Chemical Correctness — Matt Welch vs the evil peckerheads at the LA Times


I ain’t gonna piss in no jar. Them evil peckerheads they done gone too far
(Mojo Nixon)

It was early 1987 when I touched down in LA. Evidence of the Reagan administration’s war on drugs was everywhere — on the walls, on billboards and in the newspapers. Drugs were everywhere too. It might have just been my shaggy hair and purple tie-dyed t-shirt, but I was constantly having to say no to offers of mind altering substances. It didn’t look like the war was going well.

According to Matt Welch of the LA Times, the struggle against chemical incorrectness drags on. To land his new job as assistant editorial page editor Welch had to piss in a beaker.

…it’s been company policy for at least 18 years that every new hire excrete on command while a rubber-gloved nurse waits outside with her ear plastered to the door. Those who test positive for illegal drugs don’t get their promised job, on grounds that someone who can’t stay off the stuff long enough to pass a one-time, advance-notice screening might have a problem. (And yes, it has happened in the newsroom a handful of times.)

As associate editor at the libertarian Reason magazine, Welch didn’t exactly approve of piss testing. So what did he do?

First came the bluffing ("Is there a drug test? Because I won’t take one.") Then the bargaining — I offered to pay more for health insurance, or sign a sworn affidavit detailing my laughably tame drug history … to no avail. A real punk rocker, or at least a dedicated fan of Mojo Nixon (he of "I Ain’t Gonna Piss in No Jar" fame from the mid-1980s, when drug testing was still controversial among newspaper employees), would have played chicken with the human resources department to see who blinked first. Instead, I folded like a cheap tent.

Worst of all, I didn’t even have the basic decency to fail.

Yup, a chemically correct Matt Welch gets the job. Now don’t get him started on educational correctness.


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18 years ago

Somewhere, the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson is crying into his mescaline. (tears containing 4.5% alc. vol.)

Evil Pundit
18 years ago

One of the reasons I became disillusioned with Bill Clinton was the fact that he did nothing at all to improve this situation. What’s the point of electing a dope-smoking Democrat if he’s the same as the Republicans?

Conversely, there’s no reason not to support Bush because we know Kerry or Gore wouldn’t have been any better on this issue.

Not that I can vote in US elections anyway, so it’s all a bit theoretical.

18 years ago

Journalists required to be sober? What’s next, politicians have to take a lie-detector test?

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
18 years ago

You need a bag of unadulterated child’s piss strapped to your torso with a tube with a tap on the end going down into your trousers.

I saw that on a movie once.