This site is a joke. No, really. Nothing here is real or true. This is a hyperbolic parody of what could happen to Burning Man if the recent indulgences of a privileged few are allowed to continue.
According to the Burning Man website, the history of the Ten Principles is thus: “Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.” That’s the History.
Here in the Present, there is a fair amount of divergence between the “community’s ethos and culture” and the actions of the Board of Directors. A member of the board builds the biggest concierge camp in the history of the event. A camp where if you pay an insane amount of money you get a pre-packaged Burning Man Experience, where the harshest aspect is being expected to wash your own dishes. The camp had paid employees, not volunteers, for fuck’s sake! A vocal majority of the community is outraged, and most of the members of the board are either silent or making excuses. The only board member who said anything even remotely negative has gone uncharacteristically silent, as if strong armed into not breaking the party line. The board member who created this debacle wrote a ‘statement‘, lacking any semblance of an apology, that generated a horde of outraged replies. The “community’s ethos and culture” has been dealt a harsh blow, and not one fucking person on the board has said “this will not happen again“.
I have both Hope and Fear for the Future. I Hope the board can stop their sanitized press releases and own up to the mistakes that deserve real apologies. I Hope they realize that by taking ownership of the problem they can also take ownership of the solutions and the narrative. I hope that the board demonstrates that Community trumps Money, by casting off their offending member and his supporters. I Fear that they will keep covering their asses. I Fear they will continue to ignore the Community. I Fear that Burning Man could devolve into yet another roadside carnival run by a bunch of hucksters selling snake oil.
This site describes a Future that I hope remains Playa Fiction. Any resemblance to people real or imagined is all in your head. If you think this site is about you, I prescribe a healthy dose of Carly Simon on repeat.
Are you also worried about the future of Burning Man? Do you, too, feel that making people laugh about the insanity of it all is more useful than getting angry? Do you want to help? There are things you can do:
- Keep the conversation going. Don’t let silence from BMORG be the final answer. They are huddled in their new office, watching the negative comments to JT’s statement trickle to an end, and they are thinking they have weathered the storm. Then they start the ticket sale process and get everyone in a frenzy about buying their next ticket to distract them from the feeling that the event is going to hell.
- Exercise your imagination and your writing skills, and contribute content. The more funny stuff we give people to read, the longer we help keep them thinking about the core topics we are railing against. Contact me at email@example.com if you want to contribute your prose to the cause.
- It also wouldn’t hurt if you shared this site with friends, or even posted it all over. If we can make people laugh, we can make them think.
If you came here looking for real dirt or information, you are better off reading burners.me, though I can’t say for certain that anything there is less fiction than what you read here.
The only real names used on this site are the names of events, people and camps that have existed in the past and are well publicized in other venues. They are therefore up for grabs for use in parody/fiction. It’s a wee thing called Fair Use and even the Colonies have it. You can’t keep me from using Burning Man, Caravancicle, or Camp Olympus in this way any more than Kirby Daleuter can keep me from using his name right here.
It is possible that this site will offend some people. It’s the Internet, where just saying hello is bound to offend somebody. Perhaps we will offend people who don’t understand how the internet and parody work, maybe even a few who want to call their barrister. An honest barrister will tell them they have no case. A greedy barrister, with a client who has more money than brains, will start throwing around orders to cease and threats about defamation and libel. Good luck with that, as this site was conceived, created and hosted outside your petty little empire.
Copyright, Copyleft, Copycat…
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
If you find something here that amuses you, please feel free to plaster it all over the interwebs. If you can, please give us a link back.
Update – 2015-04-03 – Yes, the real Jim Tananbaum has resigned from the board. So, why is this site still up? Shouldn’t we declare Mission Accomplished and go take a ride on an aircraft carrier? The thing is, Jim was a mushroom; an external fruiting body of a malignant organism living under the visible surface. He didn’t just magically appear on the board one day. He was nominated, and seconded, and voted into that position. Our project, of which this site is just one visible component, is not over until organizational support for large plug-n-play camps is carved out of the BMORG. What’s the old saying… “Fish rot from the head.”