Thursday, October 02, 2003

And for those who don't know me, I have always thought there was one enemy - Stupidity [see Stupid White Men - Michael Moore] and only one 'god' - Intelligence.

My current rage is triggered by being told about Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils, and their beneficial effect on dyslexia. I have been aware of these oils for a while (it was a fad of the 80s) because being a lifelong vegetarian I have always been aware of possible gaps in my nutrition. I do the research. I didn't want to take Cod Liver Oil, though, even though people said it was essential. If you're a veggie that product couldn't really have a worse name! And I didn't even care if George Bernard Shaw (a veggie convert) took it as a supplement. I would rather die...(I used to say). I also used to point out Gorillas and Elephants if people thought veggies wouldn't grow up big and strong!

Anyway - the anger is not about our resistance to knowledge - a certain caution is wise when faced with fads (even doctors' fads) - no, it's the recurring one about hemp. How a futile attempt to stop people smoking marijuana caused the whole hemp industry to disappear - and more scary than that, to be written out of the history books. Check out books on wild plants in the UK. Most of them don't even list it, or just (maybe) mention it in the preface, and that cultivating it is illegal - it's a natural weed, for goodness sake - it doesn't need cultivating. It was the 'canvas' (cannabis) on the British Empire's sailing ships, as well as all the (hemp) ropes. It was food, fuel, clothing, etc.

Try The Emperor Wears No Clothes if you want all the facts. The short version, however, is that hemp is one of the few plants that has complete and balanced Omega 3 and 6 oils in it. It predates wheat as a food source for humans and animals. And you can buy hemp oil in Sainsbury's these days, so it's not exactly an obscure product. Flax is good, too.

Anyway, now that we are coming out of the era where hemp was air-brushed out of history (and Jack Herer puts a convincing case for opportunism on the behalf of the cotton industry (USA) and the pharmaceutical firm DuPont (USA) - who make fertilizers and pesticides and tranquilizers and nylon. Those corporations jumped in when a hick town sheriff with his 'Alcohol Prohibition department' in place didn't know what to do to avoid unemployment after they legalised alcohol again, and simply redirected his department's attention to the (then legal) pastime of the blacks and mexicans (and quite a lot of people in Hollywood and the jazz and blues sub-cultures).

Harry J Anslinger banned 'marryjewanna' one day, and all the American hemp farmers woke up the next day to find their hemp crops (for oil, livestock food, rope, canvas, etc) were suddenly illegal because Harry was too dumb to realise that the Mexican 'marijuana' he stuck in the law book was the same plant, hemp, under its Spanish name (duh!)

Instead of backing down, the USA then bullied most other countries into banning dope, and never talking about it again. It was removed from history just like those unfortunates that Stalin painted out of the photos and history books. They couldn't even acknowledge that they had ever used hemp for anything - there was/is a serious attempt to make this plant extinct!

It really would be funny if it wasn't so sad and scary. I'll award Harry J Anslinger my Stupid White Man of the day award today. [Is this the start of another regular event?]

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