[Editor’s Note: This is last week’s Pothead of the Week Column, but our features editor was traveling and didn’t have time to publish it. We think the column is just as relevant this week, so we’re running it today.]
Man, did y’all read that crazy-ass interview with Donald Trump? It’s so crazy! He contradicts himself a bunch of times, talks shit about his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, talks about holding hands with the President of France, and said a really bizarre thing about how Napoleon’s army traveled to Russia in a single night and that Napoleon himself didn’t accompany them “because he had extracurricular activities.” Like what, he was fucking?
Anyways, I like to use the introduction of this column as an opportunity to rant about politics before telling y’all about weed stuff, so here’s my rant for today: There’s no point in the media calling Donald Trump out on his lies. For one, everybody already knows that Donald Trump is full of shit. Second, calling out Trump on his lies plays into a pre-existing narrative that Trump’s base has built up –– that “liberals” look down upon them and think they’re stupid, and as a result need to be told what to do by smart people (aka, them). Pointing out that the guy they like is wrong is just going to piss them off further.
If Trump’s support continues to plummet like it has, soon the only people who still love him will be (A) racists and fascists, (B) the type of rich people who always get the financial hookup whenever Republicans are in power, and (C) those in the working class who were desperate and shut out of the system to the point that they were willing to take a chance on the orange billionaire from TV. The media doesn’t have to worry about speaking to the first two groups of people, because honestly fuck them — they can go eat shit. But this third group just wants to feel like they’re being heard, not talked down to. If more mainstream media outlets embedded reporters in places like the industrial midwest, Appalachia, and the deep south, and spent months understanding the issues that affect them and writing about those stories compassionately in a way where those people felt like their problems were being relayed to the world, I think suddenly you’d see a whole lot more trust in the media from those places.
The problem, of course, is it costs money –– something that media outlets HATE to spend –– and effort to hire reporters and send them to these far-reaching places, and it’s way cheaper to just have a guy write a thing pointing out that Donald Trump is wrong. So until we start realizing that the news is a public good that’s worth investing in, people will hate the news.
OK, time for the Potheads of the Week...
Pothead One: Tim Heidecker
Decker: Unsealed, my absolute favorite TV show in the universe, just started its third season, and oh my god it’s so fucking funny just go ahead and buy all of it on Amazon or something already. It stars Tim Heidecker as an All-American super-spy/rockstar named Jack Decker, the greatest hero American has ever seen. The backdrops as well as the action scenes look like they were created by a Sega Dreamcast, most of the actors seem bewildered and confused to even be in the thing, and Heidecker purposefully doesn’t memorize his lines and delivers them in a half-awake mumble. The ineffective liberal President Jason Davidson is played by Joe Estevez –– the NRA-loving brother of Martin Sheen, who played the President on The West Wing –– and I’m completely convinced that Estevez genuinely believes that he’s in a piece of anti-liberal propaganda instead of a sendup of that entire mentality. The reason the show works is because just beneath its willful badness, there lies an attention to detail and dedication to absurdity that shows how much love Heidecker and co-creater Gregg Turkington –– who plays Decker’s sidekick, a “master of codes” whose code-cracking abilities hinge upon his knowledge of mainstream film –– put into the thing. In other words, it’s the type of show that’s kind of funny when you’re sober, but becomes magical when you’re stoned.
Pothead Two: Not Dogs
Yes, weed is legal in a bunch of places and it’s having all sorts of unintended consequences that are both good and bad, but we need to be asking the real questions. Questions like, “How does the legalization of marijuana affect drug dogs?” The libertarian-leaning site Reason explains that because drug dogs are trained to bark when they sniff drugs and it’s not like a dog can tell a cop which specific drug they smell, drug dogs have become basically useless in states where weed is legal. After all, if you’re in Colorado with a bunch of heroin in your bag and a drug dog sniffs it starts barking, the cops have no way of knowing whether you have legal weed or illegal heroin and don’t have probable cause to search you. So, a generation of drug dogs may have to be retrained or retired. And if there’s suddenly a bunch of former federal fidos out for adoption, you should adopt one because all dogs deserve a loving home, even if they used to be cops.
Pothead Three: Hunter S. Thompson
It seems like Hunter S. Thompson has been out of vogue as a pop culture figure for long enough that people are starting to re-evaluate the literary merits of his work and realize, “Oh hey, as long as you don’t have to think about a bunch of bros dressed up as Raoul Duke every Halloween, Hunter S. Thompson is actually pretty great!” And as such, we’re seeing more and more great writing about Thompson and his work. This week, there have been a pair of crackerjack pieces about the Good Doctor. The first is over at The Paris Review, where Timothy Denevi examines the origin of Thompson’s hatred of Nixon at the 1964 Republican convention.
The second is by Terry McDonnell at LitHub, and is about how batshit crazy it was to edit Thompson. McDonnell lovingly recalls fielding calls from Thompson at all hours of the night, only for the writer to hand the phone to someone else who would then read him what he’d written. Writes McDonnell, “When he got you on the phone in the middle of the night to listen to someone in his kitchen read to you what he had just written, all you could say was that it sounded good and that he should send it to you. ‘Ho ho,’ he’d say. ‘So you can fuck it up before it’s finished?’
As someone who has worked as an editor, I’ve got to say this sounds kind of fun.
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