Friday, August 4, 2017

Is Marijuana Tourism The Next Big Thing?

Winning Poster "My School Loo" Citywide Contest (5803712104)
Flipping through my iphone the other day I came across a news item that stopped me dead in my tracks:
A marijuana company purchased an entire town in order to turn it into a "marijuana-friendly" destination.
Dial back the speedometer forty years and imagine all the jumping up and down and shrieking with joy. Cool! No more sneaking around and wearing sunglasses at night (red eyes) or worrying that your Mom might accidentally scarf down all the special brownies before a board meeting. An entire destination! Stoner heaven, right?
But then, with another swipe I was immersed in a very depressing analysis of the impact of all that screentime on kids. They don't go out anymore, the author explained. Don't drink. Don't drive. Don't party. Don't have sex. Don't sneak around at all hours doing God knows what. They don't even leave their bedrooms. An entire generation whose social life takes place on their phones, posting photos and clicking on "like".
For God's sake, one exasperated teen replied, decide what you want! You spend all your time warning us we're going to get kidnapped, or paralyzed in a car accident, or riddled with disease if we so much as open a window, and now you're worried about us because we're staying in our beds under the covers with nothing more lethal than a phone?
I could see her point. And yet, I remember (fade into sepia) hanging with my friends, physical bodies bursting with adolescent imperfections which had not yet developed into adult imperfections or, even better, old people imperfections, talking about this or that, laughing, sneaking a beer or a joint, roaming aimlessly, going swimming in rivers with no supervision, camping in forests, in deserts, in friends' guesthouses, spending days at the beach, the ice skating rink, walking the city, the canal, the roads at night, stepping onto the soft shoulder of the road to avoid an oncoming car, cruising, going to stupid sports events and laughing and cheering, and hanging out, on a living room sofa, in a kitchen, in a bedroom, in a backyard, on a porch, in a pool, just hanging out, talking or saying nothing, joking or arguing, just passing the time in the warmth of each other's company like kittens, and taking some undefinable pleasure in it, and I felt sorry for the girl, that she would, it is true, know none of that.
How is it possible, I wonder, that anyone believes in progress anymore? There used to be such a thing, sure. Dying in childbirth at 16 is, in the USA, a thing of the past, thanks to advances in all kinds of areas. Or, to be more exact, it used to be a thing of the past, all bets being off for the future, given that current focus seems to be more on engineering more "likes" than actual physical health. The depressing study concludes that the more time teens spent on screens the less happy they were, that kids were sleeping with their phones, harassed, in a never ending marketing effort of their own selves.
Remember the tamagotchi?  It was a "handheld digital pet" that idiot parents gave to their small children because it was heavily marketed and everyone had to have one, the attraction of which was that it enslaved the recipient by demanding to be fed, or changed or read to or some such nonsense (nonsense because it was not a live thing but an electronic toy) and if the child failed at some point to take care of it, the little tamagotchi declared that it had died.
That, my friends, was the thin edge of the wedge.
Now these tiny electronic death happen millions of times a day: each time a photo posted on social media is not "liked". I'm amazed Disney hasn't made a classic animated film about this yet (the tweet, lifeless in the rain).
I swipe back to the marijuana resort story and wonder: was this our dream? Will the new generation appreciate it? Will they allow cell phones?

- by Jim Carnes August 4, 2017 Los Angeles

(photo credit:  SuSanA Secretariat [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

see also:
A marijuana company has bought a California ghost town to turn it into a pot-tourism destination by Melia Robinson 3 Aug 2017 Tech Insider from Business Insider

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? by  Jean M Twenge The Atlantic Monthly Sep 2017