…bobbing along [DOT 15/1/23]

somebody's uncle...

…ok…I might take issue with whether or not AI is really the term we should be using to describe this stuff…but at this point

I was recently shown some frames from a film that I had never heard of: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1976 version of “Tron.” The sets were incredible. The actors, unfamiliar to me, looked fantastic in their roles. The costumes and lighting worked together perfectly. The images glowed with an extravagant and psychedelic sensibility that felt distinctly Jodorowskian.

However, Mr. Jodorowsky, the visionary Chilean filmmaker, never tried to make “Tron.” I’m not even sure he knows what “Tron” is. And Disney’s original “Tron” was released in 1982. So what 1970s film were these gorgeous stills from? Who were these neon-suited actors? And how did I — the director of the documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” having spent two and a half years interviewing and working with Alejandro to tell the story of his famously unfinished film — not know about this?

The truth is that these weren’t stills from a long-lost movie. They weren’t photos at all. These evocative, well-composed and tonally immaculate images were generated in seconds with the magic of artificial intelligence.

[…] No struggle was involved in creating these images of “Jodorowsky’s Tron.” It didn’t require any special skills or extensive direction from Johnny Darrell, the Canadian director who made these pictures with an A.I. program called Midjourney. A simple prompt is all it took. A few words — in this case, slight variations on “production still from 1976 of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Tron” — followed by under a minute of waiting, and a computer deep in the racks of a data center somewhere, sifting through the numbers encoded into its memory banks associated with the words “Tron” and “Jodorowsky.”

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it all. There seems to be a correlation between how Alejandro’s work was absorbed and referred to by subsequent filmmakers and how his work was ingested and metabolized by computer programming. But these two things are not the same. I want to say that influence is not the same thing as algorithm. But looking at these images, how can I be sure?

not believing your eyes is sounding less & less like crazy talk...if thankfully not yet for everything

It’s hard to find many shortcomings in the software. It can’t render text. And like many painters and sculptors throughout history, it has trouble getting hands right. I’m nitpicking here. The model contains multitudes. It has scanned the collected works of thousands upon thousands of photographers, painters and cinematographers. It has a deep library of styles and a facility with all kinds of image-making techniques at its digital fingertips. The technology is jaw-dropping. And it concerns me greatly.

To what extent do these rapidly generated images contain creativity? And from what source is that creativity emerging? Has Alejandro been robbed? Is the training of this A.I. model the greatest art heist in history? How much of art-making is theft, anyway?
Nothing in this software seems controllable in the pixel-precise way artists use digital tools like Photoshop. When Mr. Darrell generated these images, he didn’t choose the colors, the framing or what the characters would be doing. He also didn’t determine some of the other choices that the A.I. program assimilated from 1970s science fiction: the seemingly all-white cast and the vintage gender roles. Whatever he might have had in his mind’s eye was not what he was going to get. He needed to state his prompt cleanly and clearly. But the creativity bubbled out of the machine.

[…] It’s like watching a magic show. Going in, you know it will all be illusions and sleight of hand. But during the show, your suspension of disbelief kicks in. Your heart wants to believe it’s real, and it gets your brain to go along for the ride. Life is more fun that way.

What will it mean when directors, concept artists and film students can see with their imaginations, when they can paint using all the digitally archived visual material of human civilization? When our culture starts to be influenced by scenes, sets and images from old films that never existed or that haven’t yet even been imagined?

I have a feeling we’re all about to find out.


…so…there’s that…though arguably on a collective basis we’ve been finding out for a while now when it comes to what comes to us through the screens we peer at…& it seems a demonstrable fact that for some of us the syntax involved is evolving faster than it did, say, in cinema…if it’s not an elaborate hoax perpetrated to make NBC look all

…then this would seem to qualify

A video-editing style that some have likened to a form of visual poetry is popping up more frequently on some “For You” pages on TikTok. The style, meant to evoke strong, often unnamed feelings in viewers, has been dubbed “CoreCore.”

