Kingdom Creamery Of Vermont Thu, 25 Nov 2021 13:04:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Kingdom Creamery Of Vermont 32 32 She left Wall Street to create 15 flavors of ‘Desi’ vegan ice cream Thu, 25 Nov 2021 13:04:00 +0000

Sswirls of sweet and sweet cotton candy ice cream evoke childhood memories of family shopping sprees, ending with a treat of hot pink and pinstripes budhiya ke baal (Daddy’s beard). Melted, gooey ice cream provides a surprisingly salty kick, alongside echoes of a plate of perfectly seasoned nachos and ridiculously thick cheese, a crucial part of the movie-going experience of nearly every movie buff.

At Papacream, almost every flavor exists to recall the years gone by in the form of a healthy pot of rich ice cream. This is the idea of ​​Tanvi Chowdhri, 33, a resident of Mumbai who left behind an illustrious career in New York to start from scratch and follow her passion.

Tanvi quit his job in the US to start selling vegan ice cream (Image: Tanvi Chowdhri)

Comfort in an ice cream jar

Tanvi’s childhood was spent in Calcutta in a family who liked to eat together. “We traveled a lot and one thing that was always on the agenda was to try the local cuisine of the region we were visiting,” she recalls in a conversation with The Better India. “Food has always been an important part of our household and we always looked forward to the next great meal we were going to have. During this time, living in Kolkata, I developed a natural sweet tooth. We are all hearty dessert people in my family.

For college, Tanvi traveled to the United States to earn a degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and eventually began working for a financial firm on Wall Street. Her love for food, not diminishing with age, followed her to New York. She embarked on an ongoing quest to try out anything that spoke delicacy to her.

“Over time it became more and more clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career in the culinary arts. I was sure I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My weekends were free, so I was going to meet different chefs to understand their cooking style or the interesting things they were up to, ”she says.

In 2015, Tanvi returned to India to follow her dreams. She adds that risk had been a pervasive factor in her career, given the nature of her job. “I have always found it a thrill. It was just a leap of faith, ”she says.

Towards the end of the year, she launched Papacream with the idea of ​​offering customers a “world class experience” and “something different”. This included original flavors like pani puri sorbet, nacho-cheese ice cream, ice cream sushi, etc. “We wanted to instill a sense of curiosity in potential customers, while also appearing to be approachable,” she notes.

vegan ice cream
Tanvi presents different flavors and kinds of ice cream to create a sense of curiosity (Source: Papacream Instagram)

Back then, the trend in the industry, Tanvi says, was to use exotic French names for brands like hers, so she decided to go for something that stood out, but with a sense of comfort. and familiarity. “We wanted the name to bring you home,” she says. And so, Papacream was baptized.

Tanvi used her savings from her time in New York City to start an ice cream parlor and eventually branched out into Fast Turning Consumer Goods (FMCG). “We wanted to expand and move the whole of India. So we started selling our ice cream in a packaged format, ”she explains.

Whirlwinds of nostalgia

Tanvi says she is a firm believer in the concept of “made in India” and that customers deserve top quality ice cream on par with brands like London Dairy or Haagen Daaz, minus the soaring prices. “I want to let people know that you can also have quality manufacturing in India,” she says.

ice cream cake
The product line includes ice cream cakes and jars of different flavors (Source: Tanvi Chowdhri, Instagram)

Today, Papacream offers around 15 flavors of gourmet ice cream in different ranges such as vegan, indulgent, gluten free and more. Beside, they sell sorbets and frozen cakes. Flavors include French vanilla, vegan chocofudge cake, vegan and regular raspberry sorbet, salted caramel and more, as well as ice cream cakes such as vegan coffee chocolate, vegan mango vanilla , biscoff, etc.

Reiterating how each flavor is influenced by one memory or another, Tanvi explains, “We used to have this ice cream called cereal milk, and the idea was to incorporate the flavor of leftover milk once that you are done with the cereal. Cookies and cream aim to replicate the flavor of the whole cookie dipped in milk, not the simplest variations you will find on the market. It’s like having a whole bowl of milk and cookies.

There’s also the Ferro Crunch, reminiscent of our childhood spherical hazelnut chocolate, the first “premium” chocolate most of us have had the luxury of tasting. Tanvi has incorporated all the layers you find when taking a familiar bite – the chocolate coating, the thin wafer, the nutty crunch, and the gooey chocolate inside.



During the COVID-19 lockdown last year, Papacream collaborated with film producer Rhea Kapoor to present four new flavors based on Kapoor’s own childhood memories. These include After School Sundae, Brown Butter Biskut, Hazelnut Cold Coffee, and Chocolate Influencer. Ice creams are sold from Rs 375, while cakes cost around Rs 1,500 and more.

film producer rhea kapoor
Tanvi also recently collaborated with Rhea Kapoor to introduce four new flavors (Source: Papacream Instagram)

Papacream ice cream is available in 15 cities in India including Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Dehradun, etc. They are also available online and offline – in stores like Foodhall, through their website, or on platforms like Swiggy Instamart and Big Basket.

Tanvi says that over the past year or so, their income has increased fivefold.

‘An act of faith’

Running her own business is certainly never easy, and Tanvi admits that she has had a very steep learning curve, given that she had no previous experience in the hospitality industry. At the same time, running a business as a woman presented additional challenges, some that she never imagined she would face.

“For things as small as, say, setting up a business contract or legal agreement, I would be asked to bring a man, like my father or my brother, to close the deal. It was surprising that there wasn’t an immediate sense of credibility, considering I was a young woman starting out on my own, ”she recalls. “Despite the professional experience I had, there was a certain unwarranted attention that manifested itself during my early days.”

Tanvi also notes that given his young age in his early days, there was a level of difficulty when it comes to authority. “A lot of the people I had hired were my age or older, so it was a bit difficult in terms of support. “

COVID-19 gave Tanvi a wider opportunity to market its ice cream and expand its reach, as people visited grocery stores less and moved to the online world.

As of now, Papacream is working on developing new flavors and opening new outlets, kiosks and carts around Mumbai.

Meanwhile, for women looking to start their own businesses, Tanvi says, “It’s always about taking a leap of faith. If you have any apprehensions or fear of failure, remember that there will be a silver lining and keep going.

For more details or to place orders, you can visit Papacream’s website or Instagram page.

Edited by Yoshita Rao

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Plant-based alternatives to milk and dairy products: BayWa Venture GmbH invests in YoFix Probiotics Wed, 24 Nov 2021 17:10:16 +0000








November 24, 2021 Antje Krieger

+49 89 / 9222-3692

+49 89 / 9212-3692

Plant-based alternatives to milk and dairy products: BayWa Venture GmbH invests in YoFix Probiotics

BayWa AG

Public relations / Corporate communication / Public affairs

Arabellastr. 4

81925 Munich


Telephone +49 89 9222-3680


+49 89 9212-3680

the Internet / Press

Munich, November 24, 2021 – BayWa continues to develop its activities in the field of alternative proteins by investing in the Israeli start-up YoFix Probiotics. The investment, made through BayWa Venture GmbH, the investment and collaboration arm of BayWa AG, was part of YoFix Probiotics’ second round of funding, in which it raised a total of $ 3.5 million. . YoFix Probiotics produces alternatives to milk and dairy products such as yogurt and porridge, using oats, lentils, sunflower seeds, sesame, and coconut in place of milk.

“Investing in solutions dedicated to the development of high protein plant foods is a strategic step both for us at BayWa and for the food chain as a whole,” said Prof. Klaus Josef Lutz, CEO of BayWa AG. “YoFix has developed a unique production process without additives and without waste for its healthy and tasty dairy alternatives. By combining our efforts, we seek to meet the growing demand in Europe for plant-based, sustainable and dairy-free products. ”

“This investment reaffirms our commitment to alternative sources of protein,” says Marcus Pöllinger, BayWa board member whose responsibilities include agricultural activities in Germany. “We are too

This press release contains 3687 characters.

aimed at strengthening our role in product trading and developing business relationships in manufacturing. At the same time, we are exploiting new and promising sales channels for our agricultural customers. We are responding to changes in consumer demand, with plant-based foods becoming increasingly popular among a younger population in particular. ”

YoFix currently offers two product categories in a variety of flavors: Yo’Ridge dairy-free and soy-free porridge and yogurt alternative Only, which is available as a drink and a pot. Other dairy-free alternatives are expected to be added in the future, including cream cheeses, drinks, desserts and ice cream. The goal of YoFix Probiotics is to offer dairy-free alternatives to all current milk and dairy products.

BayWa Venture GmbH

BayWa Venture GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of BayWa AG. Through its venture capital activities and collaborations with start-ups, BayWa Venture facilitates access to new technologies and the development of innovative business models for BayWa and the companies of its Group. YoFix Probiotics is BayWa Venture’s third alternative protein investment so far this year. “A sustainable, healthy and safe way to produce plant protein is necessary if we are to meet the demand for non-animal protein sources,” says Marion Meyer, director of strategy and innovation at

This press release contains 3687 characters.

BayWa Venture GmbH. “We are meeting this challenge by investing in scalable and innovative technologies and by establishing reliable and dynamic partnerships. Our investment in YoFix marks a further addition to our technology portfolio and a new area of ​​application in the field of alternative proteins.

BayWa Venture has already participated in financing rounds for start-ups Amfora and Amai Proteins in mid-2021. Biotech company Amfora uses genome editing to increase the protein density of plants like soybeans. Amai Proteins develops special proteins as ingredients for the food industry, such as a sweetener made from computer-designed proteins and produced using precision microbial fermentation.

