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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings



I grew up during the crack epidemic in the United States (U.S.), during which crack cocaine (ab)use soared and decimated urban communities in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Regarding this era, one source states:


This resulted in a number of social consequences, such as increasing crime and violence in American inner city neighborhoods, a resulting backlash in the form of tough on crime policies, a massive spike in incarceration rates, and a sharp escalation of the war on drugs.


From that time, I recall a national “Just Say No” campaign designed to discourage children from (ab)using illegal recreational drugs. Although seemingly well-intentioned, one wonders about the sincerity of efforts to curb drug consumption by the very government reportedly implicated in drug-running.


Back then, a popular name for crack was “base.” Regarding this term, one source states:


Since the 1970s, cocaine hydrochloride has been converted into one of two forms of smokeable cocaine base, freebase cocaine or crack cocaine. Both are referred to as “cocaine base,” because both are in the chemical base state and can therefore be smoked. Freebase cocaine was used by a small community of affluent cocaine users during the 1970s and early 1980s. Although crack may have been used during the same timeframe, it did not gain notoriety until the early 1980s.


In my youth, consumers of base were referred to as “baseheads.” Because those addicted to base were said to have behaved live zombies (the mythological undead who stumble around via a process of corpse reanimation), some people compared them to zombified antagonists in the film Night of the Living Dead (1968).


One popular instance of this comparison came from classic hip hop group Public Enemy. On their 1988 album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, the hip hop collective released a song called “Night of the Living Baseheads.”


Heterography refers to a word that sounds the same as other words, but has a different spelling and meaning. For instance, the word “need” relates to an expression of necessity and the term “kneed” references the process of making dough through mixing ingredients with one’s hands.


Whereas “base” refers to a form of cocaine, one source describes “bass” as low frequency oscillations produced by rapid movement of large volumes of air at multiple cycles per second thus producing a very low rumbling sound that is harnessed and used in music form.”


In “Night of the Living Baseheads,” Public Enemy utilized bass when rapping about people who used base. In the late ‘80s, my impressionable mind clung to the introduction of this song, as an excerpt from the late Khalid Abdul Muhammad was featured on the track:


Have you forgotten that once we were brought here, we were robbed of our names, robbed of our language? We lost our religion, our culture, our God... and many of us, by the way we act; we even lost our minds.


I thought it was a powerful message with which to begin the song. Depending on which version of lore a person favors, zombies are said to behave like brainless – though fleshy – automatons. In essence, brainless beings have lost their minds.


Through the lens of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I view the function of irrational beliefs as those which impact a person’s cognitive, emotive, bodily sensation, and behavioral reactions to these unhelpful assumptions as a form of mindless activity. Allow me to explain.


Have you or someone you’ve ever known said or done something when upset that was later regretted? If so, did you say to yourself once your reactiveness subsided, “I don’t know what I was thinking”? After such an event, did you say to someone else, “You lost it”?


With criminal prosecution, a temporary insanity defense may be used if an individual is considered to have been briefly insane at the time a crime was committed, thus rendering the person incapable of knowing the nature of the alleged criminal act. I used to work with a criminal justice diversion program and insanity pleas weren’t as common as people may think.


On the other hand, I suspect that many of us have “lost our minds,” as expressed by Khalid Abdul Muhammad, on a number of occasions. One doesn’t need to (ab)use base in order to maintain irrational beliefs.


After all, these sort of illogical and unreasonable assumptions are part of the human condition. Expanding upon this experience, one source states:


Irrational beliefs are defined as personal truths that aren’t grounded in reality. An example of such a belief is that one must be loved and approved of by everyone in order to be happy or to have a sense of self-worth. This is irrational, because it cannot possibly be achieved.


The one caveat I would add to this clarification is that the belief which proposes a person can have a “personal truth” is, in and of itself, irrational. There is merely truth and one’s interpretation of it.


Truth describes reality, though one cannot possess truth or reality (i.e., so-called “lived experience” constituting a personal truth). Therefore, truth is descriptive and irrationality is prescriptive. As an example, I am a man (descriptive) and people ought not to misgender me (prescriptive).


When I hear people professing irrational beliefs, such as they can manifest physical material from psychic energy or declaring that the government should keep people safe from harm, I hear the bassline from “Night of the Living Baseheads” playing in my head as this mindlessness is uttered.


Or, as Public Enemy group member Chuck D stated on the track, “Like comatose, walking around. Please don’t confuse this with the sound. I’m talking about Base! Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-Base!”


Interestingly, the word “based,” in reference to a freebase cocaine zombie impaired when under the influence of the substance, has a heterographic meaning in regards to sociopolitical contexts. According to one source, “based” refers to the following:


When used in online political language, it can mean “based in fact” or the opposite of biased, due to the number of people who saw it being first used seriously by the online political right, and came to the conclusion that is was related to the phrase “destroyed with facts and logic,” in reference to right wing personality Ben Shapiro.


