Skip to main content

My recent diary on Ben was received very warmly by this community.  There is obviously a lot of love and affection for him here.  I am grateful for that and pleased by it as I know Ben would be.

I wrote that piece very much 'in the moment' and decided I needed to publish it while it was 'of the moment.'  As a result it was hastily written and I left a lot of things out.

Some commenters compared me to Ben but I don't, not for a minute.  I was never the trooper Ben Masel was.  Ben is who I would have been had I been a better person.  I'm not fit to light his bong (although I have).

There is no doubt that the man was brilliant.  He could teach chapter and verse much of the history of the last 50 years in America, and he often did.  When Ben Masel held court all the wise ones listened.

He was a master level chess player.

He had a long track record of winning first amendment lawsuits.

He was known far and wide for his pro-cannabis activism.

He said “Life is like a movie.  Be the star of your own movie.  Don't be a bit player.”  And he didn't just say it, he lived it.

I saw where some gentleman thanked him for teaching him how to be a leftist:  question everything.

Ben was a natural born performer who mesmerized his audience as he made his observations and pronouncements, charming everyone within earshot with his intelligence, wit and good humor...not to mention his encyclopedic knowledge of politics, history, civil rights law, all things cannabis and etcetera.

Ben was a natural-born teacher who believed in never letting a teachable moment pass.  That's what made it so incredible for my son, the intellectual sponge, to hang out with him in Chicago at YK07.  The flow of wisdom, knowledge and sheer information was like some sort of bizarre alien mindmeld.  Our friend claude (the original San Francisco Digger and underground press pioneer) was also in this mix and class was held.  It was a wonder to behold.

Ben was funny about money.  He'd never accept more than a one dollar donation to his candidacy of the moment.  Though he'd sell you a 4th Amendment hemp t-shirt if you could afford it.  Otherwise he'd just give it to you.  He ran for office multiple times.  He said he was the senator (or sheriff, etc.) you could afford.

He used to say “I'm Pro-choice on everything.”  How can you not love that?

For me, Ben Masel embodied the spirit of the 60s.  I cannot express how badly I hated to see him go.  I wish he could have at least lived to see the complete legalization of cannabis.  It seems like such a small thing to ask...in the land of the free.

Ben Masel - Not Fade Away from Randall Shields on Vimeo.

Originally posted to One Pissed Off Liberal on Sun May 22, 2011 at 08:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and The Amateur Left.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, claude, Sharon, JekyllnHyde, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, vicki, Garrett, Chi, BOHICA, Odysseus, melo, teacherken, NYCee, assyrian64, Dump Terry McAuliffe, pHunbalanced, saraswati, melvynny, kainah, PeterHug, ArkansasJoseph, tommurphy, Debby, Shockwave, cotterperson, oysterface, eeff, devtob, WI Deadhead, SallyCat, shpilk, bumblebums, Jerome a Paris, hubcap, catnip, rasbobbo, TheMomCat, bronte17, annrose, ask, Xapulin, chuckvw, cosmic debris, roses, CanisMaximus, Larry Bailey, poe, navajo, high uintas, sidnora, Brit, wader, Oke, nancelot, TexDem, Dallasdoc, MA Liberal, texasmom, On The Bus, jmknapp, raster44, rlharry, 2dot, Chun Yang, One bite at a time, nswalls, JayBat, zett, zerelda, side pocket, Curt Matlock, Kitsap River, randallt, Deward Hastings, rickeagle, wezelboy, Josiah Bartlett, Sassy, wolverinethad, TexH, ebbinflo, Julie Gulden, Massman, marina, Skaje, blueyedace2, JanetT in MD, andgarden, elkhunter, frandor55, truong son traveler, YucatanMan, Laurence Lewis, reflectionsv37, Sara R, jimreyn, Burned, SJerseyIndy, cassidy3, libbie, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, Ozzie, WisePiper, Lisa Lockwood, dsteffen, bunsk, Cory Bantic, Ekaterin, mightymouse, Snud, Jim R, Jim P, begone, debedb, RiaD, Mother Mags, martini, Paul Ferguson, LeftOverAmerica, Knucklehead, trashablanca, Debbie in ME, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Keone Michaels, Pinko Elephant, myboo, vigilant meerkat, dharmafarmer, VolvoDrivingLiberal, tonyahky, cookseytalbott, kestrel9000, ruleoflaw, KenBee, Magnifico, mango, kck, neecie100, Lefty Coaster, triv33, A Siegel, 4Freedom, bubbanomics, gooderservice, joe shikspack, NearlyNormal, CTLiberal, Preston S, boatsie, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, MBNYC, llbear, Turbonerd, CA Nana, Timothy J, zeke7237, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Cassiodorus, Dreaming of Better Days, goinsouth, blueoregon, MadMs, zedaker, 1864 House, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, Friend of the court, Hedwig, Quicklund, Nulwee, Pandoras Box, Aaa T Tudeattack, BentLiberal, DBunn, pale cold, old wobbly, pgm 01, john07801, Cronesense, sistersilverwolf, Dartagnan, edsbrooklyn, FishOutofWater, yowsta, david mizner, greenchiledem, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, DWG, FischFry, puzzled, Seneca Doane, artisan, Kentucky Kid, US Blues, Uberbah, millwood, Moderation, gchaucer2, Got a Grip, LWelsch, janatallow, Badabing, keikekaze, cloudbustingkid, TomP, Empower Ink, Mighty Ike, CentristandProud, rogerdaddy, Edger, walja, hulagirl, OleHippieChick, bythesea, CDH in Brooklyn, VL Baker, jakebob, Cassandra Waites, dewley notid, Jake Williams, pickandshovel, banger, petulans, SpamNunn, aigeanta, DixieDishrag, BYw, allie123, priceman, Quilldriver, shortgirl, jlms qkw, woodtick, madtowntj, J M F, spacecadet1, litoralis, snackdoodle, BigAlinWashSt, zephyr108, shopkeeper, JesseCW, sanglug, Denise Oliver Velez, kevinpdx, dalfireplug, ohmyheck, Randtntx, porchdog1961, catilinus, Words In Action, BigVegan, RhymesWithUrple, emptythreatsfarm, rb137, politik, boriquasi, mjbleo, ATFILLINOIS, Lady Libertine, DiegoUK, sharonsz, Muggsy, CA Berkeley WV, Mister Met, Onomastic, Colorado is the Shiznit, SuperBowlXX, kirbybruno, AuroraDawn, soothsayer99, Radiogabs, FarWestGirl, Situational Lefty, Sand Hill Crane, beantown mom, princesspat, thomask, Santa Susanna Kid, KVoimakas, CherryTheTart, worldlotus, Vtdblue, Sark Svemes, corvaire, Tyto Alba, KingofSpades, jadt65, PrometheusUnbound, jacey, Patric Juillet, Eric Nelson, S F Hippie, Joieau, Th0rn, teabaggerssuckbalz, Ana Thema, progressivebadger, radical simplicity, qannabbos, FrY10cK

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site