If nothing else, Grover Norquist had a great time at Burning Man
September 2, 2014 4:31 PM   Subscribe


 
I hope next year's version of this article is written by Dick Cheney.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:36 PM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


The story of Burning Man is one of radical self-reliance.
Predicated on one's ability to prepare for it ahead of time, using all the trappings of modern society that you'd prefer to drown in a bathtub, you sanctimonious prick.
posted by Etrigan at 4:37 PM on September 2, 2014 [81 favorites]


The demand for self-reliance at Burning Man toughens everyone up. There are few fools, and no malingerers. People give of themselves – small gifts like lip balm or tiny flashlights. I brought Cuban cigars.

Culturally, the thought of Grover Norquist going to Burning Man with a "small gift" of cuban cigars is like Barry Goldwater giving out ROTC-branded cuff links at Haight-Ashbury.
posted by Spatch at 4:40 PM on September 2, 2014 [33 favorites]


> Some day, I want to live 52 weeks a year in a state or city that acts like this.

I've never been and probably never will, but the one guy I know who tries to go every year doesn't make any bones about the fact that Burning Man is a fantasy, not an attempt to build a plausible civilization.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:44 PM on September 2, 2014 [9 favorites]


This reminds me of when the Macarena was done on the House floor.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:45 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Burning Man jumps the shark

How a high-minded countercultural experiment ended up on everyone's bucket list


(Steven T. Jones SF Bay Guardian)

His biggest complaint is Norquist and the other muckymuck tourists, but he also is down on them sending the guy who burnt the man during the lunar eclipse to prison and a long list of other gripes.
posted by bukvich at 4:45 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


This proves that Big Government shoe handouts are as useless as they are tyrannical enforced redistribution of shoes from the shoe-wealthy to the shoe-poor. Obviously, as clearly shown here, once citizens are freed of this onerous burden, the problem of shoelessness will resolve itself as those who find themselves with extra shoes will take it upon themselves to donate their spare shoes to those who are less shoe-fortunate.
posted by Flunkie at 4:50 PM on September 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


the one guy I know who tries to go every year doesn't make any bones about the fact that Burning Man is a fantasy, not an attempt to build a plausible civilization.

The quote was about garbage removal and in that context it's not really super-fantasy-fantastic. Please don't just go dump all your garbage in the nearest ocean, thx.
posted by GuyZero at 4:51 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I love this so much. I can't even begin to talk about it. Grover. Fucking. Norquist. I've had a real live belly laugh every time I see some new story about it. I still refuse to believe its real. Its like a fever dream.
posted by JPD at 4:58 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


I hope he travelled around the playa by art bathtub
posted by thelonius at 4:59 PM on September 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


So, rich white dudes got mad that richer white dudes set up tents in their party?
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:12 PM on September 2, 2014 [19 favorites]


Eeehehehehehehehe
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 5:13 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Burning Man was one of those things I always wanted to go to, but for health reasons, it would be quite hazardous to me. I guess I just liked hearing about the neat things people did and the fun they had.

The Paul Addis bit really does seem to be one of those turning points. Plus, lots of awkward prison conversations. "So, what are you in for?" "I burned a man." "Whoa." "No, he was an effigy. One of the ones you set on fire on purpose." "So, uhhhh ...." "Well, Burning Man has a policy —" "Hold up a second ... you burned an effigy of a man at something called 'Burning Man?'" "Well, yes, it's an event named after the part where you burn the man-effigy." "So you're in prison for burning the Burning Man?" "Prematurely. It was supposed to have been on Saturday."
posted by adipocere at 5:15 PM on September 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


From a Grauniad comment:

You have to appreciate the gratuitous ad hominem attacks on unnamed "progressives" who didn't think that Norquist belonged at Burning Man. One wonders if they even exist

Burning Man takes place on Earth, so yes, I don't think Grover Norquist belongs there.
posted by uosuaq at 5:25 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Maybe I'm just an aging hippie, but good, this is a good thing.

