"Don't you see? If no one were watching, I would not dance at all."
February 9, 2013 8:46 AM   Subscribe

The Old Man at Burning Man. "When I mentioned to friends that I was going to Burning Man with my 69-year-old father, 'Good idea' were the words out of no one's mouth."
posted by zarq (65 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good idea.
posted by blob at 8:56 AM on February 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


He was an old man who rode a tall bike alone at Black Rock City and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a shower.
posted by box at 9:23 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Strange they lead with a photo from 2003.
posted by Catblack at 9:26 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, reading this just knocked "go to Burning Man" back near the top of my to-do list.

Thanks, zarq!
posted by byanyothername at 9:27 AM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


trapezius snood is my next band name (or sockpuppet)
posted by maggieb at 9:32 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also: the father's optimism and ability to just embrace everything is a great contrast to the son's skepticism and desire for something beyond mere hedonism. My impression of Burning Man as someone who's never gone is that it does speak to something deeply rooted in the region of the human soul where creativity and freedom are effortless and absolute, but that it also probably falls very short of that ideal in reality because at the end of the day it sort of is kind of this big party in the desert for rich people. I'd really love to go, and if I do, I'll try to set aside my expectations, but I wouldn't be surprised to walk away from it feeling both deeply inspired and deeply misanthropic.
posted by byanyothername at 9:37 AM on February 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


byanyothername, fwiw, I believe the deadline for registering for the next ticket sale was yesterday. (Though more will be available later in the year.)
posted by Catblack at 9:38 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I enjoy Wells Tower's style of fucking-around-with-my-family travelogue writing. And this:

I recall yelling, "Noooooooooo," in slo-mo basso. Too late. He took a generous slug. Then he set the glass down, turned to me, and said only this: "Don't ever, ever do that again."

had me sniggering like Beavis and Butthead.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:46 AM on February 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


"No one is giving away blow jobs," laments James Dean. "There ought to be a barter station."
I explain that there is no bartering in Black Rock City, only gifting.
"Yeah, but there's always an implicit barter, or I guess it depends on whether you belong to the Chicago School or not," says James Dean, professor of economics.


I would argue for Post-Keynesian, there should be paper in that. Can a grant be crafted to pay for a trip to Burning Man for research purposes?
posted by 445supermag at 9:50 AM on February 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd really love to go, and if I do, I'll try to set aside my expectations, but I wouldn't be surprised to walk away from it feeling both deeply inspired and deeply misanthropic.

I went for the first (and only) time in 2001 and that sounds about right, but to it I would add "exhausted and really, really dusty." I may have never enjoyed a shower more than upon return.
posted by cj_ at 9:59 AM on February 9, 2013


I like reading about Burning Man, and this was no different. The author however, comes off as an enormous asshole for most of that article. This impression was cemented when he referred to genitalia of trans people as something "that haunt[s] my imagination even still". The whole tone of the article is "look at these freaks, aren't they weird and kind of gross? I am middle-aged and ordinary and they are Other."

I'd much rather read an article by the father, I think.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:03 AM on February 9, 2013 [31 favorites]


Wonderful writeup of the experience.

Dad is all right. I'd burn with him anytime.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:03 AM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


'Oh, if only someone were as good a dancer as me, then I might have sex with that person, but it shall never be'

So much good snark in that article, but that line was magnificent. I'm maliciously proud that he maintained his cynicism against such an onslaught if sincerity. This is why I cant enjoy nice things.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:04 AM on February 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


That was pretty well written. I feel bad for the guy that he was never able to silence the constant snarky monologue in his head and just enjoy himself, but I guess that's the price of being a writer.
posted by codacorolla at 10:04 AM on February 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


The author comes off as scared and unable to let go. I thought his tone came off more as "These are freaks, and I am boring and have a hard time joining them".

Maybe I have some sympathy since I'm wound pretty tightly myself. On the other hand I've been to Black Rock four times now, and I've thoroughly enjoyed it (except the year I got sick, that was not so good). I think people like me need exposure to those with less regimented thought even more, and I'm glad this author got to go and have his father show him how it's done.
posted by nat at 10:20 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The last time I went to Burning Man with my 70-something year old dad (2009, his third burn, my second) I had to make a new rule: do NOT smoke hash oil with my dad. Pot is okay, but no hash oil! It was fun going with him. I think that he kept me reigned in a bit (which was needed) and I got him out of his comfort zone a bit.
posted by sacrifix at 10:26 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The author however, comes off as an enormous asshole for most of that article.

