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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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Action speaks louder

The rapper’s new book Stoned disbelief will hit shelves just in time for 420, featuring over 200 pages of Bronson’s weed conversion.

We will always have a special place in our hearts for jumbo-size rapper Action Bronson, though he was arrested for no other reason for smoking weed onstage at a performance last year. Bronson builds on his doobie-esque legacy with the release of his new book Stoned disbelief, a 220-page love letter describing his penchant for the chronic.

Action Bronson has a lot on his plate these days, especially food-related. Are Viceland TV series The Untitled Action Bronson Show often includes a celebrity chef and his 2017 cookbook F*ck that’s delicious was a New York Times bestseller, inspired by his Viceland show of the same name.

The bro-centric Shame demographics appear to be the target audience of unbelievably stoned, with which Bronson co-authored James Beard Award-winning Brooklyn food writer Rachel Wharton. The book is a stream-of-consciousness collection of recipes, marijuana anecdotes, and Action’s humorous personal thoughts about how weed made him the man he is today.

There are some notable chapters in Stoned disbelief where Bronson’s foul-mouthed magic strikes the right chord. For example, a chapter titled “How To Hide Weed” contains this wisdom: “Put it somewhere they won’t find it: between your nuts or your ass. Never up your ass – it’s just weed. It’s not a crack, it’s not a gun. You just go to jail for the night; it’s not worth the penetration.”

Another fast food themed chapter is quite funny, and you wish it was longer. But Stoned disbelief is a collection of one- and two-page chapters, some of which have little apparent reason for being included in a marijuana book.

There are quite a few recipes and food descriptions, but most aren’t infused with cannabis, and some aren’t even that new. For example, you get Action’s personalized Grilled Cheese recipe, which specifically calls for Wonder Bread and Land O’Lakes butter. “There’s nothing that melts better than Land O’Lakes,” he advises. This grilled cheese recipe calls for “Ketchup to Flavor,” which I hope is just a regional New York way to enjoy grilled cheese.

There are a handful of interesting dishes, such as Jamaican Beef Patty with Cheese or Wagyu Steak, but it’s unclear why these recipes are in a marijuana book. They just look like leftovers from his previous cookbook. We’d love to see more drugged-up recipes like the one for a psychedelic mushroom salad.

You’ll find some incredibly helpful chapters with technical advice on how to press a dab, or how to use a French press to make activated vape oil for cooking. But this leaves you wanting more detail, because the book doesn’t seem to know which chapters are useful to readers and which ones deserve more attention.

Other chapters on Knives, Sacred Geometry and Crystals – I hadn’t seen Action Bronson for a man with crystals – seem out of place in a cannabis book. And the mishmash of visual style from Stoned disbeliefThe layout changes with each page, with some schemes so ugly they can literally hurt your eyes to look at.

The throwback stories to the outlaw days of illegal weed are the funniest segments. A chapter on driving high will resonate with anyone who has committed that dirty deed. But this book is a meandering, attention-deficit mishmash that is both visually and narratively confusing.

Stoned disbelief is most entertaining when Action Bronson just wanders through his blasphemous marijuana stories. Some of the comic book sections and graphics add a touch of extra fun.

But this is an absent-minded marijuana memoir that is probably only worth the $27.50 hardcover cost to someone who knows and appreciates Action Bronson’s unashamedly macho sense of humor. If you’re looking for a cannabis book as the party of 420 approaches, you can find more helpful and uplifting cannabis cookbooks or cannabis culture manifestos.

Stoned disbelief, Abrams Publishing, $27.50 hardcover, audibletreats.com

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