Mick Taussig’s Cocaine Museum

Michael Taussig is what you might call a “gonzo anthropologist” — he writes heavily “novelized” (not necessarily to say “fictionalized”) ethnographies that deal primarily with the intersection between capitalism and terror. His latest book, My Cocaine Museum, posits a Colombian museum that would explore the role of cocaine in Colombian history the way that the already-existing Gold Museum does for mining. An excerpt of the book is available at the University of Chicago’s website.

Speaking of Indians, here’s a familiar figure to greet you, that huge photo you see in the airport as you walk to immigration of a stoic Indian lady seated on the ground in the marketplace with limestone and coca leaves for sale and in front of her, of all things, William Burroughs’s refrigerator from Lawrence, Kansas, with a sign on its door, Just Say No, as an Indian teenager saunters past with a Nike sign on his chest saying Just Do It and a smiling Nancy Reagan floats overhead like the Cheshire cat gazing thoughtfully at an automobile with the trunk open and two corpses stuffed inside it with their hands tied behind their backs and neat bullet holes, one each through the right temple and one each through the crown of the head.

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