That seemed to be by design. From the very get-go, he makes it clear that he is "part of the problem," the guy who doesn't belong, the cynic, etc.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:29 AM on February 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Regarding going to Burning Man: the deadline to register to buy tickets is noon on Monday. So if you are thinking about it, go for it! If you change your mind you can always resell your ticket to someone else later.
posted by mai at 10:42 AM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I am definitely one of the people who has a hard time letting go, enjoying the moment, not worrying. Not because of an inner snarky monologue but because of my own insecurities. Burning Man has definitely helped me loosen up and obsess less about my own perceived shortcomings or trying to make everything perfect. Then again, unlike the author, I didn't go into the experience harboring judgmental feelings about anyone else, just myself.
posted by mai at 10:45 AM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


[...]you become abruptly, terrifiedly conscious of the terrible velocity of time, of life, a kindred sensation to the instant you sometimes experience during a commuter jet's descent, when your nervous system suddenly alerts itself to the preposterous number of MPHs at which the ground is hurtling up at you[...]

Sometimes I read something and think, 'I'll probably never get that fully out of my head' and that's one those passages.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:10 AM on February 9, 2013


Imho one should not simply jump into Burning Man without "rocking a regional first", preferably a week long regional event in the heat and dust (see regionals list).

Ain't comfortable out there folks. Yes, any discomfort is superficial, but your mind must understand what that means. After you've understood the experience once, you'll be prepared to love it more unreservedly, ignoring the heat, dust, etc. It's just better if you take a small bite before eating the whole cake.

After all, participants spend on average of $2000 per year on Burning Man. Why blow that wad learning to burn when you can do a regional for under $300?

Just fyi, tickets went on sale last week for Nowhere, the European regional even near Zaragoza, Spain. See also Borderland in Sweden.

I've always liked this 2011 video with someone brining their dad. I'd love to talk my mom into going. Another video that touched me is An Idiot's virgin Burning Man experience.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:35 AM on February 9, 2013


Things like this article always make me wonder if I decided too soon that I'm too old for this shit.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:36 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought for certain he would have to end the article after the 2nd or 3rd paragraph, just due to running out of adjectives and adverbs.
posted by HuronBob at 11:43 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nice piece. Although a 60+ year old at burning man isn't unusual, like, at all. My dad's in his late 60s, and went every year for the last 10 years. Most people in his camp are in their 50s and 60s.

The majority of attendees are probably around 30, but that old-guard hippie contingent is not unaccounted for.
posted by churl at 11:50 AM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


How much of the creepy tone of this article (two mentions of "Slut Olympics" right at the start, the transphobia, the "ooh, hippies are often dirty") was about selling this piece to GQ? And will it work? Will a meaningful quantity of the GQ audience try to go to Burning Man, anticipating and misunderstanding ready access to "sluts"? And will this hasten the shark-jumped quality?
posted by Frowner at 12:49 PM on February 9, 2013


I really liked this article. He nailed a lot of really good points. Beginning with the dreadies who start by complaining, I have someone like them at every festival.

But what I really liked about the article is that although he never got over his hang ups, he pretty clearly identified them. His low self-esteem caused him to never feel worthy to talk to any of the burners and when he did, he beat himself up over it. His shame regarding his own bodies and judgements regarding others.

During his drug segment, the only thing I could think is that he really needed to take more acid and do it in a supportive environment.

Then there is whole dealing with the mortality of his father and taking those trips, that is a really worthy thing to do and I think there are many among the burners who could learn from that.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 12:51 PM on February 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I met an older couple at BM one year who had set up a bunch of solar ovens and were cooking little pizzas in them for everyone who happened by. Now those were some people who understood Burning Man.
posted by telstar at 1:18 PM on February 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Women wear, uniformly, their underwear. Or the vast majority do*. In real life these women are bankers, substitute teachers, receptionists at gravel quarries, but here they have all entered into a common sisterhood of underpants in a collective mission to make the playa a place of beauty and terrible longing. God bless them.

