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January 7, 2012 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Oh, The Places You'll Go At Burning Man! (NSFW: Lots of dusty desert nudity, as might be expected. Indeed, "you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.")
posted by kaibutsu (107 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was hoping it was animated, that would have been better. Especially if in his style.
posted by usagizero at 3:42 PM on January 7, 2012


> I was hoping it was animated,

Considering that it was people at Burning Man reciting "Oh the Places You'll Go!" I don't see why you would want to animate that. Then you'd just have an animated version of the book.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:51 PM on January 7, 2012


Oh the things you will catch,
As you hunt for your match.
As search on the playa
And dig into in her thatch.

Oh the ways you will scratch.
Oh the ways you will ooze.
Oh the ways you will blossom
With pustulent goo.

The doctor you see
Will giggle and snort
As he pulls sand and scabs
Off your reddening blort.

He will give you stern warning
And a great tube of salve
And each itchy morning,
you'll remember
All the fun you have had.
posted by R. Schlock at 3:52 PM on January 7, 2012 [38 favorites]


I thought this was cute and well-conceived but there wasn't nearly as much nudity as I hoped based on the FPP.
posted by silby at 3:54 PM on January 7, 2012 [19 favorites]


So... Dr. Seuss meets Terence McKenna groupies?
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 3:56 PM on January 7, 2012


If these tribes could only be united, the Iron Throne would be theirs for the taking.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:00 PM on January 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


NSFW? Perhaps if you're a data entry clerk at Taliban HQ.

But a useful video, nonetheless. Has certainly cured me of any particular wish to go to Burning Man.
posted by Devonian at 4:02 PM on January 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


i can honestly say i hated the idea of burning man until 7:10 ago. really nice video.
posted by facetious at 4:03 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Has certainly cured me of any particular wish to go to Burning Man.

I agree, you shouldn't under any circumstances go.
posted by scalefree at 4:06 PM on January 7, 2012 [26 favorites]


I don't want to know any of those people.
posted by kingv at 4:06 PM on January 7, 2012


Yeah, haters will find this easy to mock but I really thought (as a non-burner) that it was a really swell video. 100% whimsy, no attitude. I like that ratio.
posted by thedaniel at 4:07 PM on January 7, 2012 [20 favorites]


That is a whole lot of beautiful people having a party in the desert. Sure is.
posted by Shit Parade at 4:15 PM on January 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


Where are all the drugs?
posted by ReeMonster at 4:21 PM on January 7, 2012


i will never associate with any of these people


no really i wont, i dont leave the house
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:21 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


do black people not go to burning man?
posted by sineater at 4:27 PM on January 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


"That is a whole lot of beautiful people having a party in the desert. Sure is."

That part of it annoyed me, especially because it was particularly the case with the women in the video. Doesn't seem exactly in the spirit of Burning Man.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:29 PM on January 7, 2012


I wish I had gone to burning man when I first heard about it sometime in the late 90's. Had a friend go a couple of years ago and he was sorely disappointed. He described it as a bunch of "frat bros dancing to techno".
posted by P.o.B. at 4:32 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


And how did they seem to not be "in the spirit of Burning Man"? Honest grar-less question.
posted by triceryclops at 4:32 PM on January 7, 2012


That the makers of the video chose only attractive women for it?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:38 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


The reason I didn't enjoy the video is that I'm a sad, lonely, bitter conformist. So I think I have enough self-awareness to note that it's not the video's fault that I didn't like it, or the fault of the people in the video, who all seem to be very happy and having an excellent time. There's too much 'I didn't like that thing, and it's the thing's fault' in the world. The common thread in all the things in the world that make you unhappy or angry is you.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 4:38 PM on January 7, 2012 [17 favorites]


Oh shit, it costs upwards of $400 for tickets?!
posted by P.o.B. at 4:38 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I agree, you shouldn't under any circumstances go.

Oh, the places I've been and the things that I've seen... incandescent monsters a thousand eyes tall, tearing the night apart with chisel steel teeth. The medusa stare of the Cosmic All, pinning its children to eternal stasis like chloroformed butterflies on the walls of their light cones. The measureless forests aglow with peacock pinches of space and time at each fractal interstice. Breaths of thought scudding across quiet crowds, breeze-blown ripples on a surface that does not know it's a surface of a lake that does not know it's a lake.

