Adam Leigh is a character in Carrion. His forename comes from early research I did into drugs. Adam is a colloquialism for MDMA or ecstasy. In the early seventies scientists researching MDMA’s use in psychotherapy nicknamed the drug “Adam”. Referring to the state of “primal innocence” induced by the drug. Adam’s surname is a derivation of the name Lee. William Lee was a pseudonym used by William S. Burroughs. I am interested in his work. Took some inspiration from his first book Junkie. And wanted to reference the mise-en-scène of his life and writing. Leigh is an oblique reference to drugs. Adam Leigh was born in 1980. When Carrion starts he is in his early thirties. Why? Because that makes him old enough to have some understanding of the world. Made some mistakes in life. Have a weariness about him. But still young enough to be engaged. It’s still possible for him to see the world differently. As a young man starting out. He was unwilling to saddle himself with the debts associated with obtaining a university education. Why? Because as a child he saw first hand the damage debt can do. In the financial collapse of the 1980’s his father was made redundant. Out of work. He was unable to pay the mortgage on the council house they had bought in Thatcher’s right to buy scheme. The bank repossessed. But because they had technically made themselves homeless by defaulting on the mortgage. The council refused to rehouse them. They ended up living in bed and breakfast. Until his father was able to get job in a local supermarket. Adam watched the experience take its toll on his parents. And vowed never to put himself in that same position. So in his late teens. When his contemporaries were starting university. Adam joined the army. He thought whatever skills he learned in the service. Would stand him in good stead when he returned to civilian life. Early in 2002 he saw combat in Afghanistan. Where he was wounded. An improvised explosive device detonated in close proximity. Killed one his comrades. And left Adam with shrapnel scars across his back. During his recovery. He met and married a local teacher Joan. Their marriage only lasted a couple of years. She was unable to deal with the rigours of life as an army wife. A tour of duty took him away for several months soon after their wedding. And when he returned. Carrying the weight of post traumatic stress disorder. His emotional distance pushed a wedge between them. The final straw came when Adam transferred into the military police. And was forced to relocate. Joan refused to follow him. The move would damage her career. They finally divorced in 2005. Adam dedicated himself to his work. Until 2007. When his parents were killed in a car crash. Their death forced him to take guardianship of his baby sister Christine. Born in 1995. She was two years old when Adam joined up. She knew him only as an occasional visitor. And saw him more as a distant uncle than a brother. In the months that followed Adam bought himself out of the army. Moved back into the family home with Christine. And joined the Metropolitan Police. He tried to offer her stability. But the grief of loosing her parents. The tribulations of adolescents. And his dedication to his work. Meant Adam found her difficult to deal with. A growing resentment developed between them. The older she got. The more defiant she became. Until finally. In the summer of 2012. She moved in with her drug dealing boyfriend. Angry. Adam was left with an unresolved sense of guilt that he did not do better by her. A year later. And they are on opposite sides of the war on drugs. No closer to resolving their differences. Until drug eating insects attack Christine’s boyfriend.
I have heard this word used ad infinitum without truly understanding it.
1. From the Latin insurgēns. Rising upon or against. From insurgere. To rise up. From surgere. To rise.
2. Rebellious or in revolt. As against a government in power or the civil authorities.
3. A person who takes part in an uprising or rebellion. Insurrectionist.
4. In international law. A person or group that rises in revolt against an established government or authority but whose conduct does not amount to belligerency.
It is interesting to me that the insurgent does not amount to belligerency. That is. The insurgent is not engaged in a legally recognised war.
