Oh, New Yorker, how you vex and puzzle me. One day, you insist on punctuating the word “cooperate” with a diaeresis, and the next day, you get all street on me.
The New Yorker’s David Samuels immersed himself in the community of medical marijuana growers in California for a piece in the July 28 issue. Before he started writing, he must have rolled a doobie, pulled up a list of euphemisms for pot, and then let it rip.
I honestly never thought I’d live to see the day when the New Yorker would un-self-consciously print the words “ganja,” “weed,” “dope,” and “bud.” I understand that all writers hate repeating a single word 10,000 times in one story, but the slangy looseness reads more like Rolling Stone than the New Yorker, or maybe the stoner bible High Times.
Ironically, one scene in the piece speaks to the silliness of using the vernacular thesaurus.
Michael, a sixty-year-old man with a gray ponytail, was wearing jeans, a faded navy T-shirt, a yellow flannel shirt, and a battered fleece vest. Shifting impatiently from one foot to the other, he read from a poster on the wall stating that words and phrases like “weed,” “dope,” and “getting stoned” were used to “devalue, disempower, and criminalize people who choose to use medical cannabis.”
Turns out, Mr. Samuels got up close and personal with his subject matter. First, he obtains a letter from a doctor to allow him to use marijuana to treat anxiety and depression and then he goes at it.
On the fridge, someone had posted a handwritten sign with the motto “Today is the day we manifest heaven on earth and godly bliss.” Water pipes were passed around, and everyone got high. After four hits on Nick’s bong, the slogans on the refrigerator started to vibrate with uncommon significance.
Yikes. Let’s just say I hope they don’t let David Samuels cover the inner-city meth epidemic.