What happened to White Ocean, and why every prankster should condemn it

Okay, let’s talk about White Ocean.

If you hadn’t heard:  on Sept. 1, White Ocean made a Facebook post discussing a large act of vandalism that had happened at their camp:  “A band of hooligans raided our camp, stole from us, pulled and sliced all of our electrical lines leaving us with no refrigeration and wasting our food and, glued our trailer doors shut, vandalized most of our camping infrastructure, dumped 200 gallons of potable water flooding our camp.”

Posting it was the right call:  this isn’t something that should be hidden in the shadows, this is something we – as a community – should face head on.  But we also shouldn’t rush to judgment.

In particular, commentators and journalists shouldn’t rush to judgment:  virtually no one talking about this online was there, and has any first-hand knowledge of these events.  This includes me.  To my knowledge, I haven’t even visited White Ocean.

Thus I want to be very clear, at the beginning, about distinguishing between what I in fact know, and what I only think I know – and to make sure everyone understands I’m not speaking in any official capacity for the Burning Man organization.  I’m not, and I haven’t been privy to any discussions between Burning Man staff and law enforcement, or to any internal discussion about this issue within the Burning Man departments that would deal with it directly.

Neither has just about anyone else talking about this.  There’s so much irresponsible speculation here you’d think Goldman Sachs were managing it.

So this is an opinion piece, speaking for myself only.  If new facts become available, I’ll adjust my opinion accordingly.

All that said:  here’s what I think I know, after a number of informal conversations:

  1. This really happened.
  2. In fact, I’ve heard from several sources that White Ocean under-reported the degree of damage done and the vindictive nature of the attack.
  3. Given the unusual nature of some of the materials I’ve heard were involved, this seems to me to be a premeditated attack:  that is, it looks an awful lot like people came to the playa with gear specifically intended for use in this vandalism, rather than people on playa deciding that they were really angry at White Ocean for some reason and improvising something nasty with what they had on hand.
  4. But if this is, as the media has run with, the first shot in a kind of “class war” at Burning Man – holier than thou tent-campers striking out at the rich-and-douchey-sound-camp – then it’s a really poor target.  Yes, White Ocean is a plug-and-play camp, and they may very well be a rich-and-douchey-sound-camp … in fact, what the hell, probably … but people whose opinion I value and who have worked with White Ocean in some capacity say that they also seem to get what Burning Man is about and recognize their need to connect with the Burners around them.  That they do, in fact, go out of their way to feed complete strangers – not just their friends, as has been alleged online.  I have also heard that White Ocean staff are kind and conscientious to the Burning Man volunteers who interact with them, and are open and inviting about getting people – whoever they are – to come to their camp and be treated a good time.  Your mileage may vary if you’ve been there (again, I may be wrong, maybe they’ve been total assholes to people I haven’t talked to) but everything I’ve heard about them from Burners whose opinions I trust suggests that while they aren’t my idea of fun (and they have definitely made mistakes in the past) I really ought to shake their hands and thank them for helping to make Burning Man what it is.  Whatever their internal politics and problems, they seem to be sincerely engaged at the task of being good citizens of Black Rock City – and no one can possibly ask more than that.
  5. White Ocean does have a history of … shall we say … heated internal politics.  Which I don’t mean as a criticism (show me a camp without drama.  Please).  Only to point out that there just might be a suspect pool beyond “people angry about the rich at Burning Man.”  That’s a good media narrative and Facebook meme, sure, but is there any actual evidence to suggest that’s why people went way out of their way to attack this camp in particular?
  6. All of which is to say:  this looks to me a lot more like an attack against White Ocean as a result of past camp-related drama than it does a vague form of revenge for them being rich, carried out by citizens of Black Rock City who chose to only attack one camp this year to make a statement, and then not actually make any kind of statement about it.  (I mean, if I was going to make a statement about income inequality by vandalizing Burning Man camps, I’d probably attack a couple, and release a manifesto or at least a strongly worded letter.)  I could be wrong, of course, but so could everyone jumping up and down about how this is what Karl Marx predicted would happen to 21st century transformational festivals.  They won’t admit it, because that’s better click bait than “somebody had a personal grudge against a camp and it got nasty,” but the point is that nobody has any evidence.  We’re just going to have to wait and see.