In my last post I finished with a quote from Richard Lawrence Miller’s book Drug Warriors and Their Prey. “People convinced of their superiority rescue a country threatened from within.” This could be what John Truby calls the designing principle of Carrion. But what does Miller mean when he says “people convinced of their superiority?” Again I find myself going back to the dictionary. The word superiority. And its precursor superior. Superior means greater in quality. Of high or extraordinary worth. Higher in rank or status. Displaying a conscious sense of being above or better than others. For me Miller’s aphorism implies a small group of people. But a small group of people doesn’t explain the mandate asserted by the government. Could it be the attitudes of this small group are disseminated through? And followed by? The larger body of the population? If that is the case? Democracy has been inverted. The government doesn’t represent the view of the majority. The majority re-presents the views of the government. Which leads me to the question. Why are drug users singled out? Why are they treated with such hostility? Why are they vilified? The conclusion I have come to is that drug users function as the other. The outsiders. The threat. The group over there to be feared. The irony is. The people convinced of their superiority need drug users. They maintain their position “inside” by identifying drug users position as “outside”. And from their position inside. They are able to blame drug users for the ills of society. If this is the case. The question for drug users is. How do you fight them? Do you expose their hypocrisies? Expose the machinery of prohibition? Or do you match might with might? And fight back? My feeling is these people are so entrenched in their opinions. So hardened in their position. So convinced of their superiority. Nothing will shake them. They will only respond to force. A force equal to the animosity they show towards drug users. The implication of this is horrifying. Because the only way to stop them. Is to destroy them.
I have been working through some ideas for Carrion. And asked myself a question. What is prohibition really about? As I am prone to do when I am trying to understand something. My first port of call is a dictionary. And the word prohibition. Prohibition is the act of prohibiting or state of being prohibited. An order or decree that prohibits. To prohibit is to forbid an action or activity by authority or law. Essentially prohibition is control. And control means to exercise restraint or direction over. Dominate. Command. To hold in check. Or curb. So prohibitions function within our society is to control. But control what? On the face of it prohibition controls the manufacture. Transportation. And sale of a prescribed set of substances. Namely drugs. But it also controls behaviour. Prohibition controls an individuals right to make a choice. Good or bad. To take a certain action. That is. Take a specific drug. A question comes to mind. Why do they want to control what individuals do? At this point I think it is necessary to understand who I mean by “they”. They are the government. That group of people we elect to represent us. If that is the case? Why aren’t the views of the drug taker represented? I presume the argument would come back that we live in a democracy. And the majority think drug taking is bad. But why? Why do they think taking drugs are bad? When every culture I can think of takes drugs in one form or another. Putting that to one side. Another question comes to mind. If these are the same majority/government who allow individuals to choose to smoke and drink? Why can’t that same majority/government allow individuals to choose to take drugs. Rebuttals might sight the addictive nature of drugs. But the drugs that are currently prohibited are no more or less addictive than cigarettes or alcohol. Individuals get into just as much trouble with legal substances as they do with those prohibited. If the majority/government can allow people to make a choice. And take the risk of doing cigarettes or alcohol. Why can’t they allow individuals to make the choice and take the risk of taking drugs? Logic dictates that they can. But they don’t. Why don’t they? The answer I keep coming back to is that it is less about what people take. And more about the act of taking. Prohibition isn’t about the substance. Prohibition is about controlling what people do. While I think this is an argument for the abolition of prohibition. It doesn’t answer the question. Who actually controls the machine of prohibition? A glimpse can perhaps be found in the preface of Richard Lawrence Miller’s Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State. “People convinced of their superiority (seek to) rescue a country threatened from within.” What is prohibition really about? I think it’s about power. It’s a machine that allows the state to control its population.
Came across the word paramour today. Knew it. But never really understood it. Was interested by it’s meaning and etymology.
1. An archaic word for beloved. Circa 1300. From the Old French. Literally. Through love.
2. A lover. Especially one in an adulterous relationship.
3. Now usually derogatory. A lover. Especially an adulterous woman.
4. A woman’s lover. Fancy man. Lover. A significant other to whom you are not related by marriage.
5. A woman who cohabits with an important man. Kept woman. Mistress. Fancy woman. An adulterous woman. A woman who has an ongoing extramarital sexual relationship with a man. Odalisque. A woman slave in a harem. Concubine. Courtesan. Doxy.
Interesting how it goes from the Old French. Through love. To doxy. A word I associate with the hard talking dialogue of Film Noir. That turns out is slang for a sexually promiscuous woman.