Of Ghost Peppers and Cristal: The Dudebro as Self-Parody

The video above was making the rounds on the Internet earlier this week under such headlines as "Dudebro chugs entire bottle of Cristal." I was recovering from a bout of food poisoning on Monday and couldn't bring myself to watch something so intentionally nauseating, so I didn't view the video in its full glory until yesterday. And what glory it is...

The gentleman in the video is Kevin Strahle, a self-proclaimed "meathead who can lift heavy things and then put them down." Strahle also claims to be able to "eat tons of food and drink gallons of milk in under 10 minutes."

I won't say I'm not impressed with his chugging skills. They certainly didn't teach us that at Baylor. And I could care less that he destroyed a bottle of Cristal, the drink of choice for a million dudebros the world over; it could have been a bottle of Petrus, a legitmate crime. Even the roughly five-second burp at the end is fairly impressive.

What confuses me about the video is the tag that Strahle added on his YouTube page for the Cristal video: "People can OCCUPY WALL STREET but I OCCUPY $260 bottles of CRISTAL CHAMPAGNE because I can afford to piss away my money."

The more I thought about it, however, the more I began to wonder: Is this performance art? Is Strahle putting forth a real and earnest persona in these videos, or is he mocking young meatheads who honestly don't understand the Occupy Wall Street protests? The video above of Strahle eating an entire ghost pepper answered my question.

It doesn't matter whether or not Strahle is aware of the self-parody he's created; the fact that it exists in such splendid form does more to satirize an entire generation of dudebros than intentional parody ever could.

Look at the way the sweat streams down his face, the way Strahle is blindingly intoxicated by the firepower of those 1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units crackling off that ghost pepper. Every part of him is present here, unironically or not. At points, he seems to be undergoing a religious experience of the same nature that Homer Simpson did after eating a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper.

"Mister, you're drinking a candle," says Ralph Wiggum, as Homer tries to cool off the burn from the pepper. "You don't want to get wax in your mouth, do you?"

"Maybe I do, son," replies Homer. "Maybe I do."

And maybe so does Strahle.

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