I even got some study done. One of the problems I'm having with this course is that my study in lectures (modernity, enlightenment, revolutions, Weber, Marx, Durkheim, gender, ethnicity, class, personal/social, local/global, difference/division etc) bears little to no resemblance to my essay topic, which is whether or not NZ is a settler society. Oh yes, I can see how I can apply these things to it, but it's a false-feeling construction to do so. Mostly, I'm looking at history, and struggling to drop the buzzwords in while retaining context. Grr.
Anyway, I'm right on track. My essay is due next Friday, this weekend's the one where I do my Splurge Of Words, so today is about the right day for me to be going "This topic is too complicated! I should choose a different one!" Hehe.
A while ago, I posted about how I wanted to study the Opium Wars, because I was pretty sure they had something to do with the development of the International Opium Convention, 1925 (Paris), later updated to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961 - which is, essentially, the international agreement from which most UN countries develop their drug law.
Anyway, Mr Anonymous was curious as to the connection, because the Opium Wars happened quite a long time prior to said Convention. At the time all I could say was "I've seen it around somewhere." But now, I have a slightly stronger connection, as follows:
"While liquor laws differ widely from country to country, the modern system of laws against cocaine and the opiates have been established by international convention. These arrangements evolved out of the measures taken to help imperial China with its opium problem, which was regarded, at least in part, as a foreign responsibility arising out of the vast quantities of Indian opium which had been imported by foreigners into China throughout the nineteenth centrury, often in questionable circumstances. The behaviour of the opium merchants and their governments seemed all the more reprehensible because of the encouragement which it gave to the Chinese to break their own government's laws against opium-smoking and poppy cultivation. The first International Opium Commission met in Shanghai in 1909 and passed a number of resolutions to help China; it also laid down principles of cooperation between producting and consuming countries which tended logically to expand in scope and force, leading to a global system of control of all narcotic substances, and to the institutionalisation of these arrangements under the United Nations."
Newman, R.K. (1995) "Opium-Smoking in Late Imperial China: A Reconsideration" in "Modern Asian Studies" (journal) 29:2; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
So there you go.
Also, I've been reading the Howard Marks Book of Dope Stories - a series of essays, paragraphs, stories and excerpts loosely gathered around the topic of recreational substances. I love his juxtaposition. Here's an example:
"Those who are accustomed to habitual use of the drug are said eventually to develop a delirious rage after its administration, during which they are temporarily, at least, irreponsible and prone to commit violent crimes.... a gang of boys tear the clothes from two schoolgirls and rape the screaming girls, one after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida; a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado a husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been preceded by the smoking of one or two marijuana reefers." (The Murderers, 1961)
"The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one." - Adolf Hitler
Heh. I find it interesting that a lot of the anti-marijuana propaganda was published with horror stories of white girls being 'corrupted' by black men. There's a long article from the Daily Mirror that brings up case study after case study - visiting clubs where there are 6 white men, 28 black men and 30 white girls gyrating in various states of undress, shops in which 'coloured' people give away marijuana to teenage white girls to get them 'hooked', white girls running away with black men and later having to be forcibly removed from squalor... the list goes on.
OH NOES! MARIJUANA COMPROMISES THE PURITY OF OUR SUPERIOR WHITENESS BY CAUSING OUR DAUGHTERS TO ASSOCIATE WITH THOSE DIRTY BLACKS!
It gobsmacks me that that was one of the reasons so many lies were told about this substance, laws were made, non-violent pot smokers imprisoned, god knows how many dollars of taxpayer money spent busting and prosecuting growers and users alike... ethnic fear. The white people being scared of the black people, afraid of who knows what, and not wanting their kids to hang out with them.
Anyway, Mum, t_c_da, missprune.. there are a few others who read this who were possibly around when this kind of propaganda was prevalent. I'm wondering if you'd be willing to share the kind of thing you were told about marijuana.
In fact, never mind your age.. what did your parents/teachers/The Government/whoever tell you about marijuana growing up?
My Dad told me he'd smoked hashish in Turkey, and that he preferred Cypriot ouzo. My school told me that if I smoked marijuana, it'd lead to heroin addiction and I'd end up like the girl in Go Ask Alice with maggots eating my vagina. Mmm.... The cops that came to our school told me that marijuana would make me a loser and that I risked all sorts of legal problems if I used it. But not once did I get told I'd run off with a black man and that that was the worst fate that could happen to me.
So.. what did they tell you?
PS the sun's out! RAH! And yesterday I did some long-awaited repairs - in fact my pile of sewing repairs is now zero, and I only have new stuff to make. And, my purple dress is back in action. Oh purple dress, I've missed you so...