bloodyrosemccoy: (Dancing)
[personal profile] bloodyrosemccoy
Okay, guys, this has driven me nuts for forever. Maybe it's patently obvious to other people, but this burning question is one that I must find the answer to:

How the hell is "Puff the Magic Dragon" supposed to be about drugs?

I mean, yes, the name is "Puff," which is a thing you do with marijuana, and I suppose you COULD suggest that "Jackie Paper" refers to rolling papers, but ... if you want to suggest that it's a metaphor, well, it's a really SHITTY metaphor. This isn't like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," where the nonsense John Lennon is blathering on about could easily be an acid trip. "Puff" has a completely obvious story about a whimsical imaginary friend who is left behind when a child grows up.* I just--well, try as I might, I just CAN'T make the idea of "Hurr hurr drugs" fit into the song.

But I've always been shit at poetry analysis, and all the drugs I take are from the pharmacy, so maybe I'm missing something. Can someone enlighten me as to this myster? It has tormented me for YEARS.


*Though Pixar does that better than anybody, and does it at LEAST twice.

Date: 2015-12-04 02:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hrhleia.livejournal.com
YES THANK YOU. I never understood this either.

Date: 2015-12-04 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fractalwolf.livejournal.com
When Disney's Little Mermaid came out, my dad got very grumpy after listening to "where the people are" because all he heard was "I want more..." and assumed it was a plug for crass commercialism and continually getting more Stuff. He wouldn't listen when I pointed out it was the exact opposite -- that she's saying the stuff isn't important, what she wants is experiences.

I kinda assume the same is true for the people who think "Puff" is about drugs. They hear "puff" (clearly a drug reference) and "magic dragon" (obviously a hallucinogenic drug", and don't even listen to the rest.

Date: 2015-12-04 04:56 pm (UTC)
ext_12931: (Default)
From: [identity profile] badgermirlacca.livejournal.com
You'd have had to have grown up in the sixties for it to make sense, I'm afraid.

I think it was both a happy little children's song that could be safely played on the radio, and a subversive message about marijuana that we fondly imagined went Right Past all the old fogies over 25. Certainly we took it that way.

Date: 2015-12-04 05:01 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
I don't get it either; I think that both the "hey cool, a drug song" and "oh no, a drug song" sides are seeing what they want in the clouds. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," yes, the narrative makes no particular sense otherwise and the title sure looks like a hint. Jefferson Airplane singing about the magic mushroom from Alice in Wonderland, yes.

Date: 2015-12-05 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dinogrrl.livejournal.com
I never got it either. And the people who say it is code for drugs...have never really explained what makes it so, at least not to me, so as far as I'm concerned it's neither here nor there.

Date: 2015-12-07 02:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 10cents.livejournal.com
Yeah, the whole thing about it being about drugs never made much sense to me either. And apparently it's not about them at all, at least according to Wikipedia, but this section at least explains what the "logic" of the argument is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puff_the_Magic_Dragon#Speculation_about_drug_references

Date: 2015-12-07 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] westrider.livejournal.com
I always wondered the same thing about Mellow Yellow. Actually, that one was even weirder, because Donovan got a bunch of flack about some supposed drug references, but nothing about the verse where he sings about being "mad about" 14 year-old girls.

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