I hear a lot of people talk about marketing cannabis in the same way they market wine. They talk about this idea very seriously, and seem bent on betting their futures on this dream of turning Humboldt County into something like Napa County Wine Country for upscale, connoisseur grade, cannabis. This strikes me as a very foolhardy gamble. It makes me wonder “How do people who grow this good of weed not get high enough to realize how stupid of an idea this is?” There is a big difference between cannabis and fine wine. The only thing they share, really, is the inflated price tag.
First, you need to remind yourself what wine is. At it’s root, wine is what happens when ripe fruit turns sour. You don’t have wine unless you have more fruit than you can eat before it goes bad, so wine is an intoxicating byproduct of great abundance. That kind of abundance does not occur often naturally. Some hunter-gatherer cultures enjoy wine as part of an annual festival at the end of summer, if they have a native species that produces an abundance of fermentable fruit. They may drink heavily and stumble around in drunken song for a week, celebrating the abundance of nature, if the bounty of nature allows it, but they will not try to save or bottle the wine and they will not drink at all for the rest of the year. That’s native culture, not wine culture.
Wine still celebrates abundance, but not natural abundance. Wine celebrates the abundance of tamed land, where the community of life has been evicted, to make way for armies of vines which serve only their human master. Wine celebrates the abundance that comes from conquering the land and enslaving it. Wine celebrates property, mastery and dominion over the land, and it symbolizes the abundance they produce.
The aristocracy in France elevated the expression of this kind of abundance to a high art, making French wine and French food the envy of the world. The French aristocracy took tremendous pride in their cuisine and their wine, and developed very high standards for all of it. The peasants however, who produced all of this abundance by their hard work, tending to those vines and working the farms, often went hungry. Eventually, the peasants got sick of it. They formed angry mobs and they cut all of the aristocrats’ heads off. Today, France is a democratic nation and the French people enjoy a high standard of living. They still make excellent wine and produce many delicacies which hearken back to those extravagant days of unbridled indulgence.
Before we start trying to become the new Napa, we shouldn’t forget that Napa is trying to become the new Bordeaux, France. That’s why they work so hard at the whole gourmet food thing, along with the wine, and the elegant manor lifestyle. In Napa, they celebrate the abundance of capitalism in this newly conquered and enslaved land. In a sense, they compete with King Louis the XIV, in the field of self-indulgent opulence. I do not really see that as a worthy goal. To me, as a pot smoker, it sounds abhorrent, and I identify more with the angry mobs of peasants.
Now smoke a joint and remember what cannabis is. Cannabis is a natural herb that contains a revolutionary psychedelic, like LSD, only much milder. Cannabis alters our consciousness in a way that allows us to feel a connection to the whole of life. Cannabis changes how we see the world and how we perceive our place in it. Cannabis consciousness is about love, creativity, equality and the connection between all living things. Cannabis consciousness allows us to share the burden, the joy and the wonder of life, with all of life, through a kind of communion with the plant world.
Cannabis consciousness celebrates life in the power of a river and the strength of a bear. Cannabis consciousness respects diversity and demands equality. Cannabis consciousness respects nature and understands ecology implicitly. Cannabis consciousness inspires creativity and the impulse to play. Cannabis consciousness inspires an appreciation for food, not an extravagant palette, but a humble appreciation for all food, and the pleasure of eating. Cannabis consciousness encourages communication and helps resolve differences.
Cannabis consciousness looks for ways to reduce stress and minimize work through equality and cooperation. Cannabis consciousness has no use for hierarchies, authority figures or empires. Cannabis consciousness looks for quality in expressions of insight and ecstatic emotion through music and art. Cannabis consciousness sees abundance in the forest, but cannabis consciousness has no desire to conquer or enslave it, because cannabis consciousness knows that the natural world is family, and that we are all one.
Cannabis consciousness looks at a vineyard and sees poverty, slavery, toil and ugliness, not abundance. Cannabis consciousness sees right through all of the fancy packaging and bullshit hype. Cannabis consciousness sees right through it all and recognizes this upscale marketing ploy as just another ripoff, and just another attempt to conquer and enslave nature. Cannabis consciousness inspires revolutionaries and gives them the strength to fight. Cannabis is the peoples herb! It is not some frivolous indulgence for the bourgeois.