 

So that’s what I think I know.  (Again, I’ll adjust if and when new information becomes available.)

Here’s what I do know, absolutely and without fear of contradiction:

None of that fucking matters.

Because what happened to White Ocean wasn’t a “prank” in any sense of the word.  It wasn’t “fucking with them.”  It wasn’t “art,” and it wasn’t “making a statement,” whatever that statement would theoretically be.

It was vandalism, pure and simple.  Stop.  End sentence.  End of story.  Maybe their attackers had righteous motives – sure, maybe – but it doesn’t matter.  There’s no hedging on this:  this was a violent act whose only only only redeeming value is that (so far as I know) no people got hurt, and it cannot be shrugged off.  It must be condemned.  It is unacceptable. Calling the police was entirely appropriate, and prosecution would be wholly appropriate too.

Anyone who’s read my previous takes on rough art and whimsy at Burning Man knows I have a thick skin for these kind of things:  I’ve started wars between camps, I’ve applauded takeovers, and I’ve even called for “Art Vikings” on playa to try and address the issue of plug-and-play camps who are trying to become gated communities.  I stand by all of this.

But a “prank,” or “fuckery” (my preferred term) in a Burning Man context refers to acts with a very specific lineage and context – from the Cacophony Society and early Burning Man up to us today.  And while it can be used as an excuse to get away with a lot, there is one thing that it always always always possesses as the real stamp of its legitimacy:   such acts are an invitation to play.  The people being fucked with get a chance to participate too.  To engage in a way that is creative and meaningful.  Maybe even – if they’re clever on their feet – to switch the situation around and come out on top.

Because the point of fucking with someone isn’t to show superiority, or to win – it’s to make the world more interesting.  A good prank is an opening gambit, not a closing statement.

Indeed, Suicide Club founder Gary Warne – surely one of the Saints of Fuckery in Cacophony/Burning Man history if anyone has claim to that title – explicitly stated that when pulling a prank you must “allow people the validity of their own emotions (Humor is a Very Serious Thing).”

Warne wrote (as quoted by the book “Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society,” page 6):  “Allow people the reality of their own emotions and the sincerity of their own responses.  Don’t be shocked or bummed out if you are ignored, slugged in the mouth, or arrested.  People cannot be expected to think your jokes are funny.  Their reactions are no less valid than yours.”

Do you see?  It’s not – ever – “we hate those people, so we’re going to show them.”  It’s “hey, we’re doing something odd and unusual – do you want to play?”  Even if the thing you’re doing is scary and threatening, you’re still never doing it from a place of superiority, and you’re inviting them to engage.  To do something with you, not really against you.

If you do that right, it can be a teaching moment for them.  But without the invitation to play, it loses any pedagogical purpose and just become bullying.

The same point was made in my proposal for “Art Vikings” – in which I was actually advocating for kidnapping of people and theft of supplies:

 

If Burning Man is threatened with commoditization, with people creating bubbles of privilege, the appropriate response is something fun as hell that makes them glad to see those bubbles go.

Say what you will … raiding someone’s camp is participatory.  It gets them involved with new people, and offers them a scenario to engage with.  Instead of scorning them and refusing to party with them …  we’re engaging with them in a very direct manner .  And if we’re silly enough, chaotic enough, and having enough fun … that is, if we do it right … they’ll go home and think:  “God, life was so cool when we were being raided by the Art Vikings.  That was my favorite part of the week.  But next year, goddamit, I’ll be ready for them:  next year we’ll have an inflatable moat!”

Tell me that doesn’t make you excited for next year.

 

Again, the idea is not to force anyone  to leave, but to invite them to create experiences with us.  To use a parody of “violence” to create connections through play where no connections currently exist.

