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Leonard Nimoy speaks out: Why Spock approved of LSD and ‘dirty movies’

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Throughout his life, the actor Leonard Nimoy appeared to be always open to discussing nearly everything in his life. He answered questions frankly and honestly on subjects as diverse as space travel, photography, or his own personal tastes in music or books. He answered these questions in a seemingly calm and rational way. His ability to do so was most possibly down to the very real personality changes brought on by playing Mr. Spock on hit TV series Star Trek. This was something Nimoy touched upon in an interview with TV Star Parade magazine in January 1968, where he discussed his thoughts about adult movies and the liberating potential of psychoactive drugs.

In the article “Leonard Nimoy Speaks Out on LSD, Religion and Dirty Movies—an unblushingly honest confession as told to Roger Elwood,” the actor was interviewed in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel. He is described as being “relaxed and comfortable” and sipping from a “glass of ginger liquid.” Who knows what was in this amber nectar but the main interest here was the actor’s comments on LSD and “dirty movies,” as Elwood wrote:

And so is the topic of LSD. The self-hallucinatory drug. The ticket to a trip somewhere at the farthest reaches of man’s intellect. Or so its proponents say without telling you of the dangers, the obstacles on the road to mental Utopia.

Leonard is especially outspoken on the subject, apparently one to which he has devoted a great deal of time and serious thought.

“It is a useful tool in the hands of proper medical experts,” he told me. “I am convinced, as a result of reports that I have read, that it will bring about some very useful effects in certain instances and under suitable and necessary medical controls. However, as it is being used by so many young people as a means of escape and personal investigation without control, I consider it rather dangerous.”

But Mr. Spock wasn’t finished there.

He paused, obviously thinking of his own children and hoping that, as they got older, they wouldn’t be similarly imperiled.

Then, clearing his throat, he continued, “There have been too many unsettling reports of young people using it without the necessary supervision and having difficulty recuperating from the trip. In many cases, I believe that young people resort to drugs with the excuse that it will help develop their minds, whereas they haven’t done the necessary work involved for themselves so that this could happen.

“The point is—they are looking for a drug or pill which will do the work for them, and this attitude in life is disastrous whether LSD is involved or not. The drugs can, I understand, be properly used, when the essential mental climate and conditions are already present—however, I believe in natural development processes of the mind. The creative process for me has always operated best at the very conscious level—in other words, only when I’m in complete control of my own thinking do I feel that I am creating at my best.”

As a sidebar, it’s worth noting that Nimoy was so in “control” of his personal life during the making of the original Star Trek series that he became (by his own admission) an alcoholic and ended up in rehab. This may have been as a result of Nimoy’s identifying with the character of Mr. Spock. He later claimed acting Spock twelve hours, five days a week, impacted on his personality making him more rational but less emotional.

More from Mr. Spock, after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.05.2017
09:04 am
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Short animated film depicts the agony of alcoholism
07.10.2015
10:35 am
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Twelve-step programs have long achieved remarkable things using the simple technique of a single voice speaking with honesty and humility, and it is precisely this device that works so smashingly well in this animated short crafted by the production company Buck for Alcoholics Anonymous.

In “Doors,” the simple aural method of a multitude of voices detailing (necessarily incompletely) the abjectness of their situations is singularly effective, singularly moving, singularly powerful. The iconic and yet entirely fluid visuals in the short reminds me a great deal of the work of Eric Drooker, whose wordless novel Flood of some years ago evinced similar feelings of helplessness, dread, isolation, and desperation.
 

 
“I’m Justin H., I’m an alcoholic.” “I had no friends, I burned every single bridge, my family had cut ties from me, I was unemployable. ... All of those things because, you know, drinking was more important than anything else.” The snippets start out bleak but, inevitably, turn more hopeful as the narrative edges towards probably the planet’s most effective counter to dipsomania—Alcoholics Anonymous.

Just as AA meeting structurally resemble Moth storytelling gatherings, so too do these recorded clips remind one of This American Life—but so many right-thinking NPR addicts have become trained in empathizing with just such voices.

By the time the short had ended I was almost disappointed to see that it was, no matter how well executed, yes, a commercial for AA. But on second thought, that’s the best use for such a fine piece of work.
 

 
via BOOOOOOOM!

