Entourage’s War on Drugs

Jamaican Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, in his interview with Big Think, confirms what we know: crime, like global capital markets, is uniquely, irrevocably networked. The rare drug crime might be analyzed in isolation, but most local narcotics markets survive within an international framework of supply and demand. “If we are to tackle [the drug war] effectively,” Golding noted, “it cannot be just on the supply side.” This point has been made before, and seems increasingly to have become a part of our mainstream cultural depictions of what some still call a “War” on drugs. From Traffic to Entourage, the quality of the cultural message may slip but the message itself remains: drugs are everywhere, and easy to get. Our addictions won’t halt at the line of the law.


The title of the final episode in Entourage’s penultimate season was “Lose Yourself,” a reference most viewers will have caught to a celebrated song sung by a pre-rehabbed Eminem. The artist, now sober, appears on the show, in a fight with the series’ young hero, Vince, the latter having crashed the former’s party high on coke. “Party,” “coke” and “crash” remain potent adjectival cultural signifiers, even all these years after the seminal Bright Lights, Big City and Less Than Zero. Most members of the educated, affluent Entourage demographic see drugs as a bad idea, a quick recipe for falling off rails otherwise speeding neatly to Harvard, or Hollywood. Vince's addiction is less romantic than pathetic, something quickly to be cured, never emulated.

In this, the show’s writers have done something which, when/if Entourage is considered critically in retrospect, gives it a consistent arced storyline about addiction (to fame, to coke, to branded tequila), one far easier to swallow than via, by contrast, the un-palm-lined Dickensian brilliance of The Wire. The apotheosis of Vince’s artistic work was a starring role in a drug film, as a drug lord, Medellin. The irony of the actor's subsequent addiction was not necessary to discuss. 

Eminem’s appearance on Entourage makes sense. The singer embodies that elusive emotion the show succeeded in giving its viewers: being connected, being central, being cool. But being high is the opposite of being connected; junkies don’t appreciate HBO. If the next season maintains its line on addiction in our lives, the show may be remembered less for its portrait of young Hollywood than for its indictment of one moment in time in America. Its current time-slot has been taken by Boardwalk Empire, a show depicting the earliest post-Prohibition drug trade. Did we learn from Prohibition? Will we learn enough from one season of one critically-acclaimed show to shift our expectations of the next season of another? And if so, what actions will we take?

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

This prophetic 1997 Jeff Bezos interview explains the genius behind Amazon

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.

Technology & Innovation
  • Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
  • He saw the innovative potential of the online marketplace.
  • Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
Keep reading Show less
Promotional photo of Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones
Surprising Science
  • It's commonly thought that the suppression of female sexuality is perpetuated by either men or women.
  • In a new study, researchers used economics games to observe how both genders treat sexually-available women.
  • The results suggests that both sexes punish female promiscuity, though for different reasons and different levels of intensity.
Keep reading Show less

TESS telescope has found eight new planets, six supernovae

It has found several bizarre planets outside of our solar system.

NASA/Kim Shiflett
Surprising Science
  • The Kepler program closed down in August, 2018, after nine and a half years of observing the universe.
  • Picking up where it left off, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has already found eight planets, three of which scientists are very excited about, and six supernovae.
  • In many ways, TESS is already outperforming Kepler, and researchers expect it to find more than 20,000 exoplanets over its lifespan.
Keep reading Show less