If someone had done that to White Ocean, I’d be all in favor of it.  But that’s not what happened.  At all.  What happened to White Ocean was a boot to the face, not an invitation to play.  This was just vandalism, and there’s no place for it in the spirit of Burning Man.

Any fuckery that gives the pranked party the opportunity to play without doing lasting harm is essentially legitimate, I’d argue, in Burning Man culture.  But vandalizing equipment and then running?  Creating destruction instead of art?  No.  Anybody saying “White Ocean had it coming” is blaming the victim here, and that’s bullshit.  Burning Man stands for a way better (and way funnier) class of vigilantes than this.  Our pranking builds communities.

Had I been at White Ocean at the time, I’d like to think I’d have had the moral fiber to confront the vandals.   Having not been there, I can only join many, many other Burners in apologizing for the fact that our community – like any other – contains some jackasses.  And to say, belatedly, that if there’s anything I can do to help or stand with you, please let me know.  I hope to see you on the playa again next year.

Photo by Mark Peterson, 2011 (and not actually of White Ocean)

About the author: Caveat Magister

Caveat Magister

A member of the Burning Man Project's Philosophical Center, Caveat served as the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca from 2008 - 2013. He is presently working with Burning Man's education department on a cultural studies curriculum for Burning Man culture. Caveat is the author of the short story collection A Guide to Bars and Nightlife in the Sacred City, which has nothing to do with Burning Man. He has finally got his email address caveat (at) burningman (dot) org working again. He tweets, occasionally, as @BenjaminWachs

60 Comments on “What happened to White Ocean, and why every prankster should condemn it

  • JV says:

    Your distinction between legitimate fuckery and vandalism/bullying is the exact one I explain to my kids when they show me a mean-spirited prank on YouTube.

    I can’t support what happened to White Ocean, even if I’m not all that bummed it was them who it happened to. They are free to burn however they choose, but more and more the brute force of wealth is transforming BRC into something pedestrian and easily obtained elsewhere. I hope some good comes out of this unfortunate event in the shape of more vigorous discussion of this topic.

    Report comment

  • Doc Pyro says:

    I am appalled and sickened by what happened to White Ocean. The pranksters called them “parasites” but when it comes right down to it, I’d be willing to bet the vandals were disproportionately rewarded low-income tickets, support Bernie Sanders brand of socialism, support the Occupy Movement, and so on. In other words, they themselves are the parasites sucking off the hard work and labor of their fellow citizens. Permanent expulsion from Black Rock City and hard jail time is too good for them.

    Report comment

    • Caveat Magister says:

      Actually, the people committing the vandalism – to my knowledge – left no statement about their intentions. The term “parasites” and the like came from people commenting in media accounts. You can care about people’s politics if you want – though I think you’re trolling and just trying to rile people up – but such conjectures are both unsupported by evidence and irrelevant to what happened.

      Report comment

      • CreateTatiana says:

        Thank you. It doesn’t help the conversation to make assumptions and, following that, insult a whole new genre of people who I’D be willing to bet had nothing to do with this. Berniecrats and Occupy have no history of this sort of behavior and this critique of socialism is irrelevant and ignorant. Stay on topic please.

        Report comment

      • Zenzu says:

        Thank you for calling that out, and for moderating the comment.

        Report comment

      • Sean hannity says:

        You caveat magistrar are trolling and rilining people up. What do you mean you support stealing supplies and kidnapping?

        Report comment

  • Terbo Ted says:

    Early in the week when I was touring the city I noticed their setup and stopped. Impressed with the scale of their production, I rolled right into the center of their camp and struck up a conversation with one of the main production staff. They were extremely friendly, we exchanged stories, and they invited me to stop back anytime.

    If you are friendly to people at BRC they are friendly back.

    I never did dance at their system, their DJ lineup didn’t catch my attention and I prefer the deep playa vibe instead.

