Wandering Eye: Johann Hari's 'Chasing The Scream' becomes a brilliant YouTube cartoon, the homecoming of Bosch, and more

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; it is connection. This is the totally insightful, totally obvious takeaway from this five-and-a-half minute YouTube cartoon, adapted from Johann Hari's book "Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs," which Baynard Woods reviewed back in February. It’s a brilliant bit of propaganda for the notion that Western Society as a whole has become sick—an atomized hellscape in which isolation is the default state of human beings and accumulation of status symbols is the principle endeavor. And it’s strange to call a brief for what nearly everyone already knows is true “propaganda,” but that is what it is, because until we act on what we know, we must continue to pretend not to know. Central to the cartoon is the “Robins Study” of Vietnam war vets’ heroin use. One in five soldiers reported being “addicted” to the drug in Vietnam, but when they came home, only about 5 percent of that group (i.e. 1 percent of the total) kept at it. As the writer and addiction expert Dirk Hanson wrote, “The Robins Study painted a picture of a majority of soldiers kicking it on their own, without formal intervention. For some of them, kicking wasn’t even an issue. They could ‘chip’ the drug at will—they could take it or leave it. And when they came home, they decided to leave it.” That addicted people who had strong family and social ties could just walk away from heroin is still considered a paradox in the drug treatment world, which now considers lifelong treatment the to be the correct prescription. But the bigger challenge is this: If we can’t even know what we already know about what makes our world a petri dish for addiction, how can we expect to change our world? (Edward Ericson Jr.)


One of my favorite painters is Hieronymus Bosch, the 15th-16th-century Netherlandish master behind the glorious and horrifying 'Garden of Earthly Delights' triptych. His panels—'Garden' in particular—are known for their vast, intricate detail and grotesque representations of sin and Hell. They're like "I Spy" picture games, but with sodomy and demons and hellfire, as well as heavenly landscapes. It's an immense experience to see one Bosch piece, but for the first time, 20 of the 25 surviving Bosch paintings and 19 of 25 drawings are coming together for one massive, nightmarish eye-candy explosion. The Noordbrabants Museum, located in the artist's hometown of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, is staging the largest Bosch retrospective nearly 500 years after the death of the "Devil's Painter." Unfortunately, the Prado in Madrid is holding onto its beloved 'Garden,' but are loaning 'The Haywain' instead. That the small Netherlandish museum managed to get so many art institution giants to send them their precious Bosch paintings is a huge feat in and of itself. And if September's massive, floral Van Gogh parade says anything about the Netherlands' ability to celebrate artists with elaborate floats, the coinciding "Bosch500" celebration, parade, and "Boat Trip of Heaven and Hell" canal tour will surely be a sight worthy of the honoree. (Maura Callahan)


In giant, menacing pumpkin news: A 25-foot-tall, 350-pound inflatable pumpkin got loose in Arizona and rolled through traffic, damaging a set of street lights. Blown by wind, the decoration bounced a quarter of a mile before landing in a park. The incident festively evokes the runaway 250-pound red ball that became detached from its place in a public art installation at the Toledo Museum of Art in August. And then there are these horrifying celebrity heads made from humongous pumpkins, created by Ohio-based artist Jeanette Paras over the past 25 years. Following previous renderings of Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Jay Leno, Phil Robertson, and Kim Jong Un, Paras bestowed this Halloween season with "Trumpkin"—an appropriately orange, fleshy, pouty Donald Trump head, complete with a luscious mess of hair. (Maura Callahan)

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