The World Isn’t Yours

A lot of drugs come with what you might call rudimentary samizdat branding. Ecstasy pills regularly get imprinted with pop culture references for batch designation, for example.

But mostly, illicit drug names are a part of criminal anti-language, or at least they begin as such. If you don’t want the police or the normies knowing you’re doing a drug deal, you switch terms for things they won’t understand. Language becomes a club for members only and you need the passwords for entry. Cocaine becomes Charlie and so on. Even after the mask of anti-language slips and the terms become commonplace, they tend to stick around, because what’s criminal and taboo is also often cool.

In some refreshing instances, a kind of anti-branding occurs. Cannabinoids are dope because they make one stupid and sleepy, for example. Amphetamines are speed or whizz because they accelerate perception and energy levels, famously burning up tomorrow’s energy today.

The powerful drug scopolamine is known as Devil’s Breath, because once inhaled or ingested it renders the victim entirely suggestible. Usually, it is administered during a honey trap (often via lipstick) prior to robbery. I always liked the name Philip K Dick gave his fatally addictive substance in ‘A Scanner Darkly’ – Slow Death, the perfect combination of taboo sales pitch and truth in advertising.

But if ever I felt like viscerally objecting to drug nomenclature, it wasn’t when someone impressed cartoon figures like Donald Duck on a tab of E. Rather it was today, when I read about the drug WY which is wreaking havoc in India. WY stands for ‘The World is Yours’, a complete reversal of what drugs of abuse actually do, which is steal the world from those addicted.

This amphetamine/caffeine combo is disproportionately harming the already marginalised queer community in India, according to Vice magazine. A more insidious untruth I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered than this empty promise from drug dealers to fragile youth.

The War on Abstraction

War on terror can mean devastating Middle Eastern countries on fabricated evidence, or simply comforting a child having a nightmare.

War on drugs could mean burning poor farmers crops in Colombia and Afghanistan, incarcerating ravers, introducing CBT counselling for people stranded for decades on SSRIs, or murdering addicts in the Philippines.

War on crime can mean targetting gangland bosses with tax legislation, incarcerating youth for minor offences, or overpolicing black neighbourhoods in America and Catholic ones in Belfast.

What we REALLY need is a war on policians using abstractions.

The next time a politician says he intends to tackle homelessness, we should make him play soccer with some rough sleepers. Ninety minutes of getting kicked about the pitch might not change much, but it would at least be less corrosive than whatever he actually intended to do.