Thursday, July 29, 2021

Dr. Susan Blackmore: 70 Years Conscious

Today is the 70th birthday of psychologist and meme queen Dr. Susan Blackmore, author of the bestselling book The Meme Machine, who has over 900,000 views on her TedTalk on "Memes and Temes."

Blackmore appeared at the 2005 Cheltenham Science Festival to discuss whether drugs can teach us anything about ourselves. A version of her talk was published in the Daily Telegraph on May 21 of that year. In it, she says,

"Some people may smoke dope just to relax or have fun, but for me the reason goes deeper. In fact, I can honestly say that without cannabis, most of my scientific research would never have been done and most of my books on psychology and evolution would not have been written. . . . 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Judy Chicago's "The Flowering"

Feminist artist Judy Chicago has been in the news lately, having published the latest installment of her autobiography, The Flowering at the age of 82. 

Chicago's 1979 work The Dinner Party turned the male-dominated art world upside down, setting the table for 39 prominent and mythical women with vulva-inspired ceramic plates and elaborately embroidered place settings. “Women had embedded in houses for centuries and had quilted, sewed, baked, cooked, decorated and nested their creative energies away,” Chicago wrote in her 2006 book Through the Flower. “What would happen, we wondered, if women took those same homemaking activities and carried them to fantasy proportions?” 

Chicago "reclaimed the feminine in the midst of our male-dominated art world" and "paved the way for subsequent generations of female artists," wrote Lucy Koto Olive in The Brooklyn Rail, adding, "The Dinner Party brought psychedelia and feminist ideas together in a bizarre, monumental manner. The many detailed settings, the symbolic triangular shape of the table, and the use of the vagina aim to grasp and elevate the universal feminine experience. In its totality and repeated attention to patterns and shapes, the psychedelic is strongly present in this work," Olive wrote. 

When The Dinner Party opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, "no one had ever seen anything like it," wrote Sasha Weiss in the New York Times.  "It was theatrical, audacious and definitively feminist: a work of stark symbolism and detailed scholarship, of elaborate ceramics and needlework that also nodded to the traditional amateurism of those forms, a communal project that was the realization of one woman’s uncompromisingly grand vision, inviting both awe and identification. It caused an immediate sensation."

Weiss interviewed Chicago for her 2018 article, describing here like this: "Her lipstick was purple, her curly hair dyed a reddish-pink, with tinted glasses to match, giving her a dreamy, psychedelic look."  

Rita Marley at 75

Tokin' Woman Rita Marley turns 75 today. A tribute concert happening at 2 PM PDT will feature her fellow I Threes members Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt.

Born to a musical family in Jamaica, Alpharita “Rita” Anderson began singing at weddings at an early age, and later sang lead in her girl group The Soulettes, known as “The Supremes of the Caribbean.” At the age of 19, she married Bob Marley and had four children with him, as well as helping to raise several of the children he had with other women. Along with Griffiths and Mowatt, Rita formed the I Threes and sang backup for Bob on the tours that brought reggae music to the world. 

When Rita first began to embrace Rastafarianism and ganja smoking, neither were well accepted in Jamaica. “My Aunty began to worry, my God, is Rita smoking that stuff, that terrible stuff that would make you go crazy and put you in prison,” Rita wrote in her autobiography No Woman No Cry. “I had started smoking a little herb….I liked smoking for the way it made me feel—cooled out and meditative….” 

After meeting with Rasta elders, she writes, “The whole thing seemed intelligent to me; it wasn’t just about smoking herb, it was more a philosophy that carried a history with it. That’s what really pulled my interest, the powerful history that hadn’t been taught to me in school.” 

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Amy Schumer Joins NAPW's Brief In Support of Arizona Mother's Use of Medical Marijuana to Treat HG

UPDATE 1/2023: Arizona Supreme Court: Maternal Use of Cannabis for Morning Sickness Doesn’t Constitute Child Neglect

UPDATE 4/2022: Appeals court sides with mother of baby in marijuana case 

National Advocates for Pregnant Women [now renamed Pregnancy Justice] has asked the Arizona Court of Appeals to accept their amicus brief on behalf of 45 leading health organizations, doctors, ethicists, scientific and medical experts, and advocates—including comedienne Amy Schumer—in support of Lindsay R., a mother found guilty of civil child neglect because she used medical marijuana while pregnant and suffering from acute hyperemesis gravidarum.

Hyperemis gravidarum (HG), a debilitating ailment characterized by severe nausea and vomiting, malnutrition, and weight loss during pregnancy, afflicts 1–2% of pregnant women globally and is the most common cause of hospitalization in the US during the first half of pregnancy, second only to preterm labor for pregnancy overall. As well as Schumer—who documented regarding her own HG journey in the HBO Max series, Expecting Amycelebrities who experienced HG during pregnancy include Kelly Clarkson and Princess Kate

Friday, July 2, 2021

Track Star Sha'Carri Richardson Banned from Olympic Race Over Marijuana Test

Send a message to WADA and USADA to tell them to revise their policies to be in compliance with the shifting legal and cultural standing of cannabis. 
This story has been updated. 

American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson apologized to her agent, her family, her sponsors and her fans on The Today Show after the US Anti-Doping Agency announced she had tested positive for marijuana. Richardson will be suspended from competing for 30 days and will miss the 100 meter race at the upcoming Olympics. She will also miss the 4X100 meter relay taking place following her suspension after US Track and Field did not name Richardson to the US team, even while saying marijuana punishments "should be reevaluated."

Richardson rose to fame in 2019 as a Louisiana State University freshman when she broke the 100m record at the NCAA championships with a speed of 10.75 seconds. She won the 100m Olympic Trials on June 19 on Eugene, Oregon with a time of 10.86 seconds and ran to the stands to hug the grandmother who raised her just afterwards. That performance has now been disqualified, and she will be replaced by the fourth-place finisher. 

In an interview on NBC, Richardson said she was "blinded by emotions" after she found out that her biological mother had died when a reporter asked her about it days before her trial, and turned to marijuana to cope from the "triggering" and "nerve-shocking" news. "Who are you or who am I to tell you how to cope when you're dealing with a pain you never experienced before?" a contrite Richardson said. 

Former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted an interview with Richardson where she mentions her mother's death after winning her race, applauding her "grace and grit" and adding, "Can't wait to see what you do in Tokyo!" Obama admitted in her memoir that she smoked pot in her youth. She's been silent since Richardson's suspension, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who made excuses for the Biden administration firing employees over past marijuana use earlier this year, said when asked about Richardson on Friday, July 2, “this was an independent decision made by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and not a decision that would be made by the U.S. government," adding, "that Richardson “is an inspiring young woman who has gone through a lot personally—and she also happens to be one of the fastest women in the world.” After Richardson wasn't named to the US Olympic team so that she could compete in the 4X100 meter relay, Psaki said, "It does stink."