Search This Blog

10 September 2006

SSDPtalk & the Circumpolar Experience: Bob does Not Go Gentle into That Dark Night

Click certainly. The SSDP banner is/was
my contribution to a New Logo Contest.
Maybe I want it back now. SSDP Logo,
"An American Schoolhouse,"
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Merkin,
All Rights Reserved.

} [Original Message]
} From: Tom Angell
} To:
} Date: 9/7/2006 7:01:11 PM
} Subject: SSDPTalk: Old SSDPTalk, New SSDPtalk

SSDPers, was once a vibrant list where SSDP activists from across the country communicated with one another and had important discussions about drug policy issues and SSDP strategies. But due to some technical glitches that we just haven't been able to figure out, this list has virtually disintegrated recently.

But SSDP recently acquired new, cutting-edge technical services and we're pleased to announce the launch of an all-new SSDPtalk list where SSDP activists, staff, board members, and alumni will be able to share ideas, build relationships, plan campaigns, coordinate events, and collectively rejoice over our victories (and of course remotivate each other after our rare but inevitable defeats).

This is not to say that the input of nonstudents isn't valued by our organization. To the contrary, we've receive a tremendous amount of support from nonstudents, which has inspired us to keep doing the work we do.

However, to keep a manageable and productive e-mail discussion list, which will be used for SSDP chapters to strategize amongst each other, we must limit the new list to SSDP students, staff, board, and alumni.

Of course, we hope that SSDP's nonstudent supporters continue to stay abreast of what we're doing us though our news and action alert list ( and also keep providing valuable input into how SSDP can be the best organization we can be by commenting on our blog (, communicating with SSDP staff and board (, and participating in the soon-to-be-launched forums on the SSDP site (

Students and alumni who wish to be added to the new SSDPtalk list should e-mail with "SSDPtalk subscribe" in the subject line. We'll be launching the new list soon, and you don't want to miss out.

Thanks again for supporting SSDP and for everything that you do,


Tom Angell, Campaigns Director
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
1623 Connecticut Ave NW; Suite 300
Washington, DC 20009

Just Say Know! SSDP's conference is Nov. 17-19 in Washington, DC.
Register today at

Sponsor a student activist! Every contribution to our Conference
Scholarship Fund will be matched by a generous donor. Help a student
attend the conference at

Get the latest news and DARE Generation views at

ssdptalk mailing list


} [Original Message]
} From:
} To:
} Date: 9/8/2006 3:19:10 PM
} Subject: You have been unsubscribed from the ssdptalk mailing list


On Sep 9, 2006, at 01:23 , Robert Merkin wrote:
Hi Tom Angell,

On behalf of the SSDP Geezer Auxiliary, I just have to respectfully but passionately object to this change.

It's a synthetic, arbitrary, ill-thought severing and isolation of younger and older reform advocates, and I can't see how it can possibly make anything in the reform movement work better. I think it's a mistake and I think it will cause damage and weakness to the reform movement.

Mathematically, it turns a synchronized community of Many into a weaker community of Fewer. The pool from which new and valuable ideas can flow just shrank dramatically.

Please reconsider. I don't think it's good for anybody, and it's left me with the first bitter taste I've ever had about SSDP.

The other SSDP geezers and I have no choice but to be our age. Student SSDP members are equally stuck being their age. Until this moment, knowing we were all working toward a common goal gave me incredible pride and pleasure.


Bob Merkin


I had the much the same reaction, was going to post something when we received the longer message about the list changes a couple of days ago, but I really couldn't express my thoughts as cogently as you (as usual ;-).
I was mildly offended and thought the move was cheezey and probably ineffective (in that lists are virtually free, so it isn't a cost issue, and most reform orgs like SSDP host BOTH general public discussion lists AND internal private organizational lists for board members and other "officials"... like the "secret" ARO list subscribed to by one or two officers of most reform orgs where the kool kids hang out, so it isn't that either).



Well darlins, This GEEZERETTE, was asked at Seattle Hempfest to help organize an ssdp chapter here in central Washington. BS now , These kids just have to figure it out, older,wiser, more insurance.You can bet I will be on campus. Fran In Ellensburg,


Hiya Fran!

I prefer "geezeusse," but you own your self-designation.

News, Weather, Mozart, Sports, Extragalactic Travel, sausages, opera, PIRATES!!! & Really Big Integers from Planet Vleeptron:

Remarkable Older Stuph:

Featured TWICE! TWICE! LIVE! on BBC World Service!

Re: [DrugWar] Geritol Time ... ssdptalk's New Improved Geezer-Free list (continued)

This Whippersnappers vs. Geezers ssdptalk Thing has blossomed into a pretty interesting pissing match between skunks. Last night I was replying just to Doug McV. and his cc:'ers privately and discreetly, but maybe when Geezers are being brutalized in an alley, discreet doesn't sufficiently cut it. Here it is again for the drugwar folks, who clearly are more interested in Hurt Geezer Feelings than I'd anticipated.

If any Youth who still has communicating privileges on the New, Improved, Geezer-Free ssdptalk wishes to re-post this there, that would be way cool and awesome.

