Bob Schwartz

Tag: drugs

Dean Chamberlain: Light Paintings of Elder Psychedelic Pioneers

Timothy Leary © Dean Chamberlain

Dean Chamberlain is an extraordinary photographic artist. He works in a technique known as light painting, using hand-held lights to illuminate and color a scene photographed in long exposure. While versions of the technique have been known and used since the early days of photography, Dean was the first artist to work exclusively in the medium.

From Light Painting Photography:

Dean Chamberlain is the father of light painting photography and has been capturing photographs since 1967. It was his passion for photography that led him to the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1974 to pursue a fine art degree. During Dean’s time at Rochester in 1977 he discovered light painting photography. Dean was the first person to coin the term “Light Painting” for his open shutter long exposure photographic technique. He has worked with his unique art form ever since in his various works. Dean has created stunning portraits of well-known individuals such as David Bowie and Paul McCartney. He has also directed numerous music videos. Chamberlain’s work has appeared in publications such as Esquire, Vanity Fair and the Washington Post. He has received an MTV breakthrough award for directing music videos for Arcadia (Missing), Paul McCartney (This One) and Duran Duran (All She Wants Is).

Along with light painting rock stars, landscapes and other subjects, Dean created a unique series called Elder Psychedelic Pioneers. This includes Timothy Leary, Albert Hofmann, Alexander Shulgin, and others—many of whom have now passed on.

Albert Hofmann © Dean Chamberlain

 

Alexander and Ann Shulgin © Dean Chamberlain

 

Laura Huxley © Dean Chamberlain

Trump and the Pusher Man: Easy Rider or Mean Girls?

“We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge.”
Donald Trump, State of the Union Address (2018)

In real life, I haven’t heard the term “drug pusher” used seriously in a long time. Which means that Trump is living in the past or is a big fan of either Easy Rider or Mean Girls.

For the record, the term “drug pusher” likely originated as prison slang in the 1930s, and maintained some fading currency for a few decades. Not so much today, at least not in my circles.

Easy Rider (1969)

Hoyt Axton’s song The Pusher, as recorded by Steppenwolf, was featured in the soundtrack of the movie Easy Rider:

You know I’ve smoked a lot of grass
Oh Lord, I’ve popped a lot of pills
But I never touched nothin’
That my spirit could kill
You know, I’ve seen a lot of people walkin’ ’round
With tombstones in their eyes
But the pusher don’t care
Ah, if you live or if you die

You know the dealer, the dealer is a man
With the love grass in his hand
Oh but the pusher is a monster
Good God, he’s not a natural man
The dealer for a nickel
Lord, will sell you lots of sweet dreams
Ah, but the pusher ruin your body
Lord, he’ll leave your, he’ll leave your mind to scream

God damn, the pusher
God damn, I say the pusher
I said God damn, God damn the pusher man

Well, now if I were president of this land
You know, I’d declare total war on the pusher man

Mean Girls (2004)

One of the iconic scenes in the movie Mean Girls has the teacher Ms. Corbury (Tina Fey) explaining herself to her student Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan):

“I’m a pusher Cady. I push people….And now I’m gonna push you because I know you’re smarter than this.”

Leading to this conversation:

I hate her! I mean, she’s really failing me on purpose, just because I didn’t join that stupid Mathletes! She was so queer, she was like, “I’m pusher Cady, I’m a pusher.”

Hahaha! What does that even mean?

Like a drug pusher?

Probably. She said she works three jobs. You know, I bet she sells drugs on the side to pay for her pathetic divorce.

Yes, like a drug pusher, and yes Cady, for somebody’s pathetic divorce(s). If he were president of this land, you know, he’d declare total war on the pusher man.

Note: It is probably not necessary to say this, but I will. This is not to minimize the serious problem America has with opioids and other tragically destructive drugs. It is just to point out how out of touch and out of time Trump, Sessions and others are about the problem, its causes and its solutions. And since I’m adding this note, I will mention that the song The Pusher (a Trump favorite?) makes a clear distinction between the dealer of marijuana (“love grass in his hand”) and the pusher of deadly drugs (“a monster”).

Opioids and Heroin: Where Does It Hurt?

There is bipartisan agreement that we have a national problem of opiodd and heroin addiction. But few politicos are willing to discuss the hard questions.

The political consensus is that we address the addicts and how to treat and end their addiction. Which is a good and humane objective.

But there are two other aspects the politicos are less willing to take on.

Supply chain

The old school war on drugs went for the top of the supply pyramid. Think El Chapo. In the case of opioids, that supply chain leads up from pharmacies to doctors to pharmaceutical companies. But if you listen to the grandstanding from Democrats and Republicans, you hardly if ever hear the legal producers of the drugs called to account. It is true that product makers are not unconditionally responsible for how people ultimately use their products—not alcohol makers, not cigarette makers, not gun makers. But at least those suppliers can be spotlighted as significant stakeholders.

Where does it hurt?

Pain killers are a blessing to those who suffer from chronic physical pain or from intermittent severe physical pain. That kind of pain is a damnable thing, and we should all be glad that we have developed such a solution.

Millions of those who use painkillers, prescription and otherwise, are not in physical pain. But many of them are in psychic pain, whether out of loss, desperation, frustration, purposelessness, difficult circumstances, or just boredom. It is convenient but not completely helpful to lump these into “mental Illness” for which increased funding and access could be made available. This kind of pain is not illness; it is just a response to a condition or injury, no different than the hurt that might come from being hit over the head really hard.

Politicos don’t want to talk about this. The solutions to this kind of pain involve changes in society and in people’s lives that require lots of self-awareness, lots of politically tricky analysis, lots of controversial proposals that go beyond better addiction services. And lots of hard questions that politicos don’t want to ask, let alone try to answer. Such as:

Where does it hurt?

Your Congressional District on Drugs

Brain on Drugs
This is your geography.

NEO

This is your Congressional District on drugs.

Ohio 13th District

Any questions?