The “CoreCore” TikToks juxtapose images and video from various mediums — such as memes, headlines, movie and television clips — and sets them to emotional, rousing musical scores. The videos, which sometimes focus on one topic, can be used used as an artistic way to showcase social commentary. Urban Dictionary describes “CoreCore” as “Kind of a deconstructed art. Basically invoking emotion out of a series of (visual) clips that you develop your own meaning to. Corecore content is introspective.”
The term “CoreCore” popped up on Tumblr in 2020. On TikTok, its usage as a hashtag dates back to July 2022. But the video phenomenon appears to have grown in recent weeks — as of Friday, the hashtag “#CoreCore” had more than 322.6 million views.
Some on TikTok point to a video collage from the user @masonoelle from January 2021 as the first prominent example of the form on the platform. It features footage of the Arctic sea ice melting over the course of 35 years, influencer Charli D’Amelio, the horror film “American Psycho” and people shopping. The caption does not include the hashtag “CoreCore.”

But many credit content creator John Rising, who goes by @HighEnquiries on the platform, as the father of “CoreCore.” Rising, 40, who began experimenting with the art style in May 2021, said he wanted to take his viewers “on a short journey while only using scenes from current and old media, film, TV and the ‘art’ world.”

Rising doesn’t consider himself an artist, or even the originator of this type of video art — he credits Korean American mixed media artist Nam June Paik for that. […]

Some who have made “CoreCore” videos say they believe the term itself reflects how “meta” the internet has become.
The name “CoreCore” is also a play on how many online niches are described as something-“core.” For example, someone who loves Disney might be described as “DisneyCore,” or someone who obsesses over ceramic frogs might be described as “FrogCore.” So “CoreCore,” a kind of cyclical term, is, in a way, a joke. There are also other editing styles that take a “core” suffix on TikTok.
Sugrue recently posted a video to TikTok asking people to share what they liked about the trend. The answers varied, but many described finding a sense of unity and community through the videos that focus on hard topics.

“I think corecore is so popular right now because we can all relate to suffering somehow, especially as of late,” one user responded. “It makes people feel seen.”

Another wrote, “corecore makes people feel like they’re not alone with heavy feelings when they exist in a world that constantly tries to make them believe otherwise.”

Others wrote that they were unfamiliar with “CoreCore” until Sugrue posed the question, suggesting the genre of video hasn’t gone entirely mainstream just yet.

CoreCore videos are becoming more popular on TikTok. What exactly are they? [NBC]

…I dunno…would that be more or less “meta” if you threw in generative “AI”?

When people log in to Koko, an online emotional support chat service based in San Francisco, they expect to swap messages with an anonymous volunteer. They can ask for relationship advice, discuss their depression or find support for nearly anything else — a kind of free, digital shoulder to lean on.

But for a few thousand people, the mental health support they received wasn’t entirely human. Instead, it was augmented by robots.

In October, Koko ran an experiment in which GPT-3, a newly popular artificial intelligence chatbot, wrote responses either in whole or in part. Humans could edit the responses and were still pushing the buttons to send them, but they weren’t always the authors.
The experiment on the small and little-known platform has blown up into an intense controversy since he disclosed it a week ago, in what may be a preview of more ethical disputes to come as AI technology works its way into more consumer products and health services.
Morris said that he did not have official data to share on the test.
When he shared the results of the experiment on Twitter on Jan. 6, he was inundated with criticism. Academics, journalists and fellow technologists accused him of acting unethically and tricking people into becoming test subjects without their knowledge or consent when they were in the vulnerable spot of needing mental health support. His Twitter thread got more than 8 million views.



…it’s not like we need to go looking conflicting narratives

Burning Man attendees trek to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert every year with a “leave no trace” ethos, erecting and then disassembling a temporary city for the raucous week-long art and music festival. Organizers even aim to make the bacchanal “carbon negative.”

But now the people behind Burning Man are suing President Biden’s administration to stop a geothermal project that may one day produce carbon-free energy.

The Burning Man Project, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that holds the festival every year, filed a lawsuit Monday against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, arguing that regulators at the Bureau of Land Management failed to properly take into account the environmental impact of the geothermal exploration project when they approved it.


