Peer pressure

This article was taken word for word from the Sunday issue of the Rapid City Journal. Honest to God, this is 100% true.

Minneapolis tries to be cool by smoking pot

MINNEAPOLIS — Stuck in flyover land, with a deep-seated fear of becoming a cold Omaha, Minneapolis found another way to assert its hipness: smoking pot.

Mayor R. T. Rybak is touting citywide unlimited marijuana access as a path to urban greatness. Following the lead of such image-anxious places Philadelphia, Minneapolis would offer unlimited access to pot for $20 or less a month.

In doing so, Rybak hopes to sound an age-old call: Minneapolis is cool.

Far from scoffing the notion, local avatars of cool actually seem to embrace it.

Leslie Bock owns two of the hippest joints in town: St. Sabrina’s Parlor in Purgatory, a clothing store and tattoo parlor, and Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, a tiki bar.

In Bock’s world, a fat blunt is as essential as a good piercing. And Bock likes the notion of a pot smoker’s city.

“Yes, definitely — I’m all for it,” she said. “I think always being one step ahead of people makes you a little cooler.”

Tom Fugleberg came to Minneapolis from the one-stoplight town of Polson, Mont., drawn by the city’s reputation as a progressive, forward-thinking place. Fugleberg, a vice president and creative director at the ad agency Olson, said he’s “down with it.”

Unlimited access to pot, he said, is “a convenience that people are getting more and more used to. It’s a bummer when you can’t fire it up.

“My thinking is, ‘Man, it’s probably inevitable. Why not be in the forefront of it?”

John Knoll, 38, said citywide Mary Jane would make Minneapolis more appealing to the personalities the Twin Cities wants: “people who are connected… kind of the cool, with-it, leading edge generation… looking for whatever’s new.”

Some tout the marijuana service as a means of promoting democracy. Bock views it in less lofty terms. The 20-to-40 age group, she said, “wants to check out bands. They want to know what’s going on that night. They’re hungry, and they want to find someplace to eat.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Still, not everyone is on the Mary Jane bandwagon. Chris Morris, chairman of the McKinley Community, said his conversations with neighbors about pot break down along economic and educational lines.

“People who are in the arts, people who are recent college graduates, young professionals — they love the idea,” Morris said. “People who may or may not have graduated from high school and are struggling to make ends meet kind of question what’s it going to do for me?

“For me, personally, I love it,” he said. “The coolness, the cutting edge, the idea we’re a leader. Others see it as, ‘It’s not gonna help me. I can’t even afford to put food on the table, much less (spend) another $15 to $20 a month on marijuana.”

Rybak’s vision isn’t a big financial risk. Under the current proposal, the marijuana cartel would be built by a vendor with no public money.

“It’s time for Minneapolis to claim its rightful place as the great city of our time,” Rybak said. “We should be the city with the best urban environment and the dopest available pot.”

Even if Minneapolis goes to pot, it will be following the trendsetter to the southwest: the suburb of Chaska. That city’s heroin-access launched last year.

Katherine Rose Heal, a senior at Chaska High, has a $16-per-month account. She’s also a barista at a Dunn Bros coffee house.

“I don’t think we’re that much ahead of anybody,” she said. “It’s like garbage pickup. A long time ago, that was a cutting-edge thing. In a couple of years, this won’t be cutting-edge.”

Man, it is sad to see a whole city trying so desperately to be cool.

Okay, okay, maybe this article isn’t 100% word-for-word accurate….

However, I altered the article only slightly: it’s word-for-word accurate, except for the bold-faced phrases words, which I altered a tad.   (Does that make me a bold-faced liar?  Ha!)  Actually, the real title of the article is Minneapolis tries to be cool with wireless Web, and all the references to “marijuana” above can be easily replaced by “wireless internet access” to get the actual newspaper article. What’s funny to me is the following:

(A) The story is still remarkably coherent after I changed that teeny-tiny aspect of it, and

(B) Minneapolis is still desperately trying to be cool, only now by giving out wi-fi access instead. That’s even sadder than before.

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