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Thread: K-Punk on Weed!!

  1. #1
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    Default K-Punk on Weed!!

    k-punk.abstractdynamics.org

    i don't endorse weed hehe! i think its bad, just look at me.
    but its good to see mark lashing out, still a few debased, gutter traits in that purified gnostic mind!
    any thoughts (leaving aside the fact that marks never smoked, lets not get stuck on the details)
    he hasn't left a space for comments in the post so i thought i'd make a comments box here.

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    incidently to answer marks question
    whats good about cannabis?

    well, reality is painful, thinking is painful, emotions are painful. smoking means you don't feel anything. it tranquilises you so you don't have to think, don't have to feel, don't have to be involved. its a way of saying, look, fuck off, i don't give a shit, i don't want to know.

    mark says it makes people babble senselessly, some people do. not me. i don't say anything. i can't. talking becomes impossible.

    some people find it makes them paranoid, or intensifies their appreciation of music, or frees up associative thinking, but i'm a long time regular smoker, it doesn't do any of that stuff to me, hasn't done sine i was a teenager, now i use it as a tranquiliser. i get bored, i get frustrated, i get angry, i get mopey, the easiest answer is get zooted.

    (i do wish mark would stop claiming that any behaviour he disapproves of is helping to maintain 'Kapitalism' and everything he aproves of is a revolutionary act. it's, well, you know, its just silly)

    in summary then, although mark is confused on some of the details, having never indulged, i think the overall thrust of the argument is more right than wrong. its not good to be lean the whole time. nor is it good to be a hectoring, self-righteous eternal student, institutionalised to the point of not being able to think a thought before reading it in one of the approved texts, but thats a whole nother debate...
    Last edited by luka; 03-12-2004 at 10:20 AM.

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    one simple, empirical, scientific point blows that whole thesis out of the water. smoking weed does not "make you male" (and what's with the all the anti-masculine pathology, anyway?).

    take this bitesize summary for example: "In human males, cannabis smoking has been shown to decrease blood levels of the three hormones LH, FSH, and testosterone. Moreover, an increased incidence of low sperm count has been reported in men who were heavy marijuana smokers. Acute THC treatment produces a consistent and significant dose- and time-related decrease in LH and testosterone levels in male rodents. In the male rhesus monkey, an acute dose of THC produced a 65% reduction in blood testosterone levels by 60 min of treatment that lasted for approximately 24 hrs."

    so, smoking actually makes you FEMALE!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by stelfox
    so, smoking actually makes you FEMALE!!!
    I'm fairly sure that the term 'male' used in this context doesn't mean literally male in a biological sense. Mark isn't saying that marijuana makes you sprout balls or hurry up your sperm. His elaboration of the sense of 'male' in this context is: "Self-satisfied, concerned only with yourself, unable to care about others even if you wanted to". In other words, 'male'/'female' designate sets of behaviour and social norms. Ideal social conceptions of gender roles. It's not a claim that all men in the biological sense are remote-happy apes, either.

    Or, to put it another way: lack of testosterone does not a woman make. Quite a lot of later feminist theory has concerned itself with the way in which 'woman' is defined through lack: of a phallus, of rationality... It's a manifestation of the post-structuralist concern with pointing out the way in which binaries are constituted only by defining the privileged term ('man') against the second term ('woman'), so that the qualities of the second are nothing more than negations of the first (women are not aggressive, hairy, intellectual, hard...) with no positive attributes of their own. De Beauvoir talks about it, as do Helene Cixous, Irigaray, and many others. It's a fairly prominent concern, as can be seen even from the titles of the more well-known works: Beauvoir's The Second Sex, Irigaray's "This Sex Which is Not One". Not that I want to get too didactic about it, but it is interesting to note how your comment about testosterone fits into the logic of the above:

    "man - testosterone = woman"

    And as regards what you call 'anti-male pathology', these 'attacks' fit within the wider scope of Mark's positions against stereotypical, hegemonic male/female behaviour... The all-encompassing term for the logic of the latter slips my mind at the moment, though it's got plenty of tags - heterosexism, phallogocentrism... It's hardly pathological, in other words: it's a political position. It's not anti-male, it's against the dominant conception of the way in which sexual identity is constituted. Which I for one think is a fair target

