A Gonzo Journalist Tackles Two American Pastimes

Indiana native Ryan Nerz, known for writing about his exploits in the world of competitive eating, immerses himself for his new book in the topic of pot.

Marijuanamerica

Photo: St. Martin's Press

The cover of Columbus native Ryan Nerz's book about his journey to make sense of the American relationship with marijuana.

Columbus, Indiana, native Ryan Nerz is a freelance journalist who spent a year emceeing professional competitive-eating contests around the world, then published Eat This Book: A Year of Gorging and Glory on the Competitive Eating Circuit, a digest of his observations and exploits.

And in his latest book, Marijuanamerica: One Man’s Quest to Understand America’s Dysfunctional Love Affair with Weed, he delves surprisingly deep into a subculture that has consistently informed the ways Americans have thought and behaved since the ’60s.

The book starts with me driving quite a bit of marijuana in the trunk of my car across the country in an attempt at a sort of Hunter S. Thompson immersive journalism. With 20-20 hindsight, probably not the wisest of decisions, but … decent story.

Ryan Nerz joins WFIU’s John Bailey to talk about both books, what their topics have to tell us about the American character, and the perils of getting too close to the subject matter of a story.

John Bailey

John Bailey came to Bloomington in January 2011, bringing with him more than 16 years of experience in public radio as a program director, classical music and news host, membership coordinator, and manager of online initiatives. He is a University of Missouri graduate and a native of the Show-Me State.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Culture Stories

Arts & Culture Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

This Week on Harmonia Early Music

Birthday Boys

Bishops debating with the pope at the Council of Constance.

Music from the Council of Contance convened 600 years ago, plus a celebration of the 300th birth anniversaries of three composers born in 1714.

Read more »

Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

More from Harmonia »