Caffeine: Shut Up & Pour

Can you imagine if you had a caffeine vaporizer in high school or while driving that shitty delivery job so many of us had. The delivery system step is an overlooked point of interest for most people interested in drug culture, or when it’s not, the extent is largely as simplistic as “injection users usually live less long.” The widening of the market into non-coffee based products, like we’ve seen with energy drinks, gel for distance runners & now this vape and vape juice speaks to the way that the user base is directly going after it, and not products that have it.

Caffeine is the third rail of modern capitalism. In the digital era, there are rational, data-driven discussions about how to maximize your caffeine per dollar ratio. I read this article about doing exactly that and I was awe-struck by the tone of “get this drug as cheaply as possible,” which is so totally out of place discussing any other drug. This point is most enjoyable when people tell you they drink beer for the taste or consume hipster coffee brand 82343 for the taste. Yes, some definitely find an authentic offering of their favorite controlled substance & stick with it, while others are going to efficiency. Of course, few of us drink Everclear or shotgun 5-10 cigarettes in a row past the age of 22, particularly turbulent times excluded.

However, what interests me most is swagger, often seen, especially in heavy coffee drinkers. There are hundreds of people on my Facebook & Twitter feed that talk openly about the quantity of coffee they consume & how reliant they are on it. Why is this a legit thing again? I know people who post the craft brews they drink, but I don’t think I know anyone who boasts about the volume of alcohol they consume & how you shouldn’t talk to them until they’ve had their first martini. Obviously, the culture allowed for a less dangerous drug to run wild & free. Obviously it’s uniquely suited to the Western hyper-capitalist era we find ourselves in. If you could buy cocaine with your caffeine, many would, and we all know the guy at camp who starts his day off with a bump and a walk over to center camp for a cuppa. Interestingly, it’s so embedded in our culture that it’s one of the only items sold at Burning Man. A literal cup of psychoactive drug.

I’m not saying this to berate anyone. While I don’t consume coffee, my caffeine addiction fluctuates from mild to wildly out of control. Some months I get by on green tea, while others involve shotgunning multiple Red Bulls a day. I just think we need to be mindful of our own caffeine consumption habits, especially how they relate to both polydrug usage & hydration on playa. When I was told by friends of mine that they were giving away free Red Bull at retail EDM parties, I almost fell down. The proliferation, cost reduction & social stigma affecting caffeine use recreationally, or with other recreational drugs, such as alcohol, mdma & cocaine, I don’t believe is being given enough study. When most of us consume a cup or three a day, that’s at max, 450-600mg, spread out over a 6-8hr period. If you’re matching that by slamming a Red Bull every hour (~86mg, but only for the 8oz can. You can buy 20oz Red Bulls now, which pack 180+mg), while you’re rolling or you’ve been hard drinking, you’re going to see way more fucked up people and have way more hospital visits. The pearl clutchers have recently banned caffeine powder in Illinois, and a Senator from Ohio is calling for a nationwide ban. I know we are living in trying times, but for fuck’s sake, can the assholes in suits acknowledge that we’re adults and can have our morning stimulant of choice in whichever form we like please? While I’ve acknolwedged the substance isn’t totally harmless, the idea that we would ban the pure form of the drug but still have 30,000 Starbucks locations staggers the mind.

Starbucks, Indiana, and the Ten Principles

Recently, pick-me-up powerhouse Starbucks made the news when CEO Howard Schultz announced that the company had been inspired by Burning Man to make the world a better place. Instead of just serving you a coffee and accepting a tip, their Baristas would engage their customers in a conversation about race. There would be no more “black coffee” or “white chocolate”, just “coffee” and “chocolate”.

#burntogether - or don't burn at all

#burntogether – or don’t burn at all

Now, it seems, BMOrg have seen the possibility to do something similar to address the other big social issue of our times: Radical Inclusion in Indiana.

“The only thing we sell at Burning Man is coffee”, said Chief Philosophy Officer Larry H. “That makes Burning Man the world’s biggest Starbucks. However, as the city with the smallest percentage of African American citizens in the United States, the conversation about race doesn’t feel like the best one for us to participate in. We looked at the percentages and asked, what are we the biggest city in America in? The answer was obvious: Black Rock City is by far the gayest city in the world”.

This is supported by Burning Man’s official census numbers, which put 16% of citizens as gay, a mere 17% identifying as heterosexual, and the rest in the category of “possibly, depends what drugs I’m on”.

The issue of gay rights has been historically on-mission for the newly minted charity, which recently moved its headquarters from San Francisco’s Tenderloin to the Castro District.


“Ever since Larry Harvey erected his first man in the desert while wearing a cowboy hat, Burning Man has been a flamboyant beacon for freedom in the LGBT world”, said Burning Man’s CEO Marian G. “Our values of Radical Self-Expression and Radical Inclusion are the perfect antidote to the intolerance of the people of Indiana. We welcome all members of the Village People, we have plenty of policemen and firemen with big hoses, feather head-dresses, feather boas, drag queens, and prominent politicians.”

larry harvey younger years

Larry after the first public erection in the desert

Grover got his freak on in classic Soviet Military Uniform

Grover got his freak on, wearing a classic Soviet Military Uniform with pink tie and lipstick

This year, LGBT issues will be front and center for all 70,000 Burners arriving in Black Rock City.

“For many years, our dedicated and hardworking gate staff have had to endure discrimination and suffering, by hurtful meanies calling them Gayte, as if that was funny”, said Minister of Propaganda Willy C. “Well, in classic Burning Man style, we have come up with something incredibly brilliant and, not that we would say so ourselves, visionary and world-changing. We’re going to put the Gay back in Gayte!”

Previously, first time visitors to Black Rock City, known as “virgins”, had to exit their vehicle, ring a bell, give a dusty hug to a crusty Burner who may or may not be naked, and then make dust angels. This year’s politically rebellious twist will ensure that all Gayte encounters are same sex-only. Want a hug from that naked dude with his shrivelled dick hanging out? Well, you’d better be a guy. Are you a glamorous sparkle pony in hotpants and pasties? Then Burning Man has a heavily tattooed bull dyke with your name on her pierced lips.

In keeping with the spirit of the protest, all dust angels must now be made face down. Even if you’re Denis Kucinich.

This type of hetero-normative behavior will no longer be tolerated at Burning Man

This type of hetero-normative behavior will no longer be tolerated at Burning Man

“Camp Only” rules will now be strictly enforced at Center Camp, so if you’re not camp enough, you won’t be served.

Taking inspiration from a previous successful art installation “Trojan Horse”, this year will see a 100 foot high double-penis condom installation named “Trojan Whores”. This will provide gay inspiration to all Burners, wherever in the carnival they find themselves, as well as educating children about safe sex.

Burning Man Project Director Jimmy T said “this year in solidarity with our beloved gay brothers in Indiana, we are going to change the nature of our camp to Plug Me-n-Play. Our Misters of Merriment will be scooped up into cages at the Folsom Street Fair and trained by our slavemasters to meet all the needs of our guests. For only $17,000 $ $20,000 per room, you can felch a tranny every day for breakfast”.

Larry sees a bright future in exporting Burner values to socially engineer troubled communities:

“The success we expect to have soon when we release this new development, which we have thought of ourselves after inviting the community to share ideas, will enable us to bring about world peace in anti-gay hotspots like Russia and the Middle East” 

Burners in San Francisco practicing for the Free Pussy Riot mission to Moscow

Brave Burners in San Francisco practicing for the Free Pussy Riot mission to Moscow