For one thing, a lot of people quit their jobs after they go and seek a more fulfilling life.

Burning man has never been an enclave for only one kind of politics, or gender, or lifestyle. I have met conservative racists there and Vietnam vets and feminists and party-goers. Notably, each one of those people I'm thinking of changed their minds about a few things, and opened to new perspectives.

I saw a survivalist texan who loved guns come around to friendship with a transgender liberal over their love of cooking together, there. It won't save the world but this festival makes small changes in people with big repercussions.

If rich people want to have an experience that is separated from the rest of it, I feel sorry for them. Hopefully even their limited exposure will change them.

Again, it isn't for everyone and it isn't the final word on anything, but burning man remains the most authentic acid kool-aid test I've ever seen.
posted by poe at 5:27 PM on September 2, 2014 [16 favorites]


I really hoped this would turn into something about learning the difference between Near and Far.
posted by stevil at 5:39 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


Don't hate the playa, hate the game.
posted by dr_dank at 5:42 PM on September 2, 2014 [26 favorites]


Sometimes rich people spend more money to do things the wrong way. If I was a billionaire I'd have a real fuckin' nice tent maybe but I'd sure be putting it up myself or in cooperation with whoever...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:43 PM on September 2, 2014


Tent? In my day all we had was geodesic domes, and we liked it!
posted by uosuaq at 5:48 PM on September 2, 2014 [7 favorites]


I still like to read about Mefi's own Halcyon and his burning man adventures...pink everywhere. He sums it up here and hits all of the points of how Burning Man changed him (and talks about many points of the FPP).

As far as the rich kids...it'll pass. They'll get bored with the desolation and move on to whatever the new kids think is cool.
posted by Benway at 5:52 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Burning Man takes place on Earth, so yes, I don't think Grover Norquist belongs there.


At least, not when he gets done with it. He doesn't want any handouts from the "Mother Nature" Terran welfare dependency cycle thanyouverymuch.


Fuck you! He's going to grow avocados on Ganymede!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:54 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


Fuck You, Got Mars
posted by Spatch at 5:57 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Burning Man jumps the shark

How a high-minded countercultural experiment ended up on everyone's bucket list

(Steven T. Jones SF Bay Guardian)


Sounds like a drag. Too bad. I wouldn't be surprised if the same spirit that gave rise to the original event is currently incubating something else off the radar, though. I hope so.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:02 PM on September 2, 2014


For one thing, a lot of people quit their jobs after they go and seek a more fulfilling life.

But does Grover Norquist even have a job? I mean in the sense of drawing a paycheck for goods produced or services rendered. What is it that he actually does? As far as I can tell, non-office-holding political figures are basically just vagabonds with cleaner clothes.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:13 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Too bad. I wouldn't be surprised if the same spirit that gave rise to the original event is currently incubating something else off the radar, though. I hope so.

Of course it is. Even some of the regional Burning Man branded events are more like the original used to be than it is now. I know of people here in Australia that would prefer to go to the little thing out in the desert here than the supposed real deal in Nevada - and that's not just a question of distance. I suspect it's unlikely that any of these will ever reach the status of the original though, so those that need the name ticked off their bucket list will keep heading to black rock city.
posted by deadwax at 6:16 PM on September 2, 2014


Who the hell is this Grover person and why should I care? The only Grover I know of is on Sesame Street. And really, only Gonzo would really fit in at the yuppie desert party.
posted by sammyo at 6:17 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


basically just vagabonds with cleaner clothes.


Now I really want to see Grover Norquist hitching on container cars with a bunch of gutter punks just to get a sense of real self-sufficiency and can-do attitude!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:19 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


only Gonzo would really fit in at the yuppie desert party.


