[Jokes] Study: High Times Not A Gateway Magazine To Harder Readings (fwd)

Chris McKenna cmckenna at sucs.org
Wed Mar 22 20:40:31 GMT 2006

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Study: High Times Not A Gateway Magazine To Harder Readings
NEW YORK: Casual readers of the marijuana-enthusiast magazine High
Times are no more likely than non-readers to develop a habit for
harder forms of reading, according to a study released Monday by the
National Institutes of Health.

High Times is not a catalyst for more serious book use.

The findings raise significant doubts about the so-called "gateway
magazine" theory, which claims that High Times readers run a higher
risk of moving on to harder-hitting titles such as Time and Newsweek,
or even mind-expanding publications like Scientific American.

"The conventional wisdom is that High Times users go on to experiment
with harder-cover reading materials, becoming 'book junkies' who
rummage through street bargain bins for a fix," said Dr. David
Kunkel, the study's chief author.

"Our study has determined this to be wholly false. In fact, many of
our test subjects were discovered to be borderline illiterate."

Researchers tracked the daily reading habits of 120 occasional and
regular High Times readers and found that by the end of the eight-
month study, none of the subjects had any interest in reading
National Book Award finalists, historical nonfiction, or political

"Our study subjects were in no apparent danger of a literary
overdose," said Kunkel.

The study did report, however, that some participants occasionally
used over-the-counter books and magazines to help them fall asleep.

Kunkel said some of the participants had been chronic High Times
readers in the 1970s, while others were new subscribers who had
picked up their first issue just weeks before the study began.

"In not one instance," Kunkel said, "was anyone tempted, even by peer
pressure, to experiment with harder reading."

The study found some evidence that long-term High Times exposure
could put the peruser at increased risk for Maxim abuse. But, said
Kunkel, evidence does not suggest that the sporadic reading of
publications such as Lowrider magazine, Marijuana Grower's Inside
Guide, and Let's Go Amsterdam indicated a larger trend toward more
serious literacy.

A small percentage of study participants expressed familiarity with
recreational books such as The Basketball Diaries, Naked Lunch, and
the Tao Te Ching, but Kunkel and his researchers found participants
read such books before becoming involved with High Times. "Many of
them hadn't been injected with serious prose in five, 10, even 15
years," Kunkel said.

John P. Walters, director of the White House Office Of National
Reading Control Policy, disputed the report's conclusions.

"We're kidding ourselves if we don't believe heavy book use is a
major problem," Walters said. "We've all heard horror stories of
young people not being able to put down Gravity's Rainbow. Thanks to
book kingpins like Barnes & Noble, more and more Americans—even
kids—are gaining wider access to stronger, more potent reading
material. And once they've read a gateway publication like High
Times, they're going to read whatever they want."

Added Walters: "It's sad but true: In America, you can find almost
anything to read if you want it bad enough."

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