Erik Estrada is more popular than pot

About a year and a half ago, we here at the central office were amazed to see the blog traffic at Latino Like Me start to reach new peaks, at times even exceeding 1000 a day.  When we checked the data from the Chicano super-computer we have working out back, it turned out the bulk of that traffic was coming from people searching for terms like “marijuana” and “marijuana joint” and “pot.”

This kept up for sometime, easily contributing an extra hundred or so visitors a day after the highest peaks.  Two posts, which were inadvertently optimized, drove the surge.  This was reflected in the data, as this post on Michael Phelps and corn flakes and this one on “420” rose to the top of LLM’s “all-time” list.

As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t mind this discovery but I did find it a bit disheartening that the many posts I spent a lot of thoughtful energy and compassion composing—posts about immigration, hate crimes, and racial equity—got eclipsed by little posts I wrote on the fly for fun.

In the past month, however, I seem to have fallen out of favor with the pot smokers of the interwebs.  Lately it’s not unheard of for LLM to get zero hits from pot-related searches.  As these have gone down, a new “king” has emerged.  It doesn’t drive quite the same traffic in terms of numbers, but the daily share it provides is consistent.

That’s right: Erik Estrada now drives the bulk my blog hits.

I feel like a young boy whose wildest dreams have come true.

Four Twenty

Today is an underground holiday, of sorts.  Nobody knows when it started, or how it started, but, I assure you, more people than you can imagine will partake in it.

marijuana

“Four Twenty” (or 4:20 or 4/20) is something of an urban legend, (sub)cultural joke, and community-building practice all rolled into one.  (Hehehehe, he said “rolled.”)  For those of you who don’t know (and, really, if you found this, you do) it refers to a time of day (and, annually, a day of the year) when people are supposed to get high by smoking or otherwise consuming marijuana.

Depending on the generation “observing” the feast, it has been alternately a form of collective political rebellion (thumbing one’s nose at a law prohibiting the very celebration in question); a mark of a distinctive generational status (“we” get high but “they” didn’t); and a form of nurturing an “imagined” community (no matter where you are, if you get high at 4:20 or at 4:20 on 4/20 then you are not getting high alone).

dazed10

As with any cultural phenomena based more on rumor and humor than on any single historical event, there’s no particular reason for this.  Legend has it that 4-20 is the part of the criminal code somewhere which makes smoking pot a crime.  It’s not, but that doesn’t stop the story from being told from one generation to the next.  Others have (more recently) linked it to urban legends about happenings at high schools (the time detention got out at one; the locker number of where one dealt the contraband at another).  I suspect the events at Columbine in 1999 may have had something to do with linking it in the collective memory to some kind of high school rebellion, but those rumors, too, are just that.

The tradition continues, however, as it probably will for the, well, forever.  As somebody who works on a college campus, I am never surprised to see the “next” generation’s participation in this version of “pot culture.”  Ten years from now, most of those doing what they’re doing, will either be non-smokers remembering their youthful indiscretions, teetotalers trying to get the “drugs away from our children,” or addicts.

Which will you be?  Huh?  Yeah, I’m talking to you.  Imagine that!  Me!  Talking to you!!  And we’ve never even met!!!  And you’re just sitting there, at your computer, with all that belly-button lint!!  And I’m using so many exclamation marks!  Did you ever notice how that word was spelled: e-x-c-l-a-m-a-t-i-o-n.  The word “clam” is in there?  And “mation”!  My god, I have to Google search “mation”!!

But, today, they were people who alter their mental state by imbibing an herb that modern U.S. society has decided to criminalize.

And now, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, Broadway legend CAROL CHANNING!!!!

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