Undercover photo rocks RBC

kleiman_undercover20130516The following photo was left for me at a dead drop during my trip this week to Bogota, Columbia, at the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy. The photographer was apparently spotted sitting at the very back of the lecture hall, trying and failing to take a sharp picture in automatic mode without flash or tripod using his 300mm lens.

As you might imagine we’re all in a little bit of shock at this revelation. I don’t know what else to say, except that a University of Chicago tee-shirt will be made available to the funniest comment.


Postscript: We have a winner, Jeff Spross, video editor and blogger for ThinkProgress.org. He suggests over email:

“Rob Reiner is coming for your stash.”

Alternatively: “The U.S. prison industrial complex goes to eleven!”

His prize will be shipped Monday. Thanks for many worthy entries.


Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

45 thoughts on “Undercover photo rocks RBC”

  1. I’m sorry Mr. Pollack, but there is absolutely nothing funny about that photo.

  2. And then I found a lamp with a flame like the one on this podium. When I rubbed it a genie emerged! “What is your wish, oh master of the lamp?” Well, I’ve always wanted to be a DEA Agent! And whoosh – here I am with this cool hat!

  3. Sorry but I have to agree, I don’t see the humor. Lots of people in other countries die because of American drug policy and drug addicts. No matter where one stands, it doesn’t seem like a joke.

    Mind you, not that I know the answer to it.

    1. The joke is the incongruity of Mark Kleiman of all people wearing DEA paraphernalia (or, for conspiracy theorists, that he’s being revealed as a secret shill for the DEA).

      1. So I guess Professor Kleiman’s vintage 1950s Arkansas National Guard uniform was at the cleaners?

      2. Understood, and I remain a big Mark fan. And if this new Jay guy is openminded, then bully for him too.

        But I still don’t think it’s funny. Wearing a DEA hat anywhere in the nonUS western hemisphere seems tacky at a minimum. We still have people going around talking about our backyard. (And I love Uncle Joe too, while we’re having a love-in.)

  4. FYI, I think that’s Mark. But why such a large ID tag around his neck? Is he afraid he’ll get lost?

  5. “My apologies, I must have misread it; I thought it was a Death from Above hat, bought in honor of my hardcore days.”

    *Sighs wistfully*

  6. “I have busted more hippies’ noses than all the narcs in the free world.”

  7. I see this post is by Harold Pollack, and I note it’s written in the first person. But the picture indicates he is now – focus issues excepted – visually indistinguishable from Mark Kleiman. Have we now discovered Harold’s scheme to replace Mark? Is Harold angling to be a part of that Washington State Marijuana Control Board advisory committee Mark’s part of, in order to accept massive, smokeable bribes?

  8. “As I told Mitt, he should have checked to ensure there were no spies among the help.”

  9. “This meeting of the Delusion Eschewal Association in now called to order! First on the agenda, a rename.”

  10. “The tag around my neck? Why that’s my official Washington State label denoting my tested constituents and expiration date. Please remember that I may be habit-forming and possibly unlawful outside of Washington State. For use only by adults 21 and older. Keep out of reach of children.”

  11. 1’st thought that popped into my head; he looks like Paul Krugman, surreptitiously rousing a secret NRA “Klavern.”

    ” jess goes tuh-show-ya, you can be a perfesser AND pack heat.”

  12. “I’m humbled to accept this diversity award on behalf of my students, who by the way include an Englishman, a Scotsman, an Irishman, a Welshman, a Latvian, a Turk, a German, an Indian, several Americans (including a Hawaiian and an Alaskan), an Argentinian, a Dane, an Australian, a Slovak, an Egyptian, a Japanese, a Moroccan, a Frenchman, a New Zealander, a Spaniard, a Russian, a Guatemalan, a Colombian, a Pakistani, a Malaysian, a Croatian, a Uzbek, a Cypriot, a Pole, a Lithuanian, a Chinese, a Sri Lankan, a Lebanese, a Cayman Islander, a Ugandan, a Vietnamese, a Korean, a Uruguayan, a Czech, an Icelander, a Mexican, a Finn, a Honduran, a Panamanian, an Andorran, an Israeli, a Venezuelan, an Iranian, a Fijian, a Peruvian, an Estonian, a Syrian, a Brazilian, a Portuguese, a Liechtensteiner, a Mongolian, a Hungarian, a Canadian, a Moldovan, a Haitian, a Norfolk Islander, a Macedonian, a Bolivian, a Cook Islander, a Tajik, a Samoan, an Armenian, an Aruban, an Albanian, a Greenlander, a Micronesian, a Virgin Islander, a Georgian, a Bahamian, a Belarusian, a Cuban, a Tongan, a Cambodian, a Canadian, a Qatari, an Azerbaijani, a Romanian, a Chilean, a Jamaican, a Filipino, a Ukrainian, a Dutchman, a Ecuadorian, a Costa Rican, a Swede, a Bulgarian, a Serb, a Swiss, a Greek, a Belgian, a Singaporean, an Italian and two Norwegians.

    So, to celebrate the occasion, we all walk into a very fine restaurant for lunch and the maitre d’ scutinizes us, then takes one look at my hat and says,

    ‘I’m sorry…I can’t let you here in without a Thai.'”

  13. Shouldn’t DEA baseball caps be worn backwards, in IQ-reducing mode?

    1. That hat’s grip on his head looks so tight, it’s gotta be squeezing the brains out of it. I don’t see them coming out of any of the orifices in the head, so either his head is bulging out in the back below the hat or the brains are leaking out somewhere else.

  14. About as funny as when mark wears his SSDP shirt to look cool at college.

  15. “How stupid were they? They were trying to smuggle Hillbilly Heroin — Oxycontin — into Guntucky under a DEA ball cap.”

  16. Recruiters for Bruins Football will go to any extreme to conceal their intentions.

  17. “Rob Reiner is coming for your stash.”

    Alternatively: “The U.S. prison industrial complex goes to eleven!”

    Ooh, that’s good!

    At a recent Fleetwood Mac concert, I was amused to imagine it was Prof. Kleiman on the drums.

  18. Only those who have not read or listen to Mark Kleiman talking about drug policies could fail to appreciate what a clever, dark joke it is. I am usually in disagreement with Mark Kleiman’s view on drugs, but should I have to name one person drug law reformers could have a meaningful, serious discussion about drug policies I would name him. Anyone engaging him should be aware, though, that he is a master of irony, sarcasm and dark humour!

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

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