|Introduction to your reviewer
Yeah, you know who I am, sort of. I'm pretty knowledgable of the War on Drugs, but not an expert. I'm not an expert on history, either, but have participated in historical recreationist groups and historical roleplaying, so have some knowledge.
|Prose and Formatting:
||I put Humour comments in with P & F to avoid repeating myself, but do score them separately.
It was difficult for me to score Prose--some of it I'd rate as an 8 or even a 9 (I basically don't give 10s). I really liked the encylopedic style, and think it was a good choice for this article. But I think there are some problems which, fortunately, I believe are fixable and, handily, I talk about below.
- "The descriptive term War on Drugs was first used by the United States President Richard Nixon in 1969 during a speech indicating the compulsory use of stimulants for US army personnel on active service in Vietnam."--there's a general rule for printed material: don't have any sentence that's 25 words long or longer unless there's a really, really good reason for it. Readers tend to get lost easily, and switch to something else, especially online. And this is the first sentence, so I strongly recommend shortening it/cutting it into two or three sentences. "communist"--capitalize. Also the first paragraph seemed to cover too much ground, or maybe it was the jump from a very specific Nixon to the generic history. And "War on Drugs" doesn't quite seem to fit the concept of "go to war using drugs." Maybe if you had a phrase like "Nixon insisted that going to war on drugs, such as uppers, would allow GIs to fight...."
- "War is one of man's most...."--I prefer the more modern "one of humanity's most...." but in any case this seems like the beginning of a new section. Maybe if you had this the beginning of a section, and the rest subsections of that--yes, I know then you'd end up with only one major section, which could be a problem. Maybe this could be made the beginning of the Viking section with some changes. I'm sorry I don't have a clearer suggestion for improvement. To me, the Rocky Horror Picture Show reference didn't fit, but might if you tied it to war--part of a war on culture? I do like how you bring music in with war; many traditional armies were inspired by musicians, such as the Israelites in the Christian Bible/Jewish Torah.
- "battle stoned (comma) and how...."--comma technically not needed, but I think it would help.
such a few thousand..."--I'd cut "such", and also shorten this sentence or cut it into two; I had to read it about three times before I got it. "The true mystery is just how such...."--actually, I think could be rewritten, something that puts "mystery" more towards the end of the sentence. Also I didn't see a hint of a drug reference in this paragraph--I think it could use one.
- "Initially, Viking raiders...."--again, very long sentence. I won't point out every one, but just make a general note that I'd shorten/cut up most if not all of the long sentences. I didn't get why the women thought being killed by a pagan would get them into heaven. I understand the sex part, which I think works, but not the dying. We don't get to anything having to do with the topic of the article until the last phrase of the end of the second paragraph--I think some mention of drugs should come earlier.
- "The climate of Europe changed as it approached the Medieval period and fly agaric would have become increasingly difficult to find. Interestingly, it is at this point that the Vikings’ fortunes began to decline."--this directly ties the Viking warriors to drugs; good. "...Viking age was (their) defeat by King...."--I'd add "their" so it's immediately clear who got defeated. "By this time the Berserkergang state appears...."--this reference suggests the reader's already been told about the Berserkergang state and its relationship to drugs, but this is the first time it's mentioned. I'd suggest mentioning it earlier. "The Saxons are reputed to have utilized this information...."--who are the Saxons? I'd tell your reader, who may not know.
- "Harold himself is said to have slain the Viking leader, Harald Hardrada...."--I'd suggest saying "King Harold himself is said...." so the reader doesn't get Harold and Harald mixed up. I'd also clarify "while the King of Norway was still claiming...."--the article doesn't say who the King of Norway is--the reader might think you mean King Harold, as that's the only king mentioned as a king. Also the part about Saxon counterpart and Hardrada's last words confused me--there seems to be bits of lots of different things mixed together here. For humour to work well, you don't want the reader, who may know even less history than me, having to work to figure out the joke.
- A lot of your readers will have no idea what a bus queue is--I think that's a term used in some parts of the English speaking world and not others. Also "bus queue (comma) it seemed" and "In a few short decades (comma) the Islamic...." Again, this section goes through a couple paragraphs before we see any connection between it and the top of the article (in other words, there's no drug references here until the end of the second paragraph). "They were subsequently castrated to stop them scratching the furniture...."--I didn't get this; I thought maybe it was a referencde to cats, but castrating a cat doesn't stop it from scratch furniture. "had decided to (use) subtlely
alter after--or did you mean to say "had decided to subtly alter? Also Chemistry wouldn't be capitalized. And while I'm not an expert, I get that Janissaries were originally captured Christian youths, but were they castrated? If not, this seems a little random.
