Archive for November 2013
Normally I take for granted, say, the validity of feminism or the superiority of democracy to monarchy. But on weed I feel much freer to question these fundamentals. I find myself reexamining the arguments for otherwise unquestioned propositions. I don’t know if this is real open-mindedness, since I almost always end up re-arguing myself into the positions I held before, but it sure feels like a good-faith effort at the time.
I also find myself thinking more easily in terms of spectrums in place of discrete categories. Not just in productive ways, either: comparisons that aren’t that useful (like the metaphors in Top 40 pop songs) appear more insightful than they are. Give me two things, like “hamburger” and “actor”, and I’ll naturally place them as two poles on a spectrum, then try to figure out what the scale is measuring (maybe dead organic matter vs. living matter, or Things That Should Be Honest vs. Thing I Expect to Deceive). If I can concentrate on the issue long enough, you could give me a second arbitrary axis (say, “centralized” vs. “decentralized”), and examining the resulting quadrants would yield exquisite pleasure.
I guess, then, marijuana frees my mind without necessarily encouraging it to move closer toward the truth.
I drink Steel Reserve Beer. I just drank some right now. Here’s a list of but a couple of reasons why.
1) It’s cheap and efficient. A four-pack of tall cans of steel reserve costs less than four dollars. Each is a tall can, which means a four-pack is basically a six pack, and it’s 8.1% alcohol, which means it’s basically a twelve pack. Twelve beers for four dollars. That’s almost a beer a quarter. It’s like the olden days.
2) It’s proudly union-made. Now, most cheap beers are made in unionized plants, but who else has the goddamn pride to advertise it on the can? Does Coors? Maybe they do. I haven’t looked. I love Steel Reserve too much to even look at other cheap beers.
3) Most beers are in only one state of matter: liquid. Steel Reserve, though, is viscous. It leaves a gel-like film over your mouth and esophagus. It’s substantial.
4) It doesn’t go “bad” when warm. It is what it is, and can be stored at room temperature for emergencies without losing its distinctive flavor.
5) It knows it’s a drug, not a food. Maybe in Italy you drink to enjoy, but in America you drink to not care about things. So many other beers pretend they’re about flavor. They’re made from alcohol, which changes your very consciousness, but act like they’re sodas or some shit. I don’t do drugs for the taste.
“Hey dude, want some acid?”
“I don’t know, is it pumpkin-spice seasonal LSD?”
“Then fuck it, I don’t drop such cheap swill.”
It doesn’t make sense to me either. Drink Steel Reserve ™.
If you run a blog, it might be a good idea to ban discussion of certain topics, especially ones that quickly bore most readers and drive the rest to pointless acrimony. You might prohibit debate over voting strategy if you want to avoid constant shouting matches about Ralph Nader.
Melissa McEwan of Shakesville, on the other hand, prohibits these shouting matches with more muddled reasoning:
Voting for a candidate in one of the two major parties is a legitimate choice. Voting against a candidate in one of the two major parties is a legitimate choice. Strategically voting for a third party candidate in a decidedly blue or red state is a legitimate choice. Voting for a third party candidate in a swing state is a legitimate choice. Not voting is a legitimate choice.
Some of these choices are ones I can imagine making; some of them are not. That does not mean they are not legitimate choices for individual voters to make with their votes. Period.
This doesn’t mean anything! Of course a choice is “legitimate” in the sense that it is legal and physically possible to make. But if you have a goal in mind (say, moving the country to the left), then some choices are wrong. Voting Republican, for example, will almost certainly be ineffective at reaching that goal. You might think voting straight-ticket Democrat will get you there, or you might have a longer-term strategy involving third parties, but these are competing hypotheses about reality, so at least one of them is wrong. If you want a certain policy enacted, there may be an objectively optimal way to vote, even if it’s sometimes difficult to discover it in practice.
This difficulty is one of the reasons for discussing voting strategy.
Admittedly, this argument only works if you care more about increasing your chances of getting a good government than avoiding a feeling of disgust as you leave the voting booth.)