Learn more about BayWa Venture:

Learn more about YoFix:

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  1. November 2021

Download the picture(© YoFix Probiotics, free reprint)

Legend: So far, YoFix offers two product categories in different

flavors: dairy-free, soy-free oatmeal “Yo’Ridge” (photo)

and the alternative to “Only” drink and spoon yogurt


Please Note: We are on Twitter at

You can download print-ready press photos, footage and video statements – without registration – from BayWa Mediapool at


Antje Krieger, BayWa AG

Press Officer, Public Relations / Corporate Communication / Public Affairs Phone: +49 89 / 9222-3692, Fax: +49 89 / 9212-3692 E-mail:

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BayWa AG published this content on 23 November 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on 24 November 2021 05:09:01 PM UTC.

Public now 2021

Analyst Recommendations on BAYWA AG

Sales 2021 18,157 million
20,358 million
20,358 million
Net income 2021 54.4 million
60.9 million
60.9 million
Net debt 2021 2,793 million
3,132 M
3,132 M
PER 2021 ratio 29.7x
Yield 2021 2.19%
Capitalization 1,322 million
1,480 million
1,482 million
VE / Sales 2021 0.23x
VE / Sales 2022 0.23x
Number of employees 21,207
Free float 40.3%

Duration :


BayWa AG Technical Analysis Chart |  MarketScreener

Trends in technical analysis BAYWA AG

Short term Mid Road Long term
Tendencies Neutral Neutral Neutral

Evolution of the income statement

To sell

To buy

Average consensus SOCKET
Number of analysts 1
Last closing price

€ 48.00

Average price target

€ 43.50

Spread / Average target -9.38%

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Lady Moo Moo: An ice cream parlor close to my heart Tue, 23 Nov 2021 21:30:07 +0000

IIt’s not hard to find in New York: a friend of mine claims she runs into a celebrity every time she visits Chloe’s Fruit in Union Square, and few people with a sweet tooth will not have made it through. visit an outpost of Ample Hills Creamery, the 10-store New York phenomenon that makes its products right here in the state and produces flavors like marshmallow cornflake and double honeycomb delight. At the trendy (* whisper * overpriced) minimalist clothing store Kith on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn’s Candle Park Slope, you can get a soft serve by a window mixed with your favorite sugary cereal (Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Grahams). both make a great choice on a sweaty summer day.)

There is, however, one ice cream place closer to my heart than any of them.

Further into the Bed-Stuy neighborhood (short for Bedford-Stuyvesant) than most hipsters dare to walk is a lovingly designed little wooden window where homemade ice cream – dairy, veg and sherbet, all made. on site – is sold by a team of dedicated staff. Open April through November, Lady Moo Moo is now in its final week of winter marketing and selling pints of its bestsellers to prepare people for winter.

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Oatly Adds New Vegan Ice Cream Bars To Dairy-Free Offerings Mon, 22 Nov 2021 19:02:18 +0000

Oatly is gearing up to bring the world yet another rich product made from oat milk, but this vegan treat won’t be served in a pint. The Swedish oat milk giant has announced that it will launch its first line of vegan ice cream bars featuring four flavors: Strawberry Swirl, Vanilla, Chocolate Fudge and Salted Caramel, which will arrive at more than 3,000 retailers in the United States. .

The oat milk-based candy, called Oatly on a Stick, is the company’s first signature ice cream bar. The company’s research and development team worked to create a classic ice cream bar that retains the shape and taste of traditional frozen treat. The new line of ice cream bars is expected to launch at select Target, Wegmans, Harris Teeter, Giant, Stop & Shop, Fresh Direct and Schnucks stores nationwide. The brand will offer three packs at $ 5.99 for its initial launch.

“Our new dairy free frozen dessert bars are fantastic and I can’t wait for people to try them,” Oatly North America President Mike Messersmith said in a statement. “We prove that oat milk is not just for coffee, cereal or cooking, but can also be the basis of delicious treats to enjoy during times of celebration or when a stimulating reward is needed. We are very proud of this product and are very happy to bring it to many frozen shelves across the country soon. “

Oatly continues to lead the way in the plant-based dairy industry, expanding its products to several predominantly dairy food categories. The company introduced its all-new soft serve earlier this year. In collaboration with several companies, the oat milk giant aims to make its dairy-free drink as accessible as possible across the United States. Currently, Oatly is a partner of the Northeastern 16 Handles frozen yogurt chain and Gott’s Roadside restaurant in San Francisco.

The company’s innovative flexible service can also be found at two Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums: Wrigley Field in Chicago (home of the Cubs) and Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX (home of the Rangers). Both stages offer an Oatly soft service in three flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, and a chocolate and vanilla swirl.

“From introducing the new Oatly Soft Serve for fans to enjoy on match day to working with us on their sustainability initiative at Globe Life Field to putting up a huge carton of milk from oats in the outfield skyline, the Rangers are leading the sustainability movement within the gaming experience, ”Oatly North American President Mike Messersmith said at the time. “More and more people are choosing to eat more plant-based foods, even at the ballpark. Globe Life Field is a great place to make that choice, and we’re thrilled that Rangers fans are trying Oatly in a whole new way with our gentle serve.

While the pioneer of oat milk was launched almost 25 years ago in Europe, the oat milk brand only gained notoriety in the United States until 2017. Several cafes in the city of New York began to offer the classic oat milk product, which quickly gained traction with the rest of the country. The company’s oat milk empire quickly spread into the domestic market, especially as a result of its partnership with Starbucks.

The company launched its first foray into the frozen dessert category in 2019 when the brand launched its Oatly Frozen selection. The ice cream line featured seven innovative flavors, including oats, vanilla, chocolate, Chio chocolate, strawberry, mint chips and coffee.

Oatly’s ice cream bar joins a growing list of vegan alternatives for this iconic frozen treat. Earlier this year, Unilever unveiled its Vegan Sea Salt Caramel Magnum bar – winning the PETA award for best vegan ice cream for 2021. Unilever’s victory and Oatly’s introduction to the product-free ice cream market dairy means the overall growth of the industry. A report from Data Bridge concluded that the herbal ice cream market is expected to reach $ 805 million over the next six years, growing 10.3% each year through 2027.

Oatly’s dominance in the dairy-free milk industry inspires its expansion into other food categories. The company hit the stock market last May at $ 10 billion, offering nearly 84.4 million shares at about $ 17 per share. Oatly’s presence in the North American market is key to the company’s expansion. A study by GQ Research found that the North American market dominated sales of dairy-free ice cream, contributing about 39 percent of the total world market. Oatly’s increased presence signifies the potential growth of the company in the years to come.

The 6 best fast food chains with plant-based options on the menu

Fast food restaurants have finally understood that their customers don’t come just for a hamburger, fried chicken or beef taco. Many now have plant-based foods and come up with creative and delicious ways to get more greens on the menu. Here are the 6 best fast food chains with plant-based options on the menu.

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R & D in the yogurt drinks market including major key players – Energy Siren Mon, 22 Nov 2021 10:07:14 +0000
Yoghurt drinks

Industry Analysis of Yogurt Beverages Market 2021

The “Global yogurt drinks market»Report enlightens its readers on its products, applications and specifications. The research draws on key companies operating in the market and also highlights the roadmap adopted by the companies to consolidate their position in the market. Through extensive use of SWOT analysis and Porter’s five strengths analysis tools, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and mix of key companies are inferred and comprehensively referenced in the report. Each prominent player in this global market is presented with its related details such as product types, company overview, sales, manufacturing base, applications, and other specifications.

Key Market Players Covered In This Report: Danone, Fonterra, General Mills, Muller, Nestlé, Yili, Yakult, Amul, Bio Green Dairy, Bright Dairy, Mengniu, FrieslandCampina, Grupo Lala, Hangzhou Wahaha Group, Frijj, Yazoo, Starbucks, Asda.

Click here to access the sample report:

The yogurt drinks market has seen continuous growth in recent times and is expected to grow even more throughout the forecast. The analysis presents a comprehensive assessment of the market and includes future trends, current growth factors, attentive opinions, facts, historical information, in addition to market information validated and validated by the trade.

The global yogurt drink market can be segmented as a key product type of the yogurt drink market: Balkan style or set style yogurt, Swiss style or stirred yogurt, Greek style yogurt.

Yogurt Beverage Market Outlook by Applications: Hypermarkets and supermarkets, Convenience stores, Specialty food and beverage stores, Others (take-out stores, online retailers, vending machines and other independent retailers).

To obtain this report at favorable rates:

The yogurt drink market, made up of well-established international suppliers, offers strong competition to new market players as they grapple with issues of technological development, reliability and quality. The analysis report examines the expansion, market size, key segments, business share, application, and major drivers.

Major players of the Yogurt Beverages market are identified by secondary analysis, and their market shares are determined by primary as well as secondary analysis. The report contains a basic summary of the trade life cycle, definitions, classifications, applications and trade chain structure. Each of these factors can help major players perceive the scope of the market, the unique features it offers, and how it will serve a customer’s needs.

Company profile, product image and specifications, analysis of product applications, production capacity, price cost, production value, contact data are included in this report. research.

What the Yogurt Beverages Market Report Offers:
* Yogurt drinks market share assessments for regional and national segments
* Analysis of the market shares of the main commercial players
* Yogurt Beverage Market Trends (Drivers, Restraints, Opportunities, Threats, Challenges, Investment Opportunities and Recommendations)
* Strategic recommendations on key business segments

The report answers the following questions:
* Over the course of a few successive years, which application segment of yogurt drinks can perform well?
* In which market should companies establish themselves?
* Which product segments are showing growth?
* What are the market constraints that are likely to hamper the growth rate?
* However, the market share changes their values ​​by completely different production brands?

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The report contains detailed profiling of each company and information on capacity, production, price, revenue, cost, gross margin, sales volume, revenue, consumption, growth rate , import, export, sourcing, future strategies and technology developments, are also included within the scope of the report. Ultimately, the Yogurt Beverages Market report provides a conclusion which includes data breakdown and triangulation, consumer needs / change in customer preferences, research findings, estimation of the market size, data source. These factors are expected to increase the overall growth of the business.