    The stories of the past years, with hostile, closed turn key camps seems to have resulted in an era where these larger camps are making an effort to be friendly and inclusive, maybe even trying too hard to be open. I visited many camps and was not turned away anywhere, even though this had happened to me in recent years, where I was told to get lost in the past. Not this year.

    As far as hating rich people goes, that’s on the hater and not on the rich person. I remember talking to one viking-like dude who resembled a droog from Clockwork Orange, he was explaining how much he hates rich people at Burning Man. So I showed him one of the air conditioned executive bathroom trailers in one of the camps on Billionaire Alley. He gratefully made use of the facilities while we were there.

    If we have an inclusive community, it involves everyone. Behave accordingly. Be friendly. Tell interesting stories.

    Report comment

  • Slaphappy says:

    The problem isn’t that such folks are “rich”. There are tons of rich people in BRC, I’m sure many richer than these tools who fly in Friday night for a 36 hour EDM rave.

    The problem is they, as a growing subset – and yes this is a generalization but we’ve all seen how it slants heavy this way – aren’t interested in conforming to the 10 principles….or any principles. There is nothing “radical” about what they’re doing at BRC, as many are simply exploiting the goodwill and good nature of the rest of the community for the sake of a trendy weekend.

    The result is almost two distinct communities; one with a healthy respect and appreciation for their neighbors and all those who have come before to make Burning Man so fulfilling and special, and one who doesn’t give the slightest fuck about anyone but themselves, their own comfort and their perceived elevated status at all times.

    It’s not about wealth, it’s about respect. If a way is found to require folks to respect the community and it’s people for at least a couple of days each year, then the rest will take care of itself,

    Report comment

    • Caveat Magister says:

      @SlapHappy – I agree completely with your analysis, except for the part about requiring respect. You can’t require respect – not real respect, not authentic respect. It just doesn’t work, and trying tends to create an atmosphere of repression.

      Teaching respect for the 10 Principles is absolutely vital to healing this rift in our community, but the way to do it is by showing that we’re the ones having more fun, not by trying to force them to parrot our talking points. It’s not actually much of a stretch: the whole reason they came here is that we created something so much fun that they wanted to join it. They want to have fun and they want to be part of it – they just need to leave their materialist comfort zone a bit more to get there. And I think it’s happening. Which doesn’t have the thrill of punishing wrongdoing, but is a lot more effective in the long run.

      Report comment

      • Slaphappy says:

        Thanks Caveat. The fact that you feel adjustments “are happening” is heartening.

        The reason I wrote “require” is because BMORG has one card in its hand, and that is they get to make the rules. Even vague fundamental ground rules could go a long way towards ensuring the ideals of the event are maintained. Some of the groups we’re referring to often don’t feel any rules apply to them and have no problem ignoring every law society has, but at least then there could be some accountability or a polite (or direct) enforcement mechanism. Right now there’s nothing but “let’s show them how a good time is done”, which these guys obviously seem to think they already have down. With no accountability, why would they ever change or become nicer to the community?

        Report comment

      • Caveat Magister says:

        @Slaphappy

        Got it – and yeah, I agree that things like permitted placement, early arrival passes, and the like (basically zoning and planning tools) are completely acceptable as carrots and sticks. You’re totally right. The trick is to apply them skillfully, so as to encourage integration rather than breed resentment. They shouldn’t be used as blunt tools. But they can and should be used.

        Report comment

  • toasty says:

    I am delighted and encouraged by what White Ocean brought on themselves.

    I’ve been burning since 2009, and have led a smallish (15-40 people) placed theme camp five of the last six burns. I am a secretary from Sacramento (driven from San Francisco by the latest wave of Parasite Class TechBros and their enablers), my husband is a waiter. Among our regulars are a barber, a bartender, and contractor. Perhaps our “wealthiest” member is a nurse. Despite our collective lower- to- middle-class economic status, we have brought, at our own expense, a lounge, a bar, a sound system, a tower, public shade, small physical gifts, and music every year without fundraising and without profit. Until one year ago, we had no camp fee (it is now a whopping $100.00 per person to cover gas for the generator, fuel to transport our structures, booze for the bar, and a dump run at the end). We, all of us, build everything, MOOP everything and pay for everything, and we do it with JOY, not to make some entitled douchebags comfortable.

