Pothead(s) of the Week: Val Kilmer, T-Wayne, Everyone in Vermont, and Bob Dylan
In celebration of "Top Gun 2" getting announced, we had to dedicate part of this week's column to our guy Val. Who could forget the time he played Vinnie Chase's weed sherpa?
Published on May 26, 2017

Hello potheads, I hope you guys had a good week. My week was OK, in case you were wondering. Not the best week, but, like, not the worst week. It was definitely better than Donald Trump’s week, because every week that Donald Trump continues to be the President is the worst week for him.

After having won an election that even he was sure he was going to lose, Trump has gone through several distinct stages of Presidentishness, each of them shitty in their own way. At first, he seemed to not want to actually be the President, but then after a little while he got really into it and tried to do a bunch of stuff without actually knowing how the government works. After all of that failed, he seemed to get really mad at the job for not being as easy as he thought it would be, and now he’s in this weird stage where he’s just kind of soaking up adulations while letting other people do the actual work while cultivating the image of a Trump Steaks™ version of a third world autocratic despot. The best examples of the current administration’s governance by Trump Steaks™ that I can think of are when Trump trotted out Sean Spicer to show reporters a picture of a fence and made him try to convince them all it was a picture of a wall, and also that photo of Trump touching the orb.

This week has been particularly shitty for Trump, though, because this is the week that Carl Bernstein, dean of modern investigative journalists, told The New Yorker that because of Trump’s attempts to disrupt the investigation into Michael Flynn’s inappropriate contact with foreign agents, “We’ve reached the threshold in which discussion of obstruction of justice is reasonable.” This is journalist-ese for “You’re fucked, dogg.”

Carl Bernstein, of course, is one of the guys who covered the Watergate scandal that got Richard Nixon out of office, and it’s important to remember (or maybe it isn’t, I don’t know which crazy Trump scandals are worth paying attention to at this point) that Bernstein played a small role in kicking the current chaos of the Trump administration into high gear. After all, Bernstein was part of the CNN team that reported on the news that Donald Trump was briefed on the dossier containing claims that Russian intelligence services were trying to “compromise” him. Carl Bernstein: pretty chill guy.

Anyways, it’s time to talk about weed stuff, because weed is definitely as chill as Carl Bernstein.

Pothead One: Val Kilmer

YOU GUYS, they’re making another Top Gun movie! I, for one, am extremely excited, because it means in addition we will get to see Val Kilmer do Val Kilmer stuff while flying a damn airplane. Kilmer, who played a weed dealer on an episode of Entourage and thereby justifies inclusion in this column, is my absolute favorite celebrity. His Twitter account consists almost entirely of selfies and pictures of his weird art, which you can also buy on his website. Though I am not a professional art critic, I would hazard to say that as a painter, Val Kilmer work is postmodern in a way that few other artists are capable of achieving. In addition to abstracts and painted panels of the words “GOD” and “LOVE,” Kilmer makes pop art portraits of himself portraying his most famous characters, including Batman, Jim Morrison, Mark Twain, and the guy from Tombstone. This is definitely a commentary on something, but I’m not sure what, and I don’t think Val Kilmer is too sure either. But yeah. Top Gun 2. Totally happening. Celebrate it by buying this Iceman t-shirt from Val Kilmer’s website now, and worry about the degradation of pop culture through the endless recycling of franchises later.

Pothead(s) Two: Everyone in Vermont (We Hope?)

Earlier this month, the Vermont state legislature voted in favor of a bill legalizing marijuana throughout the state. This is a big deal, because in every other state where marijuana has been legalized, a measure has been passed through public referendum rather than through the legislature. Hooray!

But this week, Vermont’s Republican governor Phil Scott sent the bill back to the state legislature, but not for the reasons you might assume. Rather than saying he’d never allow legalization in his state, Scott told reporters, “We must get this right,” explaining that he wants to sign a legalization bill that does more to keep edibles out of the hands of children and sets stringent rules for impaired driving. While Scott’s decision ignores the fact that studies suggest certain cannabinoid-infused medications can actually help children, or the fact that nobody yet knows how high is too high to drive, this still feels like an important step in both the legalization and normalization of marijuana.

If the Republicans have shifted their stance from blanket opposition to legalization to that of specific moralizing on certain issues to pander to their base, that’s probably a reflection of a greater shift in public opinion about marijuana, or at least in Vermont. So that, like, kind of a good thing? Looks like the bill will pass eventually, per Business Insider, once Scott’s dumb requests are addressed.

Pothead(s) Three: T-Pain and Lil Wayne 

So this actually happened last week as I was writing about stoner metal so I didn’t get a chance to write about it, but remember how T-Pain and Lil Wayne put out that extremely sick song “He Rap, He Sang” back in 2009 that was supposed to be a harbinger of a T-Pain/Lil Wayne album that never came out? Well last week, T-Pain was inspired to release said album, titled T-Wayne (duh), after reading an article by my friend Kyle Kramer extolling the virtues of the T-Pain/Lil Wayne album that never was. And, to the surprise of no one who was a rap nerd in the late 2000’s, the T-Wayne album is extremely sick. Discerning T-Pain fans have always been aware of the fact that T-Pain has always been a sick rapper, and the project is over everything else a showcase for his rapping abilities (as well as Lil Wayne’s, which, again, duh). Though Pain never quite out-raps Wayne at any point on the project, he definitely does way better at keeping up with Weezy when he was in his prime than pretty much anybody else who Wayne was working with at the time. This is one of the two albums you should listen to while smoking weed this weekend. The other is below.

Pothead Four: Bob Dylan

Want to feel old? This is what Bob Dylan looks like now. Just kidding, that link was to a picture of the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt. Anyways, Bob Dylan turned 76 on Wednesday. Happy birthday, Bob Dylan! I would need seven million words to accurately describe how fucking fantastic Dylan’s music is, but I will say that he’s one of those transformative, once-in-a-lifetime figures whose work completely shifted the paradigms of what it meant to be a musician. His career has been defined by an artistic restlessness that has led him to strange places that no one before him had ever thought to go, and just when you think you’ve got him figured out, he converts to Christianity or throws out a triple album of pop standards just to keep you on your toes. Like a lot of his fans, my favorite Bob Dylan song tends to change over time. Right now it’s “Gotta Serve Somebody,” a relic of his strange flirtation with evangelical Christianity. I have included an extremely sick live performance of it above for your viewing pleasure.

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Drew Millard
Drew Millard is a freelance writer and dog owner living in Durham, North Carolina. His writing has appeared in VICE, High Times, Hazlitt, SPIN, and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @drewmillard.
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