Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Tokey Awards

Tokin Woman is proud to bestow 

the following “Tokey” Awards for 2014, 

in recognition of the achievement, 

courage and compassion of the awardees 

(and in a few cases, the lack of enlightenment).

Get Out-est Gals: Tokin Women of the Year

Best Reporting
Sabrina Rubin Erdely, Rolling Stone 
Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle 

August 8, 2014 - USPS Issues Janis Joplin Stamp

Phattest Film Award
Life of Crime with Jennifer Aniston 
The One I Love with Elisabeth Moss 
The Culture High 

Mother of the Year  
Jared Leto’s Mom 

Book of the Year Award
Barbara Ehrenreich Living With A Wild God 
Tom Robbins Tibetan Peach Pie
Ralph Nader Unstoppable 
Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian A New Leaf 
Doug Fine Hemp Bound

Top Tweet
Susan Sarandon on Prop. 47:

Most Informative Website

Video of the Year

Weediest Wardrobe

Admission of the Year

Shameless Lack of Compassion Award

A Latte Levity Award

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Emily's Garden

A page from Emily Dickinson's Herbarium showing a Cannabis plant.
Born today in 1830, Emily Dickinson is widely regarded, along with Walt Whitman, as the premier American poet. A great many of the 1,775 poems she left behind have ethereal themes: Ecstasy, heaven, sacrament, spice, the East, death, magic, fairies, flowers and bees were among her favorite subjects. Her Blake-like vision into the minutest detail of nature and her preoccupation with Ecstatic realms may have been, I propose, inspired by the partaking of ancient plant teachers, today called psychedelics.

Quite the rebel, Dickinson boldly rejected Christianity as a girl, and wrote poems like:
Possible photo of Dickinson circa 1859

Forbidden Fruit a flavor has
That lawful Orchards mocks --
How luscious lies within the Pod
The Pea that Duty locks --

It's quite possible that she was content with her life of seclusion because she was having daily mystical experiences, aided by psychotropic plants she grew in her garden, or found in the woods. She wrote of the white dresses she wore as ceremonial garb, rather than the misinterpretation of bridal dress that moderns impose. She wrote:

Witchcraft was hung, in history
But History and I
Find all the Witchcraft that we need

Around us, every Day— 

Considering that she was not far, in time or distance, from the Salem Witch Trials, this was quite a bold statement to make, and possibly one of the chief reasons she scarcely published during her lifetime.

Dickinson was a master gardener and woodswoman, familiar with all the local flora and fauna, and some exotic ones as well that she grew in a greenhouse. By the 1840s Amherst graduates were at work in foreign missions in Syria, Turkey, India, China, Africa, and the South Seas, bringing back artifacts and rare plants. Emily wrote in a letter: “My flowers are near and foreign, and I have but to cross the floor to stand in the Spice Isles.” 

In Dickinson's Herbarium, a cannabis plant is pasted into the book with her own hand (above). She didn't label the plant (or several others), but the Harvard academics who have now published a facsimile edition supplied the identification.

In a poem that mentions "hempen hands," she wrote:

A cartoon drawn by Dickinson. Text says:
"Life is but a Strife
'Tis a bubble
'Tis a dream
And man is but a little boat
Which paddles down the stream"
I started Early -- Took my Dog --
And visited the Sea --
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me --
And Frigates -- in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands --
Presuming Me to be a Mouse --
Aground -- upon the Sands

But no Man moved Me -- till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe --
And past my Apron -- and my Belt
And past my Bodice -- too --

And made as He would eat me up --
As wholly as a Dew
Upon a Dandelion’s Sleeve --
And then -- I started -- too --

And He -- He followed -- close behind --
I felt His Silver Heel
Upon my Ankle -- Then my Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl

Until We met the Solid Town --
No One He seemed to know --
And bowing -- with a Mighty look--
At me -- The Sea withdrew-- 

Although I can find no mention of Dickinson ever setting foot upon a boat, the Sea seemed to symbolize a giving over to wildness in her poems. 

She wrote: 

Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses -- past the headlands --
Into deep Eternity --

Bred as we, among the mountains
Can the sailor understand
The divine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?
Excerpted from the forthcoming Emily Dickinson's Divine Intoxication, from Evangelista Sista Press. A draft review copy is posted at

Monday, December 1, 2014

Elizabeth Moss Plays A Pothead in Love

Mark Duplass and Elizabeth Moss toking together in The One I Love.
Despite being a fan of Elizabeth Moss's acting (especially when she smokes pot on Mad Men), I didn't see her movie The One I Love in theaters, because it looked like a dreary lets-work-on-our-relationship chick flick. I had no idea how trippy the film would get after the couple's psychologist (Ted Danson) sends them on a retreat and Moss's character Sophie brings along a bag of pot.

After the troubled pair tokes up, other sides of them emerge: his sheds his eyeglasses, exercises more, and wears his hair a little shaggier--and she likes it. Her less "bitchy" alter ego doesn't mind cooking him bacon, wears sexier clothes, and is totally cool with everything he does, or doesn't do.

In an interesting twist, rather than deal with this duplicity in reality, the filmmakers split the characters and their doubles in a Twilight Zone–style scenario, so that when they're seeing their ideal mates, they're actually cheating on their "true" ones. They at first put the strangeness down to a "bad pot and wine night," confirming it was their adulterants that took them out of themselves.

One wonders about the basis for this conceit from writer/producer Justin Lader. Do couples feel like they're in an alternate reality if they get high together? Are they disappointed in life after the buzz wears off? Is there no way to reconcile the two aspects of themselves?

Sophie (Moss) pulls out the pot.
Something Sophie has complained about for three years is her husband Eric's ruining of a magic show by revealing the source of the tricks. She badly needs some magic in her life, and only after Eric can let go of his calculating mind can he project that for her. But when his rational mind takes over, he is only interested in exposing the mystery she would rather explore.

Rather than, "My wife doesn't understand me," married men sometimes tell me, "My wife won't get high with me." It's difficult to depict on film, but the cosmic connection made between two beings whilst high is something that can be beautiful, bonding, and sexy. And it can be hard to come down from that to the more prosaic planet, especially in a world where getting high is denigrated instead of celebrated.

This film could explore some of those nuances, but instead it degrades into a not-so-thrilling thriller, albeit one with an interesting twist at the end.