Pothead(s) of the Week: Remembering Harambe's Death and a Forgotten Hunter S. Thompson Story

This week we're pouring one out for some bygone weed icons, as well as celebrating the ongoing life of B-Real from Cypress Hill.

Let’s talk about memes, people. Namely, which meme is worse: Covfefe or fidget spinners? Both? Neither? I own not one but two fidget spinners which I do not use outside of the privacy of my home, and the night “covfefe” happened I retweeted John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats working Donald Trump’s unwitting neologism into the lyrics of Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” so maybe I am the problem here. Anyways, nothing on the internet is good and we have absolutely no ability to do anything about it. So let’s get high and talk about weed stuff, which fits nicely with memes.

Pothead One: RIP Harambe, One Year Later 

Thanks to a tweet by Young Thug, who once rapped that his blunt looked like a dick, I learned that Harambe the gorilla died a year ago this week. While it sucks that the Cincinnati Zoo had to very publically kill an ape with a gun, it would have sucked even more if Harambe had killed that four-year-old kid who fell into his exhibit. Then again, there was a Guardian piece by the respected field biologist Ian Redmond saying that, in all likelihood, the kid wasn’t actually in danger and while the Cincinnati Zoo personnel would have just pissed Harambe off if they’d tried to sedate him, they probably would have been able to calm him down and reason with him rather than shooting him dead. Anyways, I hope somebody’s gonna pay for the kid’s therapy after a zoo guy shot a fucking gorilla right in front of him.

Pothead Two: "High Times" Magazine 

High Times, the OG bible of marijuana magazines, has been purchased for a reported $70 million by what the San Francisco Chronicle describes as a “consortium of entertainment and cannabis veterans,” spearheaded by a firm called Oreva Capital and involving Damian Marley, too. Originally started as a one-off, weed-centric spoof of Playboy by Tom Forcade, the magazine came to serve as one of the voices of subversive underground culture throughout the past decades and counted among its contributors William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, and Glenn O’Brien, who edited the magazine for a stint in the 1970’s (In the interest of full disclosure, I have also contributed to High Times, but also I am not famous). What will the sale mean for the magazine’s future? Not much, I think? I think the big “take” here is that weed is even more mainstream than it was yesterday, which we already knew.

Pothead Three: B-Real

Man, you know which rapper rules like hell but never gets his due? B-Real, that’s the fuck who. He was in Cypress Hill, he was on “East Coast/West Coast Killaz,” he’s a marijuana activist, and now he’s in Prophets of Rage, the supergroup consisting of him, Chuck D of Public Enemy, and all the guys from Rage Against the Machine who aren’t Zach de la Rocha. The band, which is now the only acceptable rap-metal band in America, has a new song out called “Unfuck the World,” and it is extremely good. The music video, which you can watch above, is directed by Michael Moore, who is not always that great but fuck it he made a good video for Prophets of Rage. On top of all of that, B-Real is featured on MERRY JANE proprietor Snoop Dogg’s new album Neva Left, rapping alongside Snoop, Method Man, and Redman on a song called “Mount Kushmore.” The track is produced by DJ Battlecat, who is truly the unsung hero of G-Funk, and is probably my favorite song on the album (which is also extremely good, and no, MERRY JANE did not ask me to write that).

Pothead Four: Hunter S. Thompson 

Over at LitHub, crime novelist David Swinson has a piece reminiscing about his relationship with Hunter S. Thompson that’s funny and moving and sad in the way that many stories about Hunter S. Thompson tend to be. Swinson first met Thompson when he booked him to give a talk in Long Beach, California, only to get conscripted into drinking with him at a sports bar. By the time Thompson made it to the stage, he had fully embodied the character of “Hunter S. Thompson”:

Joints, and what looked like pills, were thrown on the stage. Hunter picked up several of the joints, lit one, pocketed the rest. He picked up something else, looked at it briefly and then said something like “Through the wormhole,” and downed it dry. I was afraid we were going to get raided and closed down or he would OD.

Thompson didn’t OD, of course, but his spirit –– not to mention his frequent, surreptitious trips to the bathroom –– gave Swinson the inspiration for his character of Frank Marr, the grapefruit-eating, drug-addicted detective who is now the anchor of his crime fiction novels. Swinson’s piece ends with something Thompson told him that speaks volumes of the strange, tragic figure — boxed in by the pressures of his own legend — that Thompson evolved into: “My lifestyle was an accident. It’s now something that’s expected of me.”

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Written on June 02, 2017 by

Drew Millard

Drew Millard is a freelance writer and dog owner living in Durham, North Carolina. His writing has appeared in VICE, High Times, Hazlitt, SPIN, and many other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @drewmillard.