This week I have one social commentary and a few observations stemming from the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Music Festival. First of all, smoking pot is bad for you. At the very least it involves inhaling smoke. That's indisputably unhealthy. At the worst, pot is an addicting substance that dominates your life and short circuits your brain like an iPhone that's been dropped into the porta-potty on Sunday of a three-day rock music festival.
I don't have facts, figures, or evidence for you today. All that exists in these categories has been hashed over so many times that it changes absolutely nobody's mind anymore. I'm just going to say that I have never met a person who seems better for the effort of smoking a moderate amount of pot.
It was funny to see people walking through the crowd at a rock concert handing out advertisements advocating the legalization of marijuana with the slogan, "Make marijuana as legal as alcohol." This, of course, was being done after lots of people were stumbling around under the effects of both.
I'm not sure the comparison of dope to booze worked in their favor under those circumstances. Maybe we do need one substance that we can get legally stupid on, but the one we already have seems to be pretty effective, so why throw another into the mix? The only reason I can think of is because people are tired of waiting in line for outhouses at outdoor concerts.
The most ironically telling sign that legalizing pot is a bad idea is that big-time drug dealers seem to be on board with the idea. It sounds like a copasetic no-brainer, but it's not. Think about it. One of the big arguments for legalizing dope is that this will stop big-time drug dealing and all the bad side effects that come with it. Really? Why then wouldn't big-time drug cartels from south of the border be against the legalization of pot? There is no doubt they have the money, motivation, and organization to fight the effort.
Drug lords from Mexico and beyond see a legal drug trade as a way to expand their illegal drug trade. They aren't suddenly going to revamp under government regulation to cut prices, begin filing paperwork, pay taxes, substitute a comprehensive health benefits plan for violence, or process their product in government-inspected facilities. They're planning to expand their illegal business selling super potent pot when all the new customers get tired of the benign buzz they get from legalized government-approved pot and then line up in the dark alleys to buy from their foot soldiers like they do now.
That's enough on that. As for the Labor Day weekend shows observations: our mayor dances pretty well for a big man. He might have gotten a little carried away when he bent over and shook his bootie to the crowd from the stage during Michael Franti's show, but overall he did all right. I assume Jack Hatfield guarded his blanket while he was onstage. So far, I haven't heard any reports of territorial general admission fighting taking place during the festival. Maybe you can teach old politicians new manners.
Who am I to say, but I think Kid Rock missed the boat in his misguided boycott of iTunes. The guy is super entertaining and almost certainly could do more with his career if any of his work was available at the ubiquitous and monopolistic online music store. He might claim that the forgone extra fame and fortune doesn't matter to him, but it doesn't ring true when he mentions his own name over and over again in almost every song he sings.
Lastly, who says there isn't inflation? A hundred bucks seems like a lot to pay for general admission to an evening of second-tier acts. Add a few beers and dinner to the tab, and the event costs more than dinner with desert at Montagne (or whatever its reincarnation is going to be called this winter) at The Little Nell. But, I paid it without anyone holding a joint to my mouth, so apparently I thought it was fair and this amounts to nothing more than grumbling.
It's only money, right? I hope Jim Horowitz and the event crew can live with this c'est la vie attitude and keep this thing alive. It's been around so long that I take it for granted. If I'm not alone in this, it could spell dooms day for the festival. Let's do what we can to keep it local, cozy and compatible with our future Labor Day barbeques.
Roger Marolt can't stand secondhand smoke of either variety. Call him crazy, but not loco at firstname.lastname@example.org.