Beneath it all, the dark engine of mortality that pushes mind into flight at speeds that are guaranteed to rip its wings off, sooner or later.

Day-glo skippy woo is fine, but Blake gets me further than Seuss, even if the latter's got his PhD.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
posted by Devonian at 4:39 PM on January 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


(Yeah, 'lots' of nudity was more like 'a little.' I think I was writing with my 'Would I show this to my mother? Would she flip out on something or another?'-glasses.)
posted by kaibutsu at 4:40 PM on January 7, 2012


"breaknecking speed"?...this may take some time...
posted by kitchenrat at 4:40 PM on January 7, 2012


I need to go take a shower.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:43 PM on January 7, 2012


That the makers of the video chose only attractive women for it?

I don't find either of the two women at 1:04 physically attractive, and I'd go so far as to say that it's good that they're both older women. My loins didn't stir at the first woman shown at 0:22 either. Your criticism seems like a strange criticism to me. Especially as it seems you're annoyed by the presence of lots of people that you find attractive.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 4:45 PM on January 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


do black people not go to burning man?

I'm reminded of some Clint Eastwood movie; running unexpectedly into the ranks of the gray coat army, haste is made in proclaiming to them great support for the confederacy... wherein the captain slaps his gloves against his sleeve, kicking up great clouds of desert dust accumulated from their trek, revealing that their uniforms are actually blue. All burners have skin the colour of playa :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 4:46 PM on January 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


do black people not go to burning man?

Funny you should ask: Is Burning Man a “White People Thing?”
posted by scalefree at 4:51 PM on January 7, 2012 [20 favorites]


Thanks for that link, scalefree.
posted by fake at 4:58 PM on January 7, 2012


"Oh shit, it costs upwards of $400 for tickets?!"

This might explain the non-presence of black people... it's sort of related to Eddie Murphy's bit (which he might've ripped from Pryor of course) about, "Why don't white people leave the house, when there's a ghost in the house?"

In other words, most black people actually have more common sense than the people who think it's fun to pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars ($290-$450 for tickets alone, plus travel, supplies, rations, expenses and drug money) to play in a grown-up sandbox listening to shitty music and setting shit on fire while tripping on a vast variety of hallucinogens, uppers, downers and anything in between... Oh the high's you'll reach! Why, you might even get to have an ecstasy make-out session with a chick missing half her teeth! White people are hilarious.

Just watch out for sand-in-the-crotch; you can have it rinsed out at the "Genial Genitals" pavilion.
posted by ReeMonster at 5:00 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


"You'll fly to high heights!" heh.

I thought it was cheezy as hell and it reinforced my perception of Burning man as commercialized bullshit.

Also, they did have some minorities, and some older women in the video. Attractive women got longer segments, though.
posted by delmoi at 5:04 PM on January 7, 2012


I'm 47. A similarly-aged woman is not automatically "not attractive" to me.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:06 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


am 2-year burner. loved this, made me homesick, not gonna lie. second run-through (yeah, I watched it twice. *tear*), I also thought hmmm, that's a whole lot of unusually beautiful burners -- female AND male. sure, there were a couple non-hotties, but it was hardly representative. one of the best aspects of burning man is that anything goes, and anybody goes, no matter what they look like, young and old, pert and saggy (o, so saggy!) and nobody gives a shit either way.

this vid is super cute and well done, but might be a bit of a magnet for spectator bros.
so what I guess I'm saying is it should have included more shirtcockers.
posted by changeling at 5:10 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Not as much nudity as I was led to believe.
posted by bowline at 5:28 PM on January 7, 2012


There are local "Burning Man" events as well, which those of us who are not into the cost or the drugs or whatever might want to investigate come summer.
posted by kozad at 5:29 PM on January 7, 2012


I wish I had video of all the times I went to the San Luis Potosi desert to eat organic free range peyote and listen to the music of the spheres.

It would be so alike and completely different from this video. A hundred or so international misfits, dozens of huicholes getting podcasts from their gods beamed directly into their souls. Groups of mestizo punks (in a country were a Mohawk can get you beaten and shaved by the military at a checkpoint) chanting Great Cuahutemoc was the first American punk. Ethnicity made moot by everyone's desert colored skin. A different kind of nudity, a different kind of sex, which requires a Fremen's water discipline.