Thank you for reading this article; you can also get a section by chapter or a report version by region, such as Asia, US and Europe.

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Research Allied is a global provider of market research and consulting services specializing in providing a wide range of business solutions to their clients, including market research reports, primary and secondary research, services demand forecasting, focus group analyzes and other services. We understand how important data is in today’s competitive environment and as a result, we have collaborated with the industry’s leading research providers who are continuously working to meet the ever increasing demand for reports. market research throughout the year.

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Enjoy Trill presents healthy and tasty ice cream with … Fri, 19 Nov 2021 21:02:06 +0000

(MENAFN-Mid-East.Info) Enjoy Trill, the revolutionary full-pint ice cream with less sugar than an apple, landed in stores across the United Arab Emirates this year. The ice cream that comes in its iconic chocolate, vanilla, and salted caramel flavors is packed with all the healthy characteristics – dairy-free, gluten-free, and keto-free – all while tasting like your favorite decadent, sweet dessert.

Enjoy Trill is founded by the United States and Switzerland based company, The Healthy Ice Cream, whose ambition is to change the way people choose and consume their ice cream. Most ice creams contain 25% sugar by weight. Their R&D team decided that ice cream must evolve. Using natural ingredients, they have formulated an innovative recipe that tastes amazing but contains only 2.5% sugar. This means that Enjoy Trill contains 10 times less sugar than old-fashioned ice cream.

“Our results show that the healthy ice creams available on the market compromise taste, texture or price. For example, it’s low in calories but full of sugar, vegan but high in sugar, or low in sugar but has a very icy texture. Plus, healthier products tend to mean higher prices. We believe that to truly revolutionize the industry, ice cream must continue to be a source of joy. Therefore, Enjoy Trill’s commitment is to offer this pleasure without guilt in every bite, without nastiness and without breaking the bank, ”says French entrepreneur and co-founder of Enjoy Trill, Sylvain Perret.

“Our ice cream does not contain any artificial sweeteners or additives. And we use natural ingredients like oat milk, coconut, cocoa and vanilla. Redesigning the ice cream formula in our kitchen took us a thousand iterations to perfect. So we’re really proud of the Enjoy Trill promise, ”adds Chris Clark, American nutritionist and co-founder.

Enjoy Trill plans to showcase its new take on Frozen Benefits on a convenient stick that has less sugar than a carrot and with an all-new vegan formula in Q1 2022.

Enjoy Trill pints are now available in the UAE at Spinneys, Carrefour, Al Maya, Union Coop and online through Shop Kitopi and Talabat Tmart. It is also distributed in six other countries including Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Belgium.


Legal warning: MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this item, please contact the supplier above.

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Jermaine Dupri launches vegan ice cream at Walmart Fri, 19 Nov 2021 17:37:54 +0000

Grammy-winning producer Jermaine Dupri – who has worked with stars like Mariah Carey and Usher – is set to make the world even sweeter by selling his new line of vegan ice cream at Walmart. Dupri announced to fans last summer his JD’s Vegan line, a collaboration of his own vision for a vegan frozen dessert, produced by ice cream expert Malcolm Stogo and Big Innovations Group Inc. The brand uses a cream base. coconut for a creamy texture, and a range of flavors inspired by Dupri’s music.

JDs’ Vegan will offer three specialty flavors, including Strawberry Sweetheart with Strawberry Chunks; Welcome to Atlanta Peach Cobler filled with classic golden Georgia peaches and topped with crumbled cobbler, and his latest creation, Apple Butter, a buttered apple flavor and cinnamon streusel.

“Walmart and I share the same vision of providing consumers with the best products and making healthy alternatives available to everyone,” Dupri said in a statement. “JD’s vegan ice cream is just as good, if not better, than the real one. You have nothing to lose by going vegan. JD’s vegan ice cream proves that you can only get quality food with great flavor and taste.

JD Vegan Ice Cream can be purchased from the Durpi website and select Walmart stores for $ 6.47 per print. The brand will expand its distribution, with more flavors in the pipeline. It plans to unveil three more flavors next month, including Cookies & Cream, Key Lime Pie, and Chocolate My Way. All six flavors will be available in store and online starting December 28.

Dupri, who went vegan over 15 years ago, said Beet that he set out to develop a vegan, non-GMO dessert option that could be enjoyed by anyone. The vegan ice cream brand aims to help spread the potential of a vegan diet, especially in the dessert sector.

“A lot of people involved with vegan brands are not vegans,” Dupri said. Rolling stone. “I don’t know how people who are not vegans can be trusted in this space for us. I felt it was important for someone like me to produce something.

Vegan ice cream has taken its place on the scene as several companies begin to experiment with dairy-free options. A recent report from Allied Market Research predicts that the vegan ice cream market will reach $ 805 million by 2027, as consumers around the world begin to accept sustainable dessert options. Dupri hopes to capitalize on this growing interest, noting that he has designed his ice cream not only for vegans but for all interested consumers.

“My daughter is not vegan and she loves chocolate,” says Dupri. “It’s important that it plays on both sides. Non-vegans taste it and say, “It can’t be vegan.” Vegans taste it and say, “Oh my God, I’m glad you did that. “

Dupri’s involvement in making it known how easy and delicious it is to be vegan is nothing new: The Atlanta-based producer continues to support vegan and plant-based initiatives and recommends vegan restaurants in Atlanta, Miami. and in other cities. The producer worked with Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole and Impossible Foods to organize a voter registration campaign to promote the participation of new voters in the presidential election, Votenik, by providing vegan food for people. queuing for hours.

Dupri has inspired others in his life to eat vegan food, including his mother Tina Mauldin who makes plant-based versions of southern classics. Mauldin shared exclusive vegan dishes with Beet eearlier this year. Now Dupri is focused on providing vegan treats for everyone.

Discover our taste test of the best vegan or dairy-free ice creams

The ultimate vegan and dairy free ice cream taste test

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Video Chat Sites to Chat with Random Strangers Fri, 19 Nov 2021 04:26:52 +0000

Chatting with random strangers online can be a surprisingly fun way to pass the time. We’ve learned a lot about the importance of human connection in the last generation. We’re lucky enough to have some of the best sites with chat rooms for you to meet someone interesting. Whether you’re looking to meet that someone special or just trying to make friends, you’d be surprised how many fascinating people you can meet at random.

Omegle is one of the leading sites for random chat. They even have random video chat for an even more enhanced experience. They’ve been around for many years and have established a reputation as one of the top websites out there for meeting new people.

If you’re a longtime user, however, you might find that after a while, you start to encounter the same people. It’ll lead you to look for some viable Dirty Roulette alternatives.

The good news is that there are plenty of sites like Omegle. They offer random chat, both text chat rooms and video chat rooms to meet and talk to new people. Meeting strangers online may sound intimidating, but these platforms make it really simple.  In many cases, it’s also free to talk with others on their platform. Which site is best for you depends on what features you’re looking for and what you’re looking to get out of the experience.

If you’re ready to start using other websites like Omegle but aren’t sure what to start, don’t worry. Whether you’re new to random chat or a seasoned pro, we can help. There’s a lot out there, and we’re here to weed out the websites with the best features to the worst. We’ve got you covered with some of the best alternatives so that you can start making new friends and maybe even finding love from different countries and continents around the world, with easy-to-use, safe platforms.

Video Dating Chat Alternatives

  1. AdultFriendFinder
  2. Ashley Madison
  3. Arousr
  4. Seeking

Here are the Top 15 Video Chat Sites Like Omegle

Screen Shot20210104At2 26 53PM


Fruzo is a fun dating website that hopes random matches turn into chances at love. It’s a video chat-based, connecting you with eligible people from their pool of 5.5 million users. Unlike other dating websites, it doesn’t constrain you to your local area, which gives you more freedom to meet different interesting people. To sign up, simply choose a gender or select couple if you’re browsing with a friend. It will ask for permission to use your webcam and microphone. Fruzo also offers new users the ability to try their premium service for free for 30 days.

Many people like that you can use Fruzo anywhere. It has a website, as well as mobile apps available for both Android and iOS devices. You can also use Fruzo to make a long-term connection, thanks to the ability to friend and follow different users.


If you’re looking to just make friends, Fruzo may not be the site for you. They aim to make dating matches of their users, so chances are you’ll meet someone looking for a little more. Since that isn’t every user’s desire, you may find another one of the Omegle alternatives is better suited to you.

Account authentication is also a con for some users. To use the site’s search function, you have to authenticate your account by signing in with Google, Facebook,  Apple ID, or an email address. Some people prefer more anonymity than that offers.

Screen Shot20210104At2 27 01PM


ChatRoulette is considered one of the best, much like Omegle. It brings people together for a random chat via webcams. It’s been up and running for over 10 years, which is how you know it’s seriously reliable.  For your safety, ChatRoulette offers a ‘filtered chat’ feature, which keeps you from seeing any unwanted explicit content.

One of the most loved and hated things about ChatRoulette is that your video chat can end just as quickly as it begins. It offers you a unique challenge of getting to know somebody while knowing they can exit at any time, another feature that also serves to protect user safety. Users can also choose to blur their screens at any time during a conversation to prevent them from seeing any unwanted content. It does not tell the other user they are being blurred.

ChatRoulette has also put a big emphasis on content as it’s moved away from its controversial past over the years. That means that people are encouraged to make sure everyone is comfortable with anything that goes on during any video chat. It makes for a safer experience than ever before with a website that has learned the importance of safety, making it very popular among Omegle alternatives.

Another feature many people enjoy is that it’s easy to get started. You can jump right into chatting without signing up as long as you agree to the website terms.


That said, there are some downsides to the site. Some people find that there aren’t enough filtering options on ChatRoulette. For a top platform, it feels like that should be sorted out by now.