Cannabis culture is nothing like wine culture. The ideals of cannabis culture are different. The aesthetics of cannabis culture are different and the social dynamics of cannabis culture are different. Cannabis culture and wine culture are as different as night and day and cannabis consciousness recognizes that alcohol culture, wine culture, is a death cult.
Any bright future for humanity belongs to cannabis culture and depends on cannabis consciousness. Cannabis will not remain our slave any longer. Forget the wine model and the dead end culture of alcohol. Follow cannabis consciousness to a new ideal, a new aesthetic, and a new culture that’s not based on conquest and slavery, but instead based on love and respect for the whole of life. Regardless of how frightening and economically uncertain the future appears right now, that’s the only future worth betting your life on, really.
I like seeing my work in respectable publications like the North Coast Journal and the Anderson Valley Advertiser, and on popular websites like LoCO, but there’s something unique, and uniquely satisfying about the way I present my work on my blog, Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do (www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com). I don’t make any money from my blog, but I also don’t spend any money to produce it, and even though I have other outlets for my work, I still enjoy putting it together, as a labor of love, for the thousands of people who come back to read it week after week. I don’t own the domain name. I have no control over any advertisements you see while you are there, but at my blog, I can say whatever I want, and have fun with how I present it.
I understand that the internet is a weapon. It is a tool of war, and a tool of oppression. Any useful information you find on it is incidental to it’s purpose, and it probably only saved you a trip to the library, but you have and will pay dearly for that convenience. I don’t enjoy being online at all. I find the internet vulgar, vapid and voyeuristic, and I don’t have to spend very long online before I’m disgusted, pissed off, and disappointed in humanity, but the internet has become the most affordable way for one individual to reach a large number of people, provided you are willing to compromise quality for convenience. Despite the drawbacks, I find some aspects of digital technology, interesting, creatively and aesthetically, and despite my very limited internet access, and even more limited expertise, I do my best to put together the kind of blog that I would enjoy reading, if, God forbid, I ever became bored enough to read a blog.
One aspect of the digital arts that interests me is how easy digital technology makes it to re-contextualize old cultural elements into new artistic expressions. I’ve been into collage since before the days when I made photocopied collage fliers to promote my band’s gigs, and lately, half of the new music I hear seems to be made, almost entirely, from bits of old records remixed together. To me, the one real highlight of the whole crass, ugly, pixilated wasteland we call the internet, is it’s vast potential for juxtaposition.
It was in that spirit that I began adding photos to my blog posts. I added pictures for aesthetic reasons, and for no other. Since I wasn’t making money, I didn’t worry about legalities. When I started www.lygsbtd.wordpress.com I saw the opportunity to re-contextualize photos, memes and cartoons into my essays, and found that it added another dimension to the experience. There is no way I would pay for pictures, and I don’t even have enough time online to ask permission. I add photos and pictures only because the internet makes it easy and convenient. Since we lose the directness of face to face communication and all of the non-verbal cues that go with it, in an online environment, the ability to share a low-resolution reproduction of practically any image in the world seems like an odd but reasonable trade-off to me.
In order to be re-contextualized, these images must first be de-contextualized. That is why I do not attribute most of the pictures I use on my blog. Just because I want to use a picture of a lion, that doesn’t mean I want you to go to the zoo, or even the zoo’s website. I have chosen those pictures to illustrate the ideas conveyed in the text, and that is all I want them to do. That’s why I choose to add pictures to my blog in the way that I do, and that’s the way I intend to continue to do it.
Is this legal? I think that’s a gray area that depends on the definition of “fair use,” and a slew of other thorny legal technicalities. I’m sure we could litigate it for years. Fortunately for me, however, it has never been an issue. After seven years, and thousands of pictures, no one has ever complained about the way I used their work. That is, except for one person, Kym Kemp, of kymkemp.com, the Redheaded Blackbelt.
Kym has asked me to remove her pictures from my blog a couple of times. I make a point of avoiding Kym’s pictures because I know that she doesn’t like me to use them, but on occasion, one of her pictures will show up in a google search, on another site, and I will use it, not knowing that it is hers. What can I say? I write a lot about SoHum, and she takes a lot of great pictures of SoHum. Sometimes her work is hard to avoid. When this happens, and she tells me about it, I’m always quick to remove the picture, and replace it with something else, but last week, Kym got all self-righteous on me.