It is free, as long as you know how and when to get there. Climb to the top of El Quemado at night and pick a bonfire to walk to, like ships made of stars adrift in a fossilized ocean of sand and rock suddenly frozen in the middle of a storm. Make sure to bury your stash if you see the dust plume of the federales in the horizon, don't trust anyone who moves too fast, and you will be fine.

All the shiny happy look alike people in this video just confirm my first hand impression that burning man is the Epcot center to the visiting the capitals of the world that is an spontaneous peyote or mushroom things hapoening in the third world. But then I was genuinely happy when my parents took me to Epcot.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 5:31 PM on January 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


scalefree, that's a very interesting post. Thank you. I'm white, but I also have a problem with that "security" aspect of Burning Man. I went once, in 2010, and it did seem very much "Frat bros dancing to techno" and frat bros are THE group in the US that I find most terrifying.

However, in the outer camps I met awesome people and I loved the temple, so I may actually go back next year.

Also, tickets aren't $400 if you're part of an art project. Burning Man funds or subsidizes a lot of the bigger projects. I think that part of why tickets are so high is to force any tourists to subsidize the art.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:33 PM on January 7, 2012


Just to be clear, I have been to bm too, and I liked it and most ofthe people I met were awesome, but it still felt to clean and safe and commercial for it to be the deep transfirmative experience that so many people talk about.

There was diversity, but all coming from a very thin slice of human variety.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 5:35 PM on January 7, 2012


That was a million times more fun than I expected. I'm suddenly filled with all sorts of warm fuzzies and Seussian energy.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:35 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


ITT: Haters
posted by dvdgee at 5:46 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I'm not the kind of person who would like Burning Man. I'm okay with that (not everyone has to like everything), but this video made me wish that I was one of those people.

So, well done.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 5:52 PM on January 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


Why do all of these people look like they're extras for the last Mad Max movie?
posted by crunchland at 6:05 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah Burning Man, where people pay upwards of thousands of dollars to have "experiences."
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 6:10 PM on January 7, 2012


Why do I get this when I click on the link:?

In order to sign you up for a YouTube channel, we need to log you out of your Google Account before starting the process.


Gawd I hate this shit.

BTW, shouldn't there be a single character that means both "?" and ":" in this all too imperfect world?
posted by benjonson at 6:14 PM on January 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


also in a depression like this isn't it irresponsible and immoral to go do expensive escapist things like this?? are burning man people the 1% ????

stay tuned to Internet Resentment Channel to find out! but first the local news
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:22 PM on January 7, 2012


I know a lot of old school burners who are really cool and see to have a lot of fun every year. I just find it creepy to be "evangelized" about it. What has turned me off about it is that a lot of burning man people behave a lot like the kids that belonged to southern baptist youth groups trying to get me "in the fold" who seemed offended and threatened when I wasn't into drinking the koolaid. This video looks like a Christian rock video with bewbs. And I know that BM (such an unfortunate acronym) is not religiously affiliated but it has become a kind of secular religion for some- some organize their lives around it, people say "it's changed their lives" and "will never be the same", just spend your money and get your ticket and you will see man, it's beautiful. Maybe it is beautiful, maybe they have seen the light or whatever, but when those true believers get offended that I don't "get it", or act like smug "chosen people", that makes me think I've put a crack in the edifice of their beautiful dream, and that sounds hollow and utopian to me. I don't have a problem with Burning Man; I have a problem with the Church of Burning Man.
posted by kingv at 6:23 PM on January 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ah Burning Man, where people pay upwards of thousands of dollars to have "experiences."

I went, I paid over a grand, and I had a bunch of great "experiences" (both sober and otherwise). I really don't see how that all that different from other kinds of vacations.
posted by tracknode at 6:27 PM on January 7, 2012


I wish I had gone to burning man when I first heard about it sometime in the late 90's.

I went once, in 96. It was really a wonderful time. Everyone was just really nice. You'd walk around, plop down in a random stranger's tent, get offered a snack or some weed. Do some finger painting, or marvel at some weird, creative efforts. At night it was like another planet - and easy to get lost! But not to worry, someone was always willing to help. The best thing was the cantaloupes I brought and shared around one day. Holy cow are those delicious in the burning heat, surrounded by friendly, laid-back folks and their curious tales.

