It was 2008. I was working at Duquesne University, and one of my colleagues was telling me about Burning Man, which I’d never heard of. He was planning on attending the next year and was pitching me to come with him.
At first, it sounded like something I’d maybe be into. (“It’s a yearly festival out west. Thousands of people go every year.”)
I asked him to tell me more. He told me more.
“It’s in the middle of the desert!”
“Yup. It’s just you, the sand, the fire, and like 250,000 people!”
“The fire? There are fires?”
“Any Black people?”
“Define ‘Black’. But yeah, you can do peyote with coyotes!”
It felt like some sort of inverted seduction. All the stuff he shared that was meant to excite me was actually the worst possible shit you could tell me to talk me into a trip. It felt like he was inviting me to Hell.
My feelings about Clubhouse aren’t as strong, because it’s just an app and not thousands of lascivious hipster pyromaniacs playing Yahtzee with tarantulas in a haze of angel dust, literal dust, and funk. But everything I know about it—and everything y’all tell me about it—makes me think I’d rather tase my nuts than join.
No, seriously. Each time I read a tweet or a status or a text extolling its functions, I feel like someone hacked into my limbic system to find the things I hate most, and built a platform around them.
“So how it works is that you get an avatar, you join a room, and then you just talk to people!”
“So an app with random niggas just...talking?”
“Yes! But only if invited!”
“I need an invitation to listen to these random niggas talk through an app?”
“Why would I want to do that?”
“Networking! Wealth creation too!”
“Excuse me for a second.”
“Where are you going?”
“To shoot myself in the face.”
I know, I know, I know. Social media platforms are mostly just efficient conduits to whichever goal you wish to achieve through them, and I know there’s been some cool shit on Clubhouse. Also, I’m the same grouchy negro who initially thought Facebook was redundant (“I already have MySpace, and MySpace has music!”) and Twitter was valueless (“So people just write haikus to each other? Why not just text?”), so, you know, grain of salt. But I feel like this Clubhouse thing is like beets or casinos or 21 Savage or anything else y’all can enjoy over there—waaaay over there—while I’m over here doing literally anything else.
Except Burning Man. Literally anything else, except attending Burning Man.