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020_ Interview: modern society | ʇǝʞɹɐɯ ƃnɹp uɹǝpoɯ

26 February, 2021 - 4 min read

020_ Interview: modern society | ʇǝʞɹɐɯ ƃnɹp uɹǝpoɯ

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” ― Edgar Allan Poe

Hello there, and welcome to _bandwidth: coast to coast. One of the intents I have with this series, is to highlight what we take for granted, what structures, economies, influences, etc, that exist within and without each of us, which knowingly or not, are taking an active hand in shaping the emerging world we inhabit.

An emerging world, or the innumerable behaviors, effects, changes, and so on, that are continuously occurring and evolving in every dimension.

As we further transform as a species, further augmenting what we’re given with genes with what’s built by us, simply put as technology, a few behaviors become strikingly apparent.

Our lifestyle has become more and more sedentary, our pollution has increased exponentially and the area in which we live has become more dependent on environments we control.

Environments that are powered more and more shaped by consumer markets.

One of the features of a quote “western” consumer society, is the consumption of mind altering substances.

Caffeine, sugar, alcohol, tobacco, are a few common mainstays. With numbers that exist at scale, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine all add up to a big market, and with time have become mainstays in and of themselves.

This is to say nothing of marijuana and its increasingly legal / blackmarket mixed economy.

The substances in the latter grouping have a steady, at times growing demand in spite of their illegality. What behaviors, effects, changes and suffering emerge from this illegality, is innumerable.

It’s happening right out in the open, and is felt most dangerously right next door to the United states in Mexico, where illegal businesses work hard to meet the demands of American consumers.

Because as my guest powerfully puts it, drugs are a part of the modern consumer society we live in.

Mexico’s drug cartels make billions of dollars a year on illegal drugs, what emerges out of those dollars, is the focus of this episode’s interview.

My guest, is author and journalist Ioan Grillo, who’s spent the past 20 years in Mexico reporting and authoring books on the Latin American cartels.

Ioan gives some insight into how the hydra of problems with the cartels, military and police have grown during the escalation of violence in the past 15 years, how this plays out and is felt by the typical person caught or tempted by the drug “business,” as told from a seat within the main stage of the war on drugs.

Just a few days before we recorded this, Ioan had gone to Jalisco to report on a former governor who was assassinated in a bathroom of a club, just one of the many deaths that are occurring each day, through many more of the victims are unknown people.

I encourage you to check out any of Ioan’s books to get hear and understand more about those unknown and mostly unfelt individuals who tackle with the reality that our current drug system rigs the laboratory to create.

El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency, which is a base for many of the questions I ask in this interview.

Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields, and the New Politics of Latin America, that tells the human stories of those tempted into the drug cartels.

Along with his newly released book, Blood, Gun, Money, How America Arms Gangs and Cartels, which has just dropped this week.

He has a great writing style that you can see shine through a bit while you hear him talk. I encourage you to pick up any of what he’s written to gain more of an understanding of cartels, drugs, and what emerges.

Drums, promo, and then my interview with Ioan Grillo.

-J.R.

This was an excerpt from the intro essay to _bandwidth: coast to coast

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