Kym Kemp told me “I hate what you do.” She told me it was “wrong,” that I was ripping off struggling artists and photographers, and that I am “freeloading.” Give me a fucking break! This, from the woman who could never admit that there was anything wrong with “Mom and Pop growers” exploiting the violence and racism of the War on Drugs, “just to put new tires on their old truck.” Kym would never condemn SoHum’s Drug War profiteers, on principle, but she has the nerve to berate me for my creative re-appropriation of digital images online. I think that’s a truly Trumpian level of hypocrisy.
…and on the topic of ripping off artists, I’ll bet that if you asked all of the artists and photographers who’s work I have used over the years, and gave them this choice:
- I John Hardin will graciously remove their image from my blog, and give them all of the income I have received for putting it together, or
- Kym Kemp, will give them back half of the money they spent on overpriced black market marijuana because of the War on Drugs.
I’ll bet Kym Kemp would still be the only one who wanted me to remove an image from my blog.
It isn’t wrong if nobody gets hurt. Nobody ever died in a shootout over my blog. Nobody ever went to jail because of my blog. Nobody ever had a gun stuck in their face, or their kid’s face, because of my blog. My blog didn’t wreck the economy, destroy the forest or create the housing crisis. My blog doesn’t keep women as slaves, or rape women who come here looking for work. My blog doesn’t sell meth or heroin to your kids. People don’t go hungry because of my blog and my blog does not take food out Kym Kemp’s mouth. Maybe Kym Kemp should find someone else in Southern Humboldt who’s deeds are a little more deserving of her expressed hatred.
It’s been a little bit rainy lately. I almost forgot what a rainy winter can be like around here. Twice already, the county has declared an emergency and made special funds available to keep the roads open. What’s the big deal? It’s just a little rain. I know people are upset because their road is out and they can’t drive to town without hitting a bunch of potholes. Sure, the rain caused some property damage. So what? Was anybody killed?
We have been asking the Board of Supervisors to declare a shelter emergency in Humboldt County for years, because people are dying out there. The lack of affordable housing is destroying lives, traumatizing children, and killing people in our community. Every day, people, our neighbors, endure impossible conditions, suffer tremendous hardship, and every year the death toll rises, because the Board of Supervisors refuses to admit that we have a shelter crisis.
If you think this Winter was rough on your road, imagine what it must be like in a tent, or under a bridge, or huddled in a doorway. Imagine having your tent slashed, and your medications stolen by vigilantes, knowing that if you report it to the police you’ll probably go to jail. Imagine trying to raise children, in a car, through these storms, while you work a full time job. Too many people in Humboldt County face those realities, and worse. How bad does it have to get?
The Board of Supervisors just turns a blind eye. Life is cheap in Humboldt County and only landowners lives matter, to them, at least. Landlords love the situation. They don’t even have to maintain their rental properties anymore. Around here, landlords expect new tenants to clean up after the old ones, before they move in, maintain all of the amenities, for the duration, and renters know that a single complaint will likely result in eviction. Landlords laugh all the way to the bank, meanwhile the Board of Supervisors concocts new laws to criminalize the people who have been squeezed-out of their homes, for just trying to survive. It’s a fucking crime.
This past Superbowl Sunday I attended a meeting of the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission at the Redwood Playhouse in Garberville. Instead of seeing Lady Gaga’s breathtaking leap from the Superdome, I watched Byrd Lochte scribble down all of our concerns in multi-colored magic marker on a big pad of paper, and instead of the Tom Brady’s thrilling, come from behind, victory, I heard one of Southern Humboldt’s houseless individuals, Okra P Dingle, explain, articulately, in very polite and civil terms, how difficult it is for working people to survive around here, and why it is so important to declare a housing crisis, right now.
Okra wasn’t the only person to speak, but he sure gave them an earful. Everything the Human Rights Commission heard that night related to the lack of housing. Concerns included: untrained vigilante groups who illegally evict people from private and public property, with the Sheriff’s blessing, property damage and theft by vigilantes during those evictions, violent crimes against homeless people on the streets of Garberville, and harassment, by merchants and law-enforcement, of people perceived as “homeless.”
People told their stories about how many months, or years, they lived in their car, or camped-out, while working a local job and hunting for a place to rent, before they ever found a place to look at. People also talked about how they got pushed into the marijuana industry, because pot jobs often include a place to live, and how much more vulnerable workers are, when their boss is also their landlord, and everything is “under-the-table.” I, of course, brought up the impact of the War on Drugs on our local housing situation, and how much of our residential housing has been taken over by marijuana growers, who displace honest working people from the available housing.
