Moving Beyond the Norm

Alex Jones built his Infowars brand on conspiratorial thinking and table-pounding rage. This week, we look at the three lawsuits testing whether Jones can sustain his business on lies alone. After the LGBT-rights advocate David Buckel committed suicide in Brooklyn's Prospect Park this past weekend, we review the difficult history of self-immolation and we zoom in on one such incident, in Texas in 2014. Plus, an LSD retrospective, featuring never-before-heard audio from author Ken Kesey's acid-fueled hijinks.  1. Lyrissa Lidsky [@LidskyLidsky], professor at University of Missouri's School of Law, on the legal threats to Alex Jones' conspiratorial media business. Listen
  1. Andrew Poe, professor of political science at Amherst College, on the history of self-immolation. Listen
  2. Michael Hall [@mikehalltexas], executive editor at Texas Monthly, on the life and death of pastor Charles Moore. Listen

4. River Donaghey and Tom Wolfe, Continue reading "Moving Beyond the Norm"

Netflix Celebrates 4/20 by Dropping a Teaser for New Kathy Bates Pot Comedy

Well, this is a pretty great 4/20 gift. Today, Netflix gave us a teaser and a Summer premiere date for its new pot comedy, Disjointed, which stars Kathy Bates. According to Deadline, Bates will play Ruth, the owner of Ruth’s Alternative Caring, a Cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles. The season will be 20 episodes long. The show was created by Chuck Lorre––of Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory, and Mom fame––and former Daily Show head writer David Javerbaum. Disjointed will be available for streaming on August 25th. Watch the teaser above, via Netflix. [featured image via screen grab]

Roger Stone Celebrates 4/20 by Tweeting His Richard Nixon Bong

Bet you didn’t expect this today. Eccentric Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone tweeted on Monday that he was celebrating April 20th, or “4/20,” the unofficial marijuana holiday, with a photo of the Richard Nixon bong he owns: In a video from last year, Stone explained that the bong, which was produced as a parody item during Nixon’s presidency, was part of a collection of political items that he owns, including  Nixon hash pipe. It was hard to tell if he was saying he partakes in marijuana himself, but it seemed like he was intentionally being coy, leaning towards the side that it was just a political collectible to him. This was not the first time Stone has tweeted about the bong; he claimed he had previously gotten offers to buy it, and that reproductions Continue reading "Roger Stone Celebrates 4/20 by Tweeting His Richard Nixon Bong"

Jimmy Kimmel Messes With Paranoid Stoners Watching His 4/20 Show

Jimmy Kimmel knows his audience very well. Just as Jon Stewart used to do during his tenure hosting The Daily Show, Kimmel regularly addresses the fact that his at-home audience is likely baked out of their minds while watching his show. And on Wednesday night’s show — 4/20 — Kimmel made sure to address likely-stoned fans with a special segment that may have left many bugging out at their screens. It’s dangerous to mess with the paranoia level of stoners; injecting visuals from a moving kaleidoscope with the sounds of shrieking may have resulted in at least a few of Kimmel’s kush crowd switching over to Seth Meyers. The Jimmy Kimmel Live host went as far as to convince his blazed subjects that they were responsible for viciously killing the innocent munchies from earlier in the day. “I guess you shouldn’t be smoking, should you? You murderer,” he trippingly Continue reading "Jimmy Kimmel Messes With Paranoid Stoners Watching His 4/20 Show"

Willie Nelson Has a New Song About Marijuana Out Today Because of Course

Think of something that just screams “4/20″ to you. Go ahead, think of the most obvious thing you can. You got it? Well, if you answer was “Willie Nelson releasing a new single that has the word ‘pot’ in the title while also announcing a new strain of marijuana called ‘Willie Weed,’” well, guess what. That happened. The aforementioned song comes to us courtesy of Nelson and Merle Haggard, and it’s literally called “It’s All Going to Pot.” Conan O’Brien‘s site Team Coco debuted the world premiere of the music video today, because of course. And then there’s that whole “Willie Weed” thing. Willie’s Reserve, announced today by the country singer, will sell products in Colorado and Washington (the two states where recreational pot’s legal). Here’s what Nelson had to say about the business:
“I will make sure it’s good or it won’t be on sale. There should be a menu just like in a restaurant because there’s so many different kinds of pot that do many different things. It’s a good idea to have everything labeled for what it does, what it don’t do [and] how powerful it is.”

