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Does this Mario shirt have a drug reference?

  1. Phungushead
    MILWAUKIE, Ore. – In the nearly 30 years since the “Mario Brothers” video game first came out, countless numbers of kids have gotten in trouble for playing games when they weren’t supposed to be.

    Now, one Milwaukie student says he got in trouble for simply wearing a t-shirt from the classic game.

    13-year-old Hunter Hall is among the latest generation to play the Mario games and idolize the mustached plumber in blue and red. He has all the games and even has some of the toys.

    “I’m a big fan of him, I just love him,” Hunter said about Mario.

    Recently he wore a t-shirt featuring Mario and one of the ubiquitous mushrooms from the game. The shirt says “will play for mushrooms.”

    In the Mario games, players hit the mushrooms to restore their health.

    When he went to school at Rowe Middle School, a counselor told him the shirt violated school policy by referencing illegal drugs.

    According to Joe Krumm, a spokesman for the North Clackamas School District, the counselor asked Hunter if he knew any other possible meanings for the shirt. Another counselor then told Hunter it is against school guidelines to wear clothing that promotes or endorses illegal activity, in this case hallucinogenic mushrooms.

    “I don’t think a little mushroom with eyes has anything to do with drugs, to be honest,” Hunter told KATU.

    Hunter’s father Joe said the school district is taking its clothing policy too far.

    “Where do you draw the line on something like this?” he asked. “It’s not like he’s walking around the school with a marijuana leaf on his shirt and beer can.”

    After being stopped, Hunter zipped up his sweatshirt to over the mushroom image.

    Hunter claims he was threatened with detention if he continued to wear the shirt, although Krumm said the boy was not formally disciplined. Krumm said the only action was asking the Hunter to cover the shirt, which he did.

    Published: Sep 29, 2011 at 4:07 PM PDT

    Valerie Hurst


  1. jon-q
    Whatever happened to childhood innocence, seems the pc brigade are destined to destroy all suggestions that kids of today can be care free and have well meaning hearts. As a teenager who played and enjoyed these games i find it saddening that a teenager today should be punished for wearing something (which to most people) is nothing more than an innocent little bit of fun.

    The mind boggles at some of the stupid rules that school governors seemingly come up with.

  2. Jupiter Spider
    While the actions of the school were ridiculous, that quote is priceless. As if the fact that the mushrooms Mario eats to grow large are psychedelic is a coincidence. Or that he dies if he eats a similar kind of mushroom... with a death's head.

    Amanita muscaria mushrooms have been part of world culture for thousands of years. Mario eats them in his games. Get over it.
  3. Ellisdeee
    That shirt is too ambiguous to really make a solid conclusion. It is kind of insulting assuming that someone can't possibly just love video games and they have to enjoy drugs instead. There plenty straight edge sober gamers I know that would love wearing that shirt and want nothing to do with drugs. There are also lots of people I know who love drugs who would totally wear that shirt because it ambiguously hints at playing video games on shrooms if you view it that way.

    If it is a private school, they can make up whatever rules they want. Little ridiculous if that's actions from a public school. It seems like a slippery slope to assume meaning based on arguable perception rather than blunt display of drugs. Mario ate mushrooms, flowers and feathers. He rode a green dinosaur. The whole game is out there.

    If that can be interpreted as wearing a drug reference shirt, then when I wore my Quake 3 t-shirt with a guy lagged out in the air, with another guy shooting a railgun at him with the caption *Lag Kills*, using the same slippery slope of interpretation you could say my shirt endorsed shooting people with guns. No, it's a video game and it's just a humorous poke at the game a fan would understand. That's no where close to wearing a shirt with, I don't know, pictures of real guns on the back listing their names or something.

    Adults say kids take video games to seriously and realistic. Sounds like the adults take them too serious and literally IMO.

    ps. Jup, I played the 3 marios on NES, super mario world on SNES and Mario 64...what mushroom kills mario o_O Totally never heard of such a thing or I'm just too out of date to remember :p
  4. Routemaster Flash
    Ironically, I think it probably *is* a 'drug reference' - just a very, very indirect one. The fly agaric fungus, Amanita muscaria, is the classic 'fairytale toadstool' of European folklore and this usage has spread to much of the rest of the world. This is probably not unconnected to the fact that it's a psychoactive species and is still used as a traditional entheogen in some places (Siberia and northern Scandinavia). Some anthropologists think its use may have been much more widespread in the distant past (mainland Europe and the British Isles, India, Iran) and that all that remains is a very attenuated folk memory that associates this species with 'witchcraft', 'fairies', 'the little people' etc. It's plausible that these associations had reached Japan by the late 20th century and are responsible for Mario's habit of eating red-and-white spotted mushrooms to grow in size and acquire 'magical' powers - in fact the species is native to Japan and may even have been used ritually there many centuries ago, who knows? (It's a popular wild food there but is prepared in a way that removes the psychoactive compounds.)

