The Legend of Eat Fuck Kill
I’m 99.7% sure that “EAT FUCK KILL” is the playa’s first meme.
Let me tell you the story.
It was the summer of 1997. Burning Man was right around the corner and I wanted to find just the right thing to gift out on the playa.
I was a regular at the local flea market so, on a Sunday just before the event, I went searching. I soon spotted an open box full of black-and-white buttons. There were a few dozen of them and each one read “EAT FUCK KILL.” I knew right then and there that they were the perfect thing to bring to the desert. These irreverent buttons were exactly what I was looking for.
In small print, around the edge of the buttons, there was a clue to their origin: The Doom Generation. The buttons had been a promotional item for the poorly-reviewed 1995 film and now, two years later, they were just waiting for me at the flea market.
I got to the playa early in 1997 because I was the editor-in-chief of the now-defunct daily newspaper, The Black Rock Gazette (that is a story for another time). I started handing out buttons, maybe two dozen or so, mostly to Burning Man staff and volunteers. They were an instant hit. Strangers came out of the woodwork looking to score one.
On Saturday afternoon I wanted to leave camp to go shooting with friends, so I hid the box under a bench. When I returned, the box was gone. <sad face>
After the event, the buttons quickly took on a life of their own. Soon there were new buttons with all kinds of alternative messages (the greeters put “GREET FUCK CHILL” on their buttons, for instance).
The next year I made stickers and photocopied a set of postcards. I also silkscreened about a dozen used $1 work shirts to gift to friends (these shirts became the most highly-coveted EFK item).
Twenty years later, people are still talking about the buttons and asking me when I’m making more stuff with the EFK image on it. That time is now. From now until September 23 (my birthday), I’ve brought back EFK with an online pop-up shop which has a bunch of limited-edition products. Check’em out.(wait! see the note below)
(yes, that’s my real name)
P.S. When I’m not EFKing, I publish an inbox zine called Rusty’s Electric Dreams.
P.S.S. As of 9/23/17, the EFK 20th-anniversary pop-up shop is closed. Thanks for playing!