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beto o'what now?
March 15, 2019

Just call him Beto "Psychedelic Warlord" O'Rourke.

Before the Democrat launched his 2020 bid — or even graduated high school — O'Rourke was part of a well-known hacking "supergroup" known as the Cult of the Dead Cow, Reuters learned in an interview with the candidate. While it's unclear if O'Rourke actually hacked anything, he did write a smattering of strange and often disturbing essays for the group back when he was around 16 years old.

O'Rourke's oddball adolescence and young adulthood, full of barnyard onesies and not-habitual pot smoking, has been well documented and even attacked throughout his Senate and now presidential runs. Yet none of it could've predicted what turned up after O'Rourke's Reuters interview: a series of completely bonkers essays and poems written under his admitted pseudonym Psychedelic Warlord for the Cult of the Dead Cow, the first so-called "hacktivist" group in the U.S.

In one essay, O'Rourke documents a seemingly fictional interview with a neo-Nazi. In another, he describes a dream about running down children with his car. And in one very uncomfortable poem, O'Rourke pleads for a "butt shine" from the cult's namesake cow. There's also what looks like a song you could imagine O'Rourke screaming in a sheep mask, and a forerunner to his Instagram live session at the dentist. Find all of Psychedelic Warlord's writing here, and be warned that pretty much none of it is safe for work. Kathryn Krawczyk

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