Communication with BBC ~ Feedback From Readers
Plans for a short feature about Salvia divinorum within a regional BBC magazine program have met with a mixed reception from web-site readers. A selection from the responses are included below.
Thanks for your message about the BBC enquiry - I saw Damian O'Neil's posting first on the Gnostic Garden forum, and it's true there were mostly unhelpful responses; understandable, of course, not only because of the potential criminalization issues but also perhaps because people like to retain a sense of exclusivity/underground community or similar. But it's interesting that as you say, Salvia may be "emerging from the shadows", and there is already so much information on the net, I'd be surpised if a snippet on TV however journalistically spun would influence policymaking in the UK. I sympathize somewhat with the desire to keep certain things "underground" but from the general responses of the human mind to Salvia's influence, it would seem an unlikely candidate for future mass consumption...
I'd have no problem with revealing on television that I smoke Salvia. The more people that stand up and be counted the better. I'm just an average man with a family and a regular office job who just happens to be interested in exploring the mind and the nature of reality.
The same chap approached the Gnostic Garden boards and got a lukewarm response - I think people are worried that any publicity might be bad publicity.
I am sure you are aware that this person has been trying to recruit people from a lot of discussion boards etc.. [e.g. see Gnostic Garden's discussion board] and on the whole getting nowhere....after all since when did the media have anything sensible to say on this subject.
I would question the motives for this programme, personally.
It will be interesting to see how the programme turns out, though, especially if the chap there is serious about trying Salvia for himself. If he has a breakthrough that's anything like mine, we could end up with a very interesting show...
Hmm - I'm not too sure about the motives behind this TV programme. Ten minutes doesn't seem long enough to give a balanced view. I can't help thinking that the whole subject would come across in a bad light to the general public no matter how positively you could portray it. Is there some kind of anti-Salvia movement starting that we all should be aware of? I don't think it's a coincidence that something like this would happen just when the drug laws are potentially up for review. Any publicity between now and any future law changes could all too easily get it scheduled - I could tell people how I use it (or intend to) to explore the potential of my mind, to help preserve an endangered species of plant, or to find some sort of spirituality that's perhaps missing in modern day life until I'm blue in the face, but how do you overcome the perception that you're not "just after a cheap psychedelic buzz"? (to quote one of my friends - I'm really not by the way but that's the general idea that seems to get across).
Even how its described in the media could shift peoples perceptions for the worse - if they call it a "legal drug", people will just focus on the word "drug" and automatically argue for it to be made illegal. Even if I was to tell people that I hold down a decent job, and that it doesn't seem to have affected my life or performance at work negatively, it probably wouldn't make a difference - I'd still be a "drug user" to the majority and as such my own comments would be seen as either delusional and/or irresponsible.
Its good that the reporter is willing to try it out himself, but even then that may not be a good thing, he may subconsciously bias the report - if he has a good experience, any attempts to explain what the effects are are bound to lead to either scepticism and hostility or an increase in the number of people trying out just for the "cheap psychedelic buzz", neither of which is going to help the cause. If he has a bad experience I can almost certainly see the tone of the program as being negative.
Don't get me wrong, media coverage isn't all bad - after all, if it wasn't for Sacred Weeds back in the 90's, I would never have known about this spectacular plant! It's just that I really don't want to see the events of June 1st [Australia bans Salvia] happen here also. I personally wouldn't want to gamble the future legal status of Salvia against some 10 minute piece that has the potential to do more harm than good, but I'm pretty much a pessimist.
Although I have not been growing salvia for that long (bought my plant off you mid Feburary, - it's now 5 plants). I would still consider myself as an experienced salvia user and ethnobotonist growing datura, san pedro cactus and in the process of growing mushrooms. [I'm in the NE region]. I would like to be of any help to the BBC in their program. [...] if you could pass on my details to the BBC and send me their e-mail address.