taking drugs to make art for other people to not take drugs to
The other day, I took my four year old and nine month old to the big summer show at the Whitney: Summer of Love: The Art of Psychedelia. My son went nuts in the room with the strobe lights and the dayglo tiled floor. The baby was Oh!ing with excitement at every turn. And you should have seen her rocking to the fuzz-wah riff in "Defecting Grey", silhouetted against an oil and water film backdrop. There were a few other kids at the show, and they were all really into it. Now and again a passerby would complain to their cohorts about it being inappropriate; drugs and sex and all. While I did stop short of the explicit Yayoi Kusama film (annoyingly enough, for me) there was nothing else in the show that felt wrong for my son to see. In fact, it seemed to be right up a kid's alley. Bright colors, great music, fun shapes… what's not to like? I've often thought that the Baby Einstein videos were oddly similar to psychedelia. I curled into a half-womb segment of Panton's Phantasy Landscape Visiona II , switched the audio tour to the Velvets and watched my kid climb crazy over the art.
It was strange to return home from this groovy wonderworld to the (very minor and possibly contrived) controversy of Babble's pot mom story . The Three Martini Playdate is a well-marketed parenting ethos, complete with a sequel. But one toke, and the pot mom gets, gotta say it, stoned by the villagers. I'm not suggesting that piece would have been any better received had she said she was taking swigs of vodka out of a flask…or maybe I am. Cocktails are the acceptable freedom of autonomous adults. Pot is for the young and irresponsible. A glass of wine or two? Of course, mommy's gotta unwind. But no one's going to say that being high around your kids is ok. We just don't live in that kind of world. But we don't live in the kind of world that people who chastise mothers who smoke talk about either, where everyone sits in lifeguard chairs waiting at the ready for a threat.
In this world, parents wouldn't be impaired or distracted in any way. No phone calls, no checking email, no cooking dinner. True, these things don't affect your nervous system. but they certainly affect your attention. And don't they affect your response time? Many of the angry mobsters railed at the idea that as a parent, you need to be ready to act at any instant. What if that instant happens while you're finally on the phone with the insurance company after twenty minutes on hold? Or while the UPS guy's buzzing, or your office suddenly needs a file that you swear was right here on your desktop yesterday? Pot may impair your reflexes, but from what I can remember from my own wild oats, whenever something scary happened while I was impaired, the buzz vanished instantly.
Although my parents were less hippies than "hippie style", there was some passing of joints around the Passover seder. Oral history has me arbitrating the order of smokers at a Tanglewood concert circa 1973.* I have not repurposed my son's preschool bossiness in such a manner and have no intention of making pot smoking part of his family experience...especially not after my just-say-no-fueled confrontation of my mom, at the aforementioned seder table.) Using drugs of any kind to "get through" something (parenting or otherwise) is a semi-questionable situation. While neither of us here at thenewmom has personally smoked pot in quite awhile, we do have a deep respect for its benefits (from a purely hypothetical/historical standpoint). There must be a reason that stoned people and children have a shared appreciation of things. Could shared appreciation lead to more attention, rather than less? They recently discovered that driving while talking on the phone is actually more dangerous than driving drunk.
So who knows?
*my mother would like you to know that she "hardly ever smoked pot". Also, she says, it was the time.
in baby | diversions | media momming | parenting
Alfred and I went to the psychedelic show yesterday. "What was your favorite part?" "The eleven year-old guy in the purple room." He met an older kid in the Pantone Room, a Dr. Seussian cave of glowing reds and moody purples complete with curvy biomorphic seats waving out of the walls. Alfred was squarsville in there- his latest fashion obsession is wearing button down shirts, buttoned right to the chin (ALL BUTTONS MOMMY!). His uncle told him the shirt was a "man yoke," but he seemed to take that as a compliment. The show was really fun for both of us- seemed like some of the videos would have been a tad more interesting to watch while completely HIGH on LSD. The dividing cell/kalidascope imagery got a tad boring after about two seconds. But in general it was fun city and, unlike other art museums, you could touch!
comment by ceridwen at August 24, 2007 9:59 AM