ChatRoulette truly embraces the idea of random chat. For users looking to narrow down their options by language or location, it may be a bit overwhelming.  It can also be harder to find someone to talk to for a longer time because people click through sessions so quickly.

Another feature that people have mixed feelings about is the facial recognition software. The software was introduced as a way to handle users who were violating the terms of the site since the site doesn’t have you sign up for an account.

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Emerald Chat flat out calls themselves an Omegle alternative. You’ve got to love that kind of honesty! They’re proud to be one of the most popular Omegle alternatives with thousands of people. You can use it quickly with an assigned username, or sign up for an account for more continuous use. If you sign up, the registration process asks for the basics: your gender, age, and area. Once you’re signed up, you’re ready to get started.

Emerald Chat allows you to tag interests on your profile that you can be matched with other people based on. It is another site that allows you to add friends, so you can keep in contact with anyone you do hit it off with. Both one-on-one and group video chat rooms are available, so you can make friends or look for a soulmate among the random people.

If you’re concerned about your online safety, know that Emerald Chat has you covered. Moderators are always available to deal with any issues between users. Karma ratings also increase user accountability.


A lot of features that many users feel are missing from the platform are only available to premium members. Gold members pay $3.89 a month to be listed as verified users and access additional filters based on gender and karma rating.

Some also feel the stringent safety measures sometimes result in misunderstandings that interrupt the ability to access the site and in some cases, get people banned from the platform altogether.

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Bazoocam is another great site for random video chat encounters. It’s a super simple, streamlined interface that makes it easy for users to get started. One thing that sets it apart from other sites is its worldwide userbase. The site is available in many languages, making it easy to chat and play games with new people from all corners of the globe. It’s particularly popular with French users.  If you are looking for someone closer to home to chat with, there’s a location filter available to narrow your search down.

Signing up is super easy. There are no profiles to fill out. Simply pick a username, provide your email address and a password, and you’re all set.


You have to enter credit card information to select a gender filter, which is a major letdown for some users. It’s also unusual because you aren’t actually charged for anything, it seems. A  number of people have reported entering the information and being able to continue to use the site for free. That still leaves some uneasy about using the feature and lessens trust in the platform.

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Chatrandom is another very popular site like Omegle offering access to people all over the world. It also offers a lot of anonymity, which is appealing to those who are hesitant about trying random chat. Chatrandom is one of the best places to start if you’re wading in for the first time.

Chatrandom has both Android and iOS maps, so you can take your adventures in chatting on the go. The apps are highly rated and praised by users as being easy to navigate and fun.


Chatrandom is truly random, and some people are looking for a little bit more information. If you want a profile to get to know a person for, Chatrandom doesn’t offer that.  The site also restricts features like filtering to premium members, which means you can’t filter potential random chat partners by gender and other metrics you may find significant. You also have to be a premium user to access an ad-free experience, which is frustrating for some. Premium subscriptions cost $6.99 a week or $19.99 a month.

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Over 3,000,000 people each month call Ome TV their favorite among Omegle alternatives. Ome TV has an attractive interface and like Omegle, it’s super easy to use. You’re just a click away from getting to know friendly strangers from all around the world. Your safety comes first on Ome TV too. Users can be automatically blocked and reported for any uncomfortable or inappropriate comments. It’s truly one of the best websites, and it’s accessible anywhere thanks to its sleek Android and iOS apps. It doesn’t require any personal information, so you’ve got nothing to lose in trying it out.


Some users have complained that there is no way to conceal your face before you’re ready to reveal it to another user. There are also some complaints that users are picky about the strangers they talk to on the platform and skip too quickly, which makes it hard to find people to chat with. If you want to make meaningful, long-term connections, friendship or otherwise, there may be better platforms for you.

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TinyChat is another one of the sites on this list that, like Omegle, boasts a long history on the web. It’s been around since 2000 and has had millions of users throughout the years. It was originally all about text chat, but these days they focus much more on video chatting.

TinyChat users most commonly chat with strangers based on their interests. The site makes it easy to find a chat room with plenty of random people interested in the things you love. You can also create your own rooms you serve as admin in, and invite any number of users for a private group chat. There’s also the ability to connect one-on-one.  You can also share videos or live streams with your chat room.


If quality is important to you, this may not be your pick.  HD video and full-screen viewing are only available to premium users. Although that won’t stand in the way of some that use the website, others find it difficult to get to know a person and distracting from their chat. Premium subscription rates range from $9.95  to $44.95 a  month depending on how long you subscribe to pro, extreme, or gold tiers. It’s one of the pricier premium deals among the Omegle alternatives and that may keep some people from the paid version, if not the whole service.

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ChatHub is another site that prides itself on being an Omegle alternative. Users say it’s one of the best Omegle alternatives, allowing both text and video chat with users from around the world. It’s free to use on any computer or mobile browser.

It’s easy to start talking to other users. Simply fill in the gender filter, agree to the terms of service, and get started! You can also use a language filter to keep any barriers from arising.  A special filter makes it so users don’t match with someone they’ve matched with before, ensuring a new person each time.

If you like to use video chat and text chat, ChatHub has excellent interfaces for both. There’s no profile required, which makes it easy to try without any risk. ChatHub is also concerned with user safety.  The peer-to-peer connection keeps conversations discreet. The site doesn’t store any personal information about you.


ChatHub doesn’t have an app, so users are limited in their mobile options. Surprisingly, users offer very few other complaints about the platform. It’s one of the top free platforms for chatting with strangers and an interesting option for those experienced in using a website to meet strangers and strike up friendships and relationships. Some feel it’s more focused on text chat than video, so your preference there may also determine if it’s the right website for you.

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ChatKi is another great Omegle alternative that is exclusive to users 18 and older. The random chat site brings together users from around the world is an opportunity to get to know one another. This chat site boasts over 5,000,000 users with over 50,000 people ready for video chatting each day.

ChatKi allows both one-on-one and group video calls. Group chat rooms can allow a larger number of users to come together and get to know one another, which some users find less intimidating than individual conversations.


Some users feel it takes a long time to generate a random group chat, but it seems to be reliant on how many other people are online at the same time you’re ready for a video call.

ChatKi has some unique features that set it apart from other sites, but they’re only available to premium users. One example is an auto-translation feature that makes it easier to chat with users you might have a language barrier with. It adds something special to a video call, but a premium membership will set you back $6.99 a week, or $19.99 a month.

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CooMeet is another awesome Omegle alternative. You can jump right in and get to video chatting, or sign up to make some longer-term connections. The website has many features like the other sites, and most are available to free users, which makes for a great way to chat with new people.


CooMeet is geared toward straight men looking to meet women, so it’s not great for casual friendships or meeting men. If you’re looking for text chat options like Omegle offers, you also won’t find a specific area for that on CooMeet.

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Shagle is a favorite among Omegle alternative sites. All you need is webcam abilities to get chatting with their over 3 million active users. Translation tools make it possible to chat with new people in over 70 countries, which means you can truly chat with anyone, similar to Omegle.

Shy people will enjoy the masking option Shagle offers, which allows you to partially conceal your identity from a person you’re chatting with. That can make things a lot easier for new people or those who are hesitant about webcam chatting with strangers.


To access their full range of members in over 200 countries, you have to sign up for premium. Premium users are also the only ones who get in-chat verified badges on Shagle, can send digital gifts, and more. Some users feel that even premium members don’t get enough filtering options. Premium members can even go back to previous chat partners. Premium memberships cost $6.99 a week or $19.99 a month.

Another gripe with some users is the video quality. Some people find poor video quality frustrating when they’re trying to really talk to someone new. Omegle chatters have reported that it isn’t ideal in comparison to the more popular of the two sites.

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If you’re looking to make friends, iMeetzu is one of the top Omegle alternatives for you! iMeetzu allows you to video chat one-on-one or with multiple matches in a chat room. You can also take your conversations on the platform on the go with their app, available for iOS and Android. iMeetzu really goes far to promote getting to know one another and having fun. It’s one of the best sites because it makes it easy, especially in the group chat rooms, for people to connect.


Many users get exhausted by the countless ads you have to see while using the site. Some have also struggled with their webcam being disconnected during longer talks. Since there are no guarantees you can find that person again, that can be a huge letdown.

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FaceFlow initially gained popularity as a video chat platform, as an alternative to chat clients that make you download something. In the years since it’s also gained a reputation as an Omegle alternative that allows you to meet interesting strangers from around the world.


Some people have expressed concerns about FaceFlow’s security measures being too lenient. Many believe that users make profiles with fake or greatly enhanced photos. No one wants to end up scammed by a fake user, so that keeps some people from using FaceFlow.

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Opinion | The World’s View on Drugs Is Changing. Which Side Are You On? Fri, 19 Nov 2021 04:25:45 +0000 jane coaston

Today on “The Argument,” is it time to legalize all drugs?

archived recording

Last November, an overwhelming majority of Oregonians voted to decriminalize most drugs via referendum. Medical marijuana is now legal in Alabama. And in a matter of months, cannabis products could be available to those who qualify.

