“How would you feel if your father smoked pot?” (circa 1970)

July 15, 2017

“How would you feel if your father smoked pot?” (circa 1970)
(or, “Don’t Bogart That Joint, Dad. Pass It Over to Mom.”)

Buttondown Collar PS - 2

This advertisement appeared almost a half-century ago in a student newspaper. Under the guise of stimulating thinking, its lead question asks “how would feel….” The blending of the initial rhetorical emphasis (“how would you feel…”) and the purported value of “thinking” is quite intentional. This appeal to an emotional outcome of a supposedly rational consideration of drug laws is a standard tactic of those who wish to repress the Dionysian exploration of consciousness in any form whatsoever.

One also might reflect upon the stereotyped image of the older generation: did the advertisers expect young people to imagine their fathers being so up-tight as to keep their collars buttoned down, even as they are halfway through their joints?

It is still difficult for me to believe that the cultivation of marijuana will become legal in large swaths of the United States. I would caution those who might take this shift to be a permanent alteration in the consciousness of the American electorate to remember that this country is on the verge of making abortion, once again, a felony. The individual’s right to control her body has been under relentless attack for several decades, and we see the consequences. The shift in drug regulation could also turn out to be a temporary alleviation of repressive state control, unless we are more vigilant than we were about reproductive rights. Let us remember that many people have gone to prison for the possession of marijuana in the past, and if Jess Sessions and his friends have their way, such will be the law of the land again.

In the meantime, I choose not to light up. Or to light up when you least expect it.

I would also call for a Democratic member of Congress to introduce an amendment to the current Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare that would make a doctor’s prescription for marijuana a mandatory part of any health insurance policy sold in the United States. Just so we can do a head count to remind ourselves of how temporary this respite might be.

I am curious if anyone can guess the name of the sponsor of the ad. Trust me that there’s more than a touch of irony involved. Feel free to send me your guesses at William.BillMohr@gmail.com.

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