Judge calls Trump’s attempt to dismiss E Jean Carroll rape lawsuit ‘absurd’ [Guardian]


…one part physician heal thyself

The other day I noted that there were at least 25 lawyers who were key witnesses or subjects of the Trump investigations investigating his parallel attempts to steal classified documents and the 2020 election. I was right to say, “at least.” I forgot Christina Bobb in my count, a key witness for both investigations (though she has always been candid that she did not play the role of a lawyer in the stolen document case).

For all the TV lawyers who spend all their time talking about these investigations, none have really articulated the difficulties this created for this investigation. It created 26 walls of privilege around many of the key events under investigation. There are numerous cases where we know an event or document exists, for example, but actually getting to that evidence or witness testimony involves jumping through extra hoops.


…& two parts doctors make the worst patients seems like a running gag at this point

A Guide to the ‘Legal Fictions’ That Create Wealth, Inequality and Economic Crises [NYT]

Meta has sued to block a surveillance company from using Facebook and Instagram, alleging the firm, which has partnered with law enforcement, created tens of thousands of fake accounts to collect user data.

complaint filed on Thursday asks a judge to permanently ban Voyager Labs from accessing Meta’s sites and comes after a Guardian investigation revealed the company had partnered with the Los Angeles police department (LAPD) in 2019 and claimed that it could use social media information to predict who may commit a future crime.

Public records obtained by the Brennan Center for Justice, a non-profit organization, and shared with the Guardian in 2021, showed that Voyager’s services enabled police to surveil and investigate people by reconstructing their digital lives and making assumptions about their activity, including their network of friends. In one internal record, Voyager suggested that it considered using an Instagram name displaying Arab pride or tweeting about Islam to be signs of potential extremism.
The affected users included employees of non-profits, universities, media organizations, healthcare facilities, the US armed forces and local, state and federal government agencies, along with full-time parents, retirees and union members, Meta said in its filing. It is unclear who Voyager’s clients were at that time and what entities may have received the data. But Voyager, which has offices in the US, the United Kingdom, Israel, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, designed its software to hide its presence from Meta and sold and licensed for profit the data it obtained, the suit says.
“This is an industry that has a lot of technical capabilities, some of which are pretty sophisticated and yet there’s no oversight or accountability,” Romero said. “We view this as us doing our part to bring to light the kinds of information and conduct we’ve uncovered.”

Rachel Levinson-Waldman, managing director of the Brennan Center’s liberty and national security program, said Meta’s lawsuit demonstrated how software tools like Voyager’s can enable mass scraping of data: “It’s a really wide range of people who have been affected by this, and the public should notice and be alarmed by the scope of this kind of collection.”

She said the case could also have an impact beyond Voyager and should discourage police from pursuing these kinds of technologies: “It sends a pretty clear signal generally to the surveillance-for-hire industry that they could face legal action, and I hope it also sends a signal to police departments and other law enforcement agencies that are considering these tools.”


…sorry to say

Weather and climate disasters across the country resulted in more than $165 billion in damage in 2022, making it the third-costliest year on record, NOAA officials said. The new figures highlight the enormous economic and societal toll of droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, severe storms and other extreme events that are expected to intensify due to climate change.
In calculating damage, NOAA researchers used data from insurance and property claim services, state agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The report covered direct losses of insured and uninsured assets, such as damage to residential, commercial and government buildings; loss of contents within buildings; damage to public infrastructure; agricultural losses (including loss of crops and livestock); and “time element losses” that include loss of operating time for businesses.

NOAA’s findings offer a glimpse of the major toll that extreme weather events are already having and the country’s vulnerability to climate disasters in the future. Studies have shown that global warming will worsen drought and wildfires and fuel more intense storms and hurricanes.
NOAA began tracking the economic and societal impacts of weather and climate disasters in 1980. Since then, the U.S. has experienced 341 separate billion-dollar events, totaling more than $2.47 trillion in damage.


…we’re also not lacking for made up elements of a dystopian science fiction future

A decision by the United Arab Emirates to select the head of its national oil company, one of the world’s largest, to oversee U.N. climate talks in Dubai this year has drawn ire from environmental groups across the world.

But while the appointment of Sultan Al Jaber to lead the COP28 environmental gathering may seem like a contradiction, the move reflects the complex balancing act the United Arab Emirates is trying to pull off as the oil exporter prepares for a renewable future.