I think it was about $50, although I snuck someone in under a blanket in the back seat, so $25 I guess! I would go back to the 1996 BM, but probably not the 2012 one. It was almost too big then, so I'd guess it's way bigger than I'd like now. More clique-y and less hippie now, perhaps.
posted by Glinn at 6:33 PM on January 7, 2012


I've been 3 times, crossing a border and driving for close to 24 hours. I've still kept it to under 1000$ every time, including ticket, food, booze, gas, everything. Most of the time I wear the same clothes I do in real life, even though I've helped put on theme camps and parties there. I've volunteered in several ways with the organization, have rarely done drugs (much less than I do in everyday life) and haven't been around much flagrant drug use. I have friends from there who are old enough to be my grandparents and we still keep in touch. I've taken part in early morning yoga sessions, life drawing, and sunrise bike rides.

Burning Man is a lot of things to a lot of different people. Its fucking annoying that people try to pigeonhole and stereotype it so they can feel superior about their choice not to go.
posted by mannequito at 6:34 PM on January 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


(Oh, and I thought the video was rather sweet, and mostly like I remember. But not exactly.)
posted by Glinn at 6:36 PM on January 7, 2012


Ah Burning Man, where people pay upwards of thousands of dollars to have "experiences."

This seems completely meaningless.
posted by neuromodulator at 6:39 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If anyone's really curious, the financials are posted each year (2011 isn't up yet) here.

Like any large fairly expensive event, it's going to be "not as good as it used to be" and filled with mostly middle to upper class people, but with 50,000 people there, if you can't find a suitable group to spend time with...

If the frat boys, ravers, and tweekers aren't your thing, there's a myriad other camps to explore. One could easily spend the entire week just biking the outer rings meeting the people who chose to camp there and hanging out with them.

Or go to a regional burn, they're a lot more like what BM used to be like.
posted by Candleman at 6:55 PM on January 7, 2012


Ah Burning Man, where people pay upwards of thousands of dollars to have "experiences."

Nobody ever pays to have experiences anywhere else.
posted by DU at 7:00 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah Burning Man, where people pay upwards of thousands of dollars to have "experiences."

Not all that uncommon for people on their summer vacation.
posted by the_artificer at 7:03 PM on January 7, 2012


I watched it three times. First it was odd, then oddly moving, and then just moving.
posted by LarryC at 7:04 PM on January 7, 2012


Makes me miss Xday, the really good ones from 98-03, before people finally realized the saucers really weren't coming no matter how cool we were.
posted by waraw at 7:09 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suspect Burning Man is about as much a White People Thing as Metafilter.

That vid makes this non-white guy who hasn't been to BM for several years a bit nostalgic.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:16 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has certainly cured me of any particular wish to go to Burning Man.

I had the exact opposite reaction. Never entertained one iota of thought about going to Burning Man although I knew what it was. About two mintues in, I wished I could go.
posted by qsysopr at 7:33 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


changeling: am 2-year burner. loved this, made me homesick, not gonna lie. second run-through (yeah, I watched it twice. *tear*) . . .

Just in case you want to feel even more homesick, here's the video that really does the job for me.
posted by treepour at 7:37 PM on January 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I always wanted to go to Burning Man, and now that I finally live in the west coast apparently it has turned into one of those venues famously described by Yogi Berra - nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded.
posted by gertzedek at 8:17 PM on January 7, 2012


do black people not go to burning man?

What is black, do you mean African, or African American, or West indian or Indian or Thai or Burmese or dark skinned Mexican? I have hung with them all on the Playa. I camp with 6 people who were born in Ethiopia, does that count as black? Why, should I let them know you are worried about them? Thank you for your concern ferenj!
posted by sensi63 at 8:37 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure about the explanation in scalefree's link above. Sex, security, and community? I'm sorry but that's a pretty ignorant explanation. Has that person seen a hip hop video in the past 20 years?

I think the answer lies in the concept of "code switching". The idea that people outside of the cultural mainstream need to be able to adjust to the presentational expectations of mainstream society while also retaining the ability to fit in within your own native cultural environment. My personal pet theory is that the subconscious mental energy that people of color spend on navigating the two or more worlds that they have to travel between, is extra energy that white people get to spend on things like burning man and adult kickball leagues.