The HRC Commissioners themselves were cordial and welcoming. They brought cookies and coffee, but they reminded us, repeatedly, that they have no authority. They can take down our concerns, relay them to the Board of Supervisors, and make recommendations, but they cannot compel anyone to do anything. In fact, the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission has already recommended that the County declare a shelter crisis, but the Board of Supervisors declined to take action.
When asked, on a recent radio interview, about the number of vacancies on the Human Rights Commission, and why they have no budget, 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell pointed out that at least we have a human rights commission. A lot of counties don’t. I think it’s important to remind her, and ourselves, that the reason we have a Human Rights Commission is that we have a long, rich, history, and culture, of human rights abuse here in Humboldt County. We did genocide here. Big time. Not that long ago.
No one was held accountable. The people who committed those atrocities remained pillars of the community. They raised families and passed those beliefs and attitudes on to their progeny. Those attitudes and ideas continue to poison our culture to this day, and we can see those attitudes reflected in our current Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, and in prevailing attitudes towards the poor.
We have a Human Rights Commission to make recommendations about how decent human beings should treat each other, because, and only because, we have demonstrated, violently, repeatedly, and dramatically, a distinct lack of respect for human rights, as a community. We don’t respect human rights here in Humboldt County. We take advantage of people, push them around, and take whatever we want from them, because, who is going to stop us?
That’s just the kind of people we are. We don’t really even understand the concept of human rights, let alone know how to respect them. That’s why we have a Human Rights Commission, and why anyone who does respect human rights, should insist that the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors heed the recommendations of the Humboldt County Human Rights Commission, and declare a shelter emergency in Humboldt County, now.
The more they try to beautify this town, the uglier it gets. The people with money in Garberville think they can cover up injustice with a fancy new facade, and blot out dysfunction with a fresh coat of paint, but the more they try to cover it up and push it away, the more their ugliness sticks out like a sore thumb. We see it in the hideous orange fence that surrounds the Town Square, excluding everyone from our central commons, and now we see more of it in actions taken against Tigerlilly Books.
Tigerlilly Books, also known as Paul’s Bookstore, at the North End of Garberville is the last surviving hippie business in Garberville. Paul Encimer has been a pillar of this community for decades, and few people have done more to serve the community than he has. In fact, that’s why landlords Childs, Hodges, and Sinoway and their Manager Jenny Edwards say they are evicting him.
In the “Two Week Notice” dated 9/23/16, they claim that Paul is in violation of his lease because “the premises are being used to store and distribute goods other than books.” Further, they demand that he “must not store food, clothing, or items/provisions other than those that relate to a bookstore and not to distribute such items from the premises.” Paul, and his recently deceased wife Kathy, have, for decades, helped match donations to needs in this community, through their bookstore,
…and Paul still maintains a community free box in front of his store. If you have extra coats, blankets, tents or sleeping bags, Paul knows who needs them. Apparently, charity is grounds for eviction in Garberville.
By far the biggest distribution of food that happens at Paul’s Bookstore is the, once-a-month, Mountain People’s Food Buying Club. Members of the club order food from a catalog, at wholesale prices, and once a month, a truck unloads a pallet of groceries in front of the bookstore. The whole club helps unload it and sort it all out. This cooperative community grocery project rose out of the ashes of the long defunct Co-op in Ruby Valley, which Paul was also involved with. The Co-op in Ruby Valley was a central hub of back-to-the-land, hippie culture, back in the day, and when the Co-op went under, that culture retreated to Paul’s Bookstore. Paul doesn’t just run a bookstore, he keeps that culture alive.
Besides being THE place to pick up a book, meet the cool people in town, and catch up on the latest gossip, Paul’s Bookstore has cultural and historical significance. For a short time, after the rednecks killed the Indians and cut down all of the trees, but before the dope yuppies sucked the salmon streams dry, a bunch of idealistic young people, called “hippies,” inspired by new ideas and psychedelic drugs, moved out here to escape the rat race, and to learn to live differently. Those back-to-the-land hippies gave us alternative energy, owner-built homes, composting toilets, organic farming and California sinsemilla. Paul cultivates the last surviving remnant population of “back-to-the-land” hippies in SoHum, at his bookstore in Garberville.