Nelson also said, “I feel like I bought so much, it’s time to start selling it back!” Happy 4/20, folks. You can watch the music video here, via Team Coco: [h/t Daily Beast]
[image via Tinseltown/Shutterstock] – – Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

How CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Covered 4/20

With marijuana slowly becoming decriminalized across the country and even recreationally legal in two western states, the media is still figuring out exactly how to talk about a former subculture that is turning more and more mainstream. This is apparent nowhere more than the three big cable news networks, which each dedicated exactly one full segment Sunday to the cannabis-themed holiday known simply as 4/20. But as you can see below, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News each had their own unique way of covering the celebrations.


Let’s begin with CNN, which was the first network to bring up the 4/20 holiday during an early morning news block Sunday. But that short tease did not materialize into a full segment until just after 4:20pm Mountain Daylight Time when correspondent Ana Cabrera reported live from Denver’s annual 420 Festival, which got even bigger this year with Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

Surrounded by festival-goers lighting up in Denver’s Civic Center Park, Cabrera reminded viewers that it is still illegal to smoke in public. As she was being nearly drowned out by the screaming crowds, the correspondent cited polls claiming 55% of Americans are now in favor of some form of legalization.

Cabrera spoke to one marijuana business owner in Denver who called 4/20 a “symbol for freedom,” adding, “I think people think we’re all playing some big joke on America, and that’s not what it is. This is progress.”

Watch video below, via CNN


Over on MSNBC, there was an even bigger sense of celebration. Craig Melvin introduced the segment by exclaiming “4/20!” as the words “Pot Holiday” appeared behind him in big bold letters. For its on-the-ground coverage, MSNBC turned to local Denver reporter Steve Spangler, who described this year’s event in Denver as “less a rally, more a festival.”

“It’s really more of a celebration this year than lobbying for something and that’s because recreational pot sales are now legal in Colorado,” Spangler explained to viewers, before predicting that the event could see 100,000 attendees this year. Like CNN’s Cabrera, Spangler reminded anyone watching that it is still illegal to smoke marijuana in public in that state.

As of 3pm, police had written 34 tickets, 22 of which for public consumption. Of course, those who were cited by police only had to pay a fine of about $100 and were not arrested as they would be in most of the country.

“The mood here, people are quite happy, people are celebrating, calling it a movement,” Spangler said, describing the scene around him. “There are some critics to this, but here in the park, people are pretty happy.”

Watch video below, via MSNBC:

Fox News

And what about Fox News? If you were watching that network yesterday, you did not see any reporters on the ground in Colorado capturing the celebratory mood there. Instead, Fox & Friends Sunday’s Clayton Morris used the holiday as an opportunity to discuss a more sinister marijuana-related story, complete with the ominous Chyron headline “Going to pot.”

“Pot smokers in Colorado, check this out, making their 4/20 holiday a mainstream affair now that marijuana is legal in the state,” Morris said Sunday morning. “It’s a day where fans of the drug celebrate by lighting up.”

From there, he brought up recent lawsuits from Colorado drivers who say they are being unfairly targeted by police in others states because of the recreational legalization in their state. “Is license plate profiling a real issue?” Morris asked. “And how are police to know if someone is too high to drive?”

Joining Morris to discuss the issue was former police instructor and current criminal defense attorney Philip Holloway, who said police officers should not be able to pull someone over just based on their license plate. But at the same time, he did defend their right to give Colorado drivers extra scrutiny, which could lead to increased violations for them, whether they have been smoking marijuana or not.

Watch video below, via Fox News:

As you can see, while none of the big three cable news networks gave an outsized amount of coverage to the 4/20 “holiday,” the tone presented by both CNN and MSNBC was markedly different from the one on Fox. While the former pair clearly focused on Colorado’s celebratory attitude towards marijuana legalization and the drug’s move into the mainstream, Fox largely avoided those aspects while honing in on the dangers and stigmas associated with the drug and its legalization.

[photo via screengrab]

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