This is when the pill became widely known as The Pill, perhaps the only product in American history so powerful that it needed no name. Women went to their doctors and said they wanted it. They wanted The Pill. Some of them might still have been uncomfortable talking about birth control. Others might have been unsure of its brand name. But The Pill was The Pill because it was the only one that mattered, the one everyone was talking about, the one they needed.
Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment. Would you take it? Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory. Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it? The pill exists. It is meditation.
The vitamin has been reified. A chemical intangible originally defined as a unit of nutritive value, it was long ago reified into a pill. Now it is a pill; no one except a few precise scientists define it as anything else. Once the vitamin became a pill, it became real according to the precepts of American Cartesianism: I swallow it, therefore it is.
I had to persuade a dog to swallow a pill. I twittered for advice and I got suggestion after suggestion. Most of them didn't work. 'Put the pill in the sausage.' No - that doesn't work. 'Cheese.' No. Then someone said: 'You wrap it in butter and it will slide down.' I tried it and it worked! And I'd learnt how to give a pill to a dog through the magic of Twitter.
In Hamburg the waiters always had Preludin - and various other pills, but I remember Preludin because it was such a big trip - and they were all taking these pills to keep themselves awake, to work these incredible hours in this all-night place. And so the waiters, when they'd see the musicians falling over with tiredness or with drink, they'd give you the pill. You'd take the pill, you'd be talking, you'd sober up, you could work almost endlessly - until the pill wore off, then you'd have to have another.
I feel like there are fifty ways it's my fault. I fantasized. I took the big pill and the small pill, stuffed myself with substances to make being out in the world with people my own age a little easier. To lessen the space between me and everyone else. I was hungry to be seen. But I also know that at no moment did I consent to being handled that way.
Journalism, to me, is just another drug - a free ride to scenes I'd probably miss if I stayed straight. But I'm neither a chemist nor an editor; all I do is take the pill or the assignment and see what happens. Now and then I get a bad trip, but experience has made me more careful about what I buy... so if you have a good pill I'm open; I'll try almost anything that hasn't bitten me in the past.
Hunter S. Thompson
All I know is it's silly to chase fun when all you need is the ground underneath you to be solid. And I don't expect to be one of those people that does cartwheels in yogurt commercials. I wanna be the cartoon character in that antidepressant ad who has, like, little lines under her eyes, and the divot in the middle of the pill is the pill's mouth... have you seen this ad? It's very good. It's for Abilify, which is not a word.
The birth control pill, to a great degree, made possible the (hetero)sexual revolution. Yet those who developed oral contraceptives did not intend their work to promote what the majority of Americans at the time called "promiscuity." Doctors generally refused to prescribe the pill to women who were not married; the Supreme Court did not rule this practice unconstitutional until 1972.