    We collectively spend our weekends dreaming and building, scraping together our dollars and ultimately sharing it with the Burning Man community. None of that can be said for the profiteers at White Ocean, their entitled, moopy paying customers, the default world celebrity EDM DJs whose presence (and blaring, shitty music) is the camp’s “gift”, and ever more frequently, the people of the BMORG whose heads are so firmly entrenched up silicon valley’s asshole that at the most recent Camp leadership forum, we were forced to listen to a leader of a Plug and Play camp defend their ongoing efforts to provide premium experiences for their paying customers while the Placement team stood behind her nodding their heads.

    I can think of almost no more perfect act of civil disobedience than what happened to White Ocean after Larry spent an entire year dwelling upon the dubious Art Theme of the woefully unappreciated wealthy, terribly maligned by the ignorant and ungrateful artist class. It was a slap in the face to all of us who actually contribute to the event direct from the Paris Hilton and Sherpas crowd.

    Aw, did the millionaires get their water destroyed? How awful. Perhaps if they had driven in like the rest of us and lived with their water in their own tents, they would have been Radically Prepared to handle themselves during the week.

    So here we stand at the Intersection of Art and Commerce. Finally, someone stood up and fought back. Since we know that BMORG is entirely in the pocket of the Parasite Class, we will not look to them for any help or guidance. All that is left to marginalized people is action. Don’t like it? Tough. Be prepared to take care of yourself, or be prepared to refund your “customers” money.

    Bravo to the brave men and women who carried out this desperately needed action. May this be the first shot in a war. May this be the first in a long line of actions which convinces those who come to take and those who profit off them to just be happy with Coachella. May desperately-needed media coverage convince the tourists and the takers that Burning Man isn’t a bucket list destination to see Paul Oakenfold live on the Pepsi Main Stage.

    Keep Burning Man potentially fatal. EDM tourists stay home. Burning Man sucks. You may die.

    Fuck your burn.

    Report comment

    • Caveat Magister says:

      @Toasty

      First let me start by saying thank you for the incredible gifts you and your camp are giving. I don’t give a fuck about sound camps, and there’s no question to me that people doing what you’re doing are what make Burning Man amazing.

      But not giving a fuck about sound camps isn’t the same thing as encouraging an atmosphere of fear, in which people worry about getting punished by nameless vigilantes if they cross the invisible line of someone else’s aesthetics. None of the things Burning Man really values – self-expression, inclusion, gifting, communal effort, immediacy – can thrive in an atmosphere of fear.

      That’s the one tool in our belt we can’t use. In fact, Burning Man’s predecessors – the Suicide Club, and the Cacophony Society to name just two – were specifically about helping people break away from the idea that they had to fear the consequences of their creative expressions. They weren’t into raves either, but if someone had told them “you can’t do that!” you bet they would have.

      I’m all for fucking with gated communities on playa – I’ve been saying so for years. But not to create an atmosphere of fear. Come up with almost any other approach, and I’ll jump on the barricades with you. But fighting bullshit with creativity, rather than fear, is the way we preserve what we love – and celebrate all the effort you’ve put into it. I want to elevate your camp, not police other peoples’.

      Can I come visit?

      Report comment

    • Grego says:

      Toasty,

      Burning Man is radically inclusive, not radically equal. Not everyone has to be the same as you, thankfully. You’re unPrincipled in so many ways:
      your insistence that the situation is an us-vs-them, i.e. a fight;
      your assertion that destroying people’s shit is in some way righteous;
      your invalidation of other people’s dreams and hopes for their burn;
      and your general attitude, which is the opposite of loving and respectful.
      In summary, you’re doing it wrong.

      Remember, LOVE is the answer.