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    I think the "Chronic" piece is good so far as it goes, but I think the last paragraph, if expanded upon, could swallow the entire piece . . . . Certainly there have been many "creative" individuals, in the 20th Century, who smoked marijuana or hash on a daily basis. Louis Armstrong, the whole of jazz. Jungle music! Tricky. Wu-Tang (although I've never been a fan of the Wu -- and a stoner roommate of mine drives me to the brink by constantly playing Wu Tang). And not just musicians. Writers, poets. Foucault . . . . Were all these people "chronically demotivated, lethargic, filled with idiot porcine self-satisfaction"? That is, if Weed is the bane of restless/creative desire, how to account for all the artists and creative scenes high on the demon weed?

    MOREOVER, if weed substitutes stupefication for tension, how to account for the high anxiety of jazz, the jittery rhythms of jungle??? Perhaps with reference to other drugs? Heroin for jazz, speedy Es for the breakbeat hardcore rhythms out of which jungle emerged???

    As for K-Punk's remark "that only those dissatisfied with life want to READ and THINK," this seems the more compelling argument. Though I may well be ignorant of the facts, I know of no thinker or writer of great conceptual power and/or clarity who smoked weed on a regular basis. That is, I believe Foucault smoked weed only on occasion. What about Burroughs? . . . . So perhaps weed jives with musical and artistic creativity, but not with serious thinking and conceptual power

    I personally have never much cared for marijuana or hash. Have rarely turned it down, but also have never paid a dime for the stuff . . . . . And when a vice is not one's own, and poses no temptation, it's easy to feel righteous . . . . I often detest stoners . . . . And as for the "aggressiveness" of stoners, I think K-Punk is right on the mark in describing how "irrascible, irritable and bad tempered" they become when their "right to pleasure" is under threat of interference

    And, as with the phenomenon of "cool," whether weed strikes us as good or bad has got a lot to do with the race of those who smoke it . . . . Marijuana may be integral to disciplined Rasta culture, but secular Blacks are pretty much like secular Whites. Their daily lives are not that much different. Yet it's against White weed-smokers that K-Punk, correctly it seems, directs his ire . . . . Why is this? Is it because Blacks, for a host of reasons, are less prone to becoming "self satisfied" than are middle-class Whites? Or is this too kind to Blacks? Too patronizing?

    Also, if marijuana kills tension and promotes easy self-satisfaction, what about other drugs?

    Are cocaine and crystal meth too hard on the nerves?

    Is ecstasy too hard on the mood-center, and in any case "revelatory" in its effects, and, further, not suitable for everyday use (though I know people who *claim* to have used it on a daily basis way back when)? Same with mushrooms.

    Are other drugs TOO HARD or TOO INTENSE to be bad, and marijuana bad because so EASY?
    Last edited by dominic; 03-12-2004 at 11:42 AM.

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    well, when we're using biological terms such as male and female, it's best to formulate a cogent scientific thread to back up the theory - y'know, develop some kind of consistency, otherwise don't bother.
    i personally do not believe that male and female psychological make-up differs much if you discount social conditioning and the influence of these chemicals on brain function.
    therefore maleness IS defined by testosterone. anything which depletes this basic building block of maleness *actively emasculates* the subject. no matter how many words you throw at it, this is pure, *rational* fact.
    mark likes to view human beings as machines, therefore the compounds that drive the machine i would have thought were of primary importance - far more important than, say, traditional ideas of gender identity (which are apparently bad conventions that we should all abandon, anyway, but are still used extensively to justify these points).
    i was obviously being reductive when i said that lack of testosterone turns a man into a woman, but it certainly and absolutely makes a male *less male*. this is a fundamental error and one that can't be talked around. any attempt to just exhibits mark's latest positions for the random game of theoretical pick-up-sticks that they have been.
    Last edited by stelfox; 03-12-2004 at 12:32 PM.

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    well, no one's ever done anything of cultural worth under the influence of marijuana if you discount all dancehall, all hip-hop, anything from the hardcore continuum (particularly jungle grime and dubstep), jazz, blues.....