…a contradiction, you say…so…maybe something a bit like…I dunno…this?

Revealed: Exxon made ‘breathtakingly’ accurate climate predictions in 1970s and 80s [Guardian]

…sorry…where was I?

Mr. Al Jaber is chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, which produces more than three million barrels of crude oil a day and is investing so it can produce much more. But he is also the country’s special envoy for climate change and the chairman of Masdar, a state-owned renewable energy company, which has pledged to build the world’s first carbon-neutral and zero-waste city.

Mr. Al Jaber’s appointment, which was announced Thursday, was welcomed by the American climate envoy, John Kerry, who cited his experience as a diplomat and business leader, as well as his role at Masdar.

“This unique combination will help bring all of the necessary stakeholders to the table to move faster and at scale,” Mr. Kerry said on Twitter.

…& it’s not like I know him from adam…& it’s the UAE…maybe it’s even credible that you don’t wind up being someone anyone listens to domestically unless you’re in the upper echelons of the industry…& it isn’t like it’d be better if nobody could even pull off lip service to these concerns in those kinds of context…but…it still seems like it might not be cause for celebration?

“Sultan Al Jaber is far from being your average oil executive,” said Karim Elgendy, a fellow on Middle East environmental issues at Chatham House, a London-based think tank. “He has been spearheading the U.A.E.’s climate action well before and during his tenure as the head of Abu Dhabi’s national oil company.”

Mr. Al Jaber’s appointment as COP28 president is “representative of the U.A.E.’s approach to climate action,” he said, citing its pledges to reduce its own economy’s use of oil while at the same time doubling down on its “moral right to export every molecule of fossil fuel.”

“It sees no contradiction between the two,” Mr. Elgendy said.

The countries of the Persian Gulf have long sought to reconcile the need to tackle climate change with a desire to keep pumping oil.

Recently, Gulf officials have cited the energy crisis that shook Europe after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as proof that the world still needs fossil fuels. They argue that pulling away too soon from investment in oil and gas would lead to economic disaster.

…I mean…I get it…it’s pretty much the definition of complicated…when on the one hand there’s a tiny minority of people with apparently vast reserves of wealth derived from the global equivalent of a truly awful smack habit…but the bulk of the population where they come from are pretty much at the other end of the game where they don’t have a lot of choices that don’t involve the production & supply of opiates at some level…then there are some lines about who pays for what & what needs to be compensated or allowed for that you kind of bounce back & forth over

Last year’s summit in Egypt resulted in a landmark decision to establish a fund that would help poor countries cope with climate disasters. But campaigners and even some delegates said the summit had failed to hit its ambitious targets, something they blamed in part on the influence of fossil fuel producers in the negotiating process.

Mr. Al Jaber’s selection has also highlighted long-running tensions in the Gulf region itself, with a dependence on fossil fuel revenue at increasing odds with the area’s own vulnerability to climate change.
Yet oil and gas remain an essential component of the government’s budget, underwriting its ability to provide jobs for citizens and invest in its economic diversification plans — including renewable energy projects themselves.


…ever bobbed for apples? …maybe there’s a knack to it…but it can be harder than it looks…without…& it seems absurd that this might warrant mentioning…tying one (or indeed both) hand(s) begind your back

For the past three years, the IRS has failed to do its most basic job: processing tax returns in a timely manner. There are many reasons. The pandemic upended almost everything for a while. Years of staffing and budget cuts left the agency shorthanded. Ancient computer systems hampered operations. And Congress kept asking the IRS to do more: implement the sweeping 2017 GOP tax code overhaul, then send stimulus checks — three times — to the vast majority of Americans during the pandemic. Any one of these issues would have been tough to manage. Together, they nearly sunk an agency that is critical to funding the U.S. government.

Yet House Republicans made it their first priority this year to pass legislation slashing IRS funding, which would worsen the agency’s problems — and the service it provides Americans.


…if you’re going to talk about two teams bobbing for apples, though…& one team has a few ripe, tasty-looking apples bobbing about in a barrel of water & their hands behind their back

The 23-member panel, convened to consider whether Trump and others committed crimes in trying to overturn his defeat in Georgia when it appeared the state might decide the outcome of the entire 2020 presidential election, was dissolved on Monday after submitting its conclusions and asking that they be made public.