      G

      Report comment

      • Toasty says:

        Hi Grego:

        Last I checked, “Loving and Respectful” is not part of the Ten Principles. You’re thinking of the bullshit marketing for Further Future. The marketing that attracts non-Contributing glitter fairies to Burning Man, flying in with no intent on contributing. You’re thinking of Hot Chicks in Instagram Onesies, justifying their contributing absolutely nothing by pretending that looking good and dancing to crappy music is somehow Changing the World!

        Again I say unto your Love and Respect horseshit, Fuck Your Burn. Take off your glitter wings, put on some real shoes and get to work like the rest of us. The Makers are not here to serve to Takers, no matter how much they paid for that luxury RV, and no matter how much Larry and his tech-bro-apologist staff bend over backwards to provide additional luxury resources for the parasites of society and the Burn.

        Report comment

    • Megan says:

      I love this completely thank you. Plug and plays suck and white ocean is not friendly. I hope this starts the down fall of these awful camps.

      Report comment

    • Camp F0ff says:

      YOU are what is truly f*ed in the world. Your “happiness” at someone’s pain and suffering. You have no drive, no money, no life, and nothing is ever your fault. You seek only to bring down others, to your sad level.

      Report comment

      • Antonio says:

        “Why should so few men be allowed to acquire all the gold?… Because they know how!”
        “One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how. Neither may one with Justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, for the sake of a man with less ability.”

        Report comment

      • David says:

        Amazing how you can tell all that from two sentences. You must be a really smart person..or you could be one who has a lot of anger towards people who don’t think the way you do. It doesn’t bother me that it happened either. The rich and smug are not liked by a huge number of people and while I don’t like them being there I won’t do anything like what was done to them but I don’t condemn it either.

        Report comment

    • James sasso says:

      You’re fine with people who don’t like you and your judgemental attitude destroying their camp and your camp. Post your real name. You’re such a brace moral anarchist.

      Report comment

    • James sasso says:

      Toasty because you and your unskilled uneducated lazy husband are poor you hate those around you. We pity both of you.

      Report comment

      • Me says:

        Hi James Sasso. I wanted to reply quickly to your demeaning and insulting assertion that, because I hold an opinion that is not the same as yours, my husband and I are “unskilled, uneducated, lazy and poor”. I have a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) and have sung at Carnegie Hall three times in my life, as well as touring with several Broadway shows. Lazy people tend not to make it in show business. I own my own home and car, and make my living in the legal profession now – again, not normally a career path for the uneducated, lazy or poor. As to the assertion that my camp is a “shithole dump camp”, I can assure you, my camp has been placed for ten years – this year on B Street – and we have never gotten anything less than green on the MOOP map. Clearly, your angry and ignorant assumptions say MUCH more about you (and likely your relationship with the Parasite Class) than they do about anyone else. When the moderators choose to remove your posts which directly insult me for not sharing your opinion, they can also remove this. PS. Keith Haring called. He wants his gimmick back.

        Report comment

  • I agree with the intuition that this was insiders, or former insiders. Out on the net I’ve seen suggestions of disgruntled unpaid contractors, and it rings true, though I have no knowledge of it.

    I also do condemn everything about this sort of attack. As somebody who has put immense effort into my art installations and camps, and had art stolen and vandalized, most have no idea how heartbreaking that can be. BM requires immense preparation, and you bring redundancies because things go wrong, but if something is destroyed beyond that you have no recourse.

    I don’t express approval for it, but there is certainly a sentiment among those who would call what they do pranking of “it’s much more OK to fuck with the rich” because they have the resources to recover from it, or to treat it simply as a financial loss rather than a personal one. The playa narrows that difference: If somebody were to smash a part of my art car in my driveway, I would go out and buy a replacement part and suffer the financial cost. If you did it on playa where I can’t buy my way out of it, you’ve seriously hurt my burn and all the work I did to get the car there.

    As such, I have a lot of distaste for the sentiment that “It’s OK to have screwed over a rich camp.” Whatever they bought with money is one thing, but destroying things that took a lot of work should not be acceptable even to those who generally would cheer on the fucking over of the rich.