^archived recording^ (joe biden)

Truth of the matter is, there’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug. And I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally.

jane coaston

President Biden may not be ready for legalized, recreational marijuana, but many states are way ahead of him. Connecticut just became the 18th state to legalize recreational marijuana. And it’s not just weed. Several cities have recently decriminalized magic mushrooms, and Oregon just decriminalized possession of small amounts of all drugs, including heroin, methamphetamines, and cocaine. It seems like the War on Drugs is over and drugs won big. I’m Jane Coaston, and there seems to be more and more consensus that jailing our way out of the addiction crisis in the United States is not working. But even hardcore drug policy reformers have vastly different takes on how we get to a better place with drugs, like our guests today. Ismail Ali is the Policy and Advocacy Director at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, and Jonathan P. Caulkins is the H. Guyford Stever University Professor of Operations, Research, and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. I started out by asking Ismail to define the difference between drug decriminalization and legalization.

ismail ali

So when people think of decriminalization, they’re usually thinking of the reduction or elimination of criminal penalties, sometimes including civil penalties. And legalization tends to be when the law actually is fully recognizing, regulating activity from point A to point Z. So you can decriminalize, for example, personal use and possession. But if every behavior up to that point is still illegal, you have an island of maybe legal or decriminalized behavior in a sea of illegal behavior. So they get through all this illegal behavior to get to the legal behavior. And I think legalization implies a full spectrum, regulated approach to the whole piece.

jane coaston

Ismail, you do think that ultimately the goal would be to legalize all drugs. Why?

ismail ali

I do think that legal, regulated access is likely the best environment for a number of drugs, but I think it’s going to depend very much on the substance itself, and factors that have to do with the supply and demand questions with respect to where and how it’s produced. Not having a legally regulated system puts us in a position where the very, very large and lucrative drug trade, which exists, whether or not there’s a regulated industry, entirely is captured by underground actors with various levels of ethics and morals. And I think that that whole conversation around legal access must also look at — and has looked at, historically — the uptake of all substances in illegal markets, and then the effects of those behaviors. My mother’s family is Colombian, and they left Colombia in the 1980s as a result in part of the massive increase in cocaine violence and cartel use. And that continued underground. Engagement has not really ceased — not just with cocaine, but with a number of other drugs. And even Colombia now is having a very serious conversation at the governmental level about what it would look like to legally regulate cocaine, because — despite pressure from the U.S. and other actors, they have realized that, actually, having some sort of legally regulated system could be the way to reduce the violence in the country. So while I do think that legalizing drugs, which sounds like such a scary thing to a lot of people, really means bringing them under more regulatory control. It’s hard, I think, to really think through what an effective addiction response strategy at the social level would be while we’re under an environment of prohibition, because prohibition does exacerbate some of those secondary effects of drugs, like, for example, addiction independence.

jane coaston

I’m curious as to your thoughts, Jonathan, on decriminalization versus legalization.

jonathan caulkins

These have to be decided drug by drug. Drugs are different. For a long time, we’ve had caffeine be legal. That was probably fine. I don’t think that it’s — one should be cavalier about other substances. Opioids make the point. The prescription opioid crisis was a crisis that killed tens of thousands of people every year for a drug that was highly regulated, much more so than the typical recreational drug. Opioids are intrinsically dangerous, much more so than caffeine or cannabis. It has to be decided on a case by case basis.

jane coaston

I think that that’s something that’s also important to note here, is that, for instance, in Oregon — Oregon just passed Measure 110, which makes possession of small amounts of LSD, methamphetamines, cocaine, and heroin punishable by a civil citation. That is not legalization. That is decriminalization. So I’m interested, Jonathan, can you talk about — when we’re talking about decriminalization, it sounds to me that it is still a civil penalty in Oregon to possess these — crimes. It’s like a traffic ticket, but that’s still a crime-ish.

jonathan caulkins

Yeah, with the ish. The other thing it’s important to say is that, usually, when people talk decriminalization, they’re talking about decriminalizing or changing the consequences for people possessing amounts suitable for personal use. Whereas if you just say legalize, without any qualification, the presumption is you’re legalizing supply. So there is a big difference there. And sometimes it helps to keep them straight by remembering a third term, which is legalizing use. So decriminalization is usually reducing penalties for use so that you don’t have people getting a criminal record for use. Then you can go a step farther, as Ismail was saying, and legalize use, meaning you don’t even get the equivalent of a fine or a traffic ticket. Both of those are very different than legalizing supply.

jane coaston

Jonathan, you made a really fascinating argument in a piece called “The Drug Policy Roulette,” and I’d like you to explain more about this, because it actually was counterintuitive for me, which is — my view was that legalizing drugs would do what the end of Prohibition did for alcohol, which is when you aren’t legally allowed to drink, you can drink all the time. But with the end of Prohibition and with a regulated alcohol market, you have places — you have counties that are dry. You have a liquor store that can only be open from this time to this time. There are prohibitions on drunk driving, and societal prohibitions against when you can — like, drinking in the morning, drinking by yourself, this is looked down on. And I think societal prohibitions play into how we think about using drugs and alcohol anyway. But in the case of drugs, you made the point in this piece that one of the issues that would be unexpected from this is that prohibition makes drugs expensive, and that drugs like heroin and cocaine would actually be pretty cheap to obtain if they were legalized, because a part of what makes them expensive is what’s called compensating wage differentials. Namely, it’s really hard to bring cocaine into the United States. You are paying for the cost of how hard it is to bring cocaine into the United States. But with that price collapse, the taxes required to make it so that you weren’t just having cheap cocaine everywhere would be incredibly high, which would then contribute to the kind of gray market smuggling that we see with cigarette smuggling in the United States and in other countries. This is a financial issue I had never thought about.

jonathan caulkins

Sure. The first point is that prohibition prevents one from producing these things in straightforward ways. None of the drugs are hard to produce. If it was legal and you could allow a regular company to do it, then they become very cheap. You can see that, for instance, just in the price of cocaine in Colombia is about 1 percent or 2 percent what it is in the streets in the United States. And the illegal distribution system effectively charges $15,000 to move a kilogram from Bogota to New York City that would cost $70 on FedEx. So prohibition makes things far more expensive than it would be if they were legal. As a practical matter, there’s no way that we will have taxes high enough to prevent prices from declining substantially. And that is in part because there probably wouldn’t be the political will, but also in part because of practicalities. Drugs are very potent in the sense that it doesn’t take very much material. A daily cannabis user using one and a half grams a day consumes only a little more than a pound over a year, about the same weight as one 20 ounce can of beer. So we just can’t effectively collect very high taxes on these easy to smuggle commodities.

ismail ali

Yeah, and many people have talked now for some years about this concept, the Iron Law of Prohibition, which maybe it would be good to bring in here, which is essentially the idea that because smuggling is such a lucrative activity, and because smuggling smaller things, more concentrated substances is easier, it actually incentivizes higher concentrations of substances to be taken across borders. So for example, if you want to take enough heroin for 500 people, you need a trunk of a car. If you want to take enough fentanyl for 500 people, you need something about the size of your phone or maybe much, much, much smaller. So there might be the case where as smuggling gets more difficult, it’s actually incentivizing higher concentrations of drugs, because it’s easier to smuggle those drugs as opposed to ones that take up more physical space.

jonathan caulkins

Well, we should unpack this, though. I mean, the movement from heroin to fentanyl is not a response to a change in the legal status of either substance. But the Iron Law of Prohibition has been completely refuted by the experience with cannabis legalization. It’s the iron law that holds no water. Cannabis did not exceed average potency of 5 percent until 2000, and now it’s — typical flower potency in a legal stores is over 20 percent. And we now have common use of vapes and dabs, which are much more potent than that. So the Iron Law of Prohibition has just been disproved by experience with cannabis legalization.

ismail ali

I’d probably push back on that a bit, because cannabis is also produced in state. We’re not talking as much about taking things across borders, but the big difference is that with a lot of cannabis products, they’re being produced at the place or near the place they’re being used, which is different from things that are crossing international borders.

jonathan caulkins

The weight of drugs doesn’t matter much at all after they are legal, because the weight is so small. Again, I make reference this —

ismail ali

Yeah, no. I agree after they are legal, for sure.

jonathan caulkins

So it doesn’t matter that at the moment we’re in this weird situation where we have a bunch of state specific markets. That’s a temporary artifact of the fact that there’s not yet national legalization. Once there’s national legalization, we can no longer have these state specific markets because of the Interstate Commerce Clause in the Constitution.

jane coaston

Jonathan, you brought up the opioid crisis. And I think that there have been a host of people who’ve written on how they used to support drug legalization. And the opioid epidemic and how it took place changed their minds. And I want to point to a great piece — my former colleague at Vox, German Lopez, wrote about this, where he said that essentially with opioids, you had companies that got a hold of a product. They marketed it irresponsibly and lobbied for lax rules in influencing government, and people died. As he points out, the United States historically is very bad at regulating drugs. Ismail, does the experience of the opioid epidemic — has that changed your viewpoint on what legalization would look like?

ismail ali

No, because I don’t see legalization as only a question of the regulations that have to do with the drug. I think that there are factors beyond just the way opioids are regulated and are regulated that has to do with why there’s a crisis today. And I actually personally tend to frame it as an overdose crisis. I do think opioids are a big part of that. But if you’ve been following the numbers for the last couple of years, it’s absolutely the case that overdoses with methamphetamine and other drugs are also extremely intensely increasing. And the way that, as you said, a certain framework of pharmaceutical regulation has operated with certain opioids is such a good example of what I imagine legalization to be. Like, I think if I were putting together a thinking through with people — what would be an ideal legalization scheme? And I really agree with what Jonathan said, where it’s a case by case basis. And there may be drugs that don’t need or shouldn’t have fully legally regulated systems, and maybe decriminalization is the appropriate environment for that. And maybe decriminalization of certain kinds of behaviors — and I think one really good example that feels like it’s at the center of this is this question about advertising and marketing. I think that what companies are allowed to say, what claims they’re allowed to make, how they’re allowed to advertise, what expectations are setting with consumers — those factors are pretty significant. That’s not to say that if there wasn’t the aggressive marketing campaign with some of these opioids that we’d be in the same or a different position today. It’s really difficult to tell. It’s a system that has been highly affected by interests that are not in that of the consumer, not in the interest of the public. When society was flooded with cigarette ads, a lot of people started smoking more cigarettes. That’s not — and of course, there’s a risk to smoking cigarettes. But to me, that’s an artificial pressure that comes from the market and its incentives. And I think that once you take out some of those things to the extent that that’s possible in a legal market, you might actually be able to adjust some of those outcomes.

