A little while ago, Jared mentioned that he didn’t like the Jefferson Airplane song “White Rabbit” because Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland wasn’t about drugs. I have to say I agree. That’s not to say there aren’t any drug references in the book, considering that the Caterpillar smokes a hookah and sits on top of a mushroom with magical effects. Then again, pretty much everything Alice eats increases or reduces her size, so putting too much emphasis on the mushroom probably isn’t the best idea.
It’s quite unlikely that Lewis Carroll was on drugs when writing the story either, although opium was pretty common and unregulated at the time. It seems more to me like 1960s drug culture more or less appropriated anything that could be considered psychedelic, and it bugs me a little. Not that drug users can’t appreciate Alice in their own way, but it comes across as sort of reducing a complex story to something overly simple.
The thing is, this sort of works both ways. I know I’ve fallen into the trap (or should that be the rabbit-hole?) of essentially dismissing a piece of art by saying, “Well, they were on drugs,” as if nothing more needs to be said after that. In truth, though, not everything created by someone on drugs is ABOUT drugs, and plenty of both good and bad art has been created by people under the influence. I don’t know all the facts here, but I’m inclined to think that drugs can’t make you creative. And in my opinion, a lot of the bad stuff created while on drugs is the material that really does focus on the drugs. It’s like how I’m not opposed to pot; I’ve never tried it, but I know plenty of well-adjusted people who have. I am, however, annoyed by stoner culture, which I might actually blame in part for the stigma against the drug. Come on, stoners, it’s not like marijuana is even a very attractive plant. Why put it on everything?