    Report comment

    • zachoff says:

      This was clearly an attack. They pissed off someone so much that they would take their time during the event, devote considerable resources, and risk felony arrest to plan and execute this. This is not pranksterism. White ocean clearly pissed off someone, and bad.

      Report comment

  • The Hustler says:

    I can’t see the benefit, humor or reason for the White Ocean thing. I agree with Caveat that it’s far out of the realm of the Burning Man community.

    Also, I feel bad for the people who don’t notice there is an entire city beyond one camp. I’ve never been to White Ocean or any other large plug and play camp and I always have an epic time.

    If not for this incident, I wouldn’t have thought about White Ocean; I was too busy being at Burning Man.

    Report comment

  • Dennis Hinkamp (Flackmaster) says:

    From Paul Addis to John Goodman (not the actor) Burning Man history is full of asshats who mistook anarchy for art. Eleven years ago BMIR was running PSAs something to the effect of “the clowns are loose and they are going to fuck shit up (heavy Sunday drag racing voice). Both these people were arrested.

    As a victim of one of these asshat 11 years I think anarchy sucks a lot, but I will also continue to tell people that Burning Man is not your “safe place” It is offensive, the climate is harsh and not everyone agrees with your idea of a “great burn.” You could get run over by an art car, assaulted by a clown or just be sick in the medical tent like me two weeks ago. So I keep coming back because it never disappoints and it is my own little fear to face. Pillaging a turn-key camp? Meh.

    Report comment

  • Mark McCormack says:

    I am so thankful for all of the people who spend their time and money to display art, offer a service, or have a sound camp. I have helped friends set up art, build camps, tear down camps, moop our area, worked the artica , and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Never once have I thought of destroying anything except crushing my empty beer cans at the recycle camp.

    The only thing I have ever asked for from a camp was a bottle of water – dumb ass me rode unprepaired to the other side of the playa to look at the airport, and was dieing of thirst. The camp was more than happy to provide the water and wanted to get to know me.
    Although I don’t really hang out at white ocean sound camp, I have enjoyed their FREE presentation of light, music, and fire. What more could you ask for? As for the white ocean compound, I couldn’t even tell you where it is or was, nor do I care. The sound camp already gave me all the free entertainment I needed + some – THANK YOU!

    White ocean group… sorry guys and gals. It’s bullshit what happened to you. I hope y’all find the people responsible and that burningman backs you up 100% On the end result.

    On plug and play…. even if I had the money to burn on something like that, I am not so sure I would. It just seems so sterile and isolated. I think I would rather be a hot FUCKING mess at the end of the night, wake up the next morning, dust myself off ready to take on the day of what mother has to dish out, and not worry about what some servant is dishing out for breakfast.. Thats just me.

    Report comment

  • Blender says:

    Ahoy to the great experiment. As in the default world money talks and it’s gaining ground and power in our little society. So now we get to chose. Do we respond? Do we come at it in the traditional way? Fight, war, us vs. them etc. Or do we expand our imagination and try something new? There’s no “right or wrong.” but burning man has shown us, we can create what we dream. What are we going to agree is a new dream? I personally believe wholeheartedly there is a more “radically inclusive” way. We are a community and like it or not White Ocean is part of it. I confess I’ve bitched for years about plug and play camps. Always hated seeing them. Said we should shut down the airport. I’m know the magical energy of burning man is created by the hours of blood, sweat and tears we all bring to creating this city and agree those coming in as paying sparkly tourists aren’t helping much to create that magic. So again… what WE, the hardworking magic makers do with this is pivotal. Hate only begets hate. Although love is not a ten principal it is the only force in the universe capable of turning enemy into friend. Starting a war is so overdone and BORING. We can do better.
    fuck… i swore i’d never make comments on these endless bickering threads…

    Report comment

  • Toasty says:

    I just reviewed the MOOP Maps for the last three years, and White Privilege Camp has, every single year, left piles of garbage for the little people to clean up. Red, red, yellow with blobs of red (in a year where almost EVERYONE got green). If, as we have been instructed by Placement, Theme Camps exist to acclimate virgins into our culture, what possible reason could there be to continue to provide premium placement and access to this camp? Perhaps BMORG is more interested in cultivating their personal relationships with Default World Celebrity? Certainly, none of their paying guests and none of the profiting camp leaders took even a moment in any year to MOOP sweep their land. Not only the “public areas of their camps were left as trash heaps, but also every square inch of their “private” walled compounds.

