I’ve been requesting several files from special collections and archives related to counterculture luminary and attempted social engineer William S. Burroughs. In the first batch I received, among other things, an invoice for purchase of a gram of mescaline sulfate ordered while he was living in London, February 1960.
Today I’ll be focusing on some letters related to an article in London’s Sunday Times about Burroughs’ claims to have beaten his addiction using an alkaloid from the blue lotus flower known as apomorphine.
Philadelphia Inquirer recently published an article calling the outcry against the Biden administration initiative adding free “smoking kits” with meth or crack pipes to their opioid epidemic strategy “racist.” As someone who has known many addicts and, sadly, more familiar with the realities of hard drugs through first hand experiences, people I care for, etc. I definitely have great empathy for people trapped in the desperation of addiction, so fentanyl testing kits, needle exchanges and thinks likely to save lives I’m all for. Apart from cutting yourself on a pipe that busted under the heat though, I just don’t feel there’s the same inherent danger in the delivery device when it comes to cocaine or crack. And pointing that out, or the fact that people using meth (mostly white, where I came from) or cocaine or crack end up highly stimulated, with libido in overdrive and inhibitions dropping away is not “racist.”
In the video I also talk a bit about actually racist drug narratives and policies related to crack. And also point out the lack of empathy towards many poor rural white folks afflicted by the opioid epidemic or widespread usage of methamphetamines. And just because you can’t talk about crack without bringing up the CIA’s role in the crack epidemic, I also dip into Iran Contra and my personal conspiracy theory related to the timing of positive Hip Hop’s decline after Sugar Hill Records had their catalog of music stolen by a shady “distribution deal” right before the rise of Yo! Mtv Raps. Especially considering the rise of the for profit prison industry and the school to prison pipeline, the role that some gangsta rap has had on certain impressionable teens and young adults of all races, is probably worth exploring at some future date…