Gonzo would probably find it a bit tame.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:20 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm really sorry I didn't go this year. Not that I've ever gone, but I heard that this year the whole site was flooded and became a small lake - and I'm fascinated by flooded places, whereas I'm quite frightened by deserts (their dryness, specifically).
posted by jb at 6:20 PM on September 2, 2014


I don't see Silicon Valley as visionaries or founders of BM, just participants, eyeballs (heh). They should limit the deluxe camps and discourage the super-wealthy whose money and whims can easily destroy BM. Living in luxury is the antithesis of what BM was supposed to be. On preview, maybe Australia is the place to be.
posted by stbalbach at 6:20 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Gonzo would fit in, of course - but Grover would probably enjoy it too. Lots of space for some good near and far comparisons - he could run really far and still be visible.
posted by jb at 6:21 PM on September 2, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, Super Grover? Total Steampunk Burner.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:34 PM on September 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Huh! This very morning I was waiting someplace in SF behind a 40-something lawyer who was talking to his friend about his time "on playa" and how he left BM halfway through to go to a court hearing and then flew back. I thought it was strange at the time but maybe it's actually the new normal
posted by kernel_sander at 7:01 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I saw Grover Nordquist speak at his little speech and Q&A this year on the playa. Lots of people had questions, and he generally answered all of them like a politician by dodging them, rephrasing them to match his agenda, and flat-out ignoring tricky questions. The crowd definitely sensed it, too, and the atmosphere was pretty tense. When I walked out, I proclaimed out loud "what a fucking asshole" to my friends who were with me, and a Black Rock Ranger standing outside told me that pretty much everyone who walked out had been saying the same thing.

On the whole, my friends and I were very unimpressed, and we saw the whole ordeal as a weird publicity stunt with little value for the community. It would have been worthwhile if there was actual discussion involved, but it was just the same bullshit as always.

But hey, glad he had a good time, I guess.
posted by thermopoetics at 7:12 PM on September 2, 2014 [15 favorites]


I dislike Grover Norquist and detest the policies he advocates, but I'll say this for the man: He has a surprisingly good sense of humor about the trolls. (Be sure to scroll up on this one here.)
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:25 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you ever wondered where some of the inherited funds of the jobless go, this is it.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:28 PM on September 2, 2014


This proves that Big Government shoe handouts are as useless as they are tyrannical enforced redistribution of shoes from the shoe-wealthy to the shoe-poor. Obviously, as clearly shown here, once citizens are freed of this onerous burden, the problem of shoelessness will resolve itself as those who find themselves with extra shoes will take it upon themselves to donate their spare shoes to those who are less shoe-fortunate.

Wasn't that an episode of Upstairs, Downstairs?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:54 PM on September 2, 2014


I'll say this for the man: he's mortal.
posted by uosuaq at 7:58 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


I don't know if y'all realize it, but Grover Norquist some years back married a Palestinian Muslim lady. He had to convert to do that. I keep wondering whether and when he'll get with the program?
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:22 PM on September 2, 2014


Burning Man Wicker Man 2015
posted by Hairy Lobster at 8:25 PM on September 2, 2014 [8 favorites]


Regarding Grover Norquist, George H. W. Bush said it best.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:35 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Norquist can choke on his own tongue for all I care, but I read that piece about the luxury catered camps the other day and wondered how the people who have given so much of themselves to make Burning Man happen must feel to be like the zebras on a high end safari tour, providing the scenic backdrop for the elites' vacation.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:04 PM on September 2, 2014 [5 favorites]


In their interview with Parade, the former first couple also commented on Bush’s friendship with Bill Clinton.

“He knows a lot about everything. He’s a very knowledgeable, bright man. He sat out here one time, and we talked about every possible [subject] — one after another,” Bush said.

“I think he thinks of George as the father he never had,” the former first lady said. “Truthfully. I mean that as a compliment. He’s been very thoughtful about calling and he’s a good fellow.”

posted by Nevin at 9:14 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Burning Man is Gathering of the Juggalos for people who think of themselves as better than Juggalos.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:49 PM on September 2, 2014 [13 favorites]


Wouldn't swear to it, but I believe I've seen some Juggalos at Burning Man. Because I've seen absolutely every kind of person at BM, from right-wing camo'ed Iraq war supporters to fairy-winged dainties from Vashon Island. And that's only one axis that springs to mind, Burning Man is about leaving your preconceived notions behind. Norquist is just the latest surprise.
posted by telstar at 10:26 PM on September 2, 2014


He has a surprisingly good sense of humor about the trolls.
...having spent an entire career trolling.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:38 PM on September 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Burning Man is Gathering of the Juggalos for people who think of themselves as better than Juggalos.

