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August 22, 2012

Generational Differences

News that Mark David Chapman will be considered for parole a seventh time seems like an an appropriate subject to consider because the dominant themes in his assassination of John Lennon and fixation on J.D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield also underscore the insanity of modern America’s war on drugs and its history since the reclusive Salinger came to prominence with his only full-length novel in 1950.

What examinations of thousands of cannabis applicants have quite unexpectedly- but convincingly- revealed is that today's "cannabis industry" didn't begin to grow to its present size until the early Sixties after Baby Boomers had been exposed to Beat Generation authors in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Clearly, their youthful interest in a plant made illegal in 1937 is what led to development of an illegal market under very noses the feds from about 1960 on.

After the Supreme Court struck down the MTA in 1969, it was quickly replaced by an even more arbitrary piece of legislation based on the ridiculous drug "scheduling" concept contrived by John Mitchell and still fiercely defended by the DEA.

The resonance between a disaffected adolescent as personified by Salinger himself, his Holden Caulfield character and Chapman would be as obvious to many as the grotesque mismanagement of Chapman's case by the American legal and psychiatric establishments. Beyond that, Democrats and Republicans will probably see the issue along lines dictated by dogma.

Most Democrats are likely to see it as irrational to confine a mentally ill patient 21 hours a day in a high security prison rather than a secure hospital where he could be managed by medical professionals. The response of the GOP to Chapman's petition will predictably be to "throw away the key;" perhaps with an expression of regret that his trial wasn't followed by speedy Texas style execution.

A further thought: Holden Caulfied was clearly modeled on Pre-Boomer Salinger, who had a distant father and problems succeeding in the expensive prep schools he was sent to; also a marvelous ability to speak directly to troubled youth. Yet he didn't mention marijuana in Catcher. On the other hand, Boomer Chapman, for whom Caulfield was a hero, was abused by his own father and also a high-school toker.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at August 22, 2012 06:53 PM