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No, really, we like Burning Man! - 1998
by Adrian Roberts

Considering some of the negative comments we got about a few snarky things we printed in Thursday's issue, I feel the need to clarify something: We like Burning Man. Really, we do. Don't get the wrong idea. Just because we like to bitch about stuff doesn't mean we don't like being here. Au contraire. In fact, Black Rock City is far and away my favorite city in the world.

It's just that it gets so fucking hot here. And it's dusty and dirty and dry. And we never get to sleep until really late. And then the sun wakes us up way too fucking early, and then we sit around all day, unable to sleep, unable do much of anything except drink water and apply moisturizer. So needless to say, we get a bit cranky.

But would we really be anywhere else on Labor Day weekend? Probably not. Because let's face it, being out here still beats Real Life by a long shot. We may be cynical, we may be sarcastic, and we may be obnoxious, but we do it all out of love. And we love the Burning Man festival.

We even love the people who run the Burning Man Project. They really are wonderful human beings, and we really need to thank them for making this year happen. Because I know we didn't do shit to help.

You know who has helped make Burning Man continue to happen though? Considering all the rude comments we've seen directed at anyone with a videocamera here, the answer may surprise you. Believe it or not, the mass media is partially responsible for the continued existence of Burning Man. It's true!

You may not like them being here, but they're helping to spread the word to other freaks and artists and kindred spirits out there, people who would otherwise never know that Burning Man exists. And the beauty of it is that Burning Man is starting to enter the mainstream consciousness, without going mainstream. Think about it this way: sure, lots of people now know about what we do out here in the desert every Labor Day weekend. But a lot of people also know about things like the Rainbow Gathering, but you don't see millions of people clamoring to go to that. I mean, come on! Most people are way too used to being coddled to be able to put up with the shit you need go through to get your sorry ass out here to the middle of nowhere. So don't worry about it when your mom says, "Oh yes, I saw that Burning Man thing on CNN."

Hell, I'm glad the media is here. Why? Because I'm a big media whore, and like to see myself on televisionÖcome on all you media crews, come and interview me! I give good sound bite! No, really, I like the media here because they're getting people from all over the the countryÖhell, even from all over the worldÖto come out here to take part in this wonderful festival. Otherwise, it would be just another party full of in-the-know San Francisco hipsters. And hell, I get that every week.

Speaking of parties, remember when Burning Man parties happened only once a year? This past year in SF, they happened practically every week. With so many going on, I was very nearly burnt out on Burning Man before I even got to the playa!

Still, I'm glad I'm here. Remember when you were a kid and you played House? Well coming out here is like playing City. And with both this year and last, that City is starting to resemble Manhattan more and more, considering how dense and packed in everything has gotten. Remember when Black Rock City was sprawled out in a big wide circle, and it took three hours just to walk from one end to the other? Those were the L.A. days of Burning Man.

Of course, those were also what I like to call The Dark Years of Burning Man. ‰95 and ‰96. It was still fun, but it definitely got a bit scary there at times, what with all the drunk yahoos driving around the playa like idiots, tossing beer cans around and yelling at women, "Show us yer tits!" Yeah, a lot of people didn't get it.

But somehow, all that's changed. Last year's new "no driving" rule seemed to solve most of the problems, and this year seems to be going just as swimmingly. Oh sure, there are still a few yahoos hereÖbut most of them are yahoos who get it. And that's a beautiful thing.

You know what else is a beautiful thing? Seeing people wearing Piss Clear stickers. (How's that for a segue way?) We've still got a few left, so if you want 'em, stop by the Piss Clear World Headquarters, located on the north side of Black Rock City in the village of Disturbia. We promise we're not really as bitchy and mean as some of the rants and articles in this issue make us soundÖeven the really obnoxious ones, like Swirly Rat Jr.'s tirade on why he's proud to be a spectator, or Ritlin Scott's piece on what you can do with all your garbage, or our interview with someone who came to Burning Man with nothing and survived! We've even got some useful information in this issue, such as Hurricane Linda's tips on how to deal with Post-Playa Syndrome, which most of you will be experiencing come next week. And for once, we even have some halfway-decent haiku, courtesy of Gavin Heck.

Thank you for reading Piss Clear, and enjoy the rest of your stay here in sunny, dusty, beautiful Black Rock City. (That didn't come off as too insincere, did it?)

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