If the grand jury’s report recommends prosecution, a county district attorney in Atlanta, Fani Willis, will face the most consequential decision of her career – whether, for the first time in American history, to charge a former president with a criminal offence.

That could result in Trump sitting behind bars in Georgia when he expects to be out on the campaign trail. Provided he is not already serving time as the result of a federal investigation into his attempts to pressure election officials in several other states to rig the vote and his part in the 6 January 2021 storming of the Capitol.


Twice, for example, I’ve discussed how central Joe Biggs’ actions the day of the attack were to understanding the larger event. In the first, I described how Biggs’ chumminess with FBI agents led them to overlook his plans for a terrorist attack on the Capitol.
A month later, I described how problematic it was that an AUSA who played a part in Sidney Powell’s efforts to spread false claims about Mike Flynn and Joe Biden before the 2020 election had a role (now reportedly expanded) in overseeing the prosecution of Biggs.
In that same time period, I was complaining and complaining and complaining about DOJ’s lackadaisical approach to attorney conflicts, first as John Pierce racked up 20 clients, most who served as a firewall to Biggs and the other Proud Boy leaders, and later as DOJ waited three months before inquiring into Sidney Powell’s alleged role in funding some of the Oath Keeper’s defense teams.
The importance to the Trump investigation of getting the militia conspiracies that implicate Roger Stone and Alex Jones right is one of the reasons I argued, in June 2022, that it was urgent for the Proud Boys’ prosecution team to get Jeremy Bertino’s transcript sooner rather than later.


…given how much we don’t really know about the fine detail of who got to know who said what to who where the investigations & witnesses overlap between congress & the DoJ I honestly couldn’t tell you if it’s fair to use the term endanger there…but ms wheeler has a distinct tendency to know a lot better than I how this stuff works in theory & in practice & to further abuse this analogy that reads a lot like suggesting that significant efforts might be underway to introduce unseen worms to some of those otherwise sound apples being bobbed for


…while the other has apparently no gag reflex & has hit on the masterplan of filling the surface of their barrel with a surfeit of visibly rotten apples to form an effectively solid layer from which to pick off bad apple after bad apple

Because Rep. Jim Jordan is widely known as a statesman of world-historical stature, Republicans have been comparing the new investigative committee he will chair to the Church Committee of the 1970s. Just as that storied panel exposed rampant intelligence abuses, the Ohio Republican vows his committee will boldly expose contemporary “weaponizing of the federal government” that’s similarly corrupt, lawless and pervasive.

But the analogy doesn’t ring true to a onetime aide to Sen. Frank Church of Idaho, the former chairman of the Senate Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, which was colloquially named for its chair.

“That is really an absurd comparison,” Loch Johnson, who wrote a book about his experiences as Church’s top staffer on that committee, said in a phone interview. “It’s really a sad spectacle.”

Yet the GOP attempt to reboot the Church Committee tells us a good deal about our current political moment, about the GOP-controlled House’s obvious intention to abuse its oversight function to protect former president Donald Trump and about what’s happened to today’s Republican Party.

…equivalence does not become you

Jordan’s committee will examine the executive branch’s “collection of information” on U.S. citizens, “including criminal investigations.” It will have access to highly sensitive information available only to the House Intelligence Committee. Republicans say Jordan’s panel will reveal how “the radical left” weaponized law enforcement against ordinary Americans.
Jordan’s committee will also likely seek to harass and undermine criminal investigations of Trump and even prosecutions of rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. We know this because GOP rage rises to its highest pitch in response to law enforcement activity directed at Trump. The GOP version of the Church Committee has no discernible aim of meaningful reform, but rather seeks to smear in advance what by all indications are legitimate law enforcement investigations into Trump.

“This is a protection operation,” Johnson told me, one designed to “protect the insurrectionists.” Because Jordan and other House Republicans are implicated in the events of Jan. 6, Johnson added, this is really “a self-protection operation.”


…or…to take another popular analogy…if you’re in the business of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater…& you have a smoke machine…is it tax-deductible?

