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Marlette D. 
“Did You Do Drugs, Daddy?”. 
Esquire Magazine. 1996 March;p68.
Just say no. Somehow Nancy Reaganís prim admonition always made us, as Jay Leno once noted, want to mainline heroin under our tongue. Just say no. Sounds so tidy. The blitheness, the arrogance, the lack of imagination, and the hardness of heart in that ďjustĒ is breathtaking--the pittance paid to the guilt, the pain, the rage, the sheer complexity fueling the compulsions of the chemically inclined. And besides, in this quick-fix, feel-good culture, the message is the same on the street and in the clinic: if it feels good, do it. Diagnose and close. If the suffering is sufficient, drug it. So much for discipline.


Questions need not always be met head-on: Is my poem any good? Is she attractive to you? Do I need to lose weight? Iím not recommending dishonesty. Iím recommending discretion, restraint, the virtues of the good poker player. On some level, your kids will know whether youíre lying, but donít show your hand. A little doubt goes a long way.


Itís like being badgered by a lover about previous loves: What were they like? How do I compare? Equanimity is key. Thatís private, you answer. Some things are personal.

Drawing such a line with your kid may make you feel like a phony. Fatherhood has a way of doing that. So what? To be human is to engage in equivocation--even, in extremis, in hypocrisy.
Comments and Responses to this Article
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Mar 23, 2016 22:27
Typical of 1996 Mainstream Lie To Your KIds Method #

Esquire magazine published "Did you do drugs, daddy?", a short look back at the oversimplification of the Reagan "Just say no" model, reflecting the lack of guidance the Drug War provided to parents.

This piece is typical of "progressive" mainstream articles of the era: it chickens out and encourages fathers to hide their experiences with drugs from their children. Esquire suggested parents treat "Did you smoke pot?" like an unanswerable imponderable such as "Where is God?"; or something to be answered with polite half truths or even complete hypocrisy.

For parents of the target demographic for this article, this article provides a small amount of cover for the guilt they almost certainly feel about lying to their children about a topic as important as how to relate to extremely complex choices that virtually ever member of society faces. Daily caffeine use, academic attention stimulants, recreational cannabis smoking, whether to use opioid pain medications, or even how and when to take ibuprofen.

The clear subtext of the "Did You Do Drugs, Daddy?" article is that the author and the fictional father, like a majority of their peers, had in fact tried smoking pot in their teens or early twenties. The author does not say so, but one of the major motivations to lie at the time was fear of being exposed to school officials or other parents as "drug users" themselves.

Overall, this piece stands as an example of a type of writing and thinking from the mid 1990s that continues to infect bad thinking, bad parenting, and bad social policy through 2016.
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