Staunchly, vol. 28: Will I Be Able to Vape in the Bunker?

(Originally posted: 8/17/17)

We have a very exciting guest post this week (!) but first we need to debrief a little because wow. This week was trash. 
I really don’t feel the need to get into it too much. I don’t have any fresh takes. We’ve all seen the news. We all know it was trash.
How are you doing? It’s hard not to feel like the walls are caving in.
For years America’s armchair fatalists have wondered: are we Rome? Was that the wrong question all along? Are we, actually, München?
(And if so, were the nineties our Weimer? Was Seinfeld our Cabaret??).
I have said this before, but I think it’s critical as ever to repeat in the wake of Charlottesville: there is no valid feminism—there is certainly no Staunchly—without fierce, unrelenting intersectionality. Progress depends on solidarity across multiple identities and a holistic rejection of intolerance. There is no compromise.
Being a feminist who is white, as I am, demands that I constantly check my privilege and unpack the ways that a society built on white supremacy (although also a total, patriarchal shitshow) has benefitted me. Chiefly, I have a responsibility to acknowledge and examine the ways white women have been culpable in the oppression of black people throughout our country’s history.
It’s a lovely thought that, since women have generally been denied access to the halls of power throughout U.S. history, they can be spared the blame for the worst racial injustices. It’s also total bullshit. Assuming the virtuous placidity of generations of American women does a disservice to the nuances of history as well as the entire concept of female agency. For better or worse, women have always participated. In the good, the bad, and the horrific.
To that end, I’ve been reading a lot this week about the role of female evangelists in the KKK, “lipstick fascism,” and the uniquely subversive methods contemporary women are using to further the alt-right agenda. Here are three of my favorite things I’ve read: 

  • At Reader my former NYU professor and history thesis advisor Linda Gordon writes on the brand of “bigoted feminism” promoted by the works and lives of female Klan leaders—ambitious, entrepreneurial, “thoroughly modern women,” who also happen to be, you know, monsters
  • In The Cut Laura Smith discusses the way, through a terrifyingly clever perversion of gender norms, women of the KKK have been able to hide a “white supremacist mission behind a façade of social welfare.” In essence, they've used a gendered expectation of moral superiority to “normalize” terrorism. 
  • Seyward Darby’s cover story for Harper’s requires a close reading in a sunny place surrounded by people you love. She profiles the female starlets of the alt-right, principally Lana Lokteff, who is quite possibly the worst, whitest bitch on the planet. Here’s a quote from Lokteff that will keep you up at night: 

“It was women that got Trump elected,” she said. “And, I guess, to be really edgy, it was women that got Hitler elected.”

Ok now fasten your seatbelts and tidy up your (wo)man-on-(wo)man defense because I’m about to make the most incredible pivot you’ve ever seen. 

One word: weed.


Actually, maybe it’s not that abrupt of a transition. Because if ever there was a week for a little self-care/self-medication/Kiva-bar-enhanced escapism, this was it.

Last week I introduced you guys to my friend and pot shaman Lauren Dunitz...
Let’s talk about Lauren. I first met Lauren in an intellectual history of capitalism class at NYU but that’s not important. We didn’t become friends then. We became friends years later after a long Instagram courtship and some steamy DMs where we learned we had basically the same sense of humor and needed to be in each other’s lives in a very real way.
This is Lauren’s deal: she is crazy talented and funny. She has cool tattoos and takes very good care of her pit bulls and will indulge you in long, wonderful conversations about silly things and also serious, real stuff, too. She gives the best recommendations—like of the shit you actually need: e.g. a therapist; a perfectly unfussy al fresco Italian dinner situation in Silverlake. 
She will teach you how to roll a joint. She will also always try to pay for drinks and say all the right words to make you feel normal and not embarrassed when you come home from the psych ward. She has a lot of conspiracy theories about Hollywood which I won’t repeat here cause I ain’t about to get sued. She is your overflowing glass of Ramona Pinot Grigio in the soul desert of 2017— refreshing, dry as a bone, and pleasantly acidic.

She is very edgy for someone raised in Sherman Oaks.
She is also so charming that it is possible to disagree with her on a profound level and still love her. That's an incredible skill. Let's just say the list of things we disagree on is….robust. For example, I love athleisure. You will soon learn that Lauren does not. I think it’s very convenient and the fashion of our time. (What? You want to argue with me? Do you really think “our time” deserves anything better than poly spandex compression tights in bizarrely geometric patterns?). Some of us can’t just put on jean shorts and our dad’s old Metallica shirt and look like a model-thot-off-duty OK, Lauren???
Also, I love HRC. I can acknowledge her flaws and have certainly had a bumpy road to accepting them, but I still end up on the side of adoring and respecting the shit out of her. By contrast, Lauren is probably the closest I’ve ever come to being gal pals with a Bernie bro. 
(When I told her that’s how I planned to describe her, her response was something like: “That’s not fair! I’m not a bro! I’m far more anarchistic than that!” So there you go.)
I asked Lauren if she’d write me something for Staunchly à la The Modern Girl’s Guide to Pot because girl knows her stuff. But Lauren is very creative and also the world’s most lovable contrarian so let’s just say I got something different (and so, so much better) than I was expecting: an essay on what it’s like to be the kind of woman who loves to get high. 
I won’t ham it up any longer. Read Lauren’s wonderful essay below. Check out her recs (they are *very* Valley-centric) and keep scrolling to see how she filled out the Staunchly Survey! 