Things such as that IG investigation and congressional oversight of our intelligence agencies constitute genuine achievements of the Church Committee and other post-Watergate reformers. During the Cold War and the era’s domestic turmoil, the intelligence services did become highly insular and engage in extraordinary abuses of power. That led to the creation of congressional intelligence committees and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which attempts to restrain intelligence gathering within lawful bounds.

In other words, the Church Committee led to serious, bipartisan reforms undertaken for the public good and in defense of the rule of law. The reforms were far from perfect, and serious abuses still do take place.

[…] Yet Republicans now want to turn their committee into a hyperpartisan weapon to spin the current “deep state” as more lawless than its previous iteration. Perversely, their goal is to place Trump beyond accountability and the law — and to portray people who sought to violently destroy democracy’s underpinnings as persecuted victims.

The best historical touchstone for today’s GOP effort is not the Church Committee, Johnson points out. It’s Sen. Joe McCarthy’s anti-communist witch hunts. “It’s a wrecking operation, more than anything constructive,” Johnson said of the Republicans’ committee.


For the millions of Americans with a deep-down feeling that Trump is guilty of many things and that the heavens cry out for some justice, somewhere, sometime — who have cheered the pursuit from Russia-gate through the porn-star hush money, the rape allegation, the Ukrainian phone call, the second impeachment, the trial of Allen Weisselberg, the corporate and personal tax returns, and the attempts to steal an election — for all those legions who thought finally, Trump was caught dead to rights, this may be a tough pill to swallow.

Illegal possession of classified documents and repeated attempts to avoid surrendering them to the proper authorities constituted a case that bordered on open-and-shut. Trump’s defense — that as president he could declassify material simply by entertaining the notion — was obviously unsustainable. By that logic, a future president could lawfully cart away all the secrets of the U.S. government in a convoy of tractor trailers.

But now that case will probably not be brought, no matter how many side-by-side charts are created to distinguish between the known allegations against Trump and the (so far unknown) culpability of Biden. According to the latest Gallup data, 45 percent of Americans identify as Republicans or leaning toward the Republicans; 44 percent are Democrats or lean in that direction. The Justice Department serves them all, and its credibility rests on being perceived to play fair.

…so…to dip into this barrel analogy again…one of the things that’s hard about bobbing for apples is they dip under the surface & roll away on you…whether because the supporting context is fluid…or because you picked a bad angle of approach & keep glancing off the point at a tangent like two magnets repelling one another

Before continuing, let me be clear: I believe Trump is a bad person of low character, selfish and dishonest, intellectually lazy, childish and shameless, and that his presidency has been a terrible thing for the country I love. For this reason, I’m relieved by the likely collapse of the classified documents case against him. Because it was the strongest case against Trump, in terms of trial strategy, it was the most likely to produce an indictment — and indicting Trump is a terrible idea for those who genuinely hope to be rid of him.


…agree to disagree, I guess…maybe it really is all in the eye of the beholder


…one thing I have noticed, though…is that there are some couple of dozen “classified documents” that are in the mix on biden’s end of one of these bits of asymmetry

Timeline of the Biden Documents Case: What We Know So Far [NYT]

…which is not only on the order of an order of magnitude less of the things…but depending on the actual level of classification involved potentially several orders of magnitude lower down the scale for things like corrupt intent


…context is a shifty bugger…I don’t know that CNN is right about the shocking part…but if the number of americans with some sort of level of security clearance in 2014 was already larger than the total population of norway…& the pulitzer lot thought this merited attention upwards of a decade ago…I’m going to go ahead & guess there are an uncountable number of “classified documents” available to misfile…& that in the grand scheme of things…it’s entirely possible that a couple of dozen of potentially innocuous ones does not bespeak the same thing as…well…the other ball of wax…that’s melting…in a dumpster fire…at which something like the unholy conjunction of a runaway train & a clown car towing a tanker of jet fuel is barreling along on a collision course towards

…& that one of those things pretty much demands being addressed in ways that incur criminal charges

…but what do I know…I kinda wish jodorowski actually had made a version of tron…wishful thinking is a hell of a drug