Everybody thinks of themselves as better than Juggalos.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:06 PM on September 2, 2014


I hope next year's version of this article is written by Dick Cheney.

I see Cheney more as a larper. You get weapons, when orcs attack there's no discussion about their motives or justifications to kill 'em...
posted by pseudocode at 2:04 AM on September 3, 2014


Well, on one level its not surprising. The hippie subculture (whose cultural DNA Burning Man inherited) is seen as a left-wing phenomenon solely because of the fog of the culture war: they wore their hair long, smoked dope, didn't respect their elders, didn't line up to fight in 'Nam, and so on. But once you strip away all that, it's more a libertarian phenomenon; few hippies would have wanted to live in a highly-regulated Scandinavian-style social democracy let alone a totalitarian Marxist-Leninist state, neither of which jibes with the “don't tell me what to do, man” ethos emerging ultimately from the wild-frontier orneriness of the US Southwest. So, modulo theocracy and authoritarianism, it's perfectly compatible with the US Right.
posted by acb at 4:53 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


Burning Man is about leaving your preconceived notions behind. Norquist is just the latest surprise.

A notion is not "preconceived" if it's based on what someone has said and done for years. My notion of Norquist is entirely postconceived and his own fault .
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 5:17 AM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


I never thought I'd agree with him on anything, but I too would like Grover Norquist to live out in the desert for 52 weeks of the year.
posted by Legomancer at 5:49 AM on September 3, 2014 [6 favorites]


There are lots of reasons to dislike Grover Norquist, but going to Burning Man isn't one of them. Gingrich likes science fiction, Bush paints, Huckabee likes rock and roll. They aren't always cackling on a pile of money.
posted by spaltavian at 6:13 AM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]


Of course they aren't cackling on a pile of money, they're the employees of people who are cackling on a pile of money.
posted by dglynn at 6:39 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


As I said in a comment to a friend when I saw a pic of the dumbfuck... "Burnin' the flaming shark since 1996"

That said, there are regional burns (in reply to whoever said "hopefully something will come along") but frankly, I don't know if anything *can* come along. I mean, in the current "everyone's online all the time and word spreads" once something gets big enough, it loses it anyways.

Plus, Burning Man, while being a TAZ, having it be a yearly event like this, while technically makes it a TAZ makes it feel less magical. What would be interesting is something like a "lifetime attendance" to something like this. It each person that attends is a "hit point" of damage against that entity. After so many years and so many people attending, it's game over. Near the end you end up with fewer and fewer people being able to attend...

Maybe we could burn a shark.

A small send-off to a dying corpse of a burning shark.
posted by symbioid at 6:53 AM on September 3, 2014


Has Burning Man ever *not* been over? I went from 98-03, and there were stories every year that it was Officially Over. And the comments every time were full of gratitude that Those People Who Are Not Like Me finally have ruined That Thing They Won't Shut Up About that they enjoy. Burning Man? Deader than Apple.
posted by Ambient Echo at 7:44 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


I used to think that all we needed to do was convince the Alex P. Keaton types (it was the '80s) to go to a Dead show and take a good dose of acid, and the rest would sort itself out. Then I actually attended some Dead shows, and long before I got there a lot of those guys had already found their way. Most of them had a great time tripping on tour and went on with their lives afterwards, just as always. A few did undergo personal transformation in one form or another, but not necessarily in a politically or socially aware way. I feel like BM had a more conscious effort to be conscious from the start, but it's also an excuse for a big party and mostly apolitical. 20 years ago Grover Norquist would have written about the latest Dead tour he attended, and the article would have been almost identical.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:57 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


Very nice article. I'd love to hear his talk. I didn't especially like that he mentioned the shoeless guy without a warning of playafoot, but I'll accept that maybe it didn't fit the flow.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:31 AM on September 3, 2014




As if being in the middle of tens of thousands of unwashed, smelly people in the desert isn't unappealing enough, they had to go and add Grover Norquist to it?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:01 AM on September 3, 2014


The hippie subculture (whose cultural DNA Burning Man inherited) is seen as a left-wing phenomenon solely because of the fog of the culture war . . .

