Cosmic Xplorers

Meet Ashley and Jack, the latest in the long convoy of Kickstarter hopefuls who believe that if you throw enough quasi-academic and pseudo-spiritual jargon into your campaign description you can convince complete strangers to foot the bill for your totally kick-ass road trip to Burning Man.

If these cute young people were pulled over in their camper van asking for a few bucks for gas to get to the next town on their summer road trip, I’d probably kick them $20 and wish them well. Road trips are fun.

But if they told me they needed a few bucks to “document the thriving practices that embody alternative futures” and “to embody and explore different modes of societal organization” I’d probably slash one of their tires.

But that’s what Ashley and Jack want to do – or so they say. Kickstarter’s rules prohibit you from simply asking for gas money. You have to actually create something. The problem with road trips is that you don’t actually produce anything in the process. So to get it past Kickstarter you have to trump it up into an “ethnographic pilgrimage” and come up with plausible purpose other than just driving around having fun.

If you’re thinking of trying this, here are some tips on phrasing, inspired by Jack and Ashley’s campaign.

Ethnological approach means Talking to people who are not themselves on a road trip. Don’t worry if you have no education or training in ethnography.

short documentary films, journal entries, photographs, and other creative content means Cell-phone videos, Facebook posts, cell-phone photos. “other creative content” = Instagram

We will lead a communal dinner workshop experience…means “We will be making stir-fry in the camper van. Bring some broccoli”

Oh no!

As this post went to print, Jack and Ashley cancelled their project. Don’t give up, kids! You had already jived two people out of $100 with your Cosmik Debris!