Admittedly that's being a bit tongue in cheek. As we get further away from institutional desegregation in this country, the lines blur more. I imagine that whatever the burning man of 20 years from now turns out to be, it'll be more integrated. I think what's interesting, however, is that the integration is going in the other direction. You can pretty much count on the integrated Burning Man of the future being a hip hop festival.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:32 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


BTW, shouldn't there be a single character that means both "?" and ":" in this all too imperfect world?

That would be the interrocolon.

posted by exphysicist345 at 9:35 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Burning Man is Rainbow Gathering for people with good jobs" -- someone on the internet.
posted by doncoyote at 9:48 PM on January 7, 2012


My favorite Burning Man 2011 video.
posted by ericb at 10:04 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


What if, instead of yuppies, only hipsters went?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:14 PM on January 7, 2012


Oh, this is my favorite BM video. I have a soft spot for 2006, my second time there, mostly due to Uchronia / The Belgian Waffle structure . also because that's the year i stumbled upon the acid gumball machine
posted by mannequito at 10:22 PM on January 7, 2012


I'm a black guy from Canada who has been to Burning Man 4 times since 1999. The number of visual minorities attending is obviously low but the numbers seem to be increasing. Last year I took part in a discussion group about the presence of minorities there so it's definitely an issue on a lot of people's radar.

I think that growing up in multicultural Toronto has had a lot to do with why I feel comfortable in spaces like BM. I was raised with a very different script and reality compared to what I've seen & experienced south of the border. The first year I went down with dreadlocks past my shoulders and my freak flag did its thing, convincing many that I was one of them. The following year I had tightly cropped hair and a lot of people didn't know how to take me. I wasn't matching many people's idea of what their tribe would look like in black form so I found that people were far less outgoing towards me than they had been the previous year. The dreads were back when I returned in 2009 and 2011 and with them came the acceptance I'd experienced my first time. It's not a very scientific experiment but...

There are some good points in that blogpost about BM being a "White people thing". I feel that there's going to have to be a lot more cultural integration outside of BM in the real world before you see a broader mix of cultures co-existing comfortably inside.
posted by No more Mr. Smartypants at 11:19 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, I am just not getting the dismissal in this thread. Not because "oh hi just stopped by to say this doesn't interest me and i think its dumb laters" is a crap thing to do, but rather because man, look at this video.

I've never been to Burning Man. Hell, I'm seldom at any of my local bars. I'm not a really social person and even when I've been sufficiently chemically lubricated, I'm still pretty reserved. I'd even go so far as to say that when I see someone in public having a genuinely good time, and really letting go, I actively resent them as attention whores who should be pushed in front of a bus.

But I just cannot hate these people. This - and anyone who's actually been there is welcome to correct me - seems like the sort of event where you go to be whatever you want, no matter how ridiculous, absurd or nutty. Furthermore, others around you will not look at you like you're maybe in need of leaving the party; they will celebrate your fun with you. And honestly, I envy that. I would love to be able to let go enough to do that, and not feel ridiculous and celebrate openly with these people, without reservation.

Well, maybe someday. For now, more power to them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:32 AM on January 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


This makes me feel like " I wish I were 20 years younger ". Thus I'd still be doing some of the stupid - and fun - stuff I was doing a little bit earlier.
posted by nicolin at 3:25 AM on January 8, 2012


What if, instead of yuppies, only hipsters went? -- the differences between these two subcultures is too narrow for me to even tell the difference anymore. Please explain.
posted by crunchland at 3:39 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I realize drugs are only a small part of the Burning Man experience, but it's interesting how closely the poem replicates the odyssey of a psychedelic outing--giddiness and expectation at first, followed by an exploratory urge, leading to unsettling adventures through frightening streets of the mind, followed by boredom and patiently waiting, then loneliness and an urge to flee, then affirmation and moments of giddiness once again. Even non-using Burning Man'ers are psychonaughts.
posted by Gordion Knott at 3:45 AM on January 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am just not getting the dismissal in this thread... I don't know, I mean it seems like this is just a third-party video so I'm not making any judgement on the actual festival here, but considering that Burning Man is based around "decommodification" and radical inclusion the whole feel of this video just seems wrong, like just another glossy commercial. It's all too polished, the people are too pretty, and every other person modelled their clothing on Mad Max but couldn't quite bring themselves to get dirty, so maybe the sequel that never got made, The Discreet Charm of the Thunderdome Bourgeoisie. And there's nothing wrong with that, but it's not particularly interesting, and probably doesn't do much justice to the festival. I'd still be curious to see what Burning Man was all about for myself, one of these days, I appreciate the ambitiously idealistic nature of the thing, but this video gets 0 stars from me.
posted by los_aburridos at 4:08 AM on January 8, 2012


Burning Man is where I confronted the twin problems of communal bikes and generalised nudity and learned that some social conventions have a very practical purpose.

