Editor’s Note: In this installment of the Points author interview series, Georgia State University criminologist Scott Jacques discusses his new book, Code of the Suburb: Inside the World of Young Middle-Class Drug Dealers (co-authored with Richard Wright). Contact Dr. Jacques at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Describe your book in terms your bartender could understand.
A young, white drug dealer walks into the bar and orders a drink; thinks he’s real cool. Someone runs out with his drugs and money. Dealer yells in wimpy voice, “Hey, those are mine!” Does nothing else about it. Pays for drink with parents’ credit card. Goes on to live conventional middle-class life.
2. What do you think a bunch of alcohol and drug historians might find particularly interesting about your book?
The book explores the lives of drug dealers who, unlike their disadvantaged counterparts, rarely wind up in police reports, court records, and correctional rosters. This testifies to the importance of unofficial archives for understanding drugs, especially as they relate to crime and control.
3. Now that the hard part is over, what is the thing YOU find most interesting about your book?
The cover. The baggie with little houses inside makes me laugh every time I look at it. The designer, Brian Chartier, is a genius.
4. Every research project leaves some stones unturned. What stone are you most curious to see turned over soon?
For the teenagers in “Peachville”, where most of the book takes place, it was easier to buy illegal drugs than tobacco or alcohol. This is because legitimate businesses only sold to of-age persons, whereas the dealers sold to anyone they knew and trusted. What I wonder, then, is whether legalizing marijuana will make it harder for youth to get high, and, in turn, make hard drug use and sales more common among them.
BONUS QUESTION: In an audio version of this book, who should provide the narration?
Aaron Paul in the voice of Jesse Pinkman.