THEN
1963-ish  Beat sensibility gradually morphs into hippie.
1964      Merry Pranksters and Acid Tests
1966      LSD made illegal; The Haight blooms
1967      Jan: The Human Be-In
1967      Jul: Summer of Love
1967      Oct: Death of Hippie declared
1968      By now, most real hippies had gone out into the world, to eventually go straight; start rock bands; found new institutions; infiltrate the establishment; run for office; grow up; etc.

NOW
1986      Burning Man, a somewhat organized event on the beach
1990      Burning Man, a somewhat organized event in the desert
1991      Burning Man, an organized event in the desert
1996      Burning Man™
1997      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
1998      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
1999      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2000      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2001      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2002      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2003      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2004      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2005      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2006      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2007      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2008      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2009      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2010      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2011      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2012      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2013      Burning Man™ declared over, yet continues
2014      Burning Man, LLC, founders payed off an undislosed amount, yet retain ownership of 'intellectual property'; visited by Grover Norqvist; declared over, yet continues . . .
 
posted by Herodios at 9:24 AM on September 3, 2014 [5 favorites]


2014 Burning Man, LLC, founders payed off an undislosed amount, yet retain ownership of 'intellectual property'; visited by Grover Norqvist; declared over, yet continues . . .

Wonder how long until Ticketmaster or LiveNation or someone starts to show a serious interest in this increasingly marketable property.
posted by acb at 9:31 AM on September 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


if nothing else, grover norquist writing about burning man should serve as an example of how self-congratulatory and boring as fuck burners sound to the 99% of us who don't give a shit.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 9:54 AM on September 3, 2014 [4 favorites]


acb: "Wonder how long until Ticketmaster or LiveNation or someone starts to show a serious interest in this increasingly marketable property."

I've heard it said that there's no point in a hostile takeover of a tech company, because the real value of a tech company is in its people, and if they don't like the terms of a takeover, they'll walk.

I think something similar is the case with Burning Man. Even if the current board members were inclined to sell out—which I don't think they are—the event depends on a huge number of volunteers and workers getting minimal compensation, and if they became sufficiently alienated, they would walk. And if some hypothetical post-takeover Burning Man had to pay real wages to its hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, tickets would be astronomically expensive.

Moreover, at some level, the event is predicated on a sense that "we're all in this together." This sense is admittedly tenuous and is growing more so: those plug-n-play camps with $25K buy-ins create an us-vs-them vibe; so does DPW. When everything about Burning Man turns into a transaction, the cooperative spirit dies. The crews of artists bringing the amazing projects will feel little motivation to spend a month building massive structures in the desert. The event using that name might sputter along for 2-4 years after a takeover, but it would quickly deteriorate and die out.

LiveNation would be left selling Burning Man-branded glowsticks and furry leggings, applying the Burning Man brand to other festivals, and suing the organizers of regional burns.
posted by adamrice at 10:02 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


if nothing else, grover norquist writing about burning man should serve as an example of how self-congratulatory and boring as fuck burners sound to the 99% of us who don't give a shit.

I remember back in 2009, there was a group of burners who hosted this approprirific party on a "tribal" and "native" theme, leading Native American activists to protest, disrupt the party, and lecture the burners on just what it was they were appropriating. The Livejournal fallout, with a bunch of LJ friends of mine and their friends whining incessantly about how mean those stupid natives were and how dare they and we did nothing wrong, basically made it impossible for me to have the least respect for the subculture.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:05 AM on September 3, 2014 [3 favorites]


I wonder what hippies think about the raver and EDM subcultures eclipsing their movement.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:23 PM on September 3, 2014


Burning Man died when everyone got email/youtube/gopros 24/7 connectivity. It kills the whole point of being off the radar.

