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Pills-A-Go-Go: A Fiendish Investigation into Pill Marketing, Art, History & Consumption Paperback – January 1, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
As the editor of an eponymous underground 'zine devoted to celebrating pills "from the point of view of unrepentant drug takers," Hogshire seeks to demystify the contents of our medicine chests. Calling pills "the quintessential icon of Western Civilization," he bemoans the fact that America's attitude toward pills is ambivalent at best, and blames this state of affairs on both an elitist medical profession and public information campaigns that create undue hysteria about the consequences of recreational drug use. Dividing the book into such chapters as "Another Clean-Cut, All-American Speed Freak," "Amphetamines and Football," "I Raided Tom Clancy's Drug Stash" and "Great Pharmacist Authors," he mixes cheerfully blistering rants against doctors, pharmacists and the FDA with overviews of the history, uses and side effects of various widely taken medications. Readers are told what security measures to take when breaking into a pharmacy, what combination of meds is most likely to prevent jet lag and how to forge a prescription. Brash, lively and lavishly illustrated, this is a fun and often informative read, although some of Hogshire's pollyannaish conclusions about the benefits of pills should be taken with a grain of salt, if not a dose of Valium. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The drug-appreciative likes of Hashish! (1998) and Opium get lighthearted companionship. Besides "the best tidbits" from the 'zine Pills-A-Go-Go, Hogshire showcases stuff about drug paraphernalia and "inspiring graphics" concerned with "the many taboo, absurd, ignored and forgotten ways pills continue to shape our lives." And then there are the instructional pieces. The kind of instruction offered is practical, especially for home labs, and includes "Making Hard Drugs Out of Mom's Codeine Pills" and "Hacking Valium" (i.e., making diazepam). If offering such information to library patrons seems dicey, think of it as just so many home-schooling science exercises. Mostly, this is a history of popular pills and an exploration of the pill-head lifestyle. The graphics are a treat. Juxtaposing images condemning pill-popping with contemporaneous ones marketing it, they rouse nostalgia for the consumer icons of the past. Later, in an appendix, they amount to a gallery of druggy paperback book cover art. Valuable resource or pop-culture conversation piece. Mike Tribby
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This book is a good reference point to distingish the huge difference between a drug USER and a drug ABUSER.
There are MANY issues covered here that I have rarely (if ever) seen addressed elsewhere. One example is the fact that most pills are effective to treat things that they have not been officially approved to treat but if a doctor prescribes a drug for a non-government-approved reason he risks losing his licence. Also, much inside information on the relationship between doctors and the pharmaceuticle companies. And, the fact that government agencies have more input - as to what type of and how much of a drug you need when you are sick - than your doctor does! (How certain agencies of our government think it is more important to stop someone from "having fun" with a drug than to allow someone with, for example, a severed spine to have proper relief from their pain).
Highlight chapters include "The Pill as Virgin/Whore", "Rude Pharmasists", "Rape Drugs" (in which Hogshire points out that the date rape drug of choice is nor Rohypnol... it's ALCOHOL!), "Before Viagra, Better Sex Through Pills", "Pill Road Tests" (including a roll-on-the-floor hilarious account of an extreme Robitussin "experience"), and much more.
Well written & compiled, wonderful design & layout and great artwork.
WARNING: If you lend books, you may want to buy more than one copy... this is the type of book people borrow, then "forget" to return!
What I like best about this book is that it shows all the early advertisements aimed & marketed towards the Pill-Prescriber aka The "High Priest" (your doctor, pharmacist, or who ever has that script pad). These ads make your reading experience that much more fun, while your grasp on the reality of our pill world becomes much more twisted.
Pills-A-Go-Go: A Fiendish Investigation into Pill Marketing, Art, History & Consumption
I only have two minor problems with this book. First, there are a ton of spelling and grammatical errors, which don't necessarily detract from the book's content, but do make the book a harder read. Second, the book is often very subjective and tends to follow Mr. Hogshire's very strong opinions on the pharmaceutical and medical industries. While this is to be expected based on the nature of the 'zine, it could have been written with a little less bias. In his defense however, he does a good job of telling all sides of the story on many subjects. Overall, this is a wonderful book.