jonathan caulkins

But I think that’s the point. It’s easy to imagine an ideal legalization, but that’s not what we’re going to get. We’re going to get the legalization that comes out of our political process and institutions. And marketing is the concrete example. Once a product is legalized, the companies that produce it will enjoy First Amendment commercial free speech protections that will allow them to market.

ismail ali

Should they?

jonathan caulkins

It doesn’t matter whether they should or should not. In the United States, under our Constitution, which protects commercial free speech, they will. In another country, with a different constitution, the government would have greater power to restrict advertising. Many of the current restrictions on cannabis advertising only are constitutional because it is still illegal under federal law.

jane coaston

Yeah, I spent a brief time looking at some of the ads that were made for OxyContin. And there’s one that says that, when you know acetaminophen won’t be enough, OxyContin 12 Hour — which is, like, acetaminophen is Tylenol. And going from Tylenol to OxyContin is a real — it’s a real leap. But I think that gets to something I’m curious about — because the United States has been a leader in determining the control of drug trade and practice, Jonathan, how do you think hypothetically that a legalization or decriminalization would impact international markets? Do you think that there would be a collapse in the price, internationally, of cocaine or heroin? What would that even look like?

jonathan caulkins

Yeah, it’s a great question. And sort of the short answer is that in any place that legalizes and allows for profit industry, you’re going to see a price collapse. And because these things are so easy to smuggle, that would put downward pressure on other countries that are connected commercially to the country that legalized. And in an interconnected world, that’s a lot of places. You’re seeing some of this already, even without legalization, from the switch to synthetics which can be produced anywhere and are easier to produce surreptitiously than with crop based products. And legalization would be a little bit like the innovation of fentanyl coming into the market. It would greatly reduce the cost of production. And over time, that puts downward pressure on prices.

jane coaston

Ismail, I know that your organization has been thinking a lot about this with regard to psychedelics, so whether that’s LSD, whether that’s the use with MDMA in Oregon and other places, psychedelics and the use of psychedelics is getting increasing state support. The California State Senate in June of this year passed a bill that would legalize the social sharing and possession and use of psychedelics. It’s something that’s coming around. What does that look like, and how has your organization participated in that conversation?

ismail ali

Yeah, a couple of things. So I work for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which was founded in 1986 after MDMA was criminalized in an emergency scheduling decision by the D.E.A. MDMA — best known as the active ingredient in ecstasy. It’s now— through MAPS and the Public Benefit Corporation, which we work with — in that entity is taking MDMA through the F.D.A. process, with the intention of having it recognized as a prescription medicine. But while we’re focusing primarily on MDMA, it’s absolutely the case that one of the large goals and kind of value systems that MAPS has utilized over the last 35 years is toward legal, regulated access for psychedelic substances, and specifically, in a legal, medical, or cultural context. And while my personal perspective on this does have to do with really shifting drug laws for all of the substances involved, it is absolutely true that psychedelics are experiencing a kind of like zeitgeist, or some sort of like resurgence in society, now that we have a couple of decades of solid clinical and observational data, you know, depending on the substance, depending on the environment, that show that they may have benefits for certain people in certain mental health contexts. That’s happening simultaneously to this renewed awareness of the spiritual use of some of these substances in certain contexts, which regulatory and structurally speaking, looks very different from like a medicalized, or like, a medical adjacent system. So you mentioned Measure 110 in Oregon. At the same time, Oregon also passed Measure 109, which is a legal psilocybin services system, and psilocybin being the active ingredient in what people call magic mushrooms. And that’s relevant, because it’s actually the first legalized, or attempt at a legalized regulated system for access to one of these substances aside from cannabis. And I’ll just say — to kind of close this thought — that psychedelics are an interesting bridge, because while I think some people want them to be the silver bullet for mental health. And they have all these benefits, and it’s certainly true that for certain people and in certain contexts, they do have tremendous benefit. But they do come with risks. And the thing about psychedelics is that they’re actually more known for their psychological risks as opposed to their physical risks.

jane coaston


ismail ali

And that’s a really interesting thing, because it brings up how we actually navigate and handle mental health in the United States.

jane coaston

I want to push back very lightly on that, because I think that when — in D.C., the language around the decriminalization of mushrooms, which I supported, it very much implied that not only should mushrooms be decriminalized, but that you should do them.

ismail ali


jane coaston

I think that this gets into the question of — we don’t necessarily exist in the ideal regulatory and cultural marketplace for legalized psychedelics or legalized drugs in general. And I’m curious as to how you’re thinking about how, yes, it would be fantastic if these drugs would be used in these safe contexts, in these — whether secular or religious ceremonies, or with the right groups of people. But they won’t be. And I’m curious how you’re thinking about this.

ismail ali

Well, this brings me to the question of education, which we haven’t touched on too much in this conversation yet. I think that the current legal status of psychedelics has — and all drugs – has significantly warped the education that people receive about them. I was part of the DARE generation, and when I learned that —

jane coaston

Oh, I was too.

ismail ali


jane coaston

I was too. Some would say it did not prove effective.

ismail ali

Totally. Do you remember the doobies with the big googly eyes, like, they’re going to come get you. Like, when I learned that methamphetamine and marijuana were not the same, that were they were not equally dangerous, which is what I was taught in sixth grade, I experienced a big rupture where I actually — it was probably the beginning for me of beginning to really doubt what education I was receiving, not just about drugs, but about other things in general. And I would say now, especially looking back at what feels like propaganda for the drug war, it makes it really difficult to trust what kind of education and information people are getting. So to answer your question, you’re right. There’s absolutely no way to control the way people use drugs. Like, there’s no guarantee that even with the best regulatory system and the best policy in every way, people will use them the way that we want every time. However, I do think that stigma and misinformation and drug hysteria contributes to people using drugs in less educated ways. And that’s not to say that more information would fix the overdose crisis. It would not fix a lot of these issues with addiction. But I do think that with psychedelics specifically and especially, better education about the environment would make quite a big difference. One of the most persuasive things I can say when I’m doing advocacy work around psychedelics is that psychedelic therapy is not that fun. I mean, it is true that people can have super ecstatic and joyous experiences with psychedelics, but psychedelic therapy as a treatment modality is actually quite challenging. And dealing with one’s own internalized trauma is not a particularly fun process. It’s not something you want to do at a festival surrounded by your friends. You want to do it in a safe place, maybe with a blanket and some chill music going on, in a room where you can do that with people who you can trust. So it’s — a lot of that has to do with the environment that people are in. And because all psychedelics are equally illegal and you can’t do them anywhere, then that means you can do them anywhere, you know.

jane coaston

Yeah, when you’re surrounded by 90,000 people, it’s maybe not the best time to maybe encounter God.

jonathan caulkins

On the psychedelics, the people who are optimistic about legalization are often very optimistic about the potential of education. My caution is when you allow a for profit industry, a lot of the education, quote unquote, is going to be provided by the industry. You referred earlier to — I may get the details wrong, but I think it might have been a Purdue advertisement that said when Tylenol is not enough, take Oxy. I mean, I don’t have the details right, but that is them trying to educate you about the right — in their mind — set and setting for drug use, not for your benefit, but for their profits’ benefit. Legalizing supply is night and day different than just decriminalizing. The power of the market that is unleashed when you create corporations that make money by inducing greater use of their product, coupled with — intrinsically, some of these products are appealing or addictive — that’s a potent combination we need to be very careful about.


Hi, Jane. My name is Blake and I live in Boston. One thought that’s been occupying my mind, and something I talked to my dad and family about, is on cryptocurrency — in particular, Bitcoin. And I guess one thing that I’ve been struggling with is trying to determine whether I believe it’s something that’s going to stick around or if it’s just a fad. It’s been really hard for me to find sources that are objective and look at both sides of the coin, no pun intended there. Thanks so much. Take care.

jane coaston

Hi Blake. Well, I have a lot of thoughts on cryptocurrency, but I think the question isn’t it a fad, or is it something that’s going to stick around forever, because the answer to both of those can be yes. I don’t think cryptocurrency is going to save the world. I also think that it’s going to be around for a long time. And it’s something that I’d like to learn more about. But I have a feeling that both sides tend to overstate either the importance or the lack of importance of cryptocurrency. That seems to be how this kind of thing goes.

What are you arguing about with your family, your friends, your frenemies? Tell me about the big debate you’re having in a voicemail by calling 347-915-4324, and we might play an excerpt of it on a future episode. Jonathan, can you talk a little bit about overdoses and the potential health impacts?

jonathan caulkins

Opioids are particularly dangerous in terms of overdose risk, but what makes them less problematic because we do have pharmacological therapies for them, methadone being the original and most famous — perhaps buprenorphine. We do not have anything like that in terms of pharmacotherapies for the common stimulants. And it makes a difference, because if you’re going to legalize — particularly legalize supply, allow for profit companies to promote the use, you’re going to get more use. You’ll get more dependence. And it’s a very different thing. If you are choosing policies that promote dependence to something for which there is no real effective treatment, as opposed to opioids — it’s not that opioids are gentle, but we do at least have a treatment.

jane coaston

Ismail, how do we think about recovery, and how do we think about the aftershocks of legalization? I’m just curious how you think about addiction in this conversation.

