In many cases, there is perhaps no relationship more fixed and familiar than that between a parent and their adult child.
So what happens to that relationship when you throw a bong into the mix?
This is the question Cut CEO Mike Gaston sought to answer with the digital content studio’s latest viral video: “Parents & Kids Smoke Weed Together For The First Time.”
“These are the kinds of relationships that, by the time you’re an adult, have become well-worn,” Gaston told Civilized of the decision to bring parents, kids and cannabis together in this new offering.
“When you [introduce] something like weed, whatever guards we have kind of disappear… it strips away the veil that we use to mask ourselves from each other. That was what this video was all about: what happens if I take this relationship these two people think they understand and mess with it?”
At the beginning of the six-minute video, three parent-child pairings are tasked with toking up together after divulging their own personal relationships with cannabis. In one case, the experience ends with happy tears between a father and daughter who have come to understand each other in a new way; in another (between Gaston’s own father and brother), it ends in vomiting and the simple testimony that “it’s not for everyone.”
The result is a refreshing authenticity, believes Gaston.
“I think what’s so beautiful about a piece like this, what made it work, is that you see that spectrum. You see the father and daughter who have this really intimate moment, and then you have my dad and brother clearly not having such a great time,” said Gaston, who is based in Seattle.
“I think what you get is the honesty of it, the stripping away of some of the propaganda that is attached with weed.”
This is far from the first time Gaston has aimed to find out how cannabis impacts different people and their relationships to one another. Cut, in fact, got its start with a video of grandmas smoking cannabis for the first time.
Since then, the company has produced everything from former cops and army vets smoking up, to supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton coming together over a bowl. Next, in a setup all too familiar, they plan to enlist a priest, a rabbi and an atheist.
The end result is “always surprising”, said Gaston.
“So much of our work is about the continuity of identity,” he said.
“[We’re asking] the questions: Am I the same person today as I was yesterday, or 10 years ago? If I give these grandmothers weed, do they stop being grandmothers to me? What happens to this relationship once we introduce this variable that historically has been really kind of demonized?”
No matter what comes of the experience, it’s Gaston’s hope that Cut’s content “increases understanding for the people who are engaging with it.”
“You watch something like this, and maybe it makes you less critical of somebody you haven’t met before… maybe it makes us closer to other human beings,” he said. “It’s this idea of understanding, not really activism and not necessarily empathy, but just getting a better sense of why we do the things we do.”