Although I once appreciated some of his views on various matters, in my blog, I’ve expressed criticism of Shapiro. Furthermore, while I agree with some of the matters critiqued by Candace Owens, I generally don’t consume much of her content.


Moreover, I’ve taken a direct – and some may even say “based” stance – regarding my views of the Israel-Hamas war. In perhaps one of my most scathing blogposts regarding this conflict, entitled Genocide, I stated:


According to one source, “More than one-third of Americans believe Israel is committing genocide.” I suspect history will not reflect well upon the actions of either the Israeli or U.S. governments in this regard.


Today, I learned that Owens is no longer working in unison with Shapiro or the company he partially founded, The Daily Wire. According to one source:


The Daily Wire, the right-wing media outlet co-founded by Ben Shapiro, said Friday [3/22/2024] that it had severed ties with Candace Owens, the far-right commentator who has ignited a torrent of backlash in recent months for her repeated embrace of antisemitic rhetoric.


Ahh, yes, the “antisemitic” label affixed to anyone who criticizes U.S. involvement in the Israel-Hamas war once again presents itself. This tired trope is dragged out by mindless automatons who perceivably seek to silence much-needed appraisal of the State of Israel, not necessarily Jewish people as a whole.


Regarding this pitiful argumentation tactic, I stated in a blog entry entitled Name-Calling:


Online, I’ve observed numerous people who’ve criticized the Israeli government’s response to Hamas being labeled “anti-Semites”—people who are hostile to or prejudiced against Jewish people.


Regarding this sort of name-calling, one source states:


It cheapens the concept of antisemitism – a real global curse – for defenders of the Israeli government to pretend that it is somehow antisemitic to hold Israel to the same standards of international humanitarian law as we use to assess Hamas’s conduct. A war crime is a war crime.


While I’m not entirely clear as to specifically what led to Owens’ departure from The Daily Wire, I am familiar with the ongoing tensions which reportedly precipitated her exit. Time will likely reveal the suspected reasons regarding this matter.


Is it true that Candace irrationally believes Jewish people allegedly drink blood of Christians? I don’t know. Does she unreasonably conclude that Jewish “gangs” ostensibly control Hollywood? I have no clue.


If these or other contestable matters are believed by Owens, I have no evidence to support such claims. If I were to encounter these beliefs when working with a client, I’d dispute the assumptions using logic and reason.


Nevertheless, if Owns’ departure from The Daily Wire is in regards to matters about which I’ve opined – expressing criticism of U.S. involvement in the Israel-Hamas war – I’m less inclined to attribute malice to her behavior or accuse her of unreasoned arguments. According to one source:


The tension between the two stars of the conservative far-right began to play out online in mid-November, when Shapiro called out the “faux sophistication” Owens showed about the Israel-Hamas conflict; he then called her “disreputable” and “ridiculous.” She has been ramping up her criticism of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza, where the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run region says the death toll is at around 32,000 since the war began.


Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-Based! Per one source, “Between 7 October 2023 and 10:30 on 21 March 2024, at least 31,988 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and 74,188 Palestinians have been injured.”


Claiming that around 32,000 people in Gaza – men, women, and children, and not all members of Hamas – have died in connection to the actions of the State of Israel is an assertion based in fact. Regarding the October 7, 2023 Hamas-led attack on Israel, one source states:


The final death toll from the attack is now thought to be 695 Israeli civilians, including 36 children, as well as 373 security forces and 71 foreigners, giving a total of 1,139.


1,139 casualties for Israel and an ongoing, though current, count of 31,988 fatalities in Gaza isn’t comparable, just, or even a rational figure in terms of moral and ethical retaliation. To be exceedingly clear, the killing currently taking place in Gaza could be deemed as a massacre.


Therefore, if what ultimately led to Owen’s departure from The Daily Wire relates to her criticism of the senseless slaughter of thousands of people, one can understand how others may see Owens’ actions as based. If mindless zombies can’t comprehend how this may be, I’m talking about Based! Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-Based!


Although I made it through the ‘80s and ‘90s without falling prey to a base addiction, I now face a widespread occurrence of a corrupting influence at this particular time. Information based in fact is ridiculed as “antisemitic,” perhaps as a means of discouraging people from calling attention to particular issues.


Through my personal approach to REBT, I recognize this irrational tactic for what it is – a vector for dissemination of misinformation, disinformation, or malinformation. Rather than standing by idly as zombies stumble about, shunning truth and reality, I remain vigilant in my attempt to live rationally.


If that’s what Owens has attempted to do, as well, then I commend her effort. If not, I remain available to help her – and anyone of similar need – so that one can tolerate and accept the unpleasantry of life while simultaneously influencing others in accordance with one’s own interests and goals.


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW




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