Thursday, August 12, 2010

Case Study : LSD (1969)

In 1938, Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann accidently ingested lysergic acid dethylamide, thereby discovering the hallucinogenic properties inherent in a fungus that grows on rye. It was known as "St. Anthony's Fire" in the old days, but now it was concentrated into a pure form, and the effects would be far reaching. Initially, it was embraced by everyone from Washington to Hollywood: the CIA experimented with it and even Cary Grant admitted to dropping acid sixty times. However, once it found its place in the 1960's counterculture its mainstream acceptance declined. California was first to criminalize the drug and the rest of the country soon followed. LSD now had a bad reputation.
In 1969, when the educational film "LSD: A Case Study" was made, LSD was the hippie drug of choice, spurred on by the likes of Timothy Leary, Ken Casey, and acid rock concerts. Parents were disturbed, and hospitals were beginning to fill up with hippies thrown into LSD induced psychoses. Ronald Reagan and Ed Meese began to wage war on the drug and the word was sent to schools to warn kids of the dire consequences of LSD use.  The funny thing about this particular educational film is that it actually makes LSD look appealing. If I wasn't tempted to use the drug before, this film changes all that and makes it look rather interesting. It starts with a rather cool and happening party. If I were a kid in the 60's watching this film, I'd want to be at this party. After the party, she goes to get a hot dog. The film repeatedly flashes images of this chick about to wrap her lips around this wiener. No doubt, the phallic connotations would be felt by young schoolboys watching this film. Suddenly, her hot dog turns into a troll-like creature who starts screaming at her. While not exactly the religious experience Timothy Leary claimed LSD would provide, it still sounds pretty cool to have a hot dog turn into an angry troll. In the end, the hippie chick stomps on the hot dog while it screams in pain. Which then begs the question - is losing a perfectly good hot dog the worst thing that can happen to you if you use LSD? This is the worst they could come up with? - from Retrospace

What I find very strange is that this film was produced by the Lockheed Aircraft Corp


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