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Are dot.com yuppies killing Burning Man? - 2000
by Adrian Roberts

Yeah, yeah, we know. But still, we just couldn‰t resist a good ol‰ sensationalistic cover. Besides, it‰s everyone‰s favorite hot-button topic Ö dot.com yuppies at Burning Man. As if it‰s something new.

The truth of the matter is, Black Rock City has always been a hotbed of privileged, dot.com economy boomers. Even back in the day. I remember when HotWired.com brought out practically their entire staff in a fleet of about eleven RVs, back in ‰95. The year before, they were actually recruiting out here, for chrissakes! This is old news.

Besides, who the hell do you think pays for all this shit here anyway? That‰s right, you guessed it! All these mind-blowing (and bank account-blowing) theme camps and art installations don‰t grow on trees, you know!

I‰m personally grateful that there are so many egomaniacs in Black Rock City with no lives and plenty of disposable income, each one trying to out-do the other with bigger and better theme camps. Goodness knows I sure as hell couldn‰t afford it, but I‰ll be damned if I won‰t come out here and reap the benefits of someone else‰s IPO! All one has to do is walk along the Esplanade to see all that money being put to use.

Of course, there is a downside to Black Rock City‰s new economy. This is a monied, upper-class sort of town now, which means that you won‰t see just anybody out here anymore. Gone are the crusty, vagabond hippies and poor, starving artists Ö victims of BRC‰s increasing gentrification. The rising ticket prices have helped see to that, especially if one is prone to flakiness or indecision.

It‰s still cheaper than Disneyland
Then again, if you‰re not well-to-do, but you at least had your shit together seven months ago, you could have gotten in here for less that a Ben Franklin. We here at Piss Clear got our tickets for $95 a piece, simply because we bought them back in February. Not a bad deal, for what you‰re getting.

Come to think of it though, $200 isn‰t necessarily a bad deal either. Sure, it‰s a far cry from the $40 tickets from days of yore (1993), but I still think that it‰s one hell of a travel bargain, especially when you compare it to what you‰d pay for any other vacation event. (Think about how much Disney World is for a week Ö not that Burning Man is Disney World, but you get the idea.) As long as you forego any elaborate theme camp ideas and don‰t go crazy with the camping provisions, you can still have one hell of a neat little vacation here for only a few hundred bucks.

Then again, I have some friends who went to Hawaii this year instead of Burning Man. Why? Because they did the math. It was actually cheaper for them.

Smash the oligarchy! Sneak in to BM!
Of course, you could always avoid the ticket price altogether and try to smuggle yourself in. That‰s what Piss Clear inadvertently did last year when, just outside of Gerlach, I realized that my Burning Man ticket was still sitting safely on my desk back home in San Francisco. Fuck!

Not relishing the thought of shelling out the cash for another ticket, we frantically hid PF, the smallest member of our group, underneath about two tons of camping gear, and just narrowly passed the front gate ‹search-the-RV-for-freeloadersŠ inspection. Whew! That was a close one. This year, needless to say, I remembered my ticket.

PC on an SUV
So someone gave me shit yesterday because they saw a Piss Clear sticker on somebody‰s SUV here. As if I have any control over where our stickers end up. Please. It‰s not like we‰re selling out. When someone Ö say, like the Burning Man organization Ö gives us $20,000 to publish this newspaper, maybe then we can be accused of selling out. Until then, we‰ll be just as fiercely independent as we‰ve always been.

Besides, even soulless, SUV-driving, dot.com yuppies need to piss clear, you know.

The Burning Man corporate newsletter
Speaking of selling out, why doesn‰t the Black Rock Gazette just come clean? To call themselves a ‹newspaperŠ is an erroneous half-truth that insults the intelligence of the citizens of Black Rock City. Everyone knows that they‰re simply shills for the BMorg. Hell, the Gazette is practically nothing more than a corporate newsletter. Don‰t believe me? Then read Lesself‰s enlightening article opposite this page.

Pissing clear at the Burn
You know what sucks? Being stuck in a crowd of 28,000 people, waiting for the Man to burn, and ... having to pee. I know this, because it has happened to me. Twice. And as you‰ve probably figured out, there is absolutely no way you can make it out of the crowd, find a porta-potty (or even an open plot of playa), and make it back through the crowd to find your friends. Fuck it, once you‰re in the mob, you‰re pretty much stuck there until they burn that fucker down.

So what do you do? You suffer. Or you pee. I recommend the latter, especially if you‰re on drugs. Nothing spoils a drug trip more than having to pee. But how? Pissing on the ground isn‰t really an option, especially with every one crammed in so close Ö besides, it‰s rude. If you‰re lucky enough to have been born with a directional spout (really, it‰s far and away the best thing about being born genetically male) then you can do what I‰ve done Ö pee into a bottle. Yes, sometimes, this is what it comes down to. I‰ve had to do this twice now at the Burn. And you know what? Everyone‰s so captivated by all the shit going on around them, no one even notices. Trust me.

I bet you have to go right now, don‰t you? Chances are, you‰re reading this while standing in line for the porta-potties, and all this talk about peeing probably isn‰t helping. We‰re sorry! We do hope that you‰re at least entertained, because Ö as you may have garnered Ö that is our job, first and foremost. And we like doing our job!

Enjoy these last couple of days at Burning Man, and we‰ll see you out on the playa!

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