Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes
Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes (ISBN 0-8065-1167-2) is a collection of essays and short fiction works by satirical novelist and screenwriter Terry Southern, which was first published in 1967.
It consists of twenty-four pieces which were originally published in Esquire magazine, Evergreen Review, Harper's Bazaar, Hasty Papers, Nugget, The Paris Review, and The Realist. It was re-published in 1990 with a new introduction by George Plimpton. A film was made of the title Southern short story with Southern's involvement by Philip D. Schuman which won a Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival in 1973.
The Sun and the Still-born Stars
The Night the Bird Blew for Doctor Warner
A South Summer Idyll
You're Too Hip, Baby
You Gotta Leave Your Mark
The Road Out of Axotle
Apartment to Exchange
Love Is a Many Splendored
Twirling at Ole Miss
Recruiting for the Big Parade
I Am Mike Hammer
The Automatic Gate
A Change of Style
The Face of the Arena
The Moon-shot Scandal
Red Giant on Our Doorstep!
Scandale at the Dumpling Shop
Terry Southern Interviews a Faggot Male Nurse
The Blood of a Wig
Plots and themes
Like much of Southern's work, Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes presents a detailed portrait of American culture during the 1950s. Many stories, in particular You're Too Hip, Baby, The Blood of a Wig, and The Night the Bird Blew for Doctor Warner, explore the mentality of the hipster and the pretentiousness of countercultures.
Other stories, like Recruiting for the Big Parade and Twirling at Ole Miss, present unusual non-fiction, and may be viewed as an early form of gonzo journalism. Twirlin' at Ole Miss has been cited by Tom Wolfe as one of the defining works of the genre and as such it was included in Wolfe and A.W. Johnson's anthology The New Journalism.
The majority of the book's stories, like the eponymous Red-Dirt Marijuana, simply present detailed character sketches and bizarre flights of fancy. In The Sun and the Still-Born Stars, a Texan farmer wages a surreal, Beowulfian struggle against a mysterious sea monster. In Love Is a Many Splendored, Franz Kafka receives an obscene crank call from Sigmund Freud. Beneath these strange juxtapositions, Southern explores themes of alienation, love, and truth.
The collection has been widely praised by authors such as Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, William S. Burroughs, Robert Anton Wilson, and Kurt Vonnegut. Joseph Heller characterized it as "the cutting edge of black comedy."