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All these messages we keep getting about how harmless marijuana is are concerning me. There is no such thing as a free high. The latest medical literature indicates that, though there has never been an overdose death directly attributable to MJ, it is often present in people who OD. Furthermore it impairs cognition, psychomotor performance, attention, concentration, short term memory, risk assessment and ability to complete complex tasks. These effects last up to 24 hours, much longer than the subjective mood change of feeling "high," due to accumulation of marijuana in fat and recirculation through the liver. Marijuana users often think they are no longer impaired after a few hours, when the mood-altering effects resolve. A trial with licensed pilots found that smoking marijuana impaired performance on a flight simulator for up to 24 hours, and most subjects were unaware that they were still impaired. Drivers using cannabis are up to seven times more likely to cause accidents than drivers not using any drugs or alcohol. I haven't even touched on the risks of inhaling products of combustion into one's lungs. Yes, alcohol and tobacco are legal despite having some of the same risks, but let's not pretend that marijuana is harmless. It is not.
There are certainly people like Louis Armstrong with enormous talent and functionality and perhaps a load of attending pain who can do a modicum or more of pot -- and/or booze and/or a lot of other indulgences -- and keep on coming. Maybe those spices are necessary to make it happen for certain of these souls, or maybe not. But for a huge hell of a load of less focused and capable individuals, those goodies do tend to make mush of their intentions, and flatten out whatever they had going for them. And then they go for the sugar bowl too!
Our great example of a productive pot-smoker is the venerated Louis Armstrong. He and Lil Harden Armstrong are the Father and Mother of Jazz As We Know It. While Louis was touring the world, and amazing it with his intelligence sublimated into the musical art of improvisation, he was lugging around a typewriter. Which he used to write his memoirs, which were published around 100 years after his birth. From which, we discover that Louis smoked marijuana every day for breakfast. We may deduce that marijuana use in a regular dose, in this way, is similar to starting the day with a cup of coffee. It may help you work, and it may also help you avoid many more unhealthy habits, such as refined sugar. Anyone wishing to check out this evidence may read Louis Armstrong's autobiography.
Re ZIP: I agree. There are many Carl Sagan 420 people all around us.
Your portrayal of Zip addressing the town council uses a tried and true cliche of the zoned-out stoner. It perpetuates a myth that pot smokers are dim, and supports a prejudice that helps sustain prohibition. Many people don't realize you can use small amounts of pot and still be 100% functional (similar to having a couple drinks). I get it, it get laughs, But I stopped laughing years ago when I realized how much damage prohibition has done. People have arrest records that will follow them throughout their lives, people are fired from jobs due to casual pot use during off-hours because of drug testing. Families have been torn apart because pot smokers are deemed unfit parents. Are you still laughing?
Granted, chronic use (of any substance) can cause neurological impediments. But casual pot use can be relatively harmless, and at times inspirational. It would be great if you could portray a responsible pot user who finds their life enhanced from mild doses. Even Zonker's recent success is being portrayed as the dumb luck of a clownish character; the drop-out who finds a use for his farm skills. There's a long list of people who casually use pot and have contributed to society. It would be great if you could add that to the narrative to balance the damage perpetuated by the cliched jokes. (I absolutely love Doonesbury and have been a huge fan since the 70s.)
Rule of thumb for Zipper: If it would be inappropriate to be drunk there, it's inappropriate to be stoned there. There's a time and a place. Work, city council meetings, and class are not places to go while you're stoned.
The complaints about the timeframe of references are very similar to those made in regard to crossword puzzles. The average age of crossword addicts is 'advanced,' hence there are tons of popular culture references that may go back as far as the '20s. We old guys (I'm 79) have a hard time with the latest in pop, cable, and texting. Younger heavy users regularly complain when a particular puzzle doesn't have cluing/answers more current the the '70s. But even I consider a reference to Breaking Bad a fair expectation!
I would argue that those of us who have become famous via television are no less a part of Our Culture than those of us made famous via literature. For instance the line "That old man in that book by Nabokov" from the Police's Don't Stand So Close Too Me. Once a person, or character, becomes part of our culture, failure to understand the reference is ignorance of our culture, regardless of the source of the fame. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Yup, young Zip's doing a great job expressing many of the concerns most of us (even us Independent-liberal-leaning types) have here in Colorado as to how this'll all play out in the end. So I'm wondering; did Zonker take his wares to the "Stuper Bowl" for the interstate competition the WA and OR growers had in conjunction with the game? Truth; many times it's much stranger than fiction, or even a comic strip, can be.
I have four TVs in my house but no cable, and get more channels than I can use over the air. Thus, I am somewhat TV illiterate, and Doonesbury Blowback is as close as I get to social media. Despite all the online and on-air chatter about Breaking Bad, it took some prodding before I caught on to the reference. Like the old joke goes, I never missed that show; never watched it, never missed it. (The same goes for most "hot" shows on air.)
Making a reference to Breaking Bad isn't the same as making a reference to something like 2 Broke Girls. And Mr. I-Don't-Have-A-TV should remember that Sturgeon's Law applies to books just as much as television -- if not more so.
This week's strips are perfect. Say hello to Zipper, the poster child for recreational marijuana. Word to the wise, Zippo -- never sample your own product.
I didn't get the Mr. White reference, but a little Googling fixed that. Thank you for upping my pop cultural literacy. It's exciting to stay current in this brave new world of smart phones, ear buds, and moccachinos, that has such people in it.
I don't have a television, so when it is assumed I am aware of references like "Walter White" or other television shows, it is a bit insulting. I will seek solace in the re-reading of Song of Myself and King Lear. Some of us are literate, Mr. Trudeau.
Sigh. Maybe I'm showing my age, but when I read "professional" and "Mr. White" I thought Reservoir Dogs. When I got to Zipper's capper about cancer I finally got the correct reference. As a very long time fan, whose Duke action figure currently resides as President For LIfe of his sock drawer, I am become embarrass.
Did Zonker drop down to Denver and pass out a few free samples to the Broncos? If he did, please ask him to next time add a health warning: "Use after the game."
Took me a while to get today's Breaking Bad reference to Walter White's obsession with process (and cancer).
I am a daily reader and have all Doonesbury books save Action Figure, the one with the toy Duke doll. I live and breathe this strip! So why am I unable to track today's offering? Who the #*!@^ is Mr White? Am I getting Alzheimer's?
Two words: Breaking Bad.
Alex should consider applying for one of the Liane Russell Early Career Fellowships offered by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (I work at ORNL and I've met Lee Russell, who is a genuine living legend.) Alex would be a dynamite candidate, and I'm sure we could find work here for Toggle, maybe in the Lab's Global Security Directorate. I'd love for you to let early-career PhDs everywhere know that opportunities for funding do exist!
Perhaps it is time Drew started looking into schools in Europe.