Monday, March 17, 2008

Dada = Death = Buckley = Bali = St. Pat's

dada.jpg doane.jpg
Two thoughts on substance abuse for St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally alcohol-soaked as it is:

•William F. Buckley favored drug legalization and once sailed his yacht into international waters to smoke a joint with legal impunity, explaining National Review’s occasionally-mentioned anti-drug-war position, which is not, alas, the default position among conservative politicians.

Buckley, then, might have sympathized with that couple who I mentioned two entries ago who are getting married in Bali: Despite having a fair number of hippie-like Burning Man-attender friends, they feel compelled to remind their wedding guests before travel that Indonesia has the death penalty for illicit drugs.  You can see how that would be a damper on a celebration.

•On a similar note, there was a TV-movie in 1988 about Westerners facing the death penalty for drugs (which are called “dadah” in Malaysia) overseas, with the bizarre result that one day while I was home from college I saw the unusual block-letters-with-no-details one-page ad in the TV Guide that advertised the movie, simply giving its title (with time and plot details on a subsequent page), meaning that for at least a moment the reader just saw the following, writ very large:


And perhaps I’m not the only one who thought, with much greater excitement than any TV-movie could produce, that avant-gardists had bought a one-page ad in TV Guide simply in order to reprint one of the Dada movement’s most famous meaningless art slogans (albeit with an H on the end — but the Dadaists were certainly not averse to weird variant spellings).

That was around the same time Brown deconstructionist film theory professor Mary Ann Doane had a letter published in TV Guide (about sexism or something), and I admit I enjoyed being able to say to a member of Brown’s most notoriously pretentious and Marxist department, Modern Culture and Media: “Hey, saw your letter in TV Guide, professor!”

1 comment:

Garry Sinclair said...

I saw the movie on TV and would love to find a copy.