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    for what its worth a smoker could write a piece on the faults of non-smokers, and that would be fairly convincing too. there tends to be a rigidity in their thought, an underdeveloped sense of self-awareness, a tendency to literalism and lack of perspective. they tend to block out the outside world, theres a narrowness of perception, they don't hear birdsong or see crickets in the grass, empathy and insight tend to be in short supply, imagination is a foreign territory and they can be pretty boring to be around.

    hmm, just to elaborate on that last point, boring not becuase smoking makes you interesting, but boring becuase people who are into strict self-policing, (no this, no that, no loss of self-control, oh horrorr of horrorrs) tend to be dull, predictbale and lacking in charisma or a sense of fun.

    its not good to be addicted to skunk but its not good to be a robot either.
    Last edited by luka; 03-12-2004 at 12:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stelfox
    therefore maleness IS defined by testosterone. anything which depletes this basic building block of maleness *actively emasculates* the subject, no matter how many words you throw at it, and is a metter of pure, *rational* fact.
    Well, hats off to you for resolving the age-old philosophical dilemma, of just what is Nature and what is Nurture. No, really.

    well, when we're using biological terms such as male and female, it's best to formulate a cogent scientific thread to back up the theory
    And what makes you think that we are using purely biological terms here? Biological conceptions of gender are damn near impossible to free from cultural valences. Just look at the terminology that you use: you equate 'less male' with 'female'. This is something that Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (a feminist/queer theorist) highlights, when she asks "Genders--insofar as there are two and they are defined in contradistinction to one another--may be said to be opposite; but in what sense is XX the opposite of XY?" In other words, I think it's wise to be a little more sensitive when terms like 'male', 'female', 'feminine', 'masculine', 'sex' are thrown around... They're slipperier than you'd think Our conception of our body is saturated with 'cultural' input, after all.

    mark likes to view human beings as machines, therefore the compounds that drive the machine i would have thought were of primary importance
    Sure, Mark talks about machines, but that does not mean that he is not talking about social conditioning (though he talks about other things as well - as I understand it, 'machine' in Deleuze and Guattari's sense is not figurative). I think his frequently-displayed concern with ideology illustrates this point nicely.

    this is a fundamental error and one that can't be talked around. any attempt to just exhibits mark's latest positions for the random game of theoretical pick-up-sticks that they have been.
    With all due respect, I think this is the most arrogant thing that I have read for the last 24 hours. For starters, your own argument is hardly what I would call watertight. It strikes me, even though I don't necessarily agree with everything that he says, that Mark's position is a considered one, formulated from quite a lot of reading and research. It's quite astounding - though unfortunately not all that unusual - to read of your apparent belief that merely holding aloft the talisman of 'Biological Facts' allows you to "blow Mark's thesis out of the water".

    I don't understand why it is that people persist with this caricaturing theory as being nothing more than an exercise in pulling philosophers' names out of a hat. If I were to browse a medical journal, I wouldn't point at all the unfamiliar medical terms and claim that these charlatans were just making up funny-sounding words to sound superior... Why would you think that 'high-level' social theory and philosophy would be any different? If these things were as simple as you make out, then this mountain of philosophical writing wouldn't have grown up over the years...

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    &catherine, i think the general point seems to be that rather than clarifying or elucidating the points made, slapping in fistfulls on PoMo theory suggests that you are trying to baffle people. there does seem to be a growing conflict between 'critical theorists' and 'others' here, but you seem to be very quick to talk down to people.

    btw, comparing social theorists/ philosophers to medics is the most arrogant thing i've read in the past 24 hrs.


    smoking is very nice too. and doesn't make you stupid etc.

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    if you're going to judge the tree by its fruit doctors can at least point to cured patients its true.

    i thought catherine was making sense till that last bizzare paragraph though. i think she does a good job of elucidating marks convulted thought processes.