The achievements born from this brief flowering of a creative counterculture stand in stark contrast to the long, dark history of violence, exploitation, and stupidity that otherwise characterize the history of white settlement in this area.
For this reason alone, we should preserve hippie culture wherever we find it, but we’ve been told, time and time again, that hippie culture is the key to our economic future as well. Will we ever learn? Today, hippie culture has all but vanished from the hills, but it still survives at Paul’s Bookstore in Garberville, at least for now.
Paul’s bookstore keeps hippie culture alive, and reminds us of what community looks like. Not only does Paul keep his shelves stocked with the ideas that shape hippie thinking, he also lives up to the ideals of hippie culture. He has opposed every war since Vietnam. He still has the sea turtle costume he wore in the “Battle for Seattle” WTO Protest, and he has chained himself down inside his congressman’s office. Paul has organized free meals, and run emergency shelters. Paul is a fountain of knowledge about hippie culture, community organizing and non-violent resistance, and he’s all too eager to share that knowledge with anyone who’ll listen.
Today, the dope yuppies circle him like sharks. Drug dealers dominate the local culture now, and they bring an entirely different set of values from those of the hippies. Drug dealers don’t care about community. That’s why they became drug dealers in the first place. Drug dealers only care about making money, and drug dealers like to show off their money.
Drug dealers care a lot about their “image” because they can’t talk too much about what they do for a living, and because dealing drugs is a pretty low-status job. So, drug dealers use their money to appear wealthy and sophisticated, and to draw attention away from the the very sleazy nature of their business. It’s the same way with strip clubs and pornography. The marque reads: “Entertainment for the Discerning Gentleman,” only because the sign reading “Live Nude Girls” brought in enough money to renovate the club. They didn’t change what they did for a living, they just changed their image.
Now that a new cadre of greedy, image-conscious, dope yuppies have taken to laundering their money through Garberville’s downtown, they’ve declared war on anyone who doesn’t have the look they’re looking for. They’ve made it clear that they don’t want no commie food club or hippie free box in their town, and they sure as hell don’t want anyone to give food, warm clothes, sleeping bags or tents to people who need them. They want to get as far away from the “hippie” look as possible, and Paul just doesn’t fit into their sharp new upscale image of Downtown Garberville.
It’s not enough that Sohum’s drug dealers exterminate charity in their own heart, they insist on sterilizing the whole town. When they say, “Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t have any services for poor people down here in SoHum,” they say it like it’s a strange coincidence. They should say “We’re greedy pricks here in SoHum. We don’t share, and we like to bully people. If we find you asleep, anywhere in this town, we just might beat you to death with a stick, just for kicks. Not only that, if anyone in this town tries to help you, we will crush them. That’s how little we care and how much we want you gone.”
You can’t build real prosperity from greed, injustice and exploitation, and you can’t escape the poverty created by the War on Drugs. The profits of prohibition are cursed. The skeletons hidden behind the new faux-stone facade going up downtown, and the bodies buried under the Garberville Town Square will haunt this town for generations. Paul’s bookstore on the other hand, stands as a shining beacon of hippie culture, in a vast, dark, violent sea of predators and bottom-feeders. As a community, we can’t afford to lose it.
I do not enjoy criticizing local nonprofits, but the recent controversy around the the Mateel Community Center’s choice to book “Murder Music” superstar, Sizzla, to headline this year’s Reggae on the River deserves a bit more attention, because it points out some of the pitfalls of importing someone else’ culture rather than developing our own.
I’ve never understood the local fascination with Reggae Music. I love Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff. I’ve heard some other reggae music that I liked a lot, but I’ve heard more insipid, preachy, banal and just plain lame reggae music since I’ve moved to Humboldt County than I’ve ever heard before. Listening to the radio around here often reminds me that the global reggae music machine produces plenty of pap that’s every bit as vapid as the American Top 40, as well as religiously themed pop music that rivals Christian Rock, for subtlety and depth.
I have deep respect for Rastafarian culture. It’s not my culture, but I respect Rastafarian history, tradition, beliefs, and religion. I know that a lot of people find their strength in Rastafarianism, and I think that’s a beautiful thing, for them. I am not the son of the son of an African slave. I do not live in poverty in a violent ghetto on the outskirts of a tropical resort city built to serve rich white tourists, and I do not know whether Emperor Haile Salassie is the messiah or not, but he doesn’t mean a lot to me personally.