ismail ali

Yeah, I have what might be a slightly unpopular opinion, especially in today’s time. Like, addiction itself — let’s say, like, drug dependency, to be a little more specific — itself, I don’t necessarily see as a social harm or a social bad. I think that a lot of people manage a lot of addictions totally fine, regularly, because it’s not disruptive to them, because they have access to a safe supply of what it is that they’re addicted to. Of course, the effects of a caffeine addiction or caffeine dependency are significantly less dramatic and less likely to cause some sort of antisocial behavior than a withdrawal from a different substance. But I think that what both Jonathan and you have mentioned, Jane, that I think is more relevant, has to do with the consequences and the secondary effects — of course, on the individual, but especially on society. Alcohol is a great example, because we do have what people would consider a safe supply of alcohol. It’s a regulated product with tons and tons of social externalities that are still there. The difference is that the purchase, the manufacture, the use of alcohol — if criminalized, I believe, would make our current alcohol related issues worse. But I do think that the big difference with other substances is that because they’re criminalized, you have all of those effects, those secondary antisocial effects of dependence or antisocial use, et cetera. And you have the additional layer of criminalization for the use itself. I’m curious about — especially Jonathan’s perspective on this, because there are examples where certain countries like Switzerland are using heroin to manage heroin addiction. Right, they’re actually allowing people to have a safe, consistent supply of heroin. In places like Portugal and Spain, you have a huge percentage of people who were on heroin in the ‘80s and ‘90s who’ve transitioned onto methadone, and are still on methadone decades later. But they’re able to have jobs. They’re able to have families. They’re able to do x, y, z — so.

jonathan caulkins

I think this gets right to the heart of where you and I differ, if I may. I mean, on the last — we had legal supply of prescription opioids and still had a lot of overdoses. There’s no question that an inconsistent supply exacerbates the problem. But I don’t think legal supply of opioids would eliminate overdoses. But to be more fundamental about it, you and I differ on whether or not legal supply necessarily can stabilize a person who is dependent on the substance. To me, that’s substance specific. Caffeine and nicotine are two drugs for which if you have legal supply that is not adulterated and so on, the person can function in everyday life just fine, even if they are dependent. But for the stimulants — crack, methamphetamine, and for alcohol, just providing abundant amounts of unadulterated, free supply does not let those people stabilize their lives. And that has terrible repercussions for them and their families.

ismail ali

Yeah and I would just — to clarify, I don’t necessarily think that an uninterrupted, as much as you want, supply of any drug is going to be good for everyone. Like, I —

jonathan caulkins

Well, that’s what for profit companies are going to want to supply if we legalize.

ismail ali

But there is nuance there. But my question — actually, back to you is — I wonder about your thoughts about why there hasn’t been the same — because while there is a tremendous amount of methamphetamine use, it’s not the case as far as I understand that the increase in methamphetamine use is a result of increased, for example, prescribing of dexamphetamine or other amphetamine analogs that are legal for various treatments, whereas you do see a little bit more of that shift from prescription opioids to underground use of opiates with that market. So I hear what you’re saying. And it seems to be the case that a regulated, safe supply of something like Adderall actually doesn’t have the same effect as in bringing people into a super unregulated, dangerous, unadulterated market in the same way you see with opioids. And it’s true that we also don’t have the pharmaceutical interventions for stimulants as we do with opioids, but I wonder what makes that different. Why are people going to meth in that way versus the other?

jonathan caulkins

Yes, stimulants is a broad category. And some of them are tougher than others. I mean, at some level caffeine is a stimulant, but it’s not a very powerful one, to speak informally, whereas methamphetamine definitely is. Adderall is more on the caffeine end of the spectrum, blessedly, although there is actually some diversion of Adderall. But it’s a different feel. This is like somebody with access to Adderall selling it or giving it to their friend in college to help them study, because they think it’s going to be a performance enhancing smart drug. But on the whole —

jane coaston

I’ve never I’ve never heard of that happening, ever — definitely don’t know anything about that.

jonathan caulkins

Adderall’s worth talking about for a minute here, because it does illustrate the phenomenon that — the trick with providing generous supply to some people is, in part, can they make money by diverting it to other people — money, or do favors for friends. The prescription opioids got out of control for a whole bunch of reasons, many reasons. But one of them was the fact that there was already this value in the illegal market. And you also could seek a prescription based on symptoms that could not be objectively assessed by the clinician. And that combination was a problem. You could show up and say, oh, my back hurts a lot. Give me these things for the cost of a co-pay, and I can turn around and sell them for a lot of money. We’re going to always be vulnerable if you, through the medical system, provide subsidized access to anything for which there is demand in the illegal market. And Adderall does have that character. It just fortunately is nowhere near as bad for you, or risk of overdose, as the opioids were.

ismail ali

Yeah, or meth. I hear that. That makes a lot of sense, and I appreciate that answer. And also I think that the other factor, especially with regulated stimulants — and this is, I think also one of the questions with respect to regulations in general, which is method of administration. Because I do think that the fact that you don’t have smokable amphetamines or injectable amphetamines through regulated system also means that people who are accessing it through a regulated market tend to be doing it in a way that’s not going to have the same super rapid onset, and then related withdrawal, et cetera that you might have with methamphetamine use or other related things.

jonathan caulkins

Yeah, I’ll agree with that. And then it’s also location of administration. So cocaine is available as a medicine. It turns out to be a vasoconstrictor and topical anesthetic that’s useful in minor surgeries. We have no problem with Dirty Roulette diversion of medical cocaine to illegal markets, because it’s only used inside the medical facility, administered by the clinician. So if we were to talk about, like, psychedelics used by a psychiatrist, on site, under supervision, that sort of medical use would have next to no risk of diversion to a market. But if we were ever to say to somebody, here are two pills a day for the next month. Take them home, do what you want with them. Then, there’s much greater risk of some of those being diverted into the market.

ismail ali

Yeah, and just to clarify — the way that psychedelics are being incorporated into health care now, it’s more like a procedure or a surgery than it is like other psychiatric interventions, where it actually is in the presence of a therapist or a psychiatrist or someone who has specific training to work with both these altered states of consciousness as well with the substances themselves.

jane coaston

Jonathan, I’m curious. Are we asking some of the wrong questions about consumption and distribution if we’re thinking about something as big as what decriminalization or legalization of substances beyond marijuana would look like?

jonathan caulkins

Well, first of all, the bigness of decriminalize and legalize are very, very different. Decriminalization would be a big change, but it’s not a change the world. Legalization of supply, that’s totally different. You said that’s a big shake up. It’s a once in a century event. I would just stress — it’s a once and for all time event. Once you create a legal industry, it’s going to be really hard to get rid of it. When you create a legal industry, you create a powerful lobbying force. One of the challenges we have is regulatory capture. It’s already starting with cannabis. We haven’t even gotten to national legalization yet. But you just presume- – if you’re going to legalize supply of something, presume that there will be regulatory capture, presume you will never go back. And presume that a lot of the regulations are actually going to be shaped by what’s in the industry interests much more so than public health. Public health doesn’t tend to win in the lobbying battles against industry.

ismail ali

I totally agree that legalizing drugs, legalizing supply would be a generational event. It would be a massive, massive shift in the way things are done — even though, as I like to remind people, drugs were legal and traded until about 100 years ago. And it was US pressure on international actors that really brought us into the realm of prohibition that we have now — among others, because even large colonial powers, the Dutch and the English and others, were very happily trading a lot of these drugs for a long time before prohibition in its current form existed. So I also think that we are in a new paradigm in the sense that people have much more awareness and a willingness to talk through the stigma around the dependency and addiction and so on. And that does give me hope, that as we look at these questions around advertising and marketing and so on, that maybe it is possible that these public health perspectives could be better considered. I hope that our experience with tobacco and with opioids could lead to a more rational drug policy with respect to legal access of other substances. That could be naively optimistic, but I feel like as a policy reform advocate, if I’m not somewhat optimistic, then there’s really no point to going forward. And I think it’s really good to have some level of possibility for what there could be beyond where — we currently are.

jonathan caulkins

I admire that optimism. I’m usually the one who’s accused of being optimistic. Compared to you, I guess I’m the jaded, cynical one. We’ll see.

jane coaston

Jonathan, Ismail, thank you so much for joining me. And I really appreciated this conversation.

jonathan caulkins

Good. It was a joy to be here.

ismail ali

Thanks so much, Jonathan. Thank you so much, Jane.

jane coaston

Ismail Ali is a Policy and Advocacy Director at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Jonathan P. Caulkins is the H. Guyford Stever University Professor of Operations, Research, and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. If you want to learn more about drug policy of the United States, I recommend “Is There A Case For Legalizing Heroin” by Benjamin Wallace-Wells in The New Yorker, published in April of 2021. For the other side, you can read “The Drug Policy Roulette” by Jonathan P. Caulkins and Michael A.C. Lee in the National Affairs Summer 2012 edition. And listen to “Michael Pollan’s ‘Trip Report,’” an episode on The New York Times opinion podcast “Sway.” You can find links to all of these in our episode notes.

“The Argument” is a production of New York Times opinion. It’s produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez, and Vishakha Darbha, edited by Alison Bruzek and Sarah Geis, with original music and sound design by Isaac Jones. Additional engineering by Carole Sabouraud, and additional mixing by Sonia Herrero. Fact checking by Kate Sinclair, and audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks this week to Kristin Lin.

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Why All Boys Aren’t Blue Belongs in High School Libraries: A Response to Brian McMillan Fri, 19 Nov 2021 04:22:01 +0000

The mounds of donated books that Jack Petocz, a Flagler Palm Coast High School students, found at his doorstep earlier this week when he organized a protest of School Board member Jill Woolbright’s attempt to ban certain books from school libraries. The boxes contained four titles that Woolbright flagged and asked the district to review. (Jack Petocz)

I read with great interest Observer Editor Brian McMillan’s take on the appropriateness of George Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue in high school libraries. 

pierre tristam column flaglerlive Brian is that rarity among newspaper editors in that he’s very well read. He’s also the only newspaper editor in the history of newspaper editors who doesn’t cuss. Last week on WNZF he said he’d “thrown away multiple books that I thought were going to be good and had explicit things in [them] that I didn’t want to read myself.” How he and I on endless occasions have had orgasmic talks or texts about the liver-caressing thrills of Philip Roth and John Updike, I don’t know. But at least he knows the difference between the explicit and the prurient, the graphic and the pornographic. 