  12. #12
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    G A Cohen, who is the top boy of social and political theory at Oxford, and is one of the 'big three' of contemporary left-liberal political philosophy [the others being Rawls and Ronald Dworkin] smokes weed like a trooper, my old tutor told me.

    not to say that's a reason to smoke of course. but just to answer someone's query above about whether there was any major intellectual figure who was well into his/her zoots.



    my tuppence worth: all drugs are pretty awful if you do them lots. most drugs are pretty excellent if you do them occasionally.

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    With all due respect, I think this is the most arrogant thing that I have read for the last 24 hours.

    oh i can get much worse, trust me.
    if you read my response, i mentioned both nature and nurture (fuck me, that psych module really has come in useful after all).
    and i'm not dismissing theory altogether. i have even been known to employ it myself on occasion, but this endless circle-jerk of quoting deleuze, zizek et al to address what is essentially a personal beef strikes me as somewhat pathetic (it's a complete waste of valuable learning and intellectual energy, not to mention more passive-aggressive than even the most irritable spacehead).
    and, yes, science is fundamentally theory, but it's theory based on research, concrete data and logic. i'm seeing fuck all of that here, just precisely as you said catherine, pulling names out of hats.
    (btw, i HATE smoking. it generally puts me in a bad mood - just not quite as much as this kind of codswallop.)
    Last edited by stelfox; 03-12-2004 at 02:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by &catherine
    I don't understand why it is that people persist with this caricaturing theory as being nothing more than an exercise in pulling philosophers' names out of a hat. If I were to browse a medical journal, I wouldn't point at all the unfamiliar medical terms and claim that these charlatans were just making up funny-sounding words to sound superior...
    they don't make them up but often the medical profession does exactly that...i dislocated my hip a couple of years ago & overheard my consultant talking to my nurse (on the NHS) saying that there was a chance of avascular necrosis...if i hadn't interrupted them & said is that something to do with blood & death i have no reason to think they would have told me...the consultant in question clearly relished his ability to make use of terminology that is anything but clear to the layman...power tripping wanker

    that irrelevance aside i do think that this ranting about pot smoking is essentially bollocks...why does everyone get so exercised about it? k-punk's attitude of superiority seems anything but rational...if someone wants to enhance/destroy their perceptions (obviously depending on pov) why should they not be permitted to? it is hardly a kapital konspiracy to pacify populations...clearly stirs things up though...

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    Matt B - "slapping in fistfulls on PoMo theory suggests that you are trying to baffle people"

    Without a doubt, I agree. Ideally, theory is a tool used for insight, not mysticification, and I can't claim that my usage of it always (or even often) reaches the latter level. I guess this is the difficulty of writing in a forum where contributors have vastly differing levels of knowledge about theory. Even so, I think it is fair to assume that when responding to posts and threads that concern themselves with or are related to theory, that some specialised knowledge can be used. After all, I don't get grumpy when genres and artists that I've never heard of are discussed in the 'Music' forum.

    In any case, I don't think mark k-punk's writing falls into the category of 'random PoMo philosopher rattle-off'. Sure, it uses theory that I've never heard of in my two years or so of reading the stuff ('lemurian' anyone?), but there are always ways around it - namely, looking up the references, and judging Mark's usage of them from there.

    And while arrogance is honestly the last thing that I wanted to assume, some of stelfox's comments really did get my goat. Not that this is much defense, but yes.

    Luka - if the last paragraph seemed a bit off, perhaps it's because it wasn't aimed so specifically at the topic of 'marijuana and maleness', but rather at stelfox's parting salvo, calling k-punk's writing a "random game of theoretical pick-up-sticks". Perhaps it was a bit hasty to slide from this to the more general phenomenon of knee-jerk reaction against the use of unfamiliar theory, but that was the context in which I made the comment.

    Incidentally, I wasn't talking about practising doctors so much (obviously, the analogy between these and philosophers is not a very straightforward one), but rather medical researchers. My point was merely that people who read a lot in a certain field have more knowledge of it than those who don't, and that just because the terms of reference are unfamiliar, it does not automatically mean that the discussion is all babble for the purposes of mystifying. Of course, you could object to this and point out that this is not a specialised journal or a forum just for critical theory or what-have-you. But I hope you'll agree that it is difficult to strike the right balance in tone sometimes.

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