While weed—AKA cannabis, AKA dope, AKA grass, AKA trees, AKA one of a million other nicknames—has steadily marched toward the mainstream since states began legalizing it this decade, its instant transition from “cool” to “uncool” status comes as something of a surprise. How did weed become uncool seemingly overnight? The answer lies in this video from musical performer Billy Ray Cyrus, which was released onto the internet today.
This video, and this video alone, is the decisive reason for weed’s newfound “uncool” status. In it, Cyrus is depicted as a stop-motion-animated “nug” of weed who works at a convenience store. He is bad at his job. He also recites some painfully unfunny jokes which sound like they were recorded over the phone—in other words, he couldn’t be bothered to show up to the studio to record his lines. The Cyrus “nug” character murders his boss, blows up his place of employment, and goes on to have some cowboy and space adventures, or something. Along the way there appears to be a proliferation of misguided product placement. No amount of weed in the world could make this thing comprehensible, or enjoyable; I have posted it above for educational purposes, but I do not recommend watching it.
While weed’s instant transformation from “cool” to “uncool” is stunning in its conclusiveness, this is not the first time a single cultural event has rendered a formerly “cool” part of the counterculture to irrevocable “uncool” status. Other examples include the time Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine singlehandedly made all tattoos uncool by going shirtless during the Super Bowl halftime show, and when eighth grade social studies teacher Mr. McIntyre “dapped” at a school assembly, rendering the gesture, popular among youths, permanently uncool.