Caitlin Donohue, San Francisco Bay Guardian - We have to be careful about how we are documenting marijuana. If we aren't, future generations might be forgiven for thinking that cannabis culture occurred solely in courtrooms and during federal raids. After all, when do you read an account of a really great high, or the everyday reality of scoring from a dealer (and not going to jail for it, natch) off the pages of High Times?
For that reason alone — cultural documentation — alt-legend, Merry Prankster, and co-founder of the Yippie movement Paul Krassner must be commended for compiling Pot Stories for the Soul. Krassner, who will be remembered by those older than I for his work with adult satire magazine The Realist, tapped 250 of his friends for their best cannabis stories. Results range from Mark Mothersbaugh's tale of Devo's Virgin Records-sponsored trip to Jamaica, to Kate Coleman's account of working as Newsweek's resident freak advisor and dealer in the mid-1960s, to random paragraph-long stoney-baloney kneeslappers. There's also entire chapters devoted to anecdotes regarding Ken Kesey, Disneyland, and the illustrative writings of Krassner himself.
For those of us for whom life has moved past (or began after) the '60s — when most of the tales take place — this book will read as a fascinating relic from a time gone by. Who among the publicly-traded Facebook generation is familiar with the hippie banana smoking craze or the 30,000 joints covertly mailed to New Yorkers on Valentine's Day 1969 by Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies, packaged with helpful facts about marijuana drug studies and the tip that "you've had enough when you feel kind of nice and mellow"? It makes me wonder about what stories this generation will tell about our various bonehead moves and daring feats of activism.
Among his numerous other virtues, Paul Krassner was a longtime contributor to the print version of the Progressive Review