    But is this kid even aware of these associations? Probably not. It's not a 'drug reference' in the same way it would be if Mario were smoking a spliff or doing a fat line. And as far as I know, fly agaric is not even scheduled in any country on earth. Big fuss over nothing (although interesting from an anthropological angle!).
  5. Smeg
    It's the utterly obsessed zealotry and stigmatisation of a child by a "trusted adult" that makes me so angry about this report (If it's the truth).

    Childhood needs to be special, and magical. Not governed by some adult fool who decides to publicly humiliate a wee boy who wore an emblem that was just admiring a computer game (A toy really) through wearing a garment with a bloody mushroom on it. A fairytale one at that.

    It was (I feel) some good reporting that brought this preposterous situation into the public eye.

    I wonder how the child feels.
  6. Balzafire

    Well, he sure as hell is now. By the time this dies down, he'll probably know at least as much as I do about them. Good job there, school admins... Get the kids curiosity up about magic shrooms!

  7. Routemaster Flash
    Is that a bad thing? This could be his first step towards lifelong psychonaut-hood! :cool:
  8. Balzafire
    No, not a bad thing at all. What is sad to me is to watch adults be so foolishly counterproductive of their intent in the presence of a child. That's another lesson he might as well learn now though, how ridiculously counterproductive that committees and administrations often work.

    Case in point:

    When I was about 11 years old, "60 Minutes", an American weekly news show, did a sensational story on the horrors of a new fad among youth, glue-sniffing. They showed a bunch of adolescents doing it and warned parents about this new threat to their children's wellbeing.
    The very next morning, about seven of us were off to the store for supplies. I remember thinking "adults are fucking idiots"!
  9. jon-q

    Actually i don’t think turning a 13 year old teenager “On” to magic mushrooms is a good idea at all.

  10. Routemaster Flash
    Well I didn't mean he should go out and get shroomed up right now! Maybe when he's a bit older - I wasn't being entirely serious, anyway.
  11. Plasma
    I recall picture books as a child where a frog invited his pond friends over to his house where they feasted on amantia muscaria looking mushrooms. As a kid I saw 'they are eating mushrooms'. As an adult now I would see 'wow they are getting wasted'. The point is, most kids that age will only associate the mushroom with Mario. If they draw connections about the mushroom possibly being hallucinogenic, then what is the school board trying to shield them from which they aren't aware of already? They are already aware that these substances exist.

    Maybe the school board would have a point if the shirt had this:

    on it.
  12. trdofbeingtrd
    It is a shirt that is a reference to the video game. Mushrooms in the game help mario a lot and regardless if the creators of the game had drug innuendos or not, it's a teenager wearing a video game shirt.

    As I had a quote "if it ain't broke, your not looking hard enough"

    People who are "anti-drug" will look into anything long enough to find something to complain about and try to bring censorship. Mario looks LIKE MARIO, the mushroom looks LIKE THE MUSHROOM from the video game. Mario does NOT look high and I think it's sad that something like this is even brought to 5-seconds of reporter fame.
  13. C.D.rose
    The other day I saw a kid, about the same age, wearing a T-shirt that featured an obviously high Mario, smoking a joint, with the caption "Wiid" - obviously an allusion to Nintendo's game console.

    Not sure whether he would have any trouble wearing that to school over here. Needless to say, I would strongly recommend him not to, letting teachers know you smoke weed is obviously a stupid idea, but I think he wouldn't get into trouble per se.
  14. TripStick
    The fact is that even if the kid had worn a "smoke crack, its good for you" t-shirt, it will not in any way expose kids to drugs any more then they already are.

    Give kids some credit. They may be influenced by what their friends are doing but they definitely do not read their friends t-shirts and try to emulate a cartoon picture. If the people they hang around with all eat mushrooms after school every day, most likely they will too. If they all smoke pot and one of them decides to wear a heroin t-shirt the next day, most likely they will still be smoking pot after school. Not shooting up.
  15. Ghetto_Chem
    This is why todays society fucking sucks! Too many rules, everybody that has power abuses it to the max. Swims friend has gone thru this same treatment before in the U.S.of A. Anyone here familiar with the clothing brand Billabong? Well while in class one day swims friend wore a shirt that simply had the word Billabong written on it. The teacher for some reason thought that this was referencing a cannabis "bong" and made him right there in class take his shirt off and put it inside out.

    A few of his fellow classmates (not even people he knew) started to actually argue with the teacher that this was complete bullshit and that its just a clothing label nothing more. But of course kids are always wrong. Swims friend didn't really care much about flipping his shirt inside out, more about how sad it is that most humans who get even an ounce of power go crazy with it.

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