fergusonIThe images coming out the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, ignited in protests since a white cop shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown 10 days ago, are eerily echoing the kind of photos we associate with the Deep South in the years leading up to the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago.

Civil rights protestors are attacked with a water cannon.ferguson5

This time around, it’s a little different. We are a nation led by a black man, in spite of the kicking and screaming of less than half the electorate (and probably half of those who could vote but were not uninterested enough to bother). We also have become a global society where the image – delivered in nanoseconds via Twitter, Facebook or any of the thousands of online news sites – enables us to see the bigger picture without reading any of the facts.

If you want facts, click here (as of Tuesday morning August 19).

More will be forthcoming, no doubt. In the interim, the pictures will continue to flood our feeds and Americans (and the rest of the world) will continue to draw conclusions and wonder. Why, 50 years after the Civil Rights Act is racial unrest still a problem in America? Will Ferguson finally be the end of it? Could social media and online coverage as well as instantaneous (and nearly constant) imagery play a healing role? Or will it just fan the flames more glaringly?

Image credits: St. Louis Post-Dispatch cover by David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Civil rights water cannon, 1963 by Getty Images; Police fire device at protestors by Jeff Roberson, AP.

Just Say Know

leaflyWhodathunk former First Lady Nancy Reagan would live to see her famous anti-drug message turned on its head? Last Sunday, U.S. paper of record the New York Times ran an ad for Leafly, a website and mobile app that lets users research strains of cannabis and dispensaries in the U.S. and Canada.

Mrs. Reagan (now 93 years old) made curbing drug abuse her cause during the 1980s with the ballyhooed campaign tagline, “Just Say No.” Effective as it was to scare a generation of third graders away from the evils of crack, marijuana, too, fell under the veil of dangerous, addictive and life-ruining.


Fast forward 25 years and marijuana’s makeover is nearly complete. Having helped a legions of adults deal with the evils of chemotherapy and wasting illnesses, few believe it should be denied terminally ill patients. A majority of Americans (54%) now favor its legalization across the board, with two states – Colorado and Washington – one-upping medical use and leading the charge in making marijuana available for recreational purposes.

It was then only a matter of time until some advertising whiz got a hold of “Just Say No” and changed it to “Just Say Know.” That advertising whiz was hired by Leafly to create an ad demonstrating why it’s important and useful to know which strain of marijuana, in which form (flower? edible? oil?) and from which nearby dispensary will be best for you and your symptoms.

Symptoms now range well beyond nausea and pain, to anxiety, insomnia, stress and writer’s block. To remedy these conditions, strains need to be listed in ways that are more creative than a microbrewery and less pretentious than a winery. Alaskan Thunder Fuck, anybody?

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Why Cannabis Company Leafly Bought a Full-Page Ad in the New York Times” 

 Image Source: Leafly