UPDATE: The Mirror has learned that Gary Greenberg, the psychotherapist who claims he smoked pot with NYT‘s David Brooks in a story on his blog is actually a hoax. There is absolutely no indication on his blog, however, that it is a hoax and Greenberg has a long list of credentials. The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza asked Brooks about Greenberg and Brooks said he doesn’t know him. In addition, Wired‘s Steve Silberman tweeted with certainty that it was satire and wrote that he “checked” on it. CNN’s Jake Tapper probably put it best: “People need to learn that creative lying does not = satire.” Greenberg’s site has yet to be updated with any clear sign that what he wrote was satire.
Gary Greenberg, a practicing psychotherapist who has been diagnosed with major depression, has popped up today with an essay about being among the friends who smoked pot with NYT‘s columnist David Brooks. The story comes on the heels of Brooks’ column on smoking pot, which has been receiving a lot of sharp criticism. Many readers declared that their favorite line was “Paul Krugman is off today,” which appeared below the column.
Greenberg, according to his website, has written four books and is a contributing writer for Mother Jones and a contributor editor for Harper’s. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, The Nation and Rolling Stone. The stories published date back to 2005, 2003 and 2001. He appeared at Politics and Prose in May to discuss The Book of Woe as well as C-SPAN2’s BookTV.
The headline of Brooks’ column was: “Weed: Been There. Done That.” It’s about how Brooks used to smoke pot with his friends as a teenager. He wrote that eventually he and his friends grew out of it and got bored by it because “stoned people do stupid things.” His was getting up in front of his class and talking stupidly. “I stumbled through it, incapable of putting together simple phrases, feeling like a total loser,” he wrote. “It is still one of those embarrassing memories that pop up unbidden at 4 in the morning.”
Brooks reported that all his friends quit. Except for one, who became a “full-on stoner” and “sunk deeper into a pothead life.”
Well, Greenberg, who lives in Connecticut, claims to be one of those friends who smoked dope with Brooks. And he may be the full-on stoner pothead loser Brooks speaks of because he says he still smokes weed. He says it helps him deal with his kids, makes him more playful and relieves the pain in his achy knees.
“There were seven of us. We all know what happened to Dave. The rest: a surgeon (rich), a dentist (gay), two lawyers (one dead already), one teacher and one househusband/artist (that’s me). I never spoke up before because I figured if I threw mud at someone whose whole career rests on being squeaky clean, well, that’s just mean. And it’s mostly irrelevant now. I mean, like he said, we’ve ‘aged out’ and ‘left marijuana behind.'”
The essay goes on in a tone so thick with resentment and bitterness over Brooks’ column that it’s almost hard to read. Greenberg talks about that day in English class when Brooks made a stoned fool of himself. He spilled about other incidents such as getting caught by the cops and getting away with it because the officer knew Brooks and his family. He mentioned the black student who allegedly got blamed for Brooks’ pot prank at school.
“I wondered if, especially now that he’s past fifty and divorced and all that, he’s getting a little tired of maturity, of being harnessed to ‘the powers of reason, temperance, and self-control,’ not to mention to the New York Times, he wanted us to come take him out and apply some subtle peer group pressure to his ‘moral ecology.'”
Greenberg naturally concluded his piece by inviting Brooks to Colorado to get high.