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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CON, Words, Language, and Books

Hello and Welcome to Thursday,

Today will be a mix of subjects. Feel free to skip the ones you don’t care about.

Creative Ottawa Nerds First Craft Fair

Last Saturday was CON’s first event and I have to say I was impressed. We had over 150 people pass through the hall and most vendors seemed happy with their sales. We managed to raise over $600 for the food bank and something like 4 big boxes of non-perishables.

For a first event it was a success! Yay! That means we’ll try to duplicate and improve on that success. Our next event will be announced sometime in the near future. We just have to lock down dates.

Words

S.M. Carrière knocked it out of the park with this post. Go read it.

It’s a fact that I think we often forget. Words are powerful, they can make us feel and make us act. They’re too often short changed in what they do.

Word Cleaner

Words are powerful. The choice and structure of a sentence is important. I don’t use much profanity in my writing or my life but when I do I do it for a reason. There’s a new app out that that will filter you ebooks and “Clean” them. It’s disgusting. An author uses words for a reason and changing them changes the book.

The website for the App makes it seems like they’re protecting the children but it’s not a few F-bombs that they need to worry about. The truly objectionable things won’t be cleaned by a single word.

Don’t trust an app to clean a book for your kids, read the book and decide for yourself.

Lynda Poitevin has a great post on the subject.

Stories vs Posts

I can knock out a 1000 word story in an hour, maybe an hour and half if it’s a hard story or that annoying middle section. It can take me 2 to 4 hours to write a 500 word post.

Why is that? I think it’s that I can picture and follow a story much easier that a post. A post is supposed to say something that will keep your interest and keep you informed. A story has to keep you entertained.

It gets even worse when I’m stressed. Being stressed means I over analyze and over edit a post. I don’t want to piss off to many people or say something that can be misconstrued.

Books

Do not read an epic fantasy when you’re sick or recovering from a cold. I’m currently reading Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. It is an unforgiving read. If you don’t remember who a character is, he doesn’t remind you. It’s an expansive and intricate book that shows an artistry I can only hope to someday accomplish.

Beta-Reader number 1 for Parasomnia has sent me their changes. It’s absolute torture not to jump into editing it again but I want to finish beta-reading what I have before I jump into it. I should be done the beta-reading I’m doing now by this weekend and then I can start editing Parasomnia for Beta-Reader 2. I’m scared and excited…

 

What have you been up to?

Eric

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