I also learned that radical self sufficiency is much easier in practice when your neighbour has a $250,000 recreational vehicle with plumbed in dishwasher and ice-cream machine.
posted by falcon at 4:59 AM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Its fucking annoying that people try to pigeonhole and stereotype it so they can feel superior about their choice not to go.

Amen. Haters gon hate, but it's cool, because they just don't understand, and probably never will, what this place means to a lot of us, how deeply it has transformed and liberated us. It's expensive and commercial and classist and full of bro's and overrated and has a tired common aesthetic... yes it is all of those things to an extent, and if this sort of surface fluff is the level at which you interact with and judge the event, fine, stay away and be happier. But don't ever think we're not enjoying ourselves immensely out there or that our experiences are not real.
posted by PercussivePaul at 5:48 AM on January 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


It was an ok video once I turned the sound off.

I regret passing on a chance to go in about 1997; I'd still like to go to see the big art installations and the costumes, but the cost is not trivial and the more I hear about the bros the less enticing it is.
posted by Forktine at 6:03 AM on January 8, 2012


Help a European cousin out - what's a 'bro'?
posted by falcon at 6:18 AM on January 8, 2012


Everyone in this video looks much cleaner than I remember.

I found Burning Man to be a fascinating but ultimately disheartening experience. The first few days were great; the art was amazing and the anything goes attitude was refreshing and the participate don't spectate ethos felt like a real and valuable thing. But as the days went on and the party got bigger, more and more of the participants seemed to be frat boys whose primary goal was to see them some hippie boobies.

The experience of being a man at Burning Man was entirely different from what a woman has to deal with. I could circumnavigate the entire camp without a single person speaking to me or even acknowledging my presence. My wife couldn't move ten feet without some bro getting in her face. All very friendly and full of smiles and bonhomie and all that, but the disparity in attention got to be really depressing the more we thought about it.

On the drive out the last day, dozens of people had hiked out to the line of cars waiting to leave, and were hollering up at us that they were staying for cleanup and did we have any donations. We offered some food and water and were rewarded with a withering glare: no, you asshole, we are asking for drugs. Oh. I see. Okay then.

Not fair to color the whole event based on the actions of a few jerks, I know, but as a last thing to see on the way out of the radical inclusion event, a lineup of drug beggars left a kind of bad taste in my mouth.

And that is my basically unprompted and unnecessary lecture on why I now go to small regional burns instead of the real thing.
posted by ook at 6:38 AM on January 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh by the way, the people in this video are cleaner than you might expect because the 2011 event had exceptionally good weather; not a single major dust storm.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:45 AM on January 8, 2012


I was all prepared to not like the video but was nicely surprised. I love that book and used to get all teary when I'd read it to my kid years ago and sure enough, I started getting a little sniffy half way through this. I'll probably never make it to BM because, I'm your dad but I don't get all the hate toward a bunch of young folk having a big party in the desert.
posted by octothorpe at 8:01 AM on January 8, 2012


I watched the video after reading the thread. I thought the many dozens of actors were extremely diverse--except for not one distinguishable African or African-American characteristic feature or accent anywhere. There was everything else except nobody in a wheelchair. So saying it's for white people is not nearly as accurate as saying it's not for black people.

Also true for every metafilter meetup photo I ever saw BTW.
posted by bukvich at 8:06 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Its fucking annoying that people try to pigeonhole and stereotype it so they can feel superior about their choice not to go.

Indeed. Of course the opposite is true as well, which is why avoid the local BM meetups like the plaque after having attended a couple.
posted by juiceCake at 8:41 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know, I mean it seems like this is just a third-party video so I'm not making any judgement on the actual festival here, but considering that Burning Man is based around "decommodification" and radical inclusion the whole feel of this video just seems wrong, like just another glossy commercial.

