Burning Man Needs a Year Off
This article originally appeared in the 2019 edition of the BRC Weekly http://www.brcweekly.com/BRCWeekly2019_int.pdf Look – any of y’all that have read my shit in these pages in the past know that half the damn time, it opens with some flex about how much longer I’ve been going to this party than you, and all that is still hella true. Shit – I have substance abuse problems older than most of you. You know how long I’ve been doing this shit? Long enough to lie about how many years I’ve been doing it in the opposite direction. Once you hit your 20thBurning Man – every year after is less of a badge of honor, and more a testament to the fact that you might lack imagination on how to spend your summer vacation. And that’s before we even broach the subject of our abusive relationship with this vindictive bitch of a desert.
Maybe it’s just the sunk cost fallacy, or the fact that I’m dependent on this fucking dirt rodeo for a paycheck, but the only way I’m getting a year off from this shit is if some external event shuts this thing down, and then I can say my streak held, and I outlasted this psychedelic refugee camp experiment.
I am of the unpopular opinion that WE ALL NEED A FUCKING YEAR OFF. And by everyone – I meanEVERYONE. You, me, the ORG, the BLM, and all the folks that live along the 447 that probably wouldn’t mind not finding your juicy bag of garbage that blew off your poorly loaded Nissan Sentra onto their front yard this year.
Burning Man is the Mr. Meeseeks of transformative festivals. It was NEVER meant to last this long, and if those little blue fuckers cant take two strokes of Jerry’s goddamn golf game – how the fuck do you think they are going to solve the existential problem of the sucking void at the center of American White Privilege? It’s a lot to ask.(Note: my editor, Adrian, who you owe this paper and so very much more to, is one of the only 10 people in this desert who’s never seen Rick and Morty, and has no fucking idea what a Meekseeks is. If you are one of the other 9, just ask someone in camp to explain it to you. I’m not burning this near perfect pop culture allegory just because you’re too cool for the platinum age of fucking television)
Moreover – as any of you that have been following the inside baseball of the latest death match between the event and the BLM surrounding the Environmental Impact Statement knows – it’s getting ready to get pretty gross around here. The next 10 year (fuck me) use permit hinges on potentially $22 million annually in new CRAZY FUCKING mitigations that I have a sinking suspicion that all our public comments on the BLM website and pitchfork and torch lit town hall meetings aren’t going to make go away. A great many of them, beyond being nearly logistically impossible, are going to change this event in a way that will make it almost unrecognizable to those of you that are rich enough to still be able to afford to go after the ticket price skyrockets to accommodate the cost of shit like dumpsters and 9 miles of a miniature 13thcentury concrete siege defense buried under a chest high sand dune ringing the city. Given the amount of shit sandwiches this event has eaten over the years so you can run around naked on an alphabet soup of designer drugs in a advertising free environment full of cops willing to pretend what you’re doing is “art” already – my instinct tells me the ORG is going to cave on some shit that’s going to turn this into a middle aged person’s version of the Electric Daisy Carnival.
Or – we take the football and go home. Let ALL THESE PEOPLE feel what it’s like for Burning Man to go away for a year, and take all our dirty, dirty money with us. I’m not saying fold the tent forever – but maybe putting that shit in storage for a year and DO SOMETHING ELSE FOR A CHANGE. There’s bitchin’ regional events all over the world now. Go to Burning Man someplace that doesn’t speak English for fuck’s sake. Get out of this Kentucky Fried ball pit of a country for a minute. Given how much most of you yahoos won’t shut the fuck up about Burning Man for even 5 minutes the other 51 weeks of the year – you of all people should know that Burning Man is SO MUCH MORE than just this barren-ass desert you’re making a mess in this week.
Then we come back and re-negotiate with the BLM from a place of strength, with all of Northern Nevada who were getting their beaks wet on our good time behind us in an intensely amplified way. It’s time to remind everyone who’s idea this all was, and who REALLY holds the cards here.
As an added bonus – we’ll probably lose some of the D-Bags that are just here for the ‘gram in the process as they move on to the next thing, which I think we can all admit would be worth taking a year off for alone.
The bottom line here is that you can an event that is increasingly regulated and monitored in progressively more aggressive ways by the federal government at extraordinary cost, or you can have an event that is increasingly regulated and monitored in progressively more aggressive ways by the federal government who’s stratospheric ticket price had to be mitigated by the influx of sponsorship and/or advertising dollars. In either event - what you aren’t likely to get out of Burning Man 2020 is anything that still looks like the shit you keep describing in breathless detail to your speed dates, parole officer or therapist.
Or we can take a year off and do what my homegirl Athibat has been railing on for years about, and go fuck around someplace with a swim up bar where everyone’s last name ends with a vowel and no one’s worried about getting shot for stupid reasons. I’ll even buy you a drink. You ever peed while sitting at a bar and remembered it before? It’s dope.
Or we’ll just be back here again on fucking groundhog day – only this time some third party contractor is gonna fill up the first dumpster in the city with all your dope, and the sky at the trash fence will still be full of cranes only half done building that K Rail fence by the time you’re sitting in Exodus.
The next time someone tells you the playa provides, ask them “who?”. #swimupbar2020