*The rest, of course, being just plain naked naked.

This is one of my favorite things about the playa, actually, and I'm a straight lady. Nothing brings you closer to your twelve closest friends than making coffee and having breakfast together while everyone is dusty and topless. I go to school with one of my campmates. The first morning we were there, I was just minding my own business, enjoying my coffee in our little common area and she came casually wandering in butt-naked and it totally shocked me- she did not give a fuck. Sometimes now when we are commiserating over how tedious school is, I think about that moment and it cracks me up.

I also enjoy the mention of shirtcocking in the glossary. It is something people seem to take very seriously there! And for good reason. Shirtcocking is not to be tolerated.

My impression of Burning Man as someone who's never gone is that it does speak to something deeply rooted in the region of the human soul where creativity and freedom are effortless and absolute, but that it also probably falls very short of that ideal in reality because at the end of the day it sort of is kind of this big party in the desert for rich people.

In my experience, it did not fall short. Not even close. In fact, the entire thing so exceeded my expectations that I have trouble adequately describing it to people. I still can't, really. I think if you're curious about going, or think you'll like it, you should go and you'll love it. Though I will say camping with an established theme camp your first year will probably lead to a better experience than if you camp on your own, if for no other reason than better placement.

I really liked the description of the temple in the article, too, it made me tear up a little bit. Can't wait to go back this year.
posted by GastrocNemesis at 1:39 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


"No one is giving away blow jobs," laments James Dean. "There ought to be a barter station."
I explain that there is no bartering in Black Rock City, only gifting.


I'd hate to see the regifting process.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2013


Things like this article always make me wonder if I decided too soon that I'm too old for this shit.

I'm too old for it now, but when I'm older I will be just the right age.
posted by desjardins at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


I liked his cynicism because I share it — and therefore this story told me more about Burning Man in my own terms than a thousand articles of uncritical transformation really could.
posted by dame at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


The author comes off as scared and unable to let go. I thought his tone came off more as "These are freaks, and I am boring and have a hard time joining them".

Did you ever see the Louis Theroux episode where he's hanging out with swingers? At the end of it he's hanging around a party with his camera crew and you have never, ever seen somebody look as awkward and uncomfortable in the middle of a bunch of happy and enthusiastic people as Louis Theroux in that scene.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I read that the author mentioned to friends that he was going to Burning Man with his 69-year-old father and that "good idea" were the words out of none of their mouths, I thought something sort of shitty about his friends but then decided there was a reasonable chance they knew something I didn't and so left a comment to record that I experienced a brief flicker of irritation that segued into acknowledgement of my well intentioned but ignorant pique before getting on with my day, which has unhappily included teaching my own nine-year-old son the etymology and senses of the word "pussy" so he doesn't use it again any time soon in the context of baiting me for refusing to go into a Creeper-infested mine to retrieve his missing ore and pickaxe.

I hope one of us takes the other to Burning Man someday.
posted by mph at 2:33 PM on February 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not super unusual for folks of all ages to go - my friends' parents are in their 70s and camp with Children of Chaos, who, as I recall, are all 50+.
posted by eatyourlunch at 3:51 PM on February 9, 2013


I think my father is planning on going this year.

My favourite weather is around 15C and overcast and I can't stand large groups of people, so I'm guessing Burning Man is not for me.
posted by ODiV at 3:51 PM on February 9, 2013


If you wanted to play the roll of snarky, self-absorbed intellectual nincompoop at the burn, this writer couldn't have done a better job. It's like I have that guy living in my left hemisphere when I'm there. The right side is saying, fuck this, let's have some fun, and the left is saying, wait a minute, this can't possibly be happening to me.
Really well done. This made me laugh with recognition and appreciation for the very well done caricatures of burnerdom.
posted by diode at 3:51 PM on February 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


That was an excellent read. And it makes me want to go to burning more than ever.
posted by shoesietart at 4:58 PM on February 9, 2013


By the time 1997 rolled around, my then-57-year-old father had been bugging me for years to come to Burning Man with him. I hadn't been receptive up till that point ("I dunno, Dad, it sounds awfully… weird…") but the fiancée and I decided to go along with it. I mean, Dad was providing the tent and the camp stove, so what the heck?

