Welcome to Pothead(s) of the Week, where we break down a handful of the important things that have occurred in the past seven days involving famous people and cannabis.
This week, we prove why Gore Vidal is more relevant than ever, muse over Snoop Dogg’s owning of Donald Trump’s entire existence, discuss rumblings about a new Matrix movie, and listen to a 23-minute version of the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post.” Let's get to it.
Pothead One: Gore Vidal
“The charm of democracy is the constant risk the nation runs of being derailed by the will of the majority,” joked writer and intellectual Gore Vidal in 1967, cheekily arguing in favor of creating free and uncensored publicly funded television. His piece is worth revisiting this week, in light of Donald Trump’s proposed budget would kill federal funding for PBS and NPR, the only good things America has given us in its million-year existence (America did NOT give us a good public school system, which is why I have no idea how old America actually is). Anyways, Vidal’s vision for public television looked a lot like the internet, which is kind of funny to think about and regardless of whether it’s actually funny lets you know exactly how gigantic a genius Gore Vidal really was.
Gore Vidal has had some progressive ideas about more than just government-funded arts and culture programs, though. Let’s revisit his 1970 New York Times essay advocating for the legalization of marijuana. Vidal writes:
It might be good for our citizens to recall (or learn for the first time) that the United States was the creation of men who believed that each man has the right to do what he wants with his own life as long as he does not interfere with his neighbor's pursuit of happiness.
Vidal was a genius at seizing upon universal bits of wisdom and weaponizing them against regressive dumbassery that seemed to characterize square society in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Given that Jeff Sessions is possibly threatening to enforce national marijuana laws even in states where the stick-icky-icky is legal, Vidal’s unique talents as a writer and public intellectual feel more needed than ever.
Pothead Two: Snoop Dogg
Yes, Snoop Dogg owns this website, so in a sense Snoop Dogg is always the Pothead of the Week at MERRY JANE. But this week Snoop joined an illustrious list that includes Meryl Streep, Neil Young, and my friend Craig when Trump yelled at him on Twitter.
In case you’re wondering why Trump decided to affirm that Snoop’s career is indeed robust and relevant as hell by declaring that he’s “failing” a la the New York Times––which, despite Trump’s claims otherwise, has become increasingly more popular over recent months––here’s a quick recap. On Sunday, Snoop released a music video in which he raps over BadBadNotGood and Kaytranada’s track “Lavender,” addressing police brutality in uncompromising terms. “Fuck the police from a black man’s point of view,” he raps, later adding that police murders of innocent black men are “all on camera and they still don’t believe you.”
The video culminates, meanwhile, in Snoop pointing a gun at a Donald Trump lookalike wearing clown makeup, releasing a flag that says “BANG” when he pulls the trigger. In terms of anti-Trump political statements released by rappers, this is fairly explicit but by no means as intense as when YG and Nipsey Hussle dropped “Fuck Donald Trump.” Yet, because Trump has a pathological need to attack whoever he thinks has the ability to sway public opinion against him, the President vaguely suggested that he thinks Snoop should go to jail. Fortunately, Trump has about as much power to jail Snoop as he does to actually get a travel ban enacted, so Snoop will remain free and therefore able to continue to both publish this website as well as get his new project out, which he recently teased on Instagram.
Pothead Three: Everyone Who Has Seen ‘The Matrix’ High
The Matrix. Great movie. Probably like, the fourth-best one besides Citizen Kane, Belly, and The Big Lebowski. If you only watch movies stoned, however, then The Matrix is definitely the best movie ever and by no means can you ever @ me about this. Anyways, looks like they’re gonna make a new Matrix movie, even though as of now we have no idea who’s going to direct it (the Wachowski siblings are definitely maybe somehow involved, but then again maybe not), no idea will star in it (Michael B. Jordan? Keanu Reeves again? Some rando we’ve never heard of?), and we have no idea whether this nascent Matrix movie will be a sequel, prequel, reboot, or spin-off of the original trilogy. But hey, fuck it, this is happening, so you should celebrate by sparking up a doob.
Pothead Four: The Allman Brothers Band
This week marks the 46th anniversary of The Allman Brothers’ concerts at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East in New York, which would soon thereafter become the band’s iconic live album At Fillmore East. In addition to being one of the greatest live albums ever recorded, it’s also indubitably one of the sickest stoner albums of all time. Three of the record’s seven tracks are over ten minutes, including a 23-minute version of “Whipping Post” that will make you feel every feeling that a human has ever felt. At Fillmore East was recorded at the height of the Allman Brothers Band’s powers, just months before lead guitarist Duane Allman tragically died in a motorcycle accident, and mixes southern rock, blues, soul, jazz, boogie, and pure jammery better than any record before or after.