- "...him to fight when claiming to be a conscientious objector...."--this seems to imply that they signed up to fight willingly and then got the drugs, whereas a conscientious objector would reject getting involved in the first place. "Muslim commanders realised that recruits were spending less time training for warfare and more breaking into houses in search of money to pay dealers."--this is the kind of tie-in I'd like to seem more of. "...cut supplies from the Golden Triangle...."--again, I think the article may be assuming too much of the reader, who may have no idea what the Golden Triangle is. "...while their occupants were howling in torment and shivering in their tents despite the 40 degree heat....."--I didn't get this.
- "achieved without the liberal use of psychoactive intoxicants."--this section of the article gives us a drug reference early on; good. "For centuries South American tribes had chewed the Coca (coca) leaf to relieve altitude sickness and to give themselves confidence on the dance floors of Bolivia's vibrant nighclub scene."--also good as this requires no specilized knowledge on the part of the reader. "traditional history (comma) it was Manco...in suphuric acid (comma) a much more potent...."--here I think the long sentence works, as it makes a humorous contrast with "simply."
- "inca (Inca) people enjoyed their military...."--long sentence, although I like the uphill irrigation bit, but I don't think the Incas practiced cannibalism (I know, we probably won't have any Incas complaining about the reference). I also like how the article twists the "centaur" mistake of seeing humans on horses (although Peyote shouldn't be capitalized).
- I rather liked Cortes' autobio quote.
The United States
- "Americans dislike war and so generally avoid the first few years of a conflict...."--I found this true and funny, except it doesn't apply much after World War II, so you might to specify that. "...as Germans were considered too white to vapourise...."--ouch, and sadly and ironically largely true, although as this doesn't sound encyclopedic I think it would work much better if put in quotation marks. I didn't get how the bombing of Coventry related to it plotting something behind the USAF back fits--is this representing a drug delusion? Same with the Plymouth and Liverpool references. Also I'd call it United States Air Force (USAF) on first reference--again, not every reader will know what it is (I think there's another acronym that's not explained, but I'm sorry I'm blanking on what it is--just found it, RAF).
- "....abundant supply of nylon stockings."--I really would like this to stay in the article, but as is it seems a little random. If you could somehow foreshadow this so the joke is set up, that would be great.
- "boys drafted from Nevada high schools"--why Nevada high schools? Maybe the reference could be changed to something that the reader would identify as not being a place that would prepare you for combat. I like the next section, with "frightening" and "scared," and the tie-in with cannabis and the tropical east. Nice tie-in. "GI's fully loaded on this miraculous wonder-weapon were notably relaxed on patrol"--like the use of "notably relaxed" and definitely "fully loaded" and also the later "ordered a temporary withdrawal"--these last two sound both military and drug-related; nice. If you could do more of this, that would be great.
- "into North Vietnam (comma) matters took"
- Once out of combat"--the last sentence seems long and with no comma breaks. I like the mess-hall refrigerators reference. And I get the Yes (not YES) reference, as I once spent some time analyzing the meaning of Yes lyrics with a friend. (I contended one of the songs sounded like a fishing trip and he agreed with me, even though I wasn't totally serious). But I don't think it's as strong as what came before, and think this could use a stronger ending. Something that relates both to "music liked by stoners" and war would be cool.
||I have a love-hate relationship with the photo and caption of Nixon and Presley. I found it funny, but the death bit was painful to me--but I'd recommend keeping it. The Viking Empire map I think is fine as it looks encyclopedic, but maybe the description could use some hint of a drug reference. Also with the Berserk photo, which doesn't seem to relate to drugs (not a problem for the article, but just me showing off. You may know, by the way, that Viking warriors almost certainly didn't wear helms with horns like that--those horns would make great sword catchers, i.e., get a Viking's neck broken. But I'd keep the image--this is a humour article, after all). The Janissaries photo and caption I though were so-so--see my comments on Janissaries above. The Hashshashin image and "drop of a turban" I thought were fine, although I don't see any sign of crafting happening. Nazca lines image and caption--yes, loved the "extremely high" bit. The only problem I see is there's no mention of "Nazca" in the article--again, I wouldn't assume the reader would know how all this comes together. London photo caption I don't think works--does "funny accent" have to do with an article on war on drugs? I think the Hippie soldier photo and caption work, even though I'm not too crazy about the photo, but like the idea of a hippie holding a big gun. With a few minor improvements to captions, I would score Images higher.