Seems to me the relative homogenization of attendees & activity is no different from the boys walking in a circle initially at their own pace & then all falling in rhythm in Dead Poet's Society.

I'm sure it doesn't boil down to something as simple as that, and there will probably always be pockets of originality & clumps of genius at BM however long it exists.

Is it possible it's evolving into its next version?
posted by yoga at 1:25 PM on September 3, 2014


The Livejournal fallout, with a bunch of LJ friends of mine and their friends whining incessantly about how mean those stupid natives were and how dare they and we did nothing wrong, basically made it impossible for me to have the least respect for the subculture.

"Don't let them bring you down, now. There's a lot of young people in this country just like myself who really know where the Indian's at. And don't worry, soon we're all gonna be out here on the reservation, living like Indians and dressing like Indians and doing all the simple, beautiful things that you Indians do. Hey, got any peyote?"
posted by Spatch at 5:30 PM on September 3, 2014


This makes me think of the Bohemian Grove, from Maupin's Tales of the City novels.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:20 PM on September 3, 2014


Ya know, the real Bohemian Grove is actually the late 1800s version of Burning Man that got completely taken over by rich folk, heck Norquist even mentioned it if you RFTA. I'd bet Maupin's fictionalized version is more exciting than the real deal though.

Appears there is now even an Occupy Bohemian Grove similar to the Occupy Bilderberg protests. And BM2012 had Camp Occupy btw.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:04 PM on September 3, 2014


The event using that name might sputter along for 2-4 years after a takeover, but it would quickly deteriorate and die out.

Or else professionalise and mutate, with the volunteers being replaced by (minimum-wage) paid staff and Burning Man becoming a Lollapalooza/Coachella-style festival with rock bands and EDM bros on massive stages. It'd be a big leap (the commercialisation, in particular) but they could spin it as “the next phase” and “there comes a time when you outgrow your origins and need to move on”. They could even rebrand existing festivals as Burning Man by merely adding some pyrotechnics.
posted by acb at 2:22 AM on September 4, 2014


Jeffburdges -- you're right! Thank you very much for making me close-read the wit and wisdom of Grover Norquist to find his throwaway reference to the Grove. :) In any case, the 1% seem to be no strangers to the concept of getting their freak on.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:19 AM on September 4, 2014




Burning Man is always "selling out", acb, but almost nobody gives a shit about music out there. Really music is fundamentally not that interesting or important.

Burning Man is really about the interaction of different subcultures, hobbies, fetishes, etc. Norquist gave his lecture during a series of talks on psychedelic drugs, for example.

At present, Burning Man actually costs about $150M, ignoring all the volunteer labor for the art, art cars, lecturers, etc. If you take away the decommodification then folks like Norquist, a shaman teaching about Iowaska, a pussy worship healer, art car crews, etc. all expect to be paid. Just not financially viable.

Also, you need the weirdos, like the orgy dome, billion bunny march, tantric massage workshops, a giant vagina art car, etc. because they lower the bar for meaningful participation. You probably cannot lecture on psychedelics, but you absolutely can step into a heavy petting zoo to let people fondle your junk, or join the unicorns stamped as they dry hump everyone in center camp.

Africa Burn has decommodification in the form of families giving away candy to one another's kids, everyone gifting alcohol, etc. Africa Burn does not feel like a burn though because they lack the weirdos, mostly due to their bad photo policy.

posted by jeffburdges at 7:18 AM on September 4, 2014




Another sort of Burning Man story is wonderhussy's The Dong and the Disco Ball, not quite as good as Blondtron Had More Fun at Burning Man Than Anyone In The Entire World from 2013 though.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:17 AM on September 10, 2014


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