We went. We fell in love with it. We became Life Members (was a one-time-only, 1997-only offer resulting from the Sheriffs confiscating the entire box office receipts and a subsequent urgent need on the Org's part for liquid funds; Dad bought himself one and gave one to each of us as an engagement present). After that, we volunteered as Black Rock Rangers for four years.

At this point, while the spouse and I are now Rangers emeriti (both of our radio call signs have been retired; there will never be another Ranger Pirate or Ranger Lexica), it's been more than ten years since we've attended the event. Dad, however, is still actively attending, still volunteering to help friends with art projects, and continuing to lead workshops in building the Evapotron gray-water evaporation device he designed.

My dad is awesome. Did I mention that?
posted by Lexica at 5:12 PM on February 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


Can't see myself going to Burning Man with my Dad. The one time we went out for beers it got super awkward amazingly quickly. No dad, I don't particularly want to talk about how Mum's tits got bigger after she had kids, oh god but you won't shut up about it, please shut up about it. Oh god someone kill me please.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 6:03 PM on February 9, 2013


Holy shit, what a jackass. Not so much for the bits he recognizes (uptight, cynical, self-conscious) as for the bits he doesn't ("a collective mission to make the playa a place of . . . terrible longing," "a scimitar in the neck"). And I love how this piece is carefully constructed to end on the note of blowjobs.

The dad sounds awesome, though. I hope I too get less judgmental as I get older.
posted by ostro at 6:09 PM on February 9, 2013


Shirtcocking is not to be tolerated.

And thus was born the Pants Cannon (motto: "we give the gift of pants"). It's a lot like those t-shirt cannons that fire logo shirts into the crowd at sporting events, except this one fires pants at people who need them. "Here, have some pants. Please."
posted by scalefree at 7:21 PM on February 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


While I would hope that I wouldn't be as judgemental (or aiming for uncomfortable chuckles as the author was), his viewpoint is far closer to my own than I'm happy to admit.

At nearly 40, I wonder if I haven't let myself calcify even more into the sort of socially rigid nerd type that I feared I was when I was 20.

Poop.
posted by drewbage1847 at 8:43 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, reading this just knocked "go to Burning Man" back near the top of my to-do list.



Funny. I got to the part where they were greeted by nudists and knocked it off my bucket list, though I used to want to go there. The more breathless testimonials about Burning Man 'changing your life, mannnn' the less I want to go.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:49 PM on February 9, 2013


I like reading about Burning Man, and this was no different. The author however, comes off as an enormous asshole for most of that article.

He's an 'asshole' because he was raised by a 'free spirited' Burner type, and he rebelled against it by trying to be 'normal' and modest. That was the subtext of the piece, and it came across well. I was cringing in sympathetic embarrassment reading it, and had to skim off the description of everyone washing each other.

A shame, too, since I'd love to see a festival of art cars and all the other creative stuff without the hippie philosophy and the nudity. The Playa sounded like all my Futurist visions come true. Maybe something like that Mad Max convention fits the bill.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:08 PM on February 9, 2013


He's an 'asshole' because he was raised by a 'free spirited' Burner type, and he rebelled against it by trying to be 'normal' and modest. That was the subtext of the piece, and it came across well.

I can get that, but it doesn't excuse the defining of trans bodies as inherently disgusting. That is not a thing you write for national publication if you want me to give you the benefit of the doubt, in a piece where you are already deliberately walking a fine line between "These are free-sprits and I am a stick in the mud" on one hand, and "look at the weirdos" on the other.

He's hedging both angles, which is fine, to a certain extent. It's what a general audience would expect from a piece about Burning Man. I think he comes down too far to the latter thread, although it's still not dominating. Get rid of the transphobia and change the tone of how he talks about sex a little, and I wouldn't have said anything.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:55 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Don't you see? If no one were watching, I would not dance at all."

A sad article. Not because he doesn't like dancing. Because he does not want to dance, and yet he does, miserably, instead of finding his own rhythm. The author is so full of fear he's afraid to express a desire, afraid to explore the streets alone while his father has fun, sees only unclothed bodies around him and fails to see the people inhabiting them. Did he connect with anyone outside his crew? It sounded like he hardly spoke a word to anyone. And his only attempt to give in to the event consisted of copying the people around him, substituting what he believes to be the emotions and desires of others for his own blank slate.