I'm sticking with my original Subject: It's a Geezer-Bashing Thing.

Fortunately it's all been e-mail up to this point, because if the discussion should shift to cell phones or iPods, I'll have to put in my false teeth, and I think I've misplaced them again.

Some Geezers have been wondering: "Why? Was it something I said?" I don't think so. Have any Geezers posted anything more outlandish or Off-Topic than Whippersnappers' posts?

In a paranoid moment, I wondered if the abrupt Geezer-Plug-Yanking might have been caused by some untoward, icky Personal Interaction at an SSDP get-together. So far the worst I can be accused of is begging Scarlett Swerdlow for her autograph, and I refuse to be ashamed. I framed it, and I'd do it again tomorrow. (Don't tell my wife.)

Jack's paranoia is probably the most on-target. Us superannuated hippies have been having Too Much Fun and embarrassing some suit-and-tie Key Club types with our Colorful Appearance and Naughty Behavior. The Youth Reform Community regularly seethes with a deep and strident undercurrent to slam that door, because Contemporary Reform is all about suits and haircuts and looking indistinguishable from Young Republicans. Us Reform Geezers are a real public embarrassment and are soooooo 1973. Some of us even tell jokes and have an inappropriate sense of Celebration. As we grow so incredibly old and wrinkled, the Reform Geezers who refuse to Go Gentle into That Dark Night and get off the cyber-stage are just sooooo gross.

This really is a (small but) Ugly Moment of the Breakdown and Polarization of Community, but a startling symbolic Moment of Myopic Vision and un-Leadership. From a private e-mail I originally sent to the growing crowd of Hurt Geezers:

And this was a real Geezer-Bashing stunt, and it authentically pisses me off. Jews can't visit Teheran, Shia and Sunni are slaughtering one another in Iraq, in Northern Ireland Catholics and Protestants are taking a brief break from murdering one another, in Sri Lanka Tamil and Sinhalese are having full-blown civil war ... so Tom Angell thinks Age Polarization is the Future of Drug Reform. I think he needs his vision checked.

Harking back to a Romantic Village Tribal Past which probably never existed, the myth has it that healthy, vibrant, surviving societies venerate their Geezers and depend on them and their long experience for answers and advice during hard times and tough challenges.

Tom has read a different Romantic Village Tribal Past, and has chosen the Circumpolar experience, where the younger generation kicks its Geezers out of the igloo in December, because they don't work hard enough and the kids have to chew their food for them. Tom is pushing us out of the virtual igloo onto the drifting virtual ice floe in virtual December, without even a day's ration of seal blubber, and thinks that's the lean-and-mean Youth fast track to Victory in the war on the War On Drugs.

Goddam whippersnapper. I wish him Golden Years in a chain nursing home run by a Swiss multinational with strict rules against cannabis, and with polka on the Muzak 24/7.

Okay, got to go now. It's time for my Geritol, and PBS has a Jimi Hendrix tribute tonight, if I don't fall asleep.

Bob Merkin


Hi Doug --

I was expressing my disappointment at the announced change in ssdptalk and my subsequent robot plug pull, I wasn't contemplating litigation. The Cheeses of SSDP may, can and will do what they want to do, and need have no worries that I'll file an age discrimination complaint.

But from the best I could make of Tom A.'s e-mail, indeed, the geezers were getting kicked off ssdptalk. And a few hours later, a robot curtly informed me I was unsubscribed from ssdptalk.

For about three years of admiring SSDP from afar, I never joined because I assumed its membership was exclusively students. Then an SSDP cheese told me, "No, dummy, anybody can join." I certainly liked that inclusive message and joined immediately.

Now some years later, a new exclusive message, at least regarding my closest ongoing link with SSDP, ssdptalk.
Though my understanding of this change may be dim -- I don't have frequent dealings with the national staff, I'm just one humble member -- what I understand from Tom A's announcement I can't bring myself to feel at all positive about.

Have my dues lapsed? I think I could have been warned about that a bit more clearly.


} [Original Message]
} From: Doug Mc***
} To: {}
} Date: 9/9/2006 9:53:36 PM
} Subject: Re: [DrugWar] ssdptalk kicks out all the Non-Members
} For what it's worth, it should be noted that the original subject line
} (referring to "geezers") is completely inaccurate. It's not (or at least
} better not be, as age discrimination is illegal in this country) a
} question of age discrimination. There are plenty of nontraditional
} students (read: people past their 20s) going to college and getting their
} degrees, or at least taking classes. Presumably as those people are
} current students they would not be 'discriminated' against in spite of
} their geezer-hood. It's more a question of making an email list that
} consists of people who are actually members of the organization.
} Bob, Jack (and others): on the one hand, I speak as a member of SSDP's
} Advisory Board *who has not been part of SSDPTalk for probably a year*,
} well before this rule. I feel your pain. And I think in some respects it
} may be short-sighted.
} On the other hand, I have to admit that I think it makes sense for SSDP to
} have an email list that consists of members. So though it's personally a
} bit frustrating, I must say that I understand the decision.
} Have a great weekend,
} Doug
} -----
} Doug Mc***

No comments: