The Ninja Blog

Where the research takes you: M99 and Harambe

One of the best things about writing fiction is the research. Sometimes one’s research leads to dark, strange places (which is, admittedly, the most fun of all). For example, when researching how a veterinarian might sedate an animal, I discovered the crazy powerful sedative etorphine (used to sedate large mammals such as rhinos and elephants) which is fatal to humans in veterinary-strength doses. 

My passing fascination with etorphine was mostly due to its potency. Etorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid which laughs at its weak-ass, namby-pamby cousins aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen. Etorphine rests smug in the knowledge that it has an analgesic potency one to three thousand times that of morphine. Morphine can kiss etorphine’s ass.

Etorphine is also somewhat sinisterly also known as M99, which makes it sound like MI5’s analgesic of choice (note: never offer Bond paracetamol when etorphine is handy). 

M99’s mystique and allure are only enhanced by its strict regulation as a controlled Class A substance. In addition, instructions for M99’s veterinary use come with the rather thrilling requirement that the human antidote, naloxone, always be prepared prior to the preparation of the etorphine, just in case of ‘accident’ (i.e. an accidental needle stick of M99) because the injected human only has seconds to live without the antidote.

Happily, my flirtation with M99 led to another discovery, about the internet meme “dicks out for Harambe”. A brief search online will confirm that you can buy clothing, mugs and other goodies emblazoned with the slogan ‘Dicks out for Harambe’.

So who is Harambe, and why should one get one’s dick out for him? For those of you don’t remember, Harambe was a 17-year-old silver-back gorilla shot dead at Cincinnati Zoo after a four-year-old child fell into his enclosure. His shooting provoked furious internet debate about whether lethal force was necessary (and whether the child’s life should have been value over that of the gorilla’s). Even veterinarians waded into the internet mud wrestling pit of Harambe debate, some arguing that M99 should have been used rather than ammunition.

So the link between Harambe and M99 is clear, but some readers are probably still wondering where the dicks come into Harambe’s death. The answer? We live in a patriarchal society which means everything is about dicks.

Just kidding.

The answer is that "dicks" is a hiphop phrase used to reference the length of a clip on a gun. If you are "dicks out" it means you have an extended clip. The phrase loosely means "boys, grab your guns and let's go to battle for Harambe”. Why go do battle for Harambe? Because (according to meme jokesters) his death was a conspiracy and/or another unjust shooting.

Plus, the denizens of the internet love a good battle cry, and what better battle cry than “dicks out for Harambe”? However, Cincinnati Zoo was not amused by the endless memes parodying grief and support for Harambe and shut down its social media pages until the silliness went away.

Despite the censure of Cincinnati Zoo, you can still buy a wide range of ‘Dicks out for Harambe’ t-shirts on Redbubble. Go crazy with that credit card, kids.