty cute. If any one of them told me that she was an undercover detective willing to let me go for a $100 contribution, I wouldn't be able to stop laughing. That would have made my night. Hell, I would probably just give them their $5 high for free.

Have a nice day.
Damn well said. You go babe. Agree with everything you said..Sarah really needs a reality check. As a recoverying addict myself you nailed it Foxy
I find your comments about not liking the film really interesting. I have to digest it a bit more to fully comprehend all that you are saying.

But I wanted to say that this is what is called Cinema Verite. Turn on a camera and let life happen. No story, no narration, nothing but footage....yes that is edited together so someone is shaping a story.

But I think this film was trying to achieve one thing....a look into the lives just four addicts living on the streets and what they do to keep getting high.

It has no moral. It has no conclusion. It's lack of a where are they now is almost purposefully irritating, although we came to find out that Michelle passed away.

I see what you are saying for sure, but its not Drug Store Cowboy. Its just Cinema Verite.

Good comments though. I love your "Take Away List" pure Hilarity.
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