By Hans Fink
This is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America
Written By Ryan Grim
This is Your Country on Drugs is high-quality journalism tempered with extensive research, wisdom and humor woven together into an in-depth tapestry covering the war on drugs. Ryan Grim starts with the simple question, “Where did all the LSD go?” and expands from there. Recounting more than a century of drug history in the U.S., and documenting the author’s own experiences (such as narrowly surviving riots in Bolivia), This is Your Country on Drugs points an inquisitive finger at the legislation of and pop-culture fascination with illicit substances. Grim examines the intricacies and hypocrisies of drug policies in America, including how anti-drug ad campaigns dramatically increased the number of first-time users, how President Clinton’s approval of NAFTA led to a large influx of drugs across the Mexican border and how cocaine was an easily accessible substance in the 1890s. Writing with a style that is fact-based and straightforward without being dry and boring, Grim’
s accounts are loaded with wry humor and interspersed with personal anecdotes that coincide with his research. An interesting read for those who care less about rhetoric and more about seeing past the proverbial bullshit.
Performed By Doug Benson
Renowned pot comic Doug Benson recorded Unbalanced Load live on April 20 in celebration of “420 Day.” As one would expect, his routines are very anti-drug war and pro-medical marijuana. However, he manages to stray off topic enough to discuss topics as diverse as hecklers, Hoover Dam, Twitter and new and creative orgasm noises. Benson proves that even though he is known for his marijuana-themed material, he is a true thinking comic in that he can talk about ANYTHING under the sun and keep it funny and engaging. Admittedly, some of the jokes will be familiar if you’ve listened to the Comedy Death-Ray double CD or caught his earlier performances. But Unbalanced Load definitely packs enough new, never-before-heard material to make the purchase worthwhile. It’s quite clear that Benson was on a tear that night, able to transition from one topic to the next and verbally manhandle his audience with ease. Unlike the majority of other Comedy Central Records releases, this CD does not come with a DVD. It’
s just a CD, so it may be worth the investment to simply buy it online in mp3 format. However, the CD does contain bonus tracks. All in all, this is a perfect purchase as a download for the discerning fan of fine-quality stand-up.
Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use
Written By Jacob Sullum
The premise of this book is to draw a distinction between drug use and drug abuse. Proponents of the costly and ineffective war on substances assume that all drug use is drug abuse, and perpetuate the image of the casual user as being strung out, violent and desperate like a junkie. Saying Yes seeks to dispel the negative propaganda. Sullum goes on to explain that the casual user is typically as much an average, law-abiding member of society as the casual drinker. Although the thesis of the book repeats itself throughout and the middle drags a little, all in all this is a very intelligent and succinctly written work that can easily be read and digested in a day or two.