by Adrian Roberts
to risk sounding like Andy Rooney here, but... you know what really pisses me
off? People who have cynically dismissed Burning Man this year, claiming that
"it's gotten too big," and that "it's not as cool as it used to
be," and that "it's going to suck this year." Yadda yadda yadda.
last year did get a little out of
hand, what with all the Medevacs flying in and the yahoos screaming "Show
us yer tits!" from the backs of pick-up trucks and all the assholes
driving their cars around fucking everywhere.
I mean, hell, two people died last year, giving credence to CNN's
ridiculous description of Burning Man as "the world's most dangerous art
But what I
want to know is, where were all of these nay-sayers during Burning Man '95?
Okay, so maybe nobody actually died
two years ago, but everything that was sited as a problem at last year's BM
existed the year before. Was I the
only one who noticed?
the year our campsite got vandalized. We very nearly got run-down every night
by cars speeding off to Rave Camp. On top of that, "Fucking faggot!"
epithets were hurled at me by backwards baseball cap-wearing yahoos. That was
the year I realized that Burning Man had gone from being this beautiful
experiment in utopian community, to turning into the world's largest tailgate
not to say that, overall, I didn't have a good time. Okay, so sure, the glow
from previous years has been tarnished a bit. Whatever. Instead of whining
about it, I went along with it, with one mantra going through my mind: Fucking adapt.
year, I went to Burning Man with diminished expectations. And you know what? I
had a fucking blast. With the power of negative thinking÷"Yeah, it's
probably going to suck but I'm going anyway"÷I was surprised that I
actually had a great time! Oh sure, the same problems from the previous year
were still there. But at least I was mentally prepared for them. I adapted. And
isn't that what survival is all about?
I'm really tired all the Burning Man
cynicism that's currently in vogue among BM old-timers. I mean, this being my
fifth year here, I suppose I qualify as an old-timer myself. But at least I'm
not walking around muttering to anyone who will listen, "It used to be so
Of course it used to be so much cooler.
Going to Burning Man is like doing Ecstacy. You have no idea what to expect the
first time, and it turns out to be this mind-blowingly awesome experience. So
then you keep coming back to it, hoping to relive that initial ecstatic high.
And while it's still loads of fun, it's nowhere near as good as the first time. Oh well. That's just life.
words, get over it. Yes, we all know Burning Man was cooler five years ago. So
what? Because no matter how you slice it, being at Burning Man still beats Real
Life by a long shot. And you know it.