Photographer Unknown, 1996
Erowid Character Vaults
Apr 3, 1958 -
James Frederick Hogshire received his MA in Italian literature from Indiana University Bloomington. He's worked as a cab driver, a deck boy, and a writer for the 1993 short film Phone (starring Linda Blair), and has been published in numerous magazines, including Details, Gentlemen's Quarterly, and Harpers. He is know for his books on unusual topics: supermarket tabloids (Jim wrote for a couple of years for The National Examiner), working as a human guinea pig, America's national obsession with pharmaceuticals, and what to expect if you're headed toward a stint in prison. The 2006 movie Let's Go to Prison starring Dax Shepard and Will Arnett was inspired by Jim's 1994 book You Are Going To Prison, which was Esquire magazine's "Book of the Year" in 1995. In a sadly ironic turn of events, Jim was himself at one point facing a possible prison sentence due to charges instigated by the actions of fellow Loompanics author and "citizen informant" Bob Black, who--after having an argument with Jim--encouraged the Seattle police to raid Jim's apartment by claiming that it was "a drug laboratory" where Jim had told him that he was "working out a way to manufacture heroin from Sudafed." To back up this chemically absurd and otherwise spurious claim, Black noted that Jim had written a book titled Opium for the Masses. On March 6, 1996, more than a dozen members of the Seattle Police Department Narcotics Unit stormed Jim's apartment, seizing assorted items, including a "scale" logged as drug paraphernalia, which was actually a coffee mug warmer. Among the items they confiscated was a sealed florist's box containing cellophane-wrapped long-stem dried poppies. Jim and his wife Heidi spent three days in jail; Jim was charged with possession and intent to manufacture opium poppies, Heidi was charged with possession of opium poppies. When the case went to court, the judge dismissed the charges due to insufficient evidence. In May of 1991, using the pseudonym Chet Antonini, Jim began to publish the beloved underground zine Pills-a-go-go. It dealt with pharmaceuticals, vitamins, amino acids, and other pill-related topics, often focusing on recreational uses, and featuring first-person accounts, tips, news, and more. Initially a two-page monthly, it later shifted to longer issues that were produced one to six times per year, concluding with issue #23 in 1996. Not only did Jim have the nightmare of his arrest described above to deal with, but his Barnes & Noble and Borders distribution were yanked after a copy of Pills-a-go-go with a Barnes & Noble price sticker on it was discovered in the room of a teenager who had committed suicide. However, in 1999 Jim combined some of the material that appeared in past issues of his zine along with new material and countless wonderful historical illustrations into the book Pills-a-go-go: A Fiendish Investigation into Pill Marketing, Art, History & Consumption.
"The pill is the quintessential icon of Western Civilization. One small tablet embodies our history, our world view, our vision of the future. It is the perfect, symbolic encapsulation of man's progress--from the ancient Phoenicians to the internet."
-- Jim Hogshire, Pills-a-Go-Go: A Fiendish Investigation into Pill Marketing, Art, History & Consumption, 1999
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