Iannelli: Please stop dancing with Molly

Iannelli argues that his generation’s “drug of choice” seems like a complete waste of time to an outsider.

jerry iannelli

jerry iannelliI no longer recreationally hula-hoop, a fact usually irrelevant to every single conversation that I have in a given day and exactly the reason that I never, ever want to do Ecstasy.

Yes, despite deciding that drugs are universally a “pretty bad call” decades ago, MDMA usage has skyrocketed among college-aged kids in recent years. According to a 2011 study by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, MDMA-related ER visits climbed 124 percent from 2004 to 2009, coinciding with the time that dance music ham-fisted its way onto the mainstream pop charts via acts like Ke$ha and the Black Eyed Peas in the late-2000s, and possibly also due to the perpetual stupidity of young people everywhere. I’m also still not positive that it’s not part of the greater 90’s fashion revival that we’re seeing in 2013, but I digress. Music acts are referencing MDMA across the board, from underground rappers Danny Brown and Trinidad James, to mainstream acts like Justin Timberlake, meaning the drug is certainly not going away anytime soon.

As such, I now find myself surrounded by kids “rolling on Molly” on a near-weekly basis, which is a sentence I was pretty sure I wouldn’t ever utter in my lifetime. Despite never actively seeking out parties and events that prominently feature rave staples like bodypaint and ambulances, it’s nearly impossible to avoid kids on E if you spend any length of time socializing at a medium-to-large size college nowadays. It’s like walking into a Panera Bread hoping you won’t see a woman holding a Lhasa Apso, only if said Lhasa Apso loved ring pops and kept smacking your girlfriend in the face with a glowstick.

Kids on Molly are everywhere, despite the fact that I cannot think of a single stupider way to spend a Saturday evening.

There is quite literally no bigger deterrent to me doing a particular drug if the people offering me said drug were constantly skipping rope under a black light and wearing Hello Kitty memorabilia, which Molly users always are for some inexplicable reason. If you found someone on the street that was sucking a pacifier and gyrating to a trance song that featured Keanu Reeves saying “Dude!” for seven straight minutes, and he offered you drugs, wouldn’t you rightfully sprint until you found the nearest police officer or constable available? Why is this somehow cool in a club setting?

Even more mind-blowing is the fact that kids are literally risking their lives for this experience each weekend, a fact that should truly make you consider celibacy. MDMA tablets are often laced with far more sinister drugs like ketamine and heroin, and even if they aren’t, MDMA can dehydrate you to the point of death anyhow. So let’s recap: if your trip goes well, you really like neon colors for two hours and Skrillex is somewhat bearable. If it goes poorly, you die. Aren’t those the single worst gambling tradeoffs in human history?

We can also thank Molly for the entire genre of dubstep, further adding to the incredibly arbitrary list of magic powers that come with gobbling MDMA tablets. At its absolute best, American dubstep still sounds like two competing Jiffy Lube stations fighting for Xzbit’s favor on an unaired episode of “Pimp My Ride.” And I otherwise love electronic music. You know how everyone involved with the 80’s hair metal boom later apologized for the glaciers of cocaine they were snorting the entire time? There seem to be some parallels here. Entire crowds of kids on Molly have turned Skrillex into our generation’s Whitesnake, to absolutely nobody’s benefit.

The American media absolutely loves putting a stamp on the zeitgeist of each passing generation, be it political unrest or the invention of Rock and Roll. While I’m obviously not advocating any other type of illicit drug use, college-aged kids used to bear at least a passing obsession with “elevating” their conscious minds and gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and the world that they live in. Have we abandoned our search for greater knowledge in order to seek greater dance moves? Only time will tell.  Until then, I’ll dance when I’m good and ready.

Jerry Iannelli can be reached at jerryi@temple.edu or on Twitter @jerryiannelli.


  1. I would love to know your sources for this article. You are so incredibly uninformed it’s unbelievable. This article discredits “The Temple News” and calling yourself a journalist is laughable. You go to Temple, take a mediocre liberal arts course on modern subculture. Maybe while you’re at it you should use the magical world of Wikipedia and Google to learn that Dubstep came from Reggae, Drum and Bass, and Dub. Why are you taking a giant dump all over peoples fun?
    Your tone and analogies make it sound as if you’re incredibly repressed and bitter. Maybe take a shot at writing for a celebrity gossip blog or something equally as vapid.

    On a side note, I’m drug free now by choice… but boy was doing cocaine and molly an awesome time!

    Have fun in the shallow end!

  2. Wow. This uh…article would you call it? Sure does show how judgmental you can be about something you CLEARLY know nothing about. Do I do Ketamine? No. But do I get on people’s backs who choose to do ketamine? Absolutely not. A lot of good can be done by OPENING your mind if you do it responsibly. And festival and rave goers hold ourselves and each other responsible if something goes wrong. There is always someone to lend a helping hand, or drink of water. I know a lot of people who drink really irresponsibly, but that’s LEGAL, right? So it’s ok? Do yourself a favor and go to http://www.maps.org and, ya know do that thing called “research” about drugs. There are a lot of things we don’t know, but I can tell you this, some of the most beautiful art and music that has ever been created was a product of reeeeeally high people.

  3. As an EMT and someone active in the rave scene, just wow. You should really do your research before writing an article trashing and stereotyping a group of people. Your article is filled with over exaggerations and blatant fallacies. I wonder what motived you to write such bull sh!t. One bad run in with some demon hula hooper? Don’t think I’ve seen an abundance of
    Them around. Get a life man and next time educate your self before you write something on the Internet an make your self look like a jack ass.

  4. What an enlightening “your subculture is stupider than my subculture” rant. I don’t really have a dog in this race, so whatever, rant away.

    the MDMA-hate is a little more disappointing. Honestly, the tone of your writing sounds an awful lot like the jealousy of exclusion. Have you ever taken MDMA, and judged it on its merits, rather than on how much better you think you are than the people who use it?

    Of course, you can’t really answer that question honestly, since anyone who’s taken “MDMA” in the last 20-odd years can’t know for certain that it was actually MDMA, as you pointed out. Indeed, far and away the greatest physical danger of taking the drug is that you have no idea what other drugs or substances might be in that pill.

    History has taught us two immutable truths about popular recreational drugs: making them illegal will have little to no effect on their popularity, and by handing over the manufacture to criminals, the danger of contamination/overdose becomes exponentially larger.

    If you want to hate on the hello-kitty-and-pacifier crowd, that’s your prerogative. But nobody should die because some puritanical pol decides to wash their hands of the issue of drug use. They have the blood of overdose and intoxication victims on their hands, and don’t need your help to buttress their misguided policies.

  5. What was the point of writing this? It’s so misguided and snarky. I think there is probably a legitimate argument to be made here, but you missed it by about ten miles.

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