"Lawrence Downes wrote the lead editorial on Colorado’s experiment in marijuana legalization. We asked about the trip he took to research the issue".
Spending a week looking at Colorado through a marijuana lens had an odd effect. Somehow it made me lose my alcohol goggles, the ones that make you blind to the ubiquity of liquor in the culture at large. Ours is a booze-soaked country, there’s no denying.
The song [“Okie From Muskogee”] long ago lost its counter-counter-cultural punch, but whether Mr. Haggard was being all satiric or truly in earnest, I have never heard any hidden meaning or irony in his matter-of-fact refrain about what Okies consider “the biggest thrill of all” — getting drunk on grain alcohol.
Inside the lovely Art Deco Paramount theater, where the seats have cup holders, audience members [at a Haggard concert] raised high their Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys and sang along. The song was a perfect summation of incoherence of the American drug war, with its prim rejection of one relatively benign herbal drug, and affection bordering on reverence for a wretchedly damaging liquid one.
It was an accidental anthem for legalization, and we knew all the words by heart.