In Wednesday’s Observer, Brian wrote that he would restrict All Boys even from high school libraries, even though he doesn’t find it pornographic. His conclusion surprised me a little, but it didn’t shock me. Brian’s reasoning did. And I think it makes his argument untenable, because it rests on a premise that is not merely flawed, but that is simply not applicable under any literary sun since Odysseus raised his sword to slay Penelope’s 117 suitors. 

Entirely aside from the debate over All Boys, the reasoning shocked me on literary and artistic grounds, because I did not expect it from someone who knows literature, someone who is a writer himself well beyond our grubby journalism, someone who knows the difference between art forms and media, and who knows how apple-and-orange comparisons between these forms is often used to muddy the water and exploit ideological ends that knowingly have nothing to do with the works in dispute. 

To be specific: Brian agrees that “the author’s intent is educational, not erotic, and therefore it’s not pornographic.” But the hinge of his argument–that untenable premise I’m referring to, what allows him to square his circle–is his analogy with film. Referring to one of two passages in contention in the book (about 30 to 40 lines in all, out of over 300 pages), Brian wrote: “If the scene is depicted faithfully in a movie, genitals and all, it would be Rated-R, meaning theaters wouldn’t allow children under 17 without a parent.”

The statement is accurate. But that if in there makes it just as much a fabrication, and a patently unfair one to George W. Johnson, who wrote a book, not a screenplay. They wrote a memoir–a confession–not a film. All Boys is written text, without images, and the validity of its presence on library shelves must be discussed exclusively as a book, as text–not as what it would look like in a non-existent film. 

To make the obvious point that Brian knows well, a novel or a memoir is its own art form, a film is an entirely different art form. Even if we disagree on All Boys’ artistic merit, as Brian and I do not, as countless reviewers and readers have not, the book would still be its own work, autonomous from a movie, and could not ever fairly be compared to a movie. How the same material may be depicted in one has nothing to do with the other. A book is the author’s vision. A film is the vision of the director. A book allows for a form of description, and a reserve of description, that lets the words interact with the reader’s imagination to suggest or complete the picture, a picture that will be different with every reader. Borges has gone so far as to suggest in one of his most famous stories that a work of literature is recreated every time someone reads it. I think he’s right. Austen, Balzac, Dreiser, Thomas Pynchon (a recent favorite of Brian’s) all work as novels because of the prose, the internal monologues and that intangible dialogue with the reader that a movie screen simply cannot replicate, which is why so many movies based on these writers fall flat–unless the director appropriates the works in entirely new ways, Borges-style, essentially creating a new work. 

Directors are notoriously indifferent, if not contemptuous, of the writers on whose works they base their films. And how a director may depict a scene, even explicit scenes in a book, is entirely up to that director. John Huston is one of the greatest directors of all time. “The African Queen,” one of his films, is one of the most Dirty Roulette sexually suggestive films of all time, the sexual tension between Bogart’s Charlie and Hepburn’s Rose fueling the Queen down that river. But there’s not a single sexually explicit scene in there. Imagine how Huston might have recreated the scene of Odysseus slaying the suitors. He’d have left no doubt about the meaning behind that sword–just as Homer intended. 

Countless books with explicit Dirty Roulette sex scenes, including those of Updike and Roth, were unrecognizably transformed in their film versions. “You’ve never seen an R film with so little nudity,” New York Times reviewer Vincent Canby complained of the 1972 release of “Portnoy’s Complaint,” the terrible film version of the book that every adolescent read with one hand in the late 1960s while the other did what’s also briefly described in All Boys and that seems to come as news to the likes of Jill Woolbright. (Kids masturbate. Imagine that.)

There’s not a single vulgarity, not a single explicit or graphic scene in Nabokov’s Lolita, one of the last 60 years’ greatest novels. But it remains the confessions of a pedophile who serially raped a 12 year old–and the artistic achievement of a writer who was able to convey the psychological monstrosity of Humbert Humbert without resorting to vulgarities. No movie can match the achievement, because no director is Nabokov, and movies aren’t novels. Would Brian suggest that Lolita is child porn because of what a movie director could do with it, as I have no doubt underground directors illegally have? Of course not. But his R-rated analogy draws its power from the same kind of logic. It is intuitively attractive at first, a perfect fit for the superficiality of social media memes. But give it a little thought, and it collapses. 

I don’t think Brian did this knowingly. But I do think he did it sloppily: he did not think through his analogy, and fell in a trap of his own making, lending credence to a conclusion that will find appeal for the wrong reasons, perhaps even on the district’s committee reviewing All Boys. Without the R-rated premise in play, there is no defensible prohibition since he’s conceded that the book is not porn. (To be clear: I’m not suggesting that FPC and Matanzas start stocking copies of Lolita. The example is presented only as part of the analysis of Brian’s book-film analogy.)

Bottom line: movies and books are incomparable, the more so when the comparison is speculative. It is grossly unfair to judge a writer’s work based on what the written word might look like in somebody else’s hands on screen. As it is, All Boys has been optioned to Gabrielle Union for a movie–on TV. You really think a single penis will make its appearance even then? Not likely. It would still be unfair and artistically inapplicable to compare the book to its eventual screen version. They’ll always be two entirely autonomous creations. 

So let’s now address All Boys on its own terms, literally and literarily, as it must be addressed by the reviewing committee. 

And let’s be honest. A student at FPC going from the lunchline to the picnic tables will overhear “cocksucker” four times, “motherfucker” twice, “faggot” at least as many times, and “I’ll shoot up this school” probably once, all in the space of 50 seconds and 150 feet, some of it copiously documented in our recurring sheriffs’ reports. Not so incidentally, those same words never appear in Johnson’s book. The F-bomb, as Brian would describe it, appears five times, not once in the context of actual fucking. There are five references to masturbation, two to dicks (one of them to Dick van Dyke, the other to the more common kind) and none to “sodomy” (sorry Jill). 

So I don’t think that lines from the book like “You then grabbed my hand and made me touch it,” or “There you stood in front of me fully erect and said, ‘Taste it,’” or “That’s when you began oral sex on me as well,” or “You began stroking yourself in front of me” and “ejaculated into the toilet in front of me” can really compete, or shock. Unless the color and same-sexedness of the conjugation bothers you. And of course there’s always that unless, that unspoken undercurrent of revulsion that attaches to gay sex in our our brutally heterosexual culture, not to mention Black sexuality. But that’s as graphic as it gets in the molestation scene in All Boys, the scene Brian referred to.

Speaking of ejaculation: there’s a famous scene in Rousseau’s Confessions when Rousseau is in a novitiate (where else) and a fellow novice, much older and coarser, molests him. As with Johnson, it’s Rousseau’s very first experience of the kind, and he is shocked. The scene is weirdly similar to the one Johnson describes, including the “caresses [of] such violence that I was frightened,” how the boor “tried to work up to the most revolting liberties and, by guiding my hand, to make me take the same liberties with him,” and how, as the novice worked up to orgasm, “I saw something whitish and sticky shoot towards the fireplace and fall on the ground.” Rousseau’s description is more graphic than Johnson’s. But no one today would call for the removal of the Confessions from high school libraries–only mourn its more common absence from them. 

The other few lines in All Boys, when Johnson describes their first act of consensual sex, are a bit more explicit, though they still read more like IKEA directions on how to build a night-stand: “He reached his hand down and pulled out my dick. He quickly went to giving me head,” “He then came up and asked me if I wanted to try on him. I said sure. I began and he said, ‘Watch your teeth.’ I didn’t want to let him know I was inexperienced. So, I slowed down and took my time and luckily got into a good rhythm.” This is no John Cleland. It’s not even 1950s Harlequin. A few more paragraphs get into the more coital sex between the men, what Jill Woolbright of course prefers to refer to by the more Biblically prosecutorial term sodomy, though in fairness, she may not have yet caught up to Lawrence v. Texas

And that’s it. That’s what the controversy is about, at the expense of what Brian accurately described as a book that “has uplifted me.” A book that is so much more than these reductive mischaracterizations we heard so many times in the well of school board meetings. Taking away the movie analogy and the inapplicable R rating, what we’re left with is a work of literary, social, educational and political value. It’s not Rousseau. But it’s not Cleland, either, and it certainly isn’t Larry Flynt. 

A final point about the prescriptive part of Brian’s column, which echoes similar suggestions in the community, and, like Brian’s R-rated analogy, carries similar appeal. But like the analogy, it’s equally inapplicable, and may cause more harm than good. 

Brian couldn’t bring himself to call for an outright ban. So the book would be made available only to students 17 and up, or (he was vague on that account, as all hair-splitters who aren’t quite convinced of their own arguments are) “available only with parental consent.” The prescription is written as if in Flagler County–I’m sorry, in Trump Country–all parents were card-carrying LGBTQ organ-huggers wonderfully aligned with their teens’ sexuality, and all teens were happily and safely out of the closet. For anyone to make that assertion almost anywhere in the country is absurd. For a newspaper editor with his finger on the pulse of this county’s divides to do so is dispiriting, and for my colleague and friend to do it is heartbreaking.

Brian, you and I have sons and daughters. You have a whole village of them, I just have two. We’re close, loving, trusting (well, my daughter and I are having issues right now). But we’re deluding ourselves if we think even we knew or still know at all times what they want to share of their sexual identity, what struggles, if any, they may have had, how they may choose to work them out. We have some right to know. We do not have an absolute right. Their space is in our hands, and it is our responsibility not to make that space feel like a prison, or even an attic. If our children are to learn and respect freedom, it begins with us, letting go. 

All Boys may be about a queer Black. Its universality is no less valuable in the hands of white, brown, or any other ethnicity. But freely so. Not through the intermediary of permission slips, parental consent, or other veils of parental power. For God’s sake, these kids aren’t asking to snort crack or sneak booze. They want to read a book!

Let them read, and let us, sanctimonious old fucks that we are, get out of the way. 

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here.

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