Like Christianity, like Islam, like Judaism, many people take Rastafarianism seriously, and receive a lot of personal strength from it. Like Christianity, Islam and Judaism, Rastafarianism has apparently spawned some embarrassingly popular, if not seriously threatening, fundamentalists. It happens to every religion, it seems. I mean, what’s the point of finding your personal strength, if you can’t use it to whip some non-believer’s ass once in a while?
Dance hall music star, Sizzla, obviously enjoys tremendous popularity among reggae music fans, in spite of, or perhaps because of, his strong belief that homosexuality is evil. According to Sizzla, homosexuality is so evil that it is OK to kill homosexuals. In fact, he thinks it’s a good idea to kill homosexuals, and he wants to kill homosexuals. We know that he feels this way because he’s written these sentiments into the lyrics of his songs and stated as much on stage.
A lot of religions have issues with homosexuality, if not sexuality in general. I don’t understand why religions focus so much time and energy on telling people what not to eat and who not to have sex with, but I think it at least partially explains why most of us are not particularly religious, and why the people who cling to religion the most are often people who don’t get enough to eat, and/or don’t have enough sex.
We all know gay people, if we’re not gay ourselves, and hopefully, all of us know that it’s NOT OK to kill gay people. I’d like to think that’s a community value we all share around here, but you never know what kinds of ideas people nurture in the privacy of their own minds. For instance, if Sizzla were notorious for his calls for violence against bankers, or real estate tycoons, or drug dealers, I wouldn’t be writing this column. Instead, I’d be writing about this great show I just saw, and about an inspiring artist who tells it like it is.
Apparently, that’s how reggae fans see Sizzla. His message resonates with people. I don’t get it, but Sizzla’s music means something to a lot of people. He is highly revered in Jamaica not only as a prolific artist, but also as a community leader, and a strong voice in the Rastafarian movement. Many people here in the US want to hear his message too. I don’t understand Sizzla’s appeal any more than I understand his hatred of gay people, but that’s OK.
There are lot’s of things about lots of cultures that I don’t understand, but I do understand why you might not want to invite Sizzla to play at your community event, especially if you value the gay people in your community. I’m not worried about other cultures; I’m worried about the culture of this community. Here, in Humboldt County, we value gay people. We appreciate the contribution they make to our society, the diversity they bring to our community, and we love them as friends and family. I would think that this would make Sizzla a very poor choice to headline our biggest community event of the year.
The Mateel Community Center was well aware of Sizzla’s anti-gay rhetoric. A similar controversy erupted several years ago when a private promoter booked Buju Banton to play at the Mateel Hall. A protest erupted and the show was canceled. At that time Sizzla was already recognized as one of eight reggae artists labeled “Murder Music” for their blatant endorsement of violence against gay people. The Mateel also knew that booking Sizzla would sell a lot of tickets.
As it turned out, Sizzla’s infamous hatred of the LGBTQ community made him an irresistible bargain for any promoter willing to invite him into the US. The Mateel Community Center, working with the few promoters who were willing to weather the inevitable shit-storm of criticism, made it possible for Sizzla to tour the US for the first time in seven years, and he kicked off that tour at Reggae on the River.
We smoke as much weed as Rastas, and we have as much hair as Rastas, but we’re not Rastas. We’re Hippies. Remember? We were once a persecuted minority united by a spiritual ideal too, but we believe in free love. We had some other ideals too, but we’re all still pretty much on board with the idea that any kind of sex is cool, so long as everyone involved in it is an adult, and wants it. Our “local culture” remains fairly amorphous, but I feel safe in saying that we’re a fairly sex-positive community. Come to think of it, we might have a more distinct cultural identity if we didn’t try so hard to drown it in imported Jamaican music.
Near as I can tell, weed is the only real connection between Jamaica’s Rastafarian culture and the community of Southern Humboldt. When I talk to people around here about Reggae on the River, they talk about the history of this community, and they talk about the money. They get big dollar signs in their eyes and talk about how much money it brings into the community, how all the schools and fire departments make their budget there, and they talk about how much weed they sell at it. I’ve never heard anyone around here describe it as a religious revival.
