It’s amazing to me the alternative reportage this newspaper pioneered in the 1990s. The Aquarian Weekly was always progressive, radical even. We’ve been arguing for the legalization of marijuana since the ‘70s, an idea whose time may have finally come. We supported Fred Harris for President in 1976. Harris, a Democratic Oklahoma Senator from 1964 to 1973, crisscrossed the country in an RV and stayed in people’s homes during the campaign. He was big on the rights of Native Americans and issues concerning the blue-collar working man. He used a lot of Merle Haggard music prior to his speeches. He’d give each homeowner whose house he stayed in a special card which would grant them a night in the White House if he won. Upon losing, he settled into a long successful life in academia where he continues, at 81, to lecture and write.

In 1995, we posited the question, “Did Louis Farrakhan kill Malcolm X?” The daughter of Malcolm X, Qubilah Shabazz, certainly thought so. She was arrested on charges of hiring a hitman to whack Farrakhan, the notoriously anti-Semitic leader of the Nation Of Islam. Malcolm’s widow, Betty Shabazz, in a televised interview, said that “surely” Farrakhan had something to do with the assassination of her late husband. Malcolm had split with the Nation of Islam and had been giving a series of inflammatory speeches against them. Farrakhan, for his part, has been quoted as saying that Malcolm was a “traitor… worthy of death.” A documentary film, Brother Minister: The Assassination Of Malcolm X, puts Farrakhan at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City that fateful day in 1965. Qubilah was four when she saw her father murdered. Two Nation Of Islam members were convicted of the deed yet rumors have abounded for years about Farrakhan’s complicity.

What else did we cover? Well, going by our credo at the time of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll (and politics and serial killers), we reported that President Clinton’s war on marijuana was tougher than the one waged by the first President Bush. We also made sure to include the findings of a Playboy magazine international survey conducted in conjunction with sex researchers from the University Of Chicago. They found that people in Poland masturbate every day, people in France have sex every day, people in America have the highest percentage of oral sex, people in Taiwan have sex on the first date and people in Japan have the least sex.

Other news making our pages in 1995 included anti-gay measures in the great state of Colorado; a class action suit against the U.S. government from families of soldiers who came home sick from the first Gulf War; and victims of the horribly Draconian “3-strikes-you’re-out” rule who have to spend what amounts to the rest of their life behind bars if convicted of a third crime, even if that third crime was, in this case, swiping a slice of pizza at the pizzeria. The law has since been amended in most states to include only non-drug felonies.

We reported that neo-Nazi White Power enthusiasts The Aryan Nation were now in 16 states saying stuff like “maybe slavery wasn’t such a bad idea, after all,” that kids were now abusing Ritalin (used to control hyper-activity) and that an underground market for the drug had developed. We reported that protesters in Russia were demonstrating against the draft just like American kids in the 1960s, and that idiots like North Carolina State Representative Henry Aldridge really exist.

Aldridge, during a debate on state funding for abortions, stood in front of the North Carolina House Appropriations Committee to argue that rape victims should not be included because they don’t get pregnant. “The juices don’t flow,” he argued, “the body functions don’t work [during a rape].”

 

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