Day Tripping

by Joan Harvey

It was inevitable. Michael Pollan’s justly lauded book, How to Change Your Mind, was going to lead straight, sensible, old people to doing drugs. “Today I am a middle-aged journalist working in London, the finance editor of The Economist, a wife, mother, and, to all appearances, a person totally devoid of countercultural tendencies,” writes Helen Joyce in the New York Review of Books, after having gone off to Amsterdam to do a good dose of psilocybin.

And of course all kinds of people are tripping these days. The musician Sudan Archives says she was “doing a lot of psychedelics….I swear to God, when I started to experiment with stuff like that, that’s when I became a little more creative.”

Suzy Batiz, who got extremely rich by developing “Poo-Pouri” (a product I’ve somehow never felt the need to buy) mentions that she has done 94 ayahuasca ceremonies to date. From her ayahusasca experiences she has decided she’s a “business shaman.” Yikes! Has it come to this already?

These nice people are having the usual ecstatic experiences that somehow can be expressed only in cliché. “It is possible to feel differently about things,” the journalist writes. “You don’t have to be who you’ve always been. More things are choices than you imagined. Ordinary things are very beautiful if you’ve the eyes to see.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for this. And I doubt I could write about psychedelic experiences in any particularly interesting way. But in my neck of the woods, the mountains above Boulder, inhabited by an odd mix of outsiders, the children of outsiders, and occasional outsider college professors, I’m pretty sure the percentage of those who have done acid and other psychedelics is far higher than the national (or for that matter global) norm. It is not unusual to be at weddings here in which a decent percentage of the people are in various altered states. The most astonishing aspect of Pollan’s book for many of us was that he didn’t trip until he was almost 60. How did he manage, we wonder, to get so far without? Read more »

Is Donald Trump a Fascist? Will He Be the Next President? No, and Fuck No

by Akim Reinhardt

TrumpBack in August, here at this very site, I published a piece dismissive of Donald Trump's chances of gaining the White House. I called those who feared he would become our next president “worry warts.”

My basic contention was that Trump is involved in a quadrennial rite: announcing his presidential candidacy as a way of garnering free publicity. Furthermore, pursuing attention isn't just a way to soothe his massive ego. Publicity is very important to him because at this point he's a commercial pitchman much more than he is a real estate developer, and the brand he mostly sells is himself. In this way, he's fundamentally no different than Michael Jordan or Kim Kardashian. It also helps explain why he has previously “run” for president in 1988, 2000, 2004, and 2012, along with short-lived efforts to run for New York state governor in and 2006 and 2014. Free publicity.

In that August essay, I also asserted that most of his supporters, which really aren't that many when you crunch the numbers, don't actually agree with his vague platform. They're just buying his brash brand. He'll start to fade by the end of the year, I said. He'll be done for good in February or March of 2016, I said.

Well, it's mid-December, ie. the end of the year, and Trump's shadowy specter has not faded from our watery eyes. Indeed, his numbers are up. Furthermore, as he remains on the political scene, his political statements get more and more outlandish, leading many to brand him a fascist.

So now Donald Trump's a fascist, and he's going to be our next president.

Golly gee willikers, Batman! That sounds dastardly. I sure hope he doesn't pick The Joker as his V.P.!

But hold on a second. Before we shoot that Bat Signal floodlight into the nighttime sky, as if we're engulfed in some comic book version of the burning of the Reichstag, let's think about it rationally.

Is Donald Trump actually a fascist? No. And anyone who says Yes doesn't know what fascism is.

Can Donald Trump be the next president? Wait, let me stop chuckling. Okay . . . No.

To understand why not, and what's going on, let's break it down. First, I'll address why The Donald isn't the second coming of Il Duce, and then I'll expand on earlier points about why he won't be the next president.

Read more »