Oh, sorry, I wasn't talking about dismissal of the video; just dismissal of Burning Man itself.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:05 AM on January 8, 2012


We (people who shun it) didn't create whatever image exists out there of Burning Man. The people that go to Burning Man did that.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:16 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


the differences between these two subcultures is too narrow for me to even tell the difference anymore. Please explain.

Look at any thread here about hipsters, and you can tell the difference: hipsters are nearly universally hated here.

Help a European cousin out - what's a 'bro'?

A "bro" is a fratboy outside of college. Pseudo-Alpha-Male, baseball cap turned off-center, white sneakers, likes to shout "WOOOOO" and likes to "party." Axe body spray date-rapist type.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:30 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've never been to Burning Man, and I never will go. (I don't like hot weather and I need to be able to have peace and quiet when I sleep.) I have a lot of friends who go, and a couple who are straight-up Burners, though. The impression that I get is that Burning Man is a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and sadly one of those groups of people is hyper-privileged ogling bros (an insider view of bros) who naturally take up way more of their share of the mindspace, because that's what those douchebags do everywhere they go. So you develop Bro Avoidance Strategies, like you do in life, and you find your people and you have a good time.

I'm glad it's there. Of course the bros found it, they find everything. That's what happens when you have the money and the power and the leisure time. But the Burners I know seem to regard them as a hazard of the environment, like dehydration or dust, and just put them aside.
posted by KathrynT at 9:32 AM on January 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Think I'll just DROP OUT
I'll go to Frisco
Buy a wig & sleep
On Owsley's floor

Walked past the wig store
Danced at the Fillmore
I'm completely stoned
I'm hippy & I'm trippy
I'm a gypsy on my own
I'll stay a week & get the crabs &
Take a bus back home...

Oh, my hair is getting good in the back!...

Every town must have a place
Where phony hippies meet
Psychedelic dungeons
Popping up on every street
GO TO SAN FRANCISCO...

Hotcha!

First I'll buy some beads
And then perhaps a leather band
To go around my head
Some feathers and bells

-Frank Zappa, 1968
posted by Meatbomb at 9:52 AM on January 8, 2012


There is a sanctioned local Burning Man group here in the DC area, and lots and lots of smaller music and arts festivals--my wife and I have gone to two dozen in the last few years. Oddly, I've never heard anyone, at any event, say "Man, I wish more tightasses were here," so those of you who hate things like this should feel comfortable staying home.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:16 AM on January 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


hipsters are nearly universally hated here. --- Well, I've always been sort of fuzzy about what makes a hipster a hipster. Best I can tell, hipsters are a subclass of yuppie, aren't they? I mean, hipsters are young, urban, though I'm not sure about the professional part. Are they? Or can you be an unemployed hipster? Or are they not yuppies, because yuppies are all about collecting material goods and hipsters eschew it? It's all just very, very confusing.
posted by crunchland at 11:28 AM on January 8, 2012


I had a wonderful experience at Burning Man this year, after eight years of resisting going. The best part of this video was my sister finally understanding what was so cool about the whole thing.

(And the second best part of the video was them directly calling out, sometimes it's not OK out there on the Playa, and that's OK too.)
posted by effugas at 11:48 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Well, I've always been sort of fuzzy about what makes a hipster a hipster.

crunchland this was explained very simple by Tower of Power.
posted by bukvich at 11:51 AM on January 8, 2012


For the record, we were sleeping at 8:30 and D, and noise just wasn't a problem.
posted by effugas at 12:00 PM on January 8, 2012


Yuppies are about being successful, fitting into the world & ending up on top of it. Hipsters are about being hip, cool, unique, fresh, first to discover something of cultural value. Stereotypically they're also rich pretending to be poor, because who else has all that free time to chase down the next big trends before they're already popular & money to spend on acquiring all the stuff that makes them so unique?
posted by scalefree at 12:19 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


And honestly, I envy that. I would love to be able to let go enough to do that, and not feel ridiculous and celebrate openly with these people, without reservation.

Don't get the impression that all of these people must be unlike you. For example, it's pretty clear that some have decided they want/need some chemical assistance as a kickstart to help them get past that initial hurdle.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:51 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Burning Man is a lot of things to a lot of different people. Its fucking annoying that people try to pigeonhole and stereotype it so they can feel superior about their choice not to go.