I remember my first burn. I was almost as afraid as he was. I was a lot younger and maybe the walls were not as tall and thick. Still, I remember the fear, and I remember trying to do what others around me would do, wear what they would wear, etc, so that I wouldn't feel like such an outsider at a place that is supposed to welcome the outsider. It took several burns before I learned the deep inner truth: that you create the reality around you with your intentions, that you (not your environment) are responsible for your own happiness, and if something is missing you have to decide to go seek it out. Burning Man proves the mutability of reality, because it shows you that it is possible to construct a fully-formed alternative reality only from the dreams and fantasies of inhabitants. But once you realize that, you realize that our own reality is made of the same stuff and no more or less.

I wish someone could have shown him the chains he was carrying. Everyone finds exactly what they expect to find at Burning Man, just like any place. He saw a confusing frightening zoo of human beings he showed no sign of being able to relate to. Is this the world he inhabits all the time? What does he want, I wonder? What does he truly want? I don't think he knows. And I think he's a lot of pain.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:45 PM on February 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I wish someone could have shown him the chains he was carrying. Everyone finds exactly what they expect to find at Burning Man, just like any place. He saw a confusing frightening zoo of human beings he showed no sign of being able to relate to. Is this the world he inhabits all the time? What does he want, I wonder? What does he truly want? I don't think he knows. And I think he's a lot of pain.

Or maybe he just doesn't enjoy dancing, or doesn't rave music & rave dancing, or just felt self-conscious because he was out of his element. It doesn't mean he's a broken bird, crushed by the modern world, who needs to tune in, turn on, and drop out. That just sounds like mysticism.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:10 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember my first burn. I was almost as afraid as he was. I was a lot younger and maybe the walls were not as tall and thick. Still, I remember the fear, and I remember trying to do what others around me would do, wear what they would wear, etc, so that I wouldn't feel like such an outsider at a place that is supposed to welcome the outsider. It took several burns before I learned the deep inner truth: that you create the reality around you with your intentions, that you (not your environment) are responsible for your own happiness, and if something is missing you have to decide to go seek it out. Burning Man proves the mutability of reality, because it shows you that it is possible to construct a fully-formed alternative reality only from the dreams and fantasies of inhabitants. But once you realize that, you realize that our own reality is made of the same stuff and no more or less.

Shakespeare and Milton made exactly the same point and they didn't even need to leave England to realize it.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:13 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seemed to me that he was achingly lonely and too afraid to reach out to anyone. Dancing or not dancing doesn't really enter into it. Was he just out of his element? Perhaps, but to me it seemed to go way deeper than that.
posted by PercussivePaul at 12:46 AM on February 10, 2013


The author refers to "surgically crafted transgenitalia" I believe that many of us are reading that as "transgender-genitalia". I got the impression that the author is referring to piercings and bifurcations and god knows what else people do to themselves. The reality could be either way but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
posted by Megafly at 12:59 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


PercussivePaul: "It seemed to me that he was achingly lonely and too afraid to reach out to anyone. Dancing or not dancing doesn't really enter into it. Was he just out of his element? Perhaps, but to me it seemed to go way deeper than that."

You're talking about Charlemagne in Sweatpants, right?
posted by mannequito at 2:20 AM on February 10, 2013


I'd love to see a festival of art cars and all the other creative stuff without the hippie philosophy and the nudity

All the art and art cars are designed specifically for Burning Man or similar events that embody a techno-hippie philosophy. Another philosophy pursues different artistic endeavors. Raves have art for example, but read PLUR.

There is a reason why car clubs that radically customize their vehicles but don't talk about love and don't permit nudity also don't build bunny rabbit cars or flame shooting octopi.

All these events are fundamentally just expressions of freedom, but one cannot separate the freedom to create from the freedom to be.