I’ve been to Reggae on the River, twice, once as a volunteer and once as a vendor. It’s been a while, but I remember that I had fun. I like getting high as much as anyone, and Reggae on the River is all about getting high, or Irie as the Rastas say. I saw a lot of white, middle-class lushes at Reggae, the kind of people you would expect to see at a hippie drug festival, but I also saw a lot of Rastas in the audience, clearly Reggae on the River means something to them too. In fact, Reggae on the River may mean more to them than it means to us, at this point.
Still, this is our community, and we have facilities like the Mateel Community Center, to promote culture, and to promote culture that supports our community values. The Mateel chose Sizzla to headline Reggae on the River because the “Murder Music” stigma made him a bargain, and that bargain made Reggae on the River profitable this year. Apparently greed is our only true community value.
Maybe values are just more trouble than they are worth. I mean, if wealthy communities like ours can’t afford them any more, and poor communities sharpen them into offensive weapons designed to kill, maybe we’re better off without them. How much different would it be, really? We’d still have plenty of vapid pop music, and tons of drugs. I’ll bet most people would hardly notice the difference.
It looks like the Rio Olympics has become the vacation bargain of the century, with tickets for some events selling for as little as $12. Rio is beautiful any time, but at this time of year, the weather is perfect. If you’ve never seen “Cidade Maravilhosa” (“marvelous city”), you owe it to yourself to experience it, first-person, while you are still young.
Take the whole family. This may be your last chance to take your kids to an Olympic Games in this hemisphere for more than a decade.
American dollars go a long way in Brazil, and the airfare is very reasonable right now. Think of the stories you’ll tell your grandchildren. On second thought, maybe you don’t want to think about that too much.
Just go! Have the time of your life. Live it up, and when you get back, sleep around a lot. Seriously. I think a global Zika pandemic may well be the best thing to come out of the whole “Olympic Movement” in the history of the games. Zika is a godsend, and we should all thank whatever entity, or non-entity, we choose to thank for such things, because Zika presents us with an ideal opportunity to solve a previously intractable global problem with a minimum of pain and suffering.
Think about it. If you had to choose one deadly virus to decimate the global human population, would you choose:
- A. Ebola
- B. Hantavirus
- C. Bird Flu
- D. Zika
It’s a no-brainer, right?
The Zika virus barely sickens living people, but it produces horrible deformities in their, yet to be conceived, offspring. We could handle the entire Zika pandemic with aggressive birth control and a minimum of suffering. It’s hard to miss people you’ve never met. Most of us never mature anyway, so it’s not like we won’t have plenty of children around, and the people who still want to have babies can have them, knowing that those babies will remain babies for their entire lives.
I can scarcely imagine a more humane way to reign-in the human population explosion, and I think it’s long overdue. Tell the CDC to stop looking for a cure, and to forget about a vaccine, or even a strategy for Zika. Tell them to keep working on Ebola, the Hunta Virus and Bird Flu, but we can handle Zika on our own. Bring it on! Better yet, go out there and get it, bring it back, and spread it around!
This is our one, big, once in a lifetime, golden opportunity to really solve a huge problem, by having a good time. Does life get any better than that! Zika is the disease for us, and it couldn’t come at a better time, so let’s make the most of it. Go to Rio! Watch the best athletes in the world compete for the gold, in person.
Ride the cable-car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Stroll barefoot through the sand at Copacabana Beach.
Going to Rio for the Olympics is like reading Playboy for the articles. You’ll have a terrific time, and you’ll do us all a favor.
We may never have an opportunity like this again, and this is probably our last, best hope for the future of humanity. We can’t afford to miss the boat on this one. Ideally, we would initiate a massive airlift to bring swarms of Zika carrying mosquitoes to every outpost of civilization, but it would take forever to line up government funding for that kind of operation and we simply don’t have the time. That’s why it’s so important that you book your tickets NOW for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. The world cannot wait. We need you to do your part. You simply must attend the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.
If you absolutely cannot afford the trip, at least have the decency to have sex with someone who went. We can do this, people, all of us, working together with this exquisite little virus called Zika. We can stop global warming, reverse the extinction crisis and end poverty and homelessness forever, but we can’t do it without your help. All you have to do is GO TO RIO FOR THE OLYMPICS!!! You’ll have a fabulous vacation, get a great tan, and save the planet all at the same time. Bon Voyage! Have a wonderful trip!