John Hardin / @ 6:46 a.m. / Op-Ed

HARDIN: It Ain’t Art


I picked up the latest issue of The Emerald because I saw that it was labeled “The Art Issue.” I usually don’t bother with The Emerald, because there’s so little to it besides ads for weed, next to superfluous hype about the advertised weed. I love weed, but all by itself it’s really boring. I don’t want to look at pictures of weed any more than I want to look at pictures of aspirin tablets when I have a headache, but hey, if they are covering our local art scene, even with a weedy theme, I’ll take a look.

I should have known better, just by looking at the cover. The antique cut glass vase-turned-bong barely rises to the level of craft. There’s no art there at all. The same goes for all of the cannabis products horribly mislabeled as “art” in the magazine. I don’t care how much pride you take in your product, a bud of cannabis or a blob of oil is not a work of art, no matter how many layers of excessive packaging you wrap around it.

Packaging an eighth of an ounce of weed in a fancy jewelry box with the name of your company in gold letters and charging $55 dollars for it doesn’t make you an artist; it makes you a douchebag. I don’t pay that kind of bread for weed unless the grower and the distributor both face mandatory five-year minimum prison sentences for the crime, because they fucking deserve it.

It’s just pot. It’s not an engagement ring. You will incinerate the product, in a matter of days, if not hours. You don’t need a fancy box to keep it for posterity. If you buy this thing, you’ll smoke the weed, but then you’ll have this stupid box that you didn’t want, with someone else’s name on it, which you will then feel responsible for. You’ll hesitate to throw it away, because it’s such a needless waste, so it will sit there, on your table, reminding you of the time you spent $55 for a nickle bag of weed. You’ll never find anything else to do with it, except put more weed into it — so congratulations, you just bought the cheesiest $50 nug-jug on the planet.

A joint does not count as a work of art, either. Putting a joint inside of a plastic tube with a plastic stopper does not make it work of art, and putting three of them in a colorful box doesn’t make anything but a shameful pile of garbage that stands as a monument to the so-called “artist’s” complete lack of respect for the natural world. “You know, I sure do like this marijuana stuff, but I just wish it came wrapped in a lot more useless non-biodegradable packaging,” said no marijuana consumer, ever.

If the pot in those joints doesn’t get you high enough that you become filled with regret for your role in trashing the planet with all of that packaging, it must not be very good pot. Then again, if you don’t already feel like a sucker for spending $20 for three joints, your brain might not function well enough to get that high. Either way, I stopped picking up The Emerald because of exactly this kind of stupidity.

Calling these insults to nature “art” demeans the term and insults artists everywhere. It reveals just how crass and myopic the drug dealers who make up this industry really are. There is no level of hyperbole that is off-limits to them in their ongoing quest to glorify themselves and their product while continuing to rip off cannabis consumers. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but the same magazine reviewed a strain of weed called “BC God Bud.” I love weed, but I don’t worship it.

I know that dope yuppies have a grossly inflated view of themselves and their product, just from living around here and talking to them, but seeing this kind of BS translated into ridiculous products with even more ridiculous advertising copy just nauseates me. Thankfully, I’ve got medicine for that.

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John Hardin writes at Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do.


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