Marijuana and Racism

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

In last week’s post on smoking I used the word Marijuana to refer to Cannabis. I thought that they were synonyms and had no idea of the history of them.

A reader sent me this article from the Ottawa Citizen: Here’s why you shouldn’t use the word marijuana anymore

I did some quick research and found this interesting article from CBC: Weed, cannabis, pot or marijuana: what’s the difference?

In brief, Cannabis is the genus of the plant, or its scientific name. It’s the name that the government is using for the product.

Image from this article on the Stranger Magasine.

The word Marijuana however has a much different history. There are a lot of different theories as to where the name comes from but the word was popularized in English in the early 30’s America. The opponents to the drug used the “foreign” sounding word to scare people and eventually pass the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 which was the first step to making the drug illegal.

Apparently smoking cannabis wasn’t popular in the early 1900’s until refugees from the Mexican revolution brought it into the states. Because of this and the ever present racism, the word was associated with immigrants and used to fuel fear based politics. (so much has changed huh?)

The exact etymology is unknown. Here’s a list of theories:

  • A mash-up of the Spanish names Mary Jane (Marie Juane)
  • Bastardization of the herb Marjoram
  • From the Nahualt word, mallihuan, for Prisoner
  • From the Chinese, ma ren hua, or ‘hemp seed flower’

No matter where the word comes from, it’s a leftover racist term meant to encourage fear and we should stick to cannabis as the proper term.

Did you know any of this? Do you have any theories about the word?

Later Days,

Éric

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Armenia

Recently, Armenia’s historical, cultural, and natural sights were captured in full by 360 degree images. Ucom, an Armenian isp, and 360Stories, a film crew, carried out this massive undertaking. The end result is stunning.

Image from 360armenia.com (site “Sis Fortress 14”)

As I navigated through the images of 360 Great Armenia, I was pleasantly surprised by not only the lack of lag, but by how much I felt like I was playing a video game. (Get on that, developers. We want to find clues or treasure in these VR apps!)

Although I couldn’t find many references to Armenia in popular culture, that is too bad, as this country would be an excellent backdrop for movies. A Bollywood movie was filmed there in summer 2017, and multiple Armenian movies (obviously) have been set in Armenia.

The real reason to visit Armenia is for it’s own sake; it is rich in history, culture, and beautiful scenery. The 360 images only whet the appetite (and you can’t taste the food through a picture!) and you will be begging for more before the end of the VR tour.


Are you interested in travelling to Armenia? You can contact Jennifer Desmarais through Orleans Travel. jennifer.desmarais@orleanstravel.ca

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History, Hero Worship, and Being Problematic

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There has been a lot of talk about taking down monuments and changing names. Mostly this is due to things the people have done that are horrifying.

Removing the name or monuments to these people has been likened to sanitizing our history or hiding the horrors of our past.

The whole debate is complicated by the fact that most of these people have also done good things. So do we let one mistake destroy the legacy of a great historical figure?

Vintage still life. Vintage compass lies on an ancient world map in 1565.

History is a very human practice. It’s not a science and relies on what people wrote down and what they chose to leave out. Walt Disney smoked like a chimney but you’d never know from his pictures at the parks or the official videos. It’s possible that future generations will never know.

To get an idea how much we can confuse and conflate history have a look at this video.

Columbus was a genocidal idiot, yet I bet most people didn’t know that.

History is messy and the moment you start worshiping someone you start ignoring the bad they did. Very few historical figures are perfect and it’s important to remember. If we ignore the bad that historical figures did, we risk repeating it.

We also have to not go too far the other way and forget the good that they have done (not Columbus, he’s horrible). It’s a common practice now to demonize people for things they’ve done or said in their past. It’s important to balance out what people did with how they tried to make amends and how they grew. Just because someone was a dick doesn’t mean they didn’t change.

My Opinion

Having a statue in a public space, having your name on a street or building is an honour. If the historical figure has done something horrible (Genocide, mass murder, slavery, etc) move their statue to a museum with the proper, balanced, historical information. Or take their name off and replace it with something more innocent or someone more worthy. Leave a plaque explaining the old name and why it was changed.

 

Later days,

Éric

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Short Story – Dame Alice Cartwright Vs. The Dark Nation of Automatons

Hi,

I’ve been listening to a bunch of Chap Hop this morning and decided to write the start of a short story.

I’m not sure I like it 100%. It’s very Steampunk and might be over the top. It’s not a genre I’m comfortable with, which is why I wrote it.

Let me know what you think, please.

Éric

Read moreShort Story – Dame Alice Cartwright Vs. The Dark Nation of Automatons

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