Posted by Martin Schneider
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07.10.2015
10:35 am
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Motivational fitness mottos paired with images of alcoholism
11.05.2013
09:40 am
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I don’t know what genius came up with the idea of putting inspirational fitness slogans about “never quitting” over people who have consumed waaaaaaaaaaaay too much alcohol, but I do appreciate it!
 
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With thanks to Eve Lee, reddit and Imgur. 
 
More after the jump…
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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11.05.2013
09:40 am
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Have some shitfaced Halloween fun with the ‘Dark Shadows’ drinking game
10.29.2013
05:20 pm
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If you’re skipping the Halloween parties this year, preferring instead to stay home and drunkenly hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, might I suggest a classic board game to liven up your night? Get your spooky self over to eBay and purchase one the the two varieties of Dark Shadows board games! (By the way, don’t you think a kid’s board game based off of a horror soap opera would cause some pearl-clutching nowadays? How G-rated has childhood become?)

I say combine game-play with a show marathon. Dark Shadows is the best thing to watch in a social setting. It’s streaming on Netflix, so the soap opera format allows the audience to drift in and out or pick episodes at random. And of course all the episodes were shot live and low budget, so despite the high quality of the acting, there’s a ton of line-flubs and technical mistakes. In addition to the actual game, you can start making up your own rules along with the show. For example, every time you see a microphone in the shot, take a drink! Every time a piece of scenery collapses, take a drink!

Just remember folks, every game is a drinking game if you’re inventive!
 
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Posted by Amber Frost
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10.29.2013
05:20 pm
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Total War: The Impact of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

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Mike Nichols’s film adaptation of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened 44 years ago today during a summer of tumult. Not only were massive protests against the Vietnam War hitting Washington DC, but the last trouble-free marriage sitcom, The Dick van Dyke Show, had just aired its last episode. It was on.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor took on the roles of inadequate associate history prof George and his drunk university-president’s-daughter wife Martha two years into their actual marriage, which itself was one of the most scrutinized in pop culture history. The then-thrice-divorced Taylor won the Best Actress Oscar, and Haskell Wexler’s stark cinematography scored him a statuette as well. Controversy over how much of the play’s profanity to include in the film would compel the MPAA’s Jack Valenti to convert the industry’s old Production Code into the rating system we know today.

Screenwriter Ernest Lehman ingeniously situates George and Martha’s relentless turning-point fight in a well-lit parking lot, giving Taylor the pacing space to sprawl out the argument across the psyche of tortured married couples across America. The pair’s agreement on “total war” seems almost chilling in its self-indulgence in the context of President Johnson’s escalating the horrific bombing of North Vietnam at the time.
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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06.22.2010
10:28 am
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Dennis Hopper: American Dreamer (NSFW)

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In 2006, the late Dennis Hopper confessed to Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes that he thought his career was a failure. This despite revolutionizing American cinema by directing Easy Rider, and becoming an icon via characters like the lost American photojournalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now and the sinister Frank Booth in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. He likely wasn’t otherwise convinced by the star he received on the Hollywood Walk of Fame a couple of months before he died.
 
These clips from Lawrence Schiller-directed 1971 documentary The American Dreamer find the Dodge City, KS-born Hopper in a reflective and quietly desperate place. Shot while he completed post-production on The Last Movie—Hopper’s convoluted, Peruvian-filmed follow-up to Easy RiderDreamer follows the scraggly and bearded director as he wanders,  parties and babbles around his Taos, NM ranch.
 
You’d think that triumph of Easy Rider would somewhat make up for Hopper’s emotionally damaged childhood, career troubles, two divorces, and the trauma of his good friend James Dean’s death. But Hopper here is deep inside his alcoholism, musing on his alienation, and treating the filming as a sort of therapy. As you’ll find in the second clip below, part of that therapy involves what he termed a “sensitivity encounter” with about a dozen variously undressed groupies who the mad director harangues with some group-psych babble before disrobing himself. Hopper would eventually hit bottom, wandering literally naked in a South American jungle, before being hospitalized, rehabilitated, and eventually redeemed in the later phase of an enviable “failure” of a career.
 

 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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06.07.2010
07:42 pm
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