  1. For some light-hearted relief, can I just mention that everyone’s favorite ginger, Prince Hazza, discussed his deflowering in his bestseller. The with-who and outside which pub is vague (poor Elizabeth Hurley, of all people, was a prime suspect for a while) but it has been determined that the locale was The Rattlebone Inn (!) in Wiltshire. Isn’t that fantastic? Apparently the Rattlebone was Willy and Hazza’s local, it being not too far from Highgrove, and The Royal Pair used to participate in “lock-ins.” That is when the pub closes for the night (used to be 11 pm; I think they can stay open later now) but a select group of patrons are allowed to hang out and drink. I did this once, it was really fun, like being at a speakeasy during Prohibition. Hazza was also known to wander outside and spark up, but I don’t know whether Willy ever joined him.

    Speaking of Reefer Madness, I also just learned that when Megs walked down the aisle for the first time she had a destination wedding in Jamaica. Each of the 105 guests received a bag of pot. But was it 105 guests out of a greater number, or was it 105 total and no matter who you were you got one? I’m assuming, like many destination weddings in Jamaica, the resort was adults only, so none of this second-guessing about where the gift bag cutoff should be: 14? 16? 18? Surely her mother Doria was there: did she get one? Doria was/is a social worker/makeup artist/yoga instructor in LA so surely she’s no stranger to the herb, and relatives do have a habit of letting loose at weddings.

    I wonder what my tee-totaling mother would have been like if she ever got high. I myself have only gotten high maybe three times because it affects me immediately so I giggle for about 15 minutes and then fall asleep, and that’s no fun. No, I confine myself to antics like participating in rural pub lock-ins and drinking whatever beer the pub’s associated brewery has in stock.

    • Did she and her husband pay the way of the guests to the wedding? Because that’s the only way to justify a purely destination wedding, although even then they have a lot of opportunities to go bad. Hopefully this wasn’t some kind of twilight zone trapped in paradise situation.

      I’d make an exception if someone’s family happened to live in a place like Jamaica or the Riviera and it was actually easier for dear old grandma to attend at the hotel nearby to them.


      • …I’m not totally clear where the line is between weddings that guests have to travel far enough to be worth spending some extra days in that part of the world before heading home & a destination wedding…but I suspect that in terms of a spectrum I see it sort of similar…if there’s some connection between one or other of the couple & the place it’s seemed fair enough for some I’ve attended…& some of the less fat flung weddings I’ve attended have oddly cost more on occasion

        …but I don’t think I’ve ever been to one where they just picked somewhere that was expensively not local to anyone involved…so maybe I’ve never actually been to a destination wedding

        …haven’t been to one where they gave out weed, come to that…so I guess I don’t get invited to the right sort of parties?

      • I don’t know, it was an aside in an article about how many drugs Harry did and how candid he was about it in Spare. I think he mentions that he still smokes pot at Montecito House, presumably outside, and then the author threw in that tidbit about Megs’s own fondness for weed. I’m pretty sure Doria, the Mom, grew up in the US, and I can’t imagine her paternal side had any connection to Jamaica. Furthermore, I don’t know and am too lazy to look up where Megs was in her career when this first wedding took place. She struggled until she got the job opening briefcases but apparently that didn’t pay very well. Maybe it was in her Suits years, but even still to get 105 people over to Jamaica.

        A couple of my friends attended a Jamaica wedding and they’re still furious about it. They had to pay their own way, it was incredibly expensive, and it was a multi-day event. No one had ever been to Jamaica before, but the bride thought she’d like to go. And of course it was Her Big Day. Another couple of friends of mine went a wedding at a US resort. The bride had been in the general area precisely once and decided to hold her wedding there. Same thing. No one lived anywhere near this resort and to add insult to injury it was held over a holiday weekend so the resort, and every other place in the vicinity, had a three-night-minimum policy.

  2. …all for the light entertainment…so ta muchly on that account…& I think it’s fair to say that weed effects people in different ways…why…just look at the dutch

    …& we can’t all be thomas de quincey

    Cos people think I’m on drugs and I’m not. I’m really quite… Just a bit of coffee. When I take drugs I start going, Oh, would you like insurance?
    Eddie Izzard

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