Piss Clear  -- Black Rock City's favorite alternative newspaper


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Drink enough water so that you piss clear! - 2002
by Adrian Roberts


Let's get one thing out of the way, right here, right now: Drink enough water so that you piss clear. There. We said it. Now doesn't the name of this newspaper suddenly all make sense? Yes, yes, we know, it's a stupid name for a reputable publication -- but then again, that assumes we're actually reputable! Although, after publishing on the playa for eight years, I would hope we've garnered at least some semblence of credibility! I mean, aren't we a Black Rock City institution yet? When we first started this thing back in '95, it was just supposed to be a one-time-only 'zine. And at the time, Piss Clear seemed like a fine name for a little survival guide/rant rag. Little did I know that it would morph into a daily (or every other day, as the case may be) newspaper! Now I'm stuck with it -- a smart showcase for some of the playa's best journalists ... continually undermined by a dumb-ass name that everybody knows, but no one takes seriously.

Give the Greeters a history lesson!
Well, maybe not everybody has heard of Piss Clear, as evidenced by the Greeter we encountered last year. Maybe she just didn't know how to read. I mean, we print over 20,000 of these things every year, so it's not like there's really an excuse, other than utter cluelessness. 'Piss what?' she said. 'What year is this for you?' we asked. 'It's my second!' she joyfully exclaimed. 'Of course it is,' we said in our best sarcastic 'jaded old-timer' voice. These people should be given a Black Rock City history lesson before they're allowed to greet. Like every year, we unloaded a box of our first edition and left it with the Greeters, who assured us they would stuff them with the rest of the crap they give you when you come through the gate. Imagine our surprise when we returned to the Greeters Station three days later to find that same box sitting there -- still filled with issues of Piss Clear. They didn't hand out a single one! Look, I know we're the competition to the official BMorg mouthpiece, the Black Rock Gazette -- which does get handed out by the Greeters. But to smilingly say, 'Sure, we'd love to hand out Piss Clear!' -- and then leave them sitting there -- is just plain lame. Greeters, check your attitude at the gate.

All Jiffy Lubed up!
So this year, Piss Clear is taking a stab at respectability. We've actually got some hard-hitting content this year, including cover stories that actually have something to do with our covers! (Readers from past years know we've been famous for our non sequitur covers.) This first issue picks up where last year left off, with everyone still wondering: What the fuck went down at Jiffy Lube? We had already put our final issue to bed when all the shit started flying last year, but we've got the follow-up right here, from the inside. It's quite an interesting tale. Although I still think the Pershing County sheriff was ridiculous for asking Jiffy Lube to remove their 'art,' I understand why Larry Harvey and Co. went along and supported it. Burning Man is their dream, as well their livelihood. They will do whatever it takes, no matter what, to ensure the survival of this event. And if that means playing nice-nice with the authorities -- even if they're ideologically opposed to it -- so be it.

Black Rock City is a dictatorship
And if you have a problem with that? Too bad! Contrary to what you might think, Black Rock City is not a democracy. In fact, it's a benevolent dictatorship -- or at least an oligarchy. Think about it. You have no say in the rules here. You simply pay your $200 and agree to abide by them, or risk being ejected from the event. I'm not saying that's wrong -- it's just the way things are. I bought my ticket, so obviously I don't have issues with it. But then again, I'm not Bradley Jordan. Ah yes, Bradley Jordan, the infamous organizer of the Jiffy Lube protest march. If you were here last year, then you know how difficult it was to tell if this was serious or not. Context is everything, and with so much weird performance stuff going on, the protest could have easily been passed off as some sort of agit-prop guerrilla theatre. But trust me, having talked with Bradley Jordan for over an hour, he was serious -- psychotically so. 'I would die for a cause I believe in,' he said. 'And I feel very strongly about this.' What a drama queen! Get real. Die over some Nevada cops getting in a tizzy over a homoerotic sign at Burning Man? Come on! Get your priorities straight! The Jiffy Lube situation was unfortunate and annoying, sure -- but nothing to nail oneself to a cross about. To put this all in perspective, think about what happened just eight days after Burning Man ended last year. That's right, 9/11. Suddenly, the whole 'Jiffy Lube incident' seemed pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

We're BRC's only 'real' newspaper
Anyway, this is just the sort of thing you're not going to read about in the Black Rock Gazette. And why would you? That's not their job. See, they report the news -- or at least the safe, sanitized version of it that the BMorg deems appropriate. Our job? To provide commentary, wit, and perspective for you, the good citizens of Black Rock City. Oh yeah, and to get your hands dirty. Funny that the Black Rock Gazette calls itself a newspaper when, to us, you're not a real paper unless people get ink all over their hands while reading it! By that definition, I guess the new Spock Science Monitor isn't a 'real' newspaper, either. But hey, after years of bitching about why there aren't more newspapers in this town, we're just happy to have them! Besides, they've already slagged us off in an e-mail as 'cocktail party revolutionaries,' which, we have to admit, made us raise a toast to them. We couldn't have said it better ourselves! There's been some talk about a BRC newspaper grudge match in the Thunderdome, and all we can say is, get enough drinks in us, and it's on! Until then, we'll see you out on the playa!



2002 Piss Clear
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