Saturday, April 21, 2007
Well, I managed to find time this afternoon to briefly swing through the Extravaganja festival for the liberation of pot held this afternoon in Amherst. For the last three years in a row the festival has been all but rained out. Actually, it is held ran or shine, but last year I remember the rain was so bad that I'll bet there wasn't even 25 people in attendance.
It was a much different story today, with the first real spring-like weather of the year, people came out by the hundreds and downtown Amherst was a big car and pedestrian traffic jam. With all the people casually promoting the marijuana cause, it would be easy to forget that marijuana is illegal.
I remember when I first started smoking pot as a teen-ager, my friends and I used to say that one of the things our generation would be sure to do would be to legalize marijuana. It's illegality seemed to us obviously wrong, especially in the face of the legal status of far more dangerous drugs, like alcohol and nicotine. I'm ashamed by the fact that my generation is now pretty much the generation in power, and yet there is the need for rallies like the one this afternoon. I'm ashamed that we didn't do it. Instead, everybody still smokes pot, but because we've got money and are separated from the reality of the people in jail and the lower-classes who are taking all the risks so that we can get high on Saturday night for that extra-hot sex in our expensive homes, and without a hint of guilt that we haven't put anything on the line for the small but serious push that is all that it would take to get it legalized.
There were bands playing all day. Here is the one that was performing when I was there. They were pretty good but I never got their name.
It wasn't just people who came to the pot festival. Numerous dogs were in attendance as well.
I used to have a friend who regularly got his dog high. Some people used to complain that it was cruel to get a dog high, but the dog itself seemed to disagree. Every time he'd hear that bong water bubbling, he would come running up barking and wagging his tail for a hit, and would not stop until he got one. I forgot what the dog's real name was, but everybody called it "The Smokehound."
The Extravaganja wasn't all about explorers of innerspace. The Amherst Astronomy Club was there promoting outer space as well, with telescopes with special lenses that let you look at the sun.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Libertarian Party had a display booth. They are the only national party to advocate the full legalization of marijuana. Unfortunately, they never get above one or two percent of the vote in the presidential elections.
The biggest part of the festival was devoted to tents selling stoner related products as well as munchies.
Ken Kesey said, "First they resist your revolution. Then they sell it to you."
With all the attention given to Bicycle/420 day celebrations, no one gave much notice to the fact that it was Earth Day. However, as this sign shows, UMass did make an effort.
The impressive display was of this car that runs on vegetable oil. It is through innovations like these, taking place in the realm of science, not politics, that the solution to our energy and climate problems are to be found. Scientists, full speed ahead! Politicians, get the hell out of the way!
Finally, continuing to promote the local talent, here's Bo Burnham's latest recording from his bedroom in his parent's house. Watch this kid, he's going places.