Erik Davis on High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies

High Weirdness is author Erik Davis’ most heroic effort yet: a more than 400-page immersion into the lives of Terence McKenna, Philip K. Dick, and Robert Anton Wilson, figureheads of American weirdness. With these three serving as a psychic trinity to orbit, Davis is free to address the shifts in consciousness that occurred on the American West Coast in the 1970s: “I’m interested in the drift of the counterculture.”

Blanks And Postage: How To Weird Your Mind

Several recent books provide counterpoints to Michael Pollan’s best-selling How To Change Your Mind. “Psychedelics for normies” in writer Alison Hussey’s memorable phrase, Pollan’s 2018 book almost instantly transformed the dialogue around the substances with its clear and direct arguments about their miraculous power to heal trauma. Only on occasion, though, does it entertain a present or future in which psychedelics might be used meaningfully outside the medical model, or acknowledge the ways that’s occurred in the past. How To Change Your Mind is a skeptical book, and draws some of its power from this, an extension of Pollan’s role as a mainstream journalist, but its tone is also an act of erasure in other ways.

Why Rolling Thunder Revue is a Terrible Documentary But A Great Bob Dylan Film

There’s a lot to love in Scorsese’s film, which repurposes an enormous trove of backstage and concert footage into a representation of the fall 1975 iteration of the Rolling Thunder Revue tour. Considered as a traditional documentary, Rolling Thunder Revue is fairly embarrassing. Considered as a Bob Dylan movie in the tradition of the films the songwriter has had his hands in over the years, it’s a grand achievement. The project swerves from fact in similar ways that Dylan’s Chronicles swerves from traditional memoir, with fictional constructs serving the biographical needs of the moment, just as they have since the largely bullshitted notes to Dylan’s 1962 debut LP […]