Hell fucking yes to this. A thousand times yes.
posted by odinsdream at 12:54 PM on January 8, 2012


hipsters are nearly universally hated here. --- Well, I've always been sort of fuzzy about what makes a hipster a hipster. Best I can tell, hipsters are a subclass of yuppie, aren't they? I mean, hipsters are young, urban, though I'm not sure about the professional part. Are they? Or can you be an unemployed hipster? Or are they not yuppies, because yuppies are all about collecting material goods and hipsters eschew it? It's all just very, very confusing.

I don't think Hipsters are seen as a subclass of yuppie. A hipsters without a job is quite normal, even a trope. A yuppie without a job is on a countdown to losing their pigeon-hole :)

When I think about the stereotypes, it seems that Hipster tends to be used to describe people who aim to be alternative (but no so alternative as to be unrecognisable as hip to other hipsters. Alternative-lite.) so, for example, the adoption of affectations to push this image isn't uncommon and is a source of criticism. Yuppie tends to be used to describe people who have money and tend to pursue and view success in urban yet still somewhat more traditional ways.

Starbucks coffee: Fine for yuppies, poison for hipsters.
Expensive clothes: Excellent for yuppies, ok for hipsters (often unaffordable)
Thrift store clothes: Dodgy for yuppies, excellent for hipsters
Designer-label clothes: Fine for yuppies, dodgy for hipsters.
Anachronistic affectations (eg smoking a pipe): dodgy for yuppies, fine for hipsters.
A suburban home and SUV: Fine for yuppies, poison for hipsters.
Bikini beach resort: Fine for yuppies, dodgy for hipsters.

The confusion is because there is obviously also lots of overlap:

Locally-grown organic foods: Excellent for both.
Art galleries / Art-walks: Excellent for both.
Owner-operated coffee shop: Excellent for both.
etc.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:20 PM on January 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Isn't Burning Man just the 'arty/hippy' version of Gathering of the Juggalos .... just kidding.. well sort of.
posted by mary8nne at 2:32 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


no.
posted by changeling at 2:47 PM on January 8, 2012


Isn't Burning Man just the 'arty/hippy' version of Gathering of the Juggalos .... just kidding.. well sort of.

no


Except that the Juggalos that go to their thing say the exact same things as what these burningman people are saying. But only one set gets made fun of here.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:18 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most of the devices and art pieces people make for Burning Man would be treated like the second coming of witch fire by Insane Clown Posse, and treated to their own three-ring circus of superstitious fear. Is that not enough to differentiate it?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 9:36 PM on January 8, 2012


Or you could just look at what the main attraction is between the two. Maybe initially burners went to see the Man Burning, but I would be surprised if that is why many, if any, go at all. OTOH, you probably wouldn't be able to find one ninja who would say that seeing ICP isn't partially or perhaps the main reason they go to the Juggalo-a-thon or whatever it's called. In that sense, I would say that one seems to exist to be a truly shared communal gathering while the other exists to exploit that idea. But I haven't been to either, so I don't know.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:18 PM on January 8, 2012


Is this the thread where I prove how cool I am to everyone by threadshitting on the FPP topic?

Because I think deserts are lame! And racist!
posted by IAmBroom at 10:23 PM on January 8, 2012


but if there was any nudity at all in that video, I missed it completely.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:24 PM on January 8, 2012


Hey, man, you can shit anywhere you like. Just as long as you first dig a hole, and then cover it up when you're done.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:33 AM on January 9, 2012


I think it's totally clear. People who go to Burning Man have stars upon thars.
posted by crunchland at 2:23 AM on January 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Except that the Juggalos that go to their thing say the exact same things as what these burningman people are saying. But only one set gets made fun of here.

Have you missed literally every single Burning Man thread on Metafilter, wherein attendees are absolutely made fun of in the comments?
posted by odinsdream at 9:34 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, odinsdream, I had the same reaction--"what do you mean, we don't make fun of Juggalos?" But Threeway Handshake does have a point. The difference I see is that the burner community is well-represented enough on MetaFilter that the burner hate doesn't go unchallenged, while those Juggalos are not our kind. So, you know what? I pledge to stop making fun of Juggalos. If you catch me doing it, call me on it.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:29 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


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