The piece by T.M. Luhrmann, Candy's Dandy, but Pot's Scary got me thinking, and not because of the Ogden Nash reference in the title. I had a recollection of being warned in 10th grade biology class about the harm from drug use. It might damage your chromosomes, or so we were told. I can't remember whether the drug in question was marijuana or LSD. There was a general distrust of messages from authority at that time and we ignored most of what we heard. We added this one to the already rather large pile.
Lurhmann's main point is that whatever we imbibe in the consequence, in our behavior certainly, maybe in our minds as well, is not just the product of the chemical substance but is also determined by the prevailing culture we live in. That made sense to me. But I wondered whether there is a feedback loop that causes the flow to go the other way as well. The culture I found at 509 Wyckoff Road in Ithaca embraced a camaraderie that I would have liked to bottle, if I could.
That was between fall of 1974 and spring of 1976, my last couple of years at Cornell. My cohort - we graduated from high school in 1972 - had less of a concern about getting drafted and less need for radical alternatives. But what came before definitely mattered, so it was no easy thing to buy into the rhythms of middle class life.
Now I sometimes listen to the music from then. Beyond that, I wonder if any of that culture still persists in me or if its all been swept under the rug. My generation tends not to talk about that time, lest our kids do a repeat or use it against us when talking about their own indiscretions.
The only place where it seems to show is my visceral reaction to some of my economics students and even more so to the business students I see when I hang out in the Commons of the Business Instructional Facility, sipping my coffee and reading whatever I'm reading. These kids seem so accepting of the bourgeois culture and its trappings, with no apparent misgivings. There is something wrong about this or so my gut tells me. It's certainly not how we were at their age.
Had its hour.
Ten Years After
Mirth and laughter.
Only to find
The daily grind
Ere grand insult