Pot of Gold

Essay by tonerUniversity, Bachelor's April 2004

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Pot of Gold: Reaction Paper

The news special "Pot of Gold" featured Americans from across the country. These people all shared a similar story: they are growing marijuana as a cash crop. However none of the growers see themselves as criminals, rather, they are just people who, like everyone else, need to make a living.

The first common theme to arise throughout the documentary was "denial of injury." "... But it's not wrong, it's not hurting anybody... we're not criminals." These justifications and rationalizations protect the individual from self-blame. Frank, a dealer at the beginning of the program believed the marijuana laws to be wrong, so to violate these laws would cause no harm. Also seen here is the "enemy deviant." Frank isn't repentant, he upholds an opposite norm. He accepts his behavior as proper, and repeatedly states, that it's the public norm that is illegitimate.

Another technique of neutralization used throughout the program was "condemnation of the condemners".

The dealer's would shift the focus or attention from their own deviant acts onto the motives and behaviors of those enforcing these drug laws. "Several people have told me that you like to make marijuana busts because you get good cars." These comments shift the blame, placing the hypocrisy and deviance onto those set to enforce.

Merton, talks about goals and means. Bob and Wendy, the republican couple from the Midwest were faced with possible layoffs from corporate downsizing. Farmers in Bacon County, Ga., and across the southeast are facing hard times. Dealing with rising costs of farm equipment, many of these farmers have turned to raising pot plaints alongside their normal crops. They do this just to make ends meet. When cultural goals are present ($), and those in the society lack the means, one must invent a way...