Lead image from the latest episde of Twin Peaks: The Return / Salvador Dali via Wikimedia Commons
Does your phone ever do the thing where it just randomly decides to start AutoCorrecting shit you don’t want it to AutoCorrect? It’s always the most arbitrary stuff, and it can potentially impart unwanted subtexts to what should be a routine text to somebody. Like recently, my phone decided to start always capitalizing “weed.” And so now, whenever I write a text with the word “weed” in it, it comes out as “Weed” and if I’m not careful I end up sending it that way it makes me come off as a total cop.
Sure, there are wayyyyy bigger problems in this world, but stuff like that is a nice reminder that we’re all under the thrall of technology companies who mediate our personal lives in exchange for profit, and you should therefore be extremely depressed. Anyways, onto some pot stuff.
Pothead(s) One: Two Auburn University Softball Players
While preparing to write this column, I googled “marijuana arrests” to see if any make-funnable famous people had gotten busted for weed this week. While I’m still holding out hope that Carrot Top will one day be caught smoking a fat blunt in a public park somewhere, I ended up finding something genuinely unfortunate. This week, it was reported that a pair of Auburn University softball players had agreed to participating in a “diversion program” in exchange for the dismissal of charges stemming back to their arrest on 4/20 for weed.
According to Alabama.com, the softball players will now have to perform community service and undergo “counseling,” presumably related to how weed is bad or whatever. You know what’s fucking stressful? Being a college athlete. Not only are you expected to keep in shape and practice for like a million hours a week, you’re supposed to keep your grades up, and do it for free. Even if you’ve got a scholarship that pays for your school, the fact that you’re an athlete prohibits you from holding down a job, especially during the season, meaning unless you have rich parents you’re going to be kinda broke. You know what relieves stress? Weed. Therefore, if college athletes want to smoke weed, they should smoke the hell out of some damn weed.
Pothead Two: Salvador Dalí
“I don’t do drugs, I am drugs,” Salvador Dalí said once, maybe. If Salvador Dalí were somehow able to rephrase the quote today, he might say, “I don’t do exhumations of corpses, my corpse is getting exhumed.” I guess what I’m trying to say is earlier this week, a Spanish judge ordered that the surrealist painter’s body be dug up out of the ground so people can do some DNA tests it and see if a woman who claims to be his daughter is actually his daughter. Basically everything I know about exhuming a corpse is from the movie How High, in which Method Man and Redman dig up John Quincy Adams’s extremely dead body so they can smoke his finger, so I assume this will also happen to Salvador Dalí.
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Pothead Three: Amazon.com
VICE’s tech site Motherboard has a fascinating new piece from Stacy Mitchell titled “Amazon Is Trying to Control the Underlying Infrastructure of Our Economy” which is about, well, exactly what you’d assume it’s about. As Mitchell puts it, Amazon is “a privately controlled arena where a single company sets the terms by which we may exchange goods with one another and decides which products — which new authors, which new innovations — get to find an audience.” Along with ProPublica’s recent report on Facebook’s problematic censorship rules, it paints a fascinating picture of how ginormous tech companies can use the relative freedom offered by the internet to skirt the regulations of the state and impose their own rules as if they themselves were governments.
The problem, of course, is that at their best governmental regulations are meant to instill fairness in the market (though in practice this is rarely the case), while when a company regulates a space, they do so in whichever way can make them the most money. Writes Mitchell, “Amazon exploits [retailers’ dependence on their platform] to dictate terms and prices to suppliers, and it uses the data it gathers from companies selling on its platform to weaken them as competitors.”
In other words, by selling stuff at cheaper prices than everybody else, Amazon has flattened the online and IRL retail markets into one great big market, and then cornered it. For example, Amazon sells weed paraphernalia, and because of their low prices, brick-and-mortar pot shops have to lower their prices as well, or else they’ll lose business. So, next time you buy a bong, just remember that Amazon decided how much that bong was going to cost.
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Pothead Four: Hopefully Not You During Last Sunday's "Twin Peaks"
Man, you know what was crazy as hell? That episode of Twin Peaks last week. Part of why I love David Lynch so much is that it seems like his brain is broken and interprets stuff on a much more fundamental level than a person’s brain was meant to, which in turn gives his work both its visceral power and its breathtaking strangeness. Which is to say, when David Lynch shows you some crazy shit, there’s absolutely no way to tell if he made the decision to do so as a result of pointed artistic intent or if he’s just being a weirdo.
For example, Sunday’s offering of the Twin Peaks revival –– the series’s eighth episode, and final one before a brief hiatus –– was simultaneously abstract and primally horrifying, defying the conventions of television and pushing the boundaries of mass-marketed entertainment as a whole. While many critics, as well as people I hang out with, have interpreted the episode as Lynch attempting to take the viewer on an homage-filled trip into his subconscious, I prefer to think that David Lynch, in his folksy speaking voice, said to himself, “Y’know, I’ve thrown too much plot at everybody. It’s getting hard to keep up. Maybe I should just give folks some interesting things to look at so they have time to process everything that’s happened already.” Either way, if you watched the new Twin Peaks while high, I feel extremely bad for you, because that was probably freaky as shit.
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