Burning Man Pt. II
So Candy & Cigarettes had, far and away, its most successful post yesterday, chronicling the dirty hipster annual rite of self-discovery and narcotic/carnal bliss, Burning Man. In case you missed that post (and are too fucking lazy to scroll down): http://tinyurl.com/3bnunoy. We're closing in on a 1,000 hits on that single post alone, and it's still climbing. Very excited. Part of the post's success comes via my friend Sean Kenniff (http://www.etrethecow.com/), who stoked the...fire (sorry)...by linking the post on Burning Man's Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/BurningMan).
I was out most of the day, only able to check comments, traffic, e-mail and responses remotely, on my phone (in-between blasting my delts and rocking with the WJ's new drummer, Mr. Hart). When I got home and saw that Sean had posted the blog on Burning Man's FB page, I went there, and immediately felt bad. I mean, I hate humanity, sure, but primarily in the abstract. On an individual level, I tend to like the fuckers a great deal. Once I read some responses by real people, my disdain softened, and looking at the goofy bastards with their ill advised facial hair and tall Abe Lincoln fuzzy hats, I wondered, why did I have to be so mean about the whole thing? What had these dirty, stinking hippies ever done to me (besides making me compost and sort my garbage into 12 different containers, perpetuating the "organic" scam that has my mother-in-law harping continuously, and exposing me to their beaded crafts)? Really, what the hell do I care if new-age hipsters want to head into the desert to dress up like Thing One and Thing Two and do yoga and display their crappy art? It's not like they are hurting anybody. (Unless you are this guy I used to know, Beau Daddy, who got really fucked up at Burning Man a few years ago and ran over a tent full of people and received a life sentence. Seriously).
A little while back, I was accused of being a bully (in my writing), and I thought of that. Pushing around "burners," why that's like pushing around one of those weird little kids who love turtles too much.
Then I read this article: http://tinyurl.com/3usvovx on the SF Gate. And the author makes some very valid points, like how Burning Man is just a little bit hypocritical in preaching its Earth Mother/anti-capitalism ideology, when the event costs as much as a plane ticket to Hawaii, is corporately sponsored, and the grand finale proves a textbook exercise in colossal waste (don't get much more wasteful than building something really really big just to watch it burn).
The author, Cameron Scott, doesn't resort to name calling; he remains respectful. He's simply illustrating how ecologically unfriendly Burning Man is. Of course, I don't give two shits about that part. In fact, being so wasteful and environmentally irresponsible almost makes me like Burning Man more. But look at the comments posted beneath Scott's article. Man, these fucking burners are mean! They call for Scott's firing, call him a moron, tell him to stay away and how the playa is better off without him. Mean burners.
What happened to inclusiveness and the right to express different points of view? I thought Burning Man was about "kindness" and "community"? Scott is on your side. He only wants for a Greener world. He's merely encouraging you to embrace the spirit of what Burning Man should be all about instead of the frivolous, decadent, morally bankrupt excuse to party that it has become.
Of course, like I, Scott hasn't actually been to Burning Man, which invariably prompted a slew of "You have no right to criticize Burning Man if you've never been" responses. Which is kinda weak. I mean, I've never been to a NAMBLA meeting, have no intention of ever going to a NAMBLA meeting, does that mean I can't criticize little boy fuckers?
Which begs the next question: did I really just compare Burning Man with pedophilia? Yes. Yes, I did.
Sorry. Probably shouldn't have done that, might even come to regret it (probably should've used "war" as a better example), but c'mon, it's such a stupid argument. There are plenty of things you don't need to "experience" in order to criticize them. Do I really need to list them all?
I don't need to occupy physically the same space to know I wouldn't like hanging out with some people. I can read and hear the way burners speak, like the secret language D&Ders used to have, only here it isn't "elf needs food badly," it's "see you on the playa!" and "enjoy the burn, man!" and know I wouldn't want to experience anything with these people. (Except maybe the zombie apocalypse, because watching them try to get zombies into a game of hacky sack would be pretty funny). I am not sure the legality of cutting and pasting comments from Facebook. Plus, it's not really necessary. You can go to that goddamn Facebook page I was telling you about and read firsthand what I am talking about. Guys named "Rene" with an accent over the "e," or who make up their own nicknames, like "Jester" or "Jazzy," and all the goddamn wishes of "brightness" and "light-filled journeys," in between the pandering for rides and/or gas money.
Still, I am not a confrontational guy. Don't let the muscles and tattoos fool you; I'm a sensitive mutherfucker. And I am glad that privileged, upper-middle-class white hipsters have finally found something just for them. (God knows they've suffered long enough.)
So here's what I'd like to do for the rest of the week on C & C. I want to hear from you, the readers. It's open solicitation time. Instead of stories only about Joe, we are opening it up to stories about Burning Man. Pro, con, whatever. They can be essays, comments, anything (except poetry, because, y'know, it'd be poetry). Seriously, if you love Burning Man so goddamn much and think I'm using trite, tired cliches, the ol' "sabermetric geek living in mom's basement" defense, I welcome the discourse. I am not above humility. I'll even correct your grammar for you so you look smart. Or if you just want to add your impressions of why Burning Man sucks, I'll probably run your piece first, even if it's poorly written.
Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put "Burning Man" in the Subject Line.
Now, in closing, I submit Prosecution Exhibit C. Here is a picture of an actual flow chart found at Burning Man (confiscated by our staff). Shit cracks me up every time...
(Click on pic for a better view.)