As an aside, there are quasi-religious hippie events like the rainbow gathering that seemingly express less ideological freedom than burning man but express the traditional financial freedom associated with hippies.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:21 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


shirtcocking is bad why? nudity yes but having a shirt and bare penis No?
please advise
posted by Colonel Panic at 11:51 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a meme out there. I mean, if you're going to go nude, why leave your junk hanging out and cover up the top half. Like hedging your bet, or going off half-cocked. It also just looks kind of ridiculous. I've never seen a female shirt....ummm...whatever. Maybe it's an aberration on the y chromosome. All hail the mighty Pants Cannon. Never has there been a more appreciated public service than this one.
posted by diode at 12:25 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's because people who are embracing the nudity thing might be doing it for all kinds of reasons, whereas specifically going for a shirt but no pants looks like "I just want people to look at my dick."
posted by ostro at 12:41 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


or they don't want more sun exposure? Going bare in the desert is already kind of not the greatest idea ever to begin with.
posted by cj_ at 1:50 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Donald Ducking is a synonym for shirt cocking, with Daisy Ducking being the feminine form. Yes, women do this too, just not as commonly as men. You find men and women wearing transparent tutus or whatever else too.

There is a long prankster tradition on the playa, Colonel Panic, such as hippie fishing with a glow stick, spanking people before giving them drinks, Animal Control tagging the playa animals, etc., although the Monday burn shall not be repeated.

We mock shirt cockers simply because they're easy targets. Yet, truthfully the pants cannon lets you literally shoot you own body image issues at another person, making shirt cockers a precious resource. Ideally shirt cockers hit by a pants cannot should wear the pants but attempt to remove the cannon holder's pants to help him express his newfound liberty while keeping the balance.

I wear underwear under my kilt or sarong on the playa because that dust burns after long enough, but obviously shirt cocking makes perfect sense if the chemistry doesn't bother you but the sun does. I personally avoid shirts on the playa though because I always want both sunscreen and a parasol anyways.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:01 PM on February 10, 2013


shark jumped quality hastened indeed.

I wonder where the cool crowd has moved on to now?
posted by Colonel Panic at 8:19 PM on February 10, 2013


What do you mean by cool? Berlin maybe? I suppose they never left the Bohemian Grove by some metrics.
It's relative though. See Why I Left Burning Man—and Why I'm Returning.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:43 AM on February 11, 2013


So this is where all the Deadheads went.
posted by Kokopuff at 2:10 PM on February 12, 2013


Burning Man is great, but I would really not want to take my dad. Too judgmental. I'd hate to have him ruin another thing I love(d).

where the cool crowd has moved on to now?

They all had kids and bring them to Fourth of Juplaya

Also, as the piss clear guy says, the police ruined it. As usual.

Chiefly, though, I remembered that what set Black Rock City apart from the rest of the world and made the increased presence of law goons on the playa so incongruous was that there had always been so much more freedom in Black Rock society than in ordinary society. In 1999 it seemed as though extra loads of cops and rules had been dumped onto the Burning Man side of the liberty scale, to bring its freedom back in line with the depleted level favored by bureaucrats. The gulf between the playa and the rest of the world had narrowed too much for my liking.

Brian Doherty's book is pretty great as an ethnological history of Burning Man.

...

I can, it turns out, deal with the downgrading of Radical Self Expression to Above Average Self Expression.

That is one of the come-to-jesus parts of it. You can't think about it too much. Or you do.

I've never seen a female shirt....ummm...whatever.

Ha, my wife did it last night and I called her on it. SHIRTCOCKER! I said. It is a bit discriminatory, but so it goes.

I guess I should read the GQ article but I have a pretty good idea of how it's gonna go. I've met a lot of these 60-70 year-old guys at Burning Man. I like talking to old people, This guy seems right in line with the aesthetic (flying his wet underwear from the antenna, etc.) ...
posted by mrgrimm at 8:44 AM on February 13, 2013


mrgrimm, you're spot on about the father, but this article is really about the son. The father's there only as a foil.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:58 PM on February 13, 2013


Ignite.me replies : This is Burning Man - A Veteran’s Response to a Newbie

All mefi's get their tickets? :) woohoo!
posted by jeffburdges at 5:40 PM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Many people wear clothes at Burning Man

That's an amazing caption.

And then there's this, which makes no sense at all:

Herein lies a lesson for all men. Know who you are, and be comfortable with yourself. Know who your woman is, and allow her to feel comfortable with herself, as well. You will reach the level of physical intimacy you desire when you are able to worship the goddess by meeting her where she is.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:45 PM on February 13, 2013


Spark : A Burning Man Story (trailer)
posted by jeffburdges at 5:21 AM on February 25, 2013


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