The Modern Girl's Guide to Pot

by Lauren Dunitz

The views expressed below are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Staunchly, Carolyn Seuthe, or other thinking people in Los Angeles.
On Real Time with Bill Maher* last year, Chelsea Handler** described the “control factor” possessed by people who don’t experiment with “drugs, hallucinogens, alcohol.” It was a denouncement of “people who don’t like to broaden their horizons.” Succinctly put, “it’s untrustworthy.”

This was all part of Handler’s diatribe against non-drinker Donald Trump, a man who is surely just a spray can of carbon monoxide gas left over from the Holocaust without any discernable horizons to broaden. My concerns are far less political*** or male-oriented.

My Distrust of the Sober manifests itself solely with regard to women in my life. I have always struggled to connect with women who are completely in control. You know the type: they’re skinny, pretty, and generally killing it at work. I’m just jealous, you say? Yes, I am immeasurably jealous of women like this.

Interacting with women who do not drink, do not smoke pot, and don’t often eat shines an LED light on everything about myself of which I am both proud and embarrassed. Women Never on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown are a West Elm herringbone floor mirror made out of solid wood with a bone inlay and I am the bedraggled, unkempt bedroom reflected inside their angular, perfect frame.

I am much more comfortable forgoing the sane in favor of the uncontrollably messy: the addict. The innumerable addiction memoirs piled up on my Ikea bookshelves, clogging my Kindle, and littering my search history feel far more authentic than the perfect woman with the perfect job and a mastery of Athleisure.****

Her lifestyle blog post is “The Dirty Dozen Vegetables That You Should Be Eating Organic And If You’re Not, Then Are You Even White??” and mine is “10 CBD Serums to Replace Your Hyaluronic Acids and Spice Up Your Dog’s Nap Routine.”

Which brings us to what I was actually asked to write about: The Modern Girl’s Guide to Pot. I don’t have that. I have a five-hundred-word essay about why I don’t like people who have their shit together. You know that. You just read it. And here we are out of time. I’ll quickly say that I am a purest when it comes to pot; I prefer a joint to any other method of ingestion any day of the week (any time of day). Indica reigns supreme over Sativa.*****

Finally, here is a token list of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and how I feel about them:

1. The Higher Path (Sherman Oaks)

  • My absolute fave. 
  • Pleasantly corporate.
  • Great selection and staff.
  • Lots of patient perks.

2. Greenwolf (Atwater Village) 

  • Good selection.
  • Let me buy a $30 eighth for $29 one time.

3. Apothecary 420 (Sherman Oaks) 

  • Literally fuck this place.
  • You have to wait for them to call you to approach the counter.
  • Yes, that is a big deal!
  • I’m responsible enough to ogle the goods before the budtender is ready to help me, OK?

4. Zen Noho (North Hollywood) 

  • Really nice staff.
  • Replaced a defective vape cartridge, no questions asked.
  • *****Staunchly bonus point*****: they also sell crystals inside!

5. Daddy’s Collective (Sherman Oaks) 

  • Constantly being shut down by the DEA.
  • Used to let my friend and me smoke inside when it was just a headshop and not yet a legal dispensary (hey, 2005!).
  • Just go to one of the other three Valley places listed above (or one of the other zillions in the Valley not listed).

*You think I’m going to get into all the problematic aspects of mentioning Real Time here??? No way, politically incorrect Jose’! I’m writing this for free, for fun, and without any intentions of getting into college!

** I’m also totally disinterested in arguing Handler’s [de]merits. She is the first true female late-night TV host, she hates kids, and generally lacks fucks to give. All things I value greatly. But, she’s as annoying as a dick in your mouth and I am not blind to that. 

*** Though, I will take this opportunity to say that Bernie would have won, the Clintons are as bad as the Republicans, and the Women’s March was a distraction to keep us under the thumb of the larger corporate culture responsible for the rapid demise of democratic socialism.

**** Fuck Athleisure. You’re either wearing regular clothes or workout clothes. It’s fine to wear both at the same time, but nobody needs you to name that choice.

***** Don’t waste my time with some bullshit Sativa. I’m trying to get high here, not contract lung cancer for no goddamn reason.