    So since BMORG insists on rewarding terrible citizens with premium access, what action is there left for those of us who actually contribute? Tear it all down, make them afraid, teach them that this is not Future Further.

    First they came for San Francisco. They took our homes, they destroyed Dolores Park, they “reserved” our children’s soccer fields, they drove us from our city. Now they are coming for our Home. I say they got only a small amount of what they deserve, and hope they get much, much more in the future,

    Report comment

  • Olek says:

    “…We all want to change the world
    But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know that you can count me out…”

    Report comment

  • PeaceLove says:

    Caveat:

    I have heard from a well-connected friend that the White Ocean attack *did not happen,* and that White Ocean has in fact pranked the entire BM community. It does seem strange that we have seen no evidence of a police report, no photos, no first-person accounts.

    So my question to you is what evidence do you have that it happened?

    Report comment

    • CalicoBirdDog says:

      Caveat Magister, are you in any position to follow up on this, say, with the Gerlach Sheriff or with BMOrg? Such a media stunt would be par for the course where Russian billionaires are concerned. The community would really benefit to understand the actual nature of the events being reported.

      PeaceLove, would your ‘well-connected friend,’ be amenable to go on the record with Caveat, so that the source can be verified, while remaining anon for the article?

      In a BM-journalism-related aside, however much of a Bowie fan I am, I was very pleased to learn that Duncan Jones refuted the reporting of his dad’s ashes delivery to the temple. While there’s nothing empirical about my experience, I didn’t feel his presence at the temple in that way, either before the burn or during. He was certainly there with me and many others; that’s all that matters.

      Report comment

      • Caveat Magister says:

        @PeaceLove, @CalicoBirdDog

        I have been told, by BMORG staff who I believe are indeed not fucking with me, that the events at White Ocean did happen, and that it was (as I indicated in the post) worse than what was shared in the Facebook account.

        The lack of further public details is frustrating. I did receive an explanation for it – one which makes sense – but that was given to me off the record (and, to be clear, I’m not in any of the official Burning Man channels that would be receiving this information. Everything I “know” that isn’t public information was provided through back channels.) White Ocean is the victim of a crime, and it seems appropriate that Burning Man not take it upon themselves to turn that into a spectacle, especially if White Ocean themselves doesn’t want to talk about it.

        To the extent someone says “well, I don’t see a police report, I don’t see confirming details, I’m skeptical,” that’s understandable. I think that’s actually a fair level of skepticism, all things considered. And only mitigated, frankly, by the fact that it happened out on playa, to a relatively tight knit community, and shit gets weird out there. If it had happened under more conventional circumstances in a more conventional location, I’d see the lack of corroborating evidence as a smoking gun.

        As it is, I can only say this: I believe that these events did happen. This is based on initial and follow-up conversations with BMORG personnel. I wish I had more to stake this on then “my judgment and my sources.” That is, absolutely, less than ideal. But it’s what I’ve got. (And yes, I’ll be happy to talk to anyone who says they can demonstrate that I’ve gotten it wrong. Absolutely.)

        I’m confident it happened, though I understand if others decline to take my word for it. I’m certain that, even hypothetically, it wasn’t a “prank” or “fuckery” in the Cacophony/Burning Man tradition. This crossed lines. And that I’m ready and willing to argue about.

        Report comment

    • James sasso says:

      What evidence do you have that it’s a lie and who’s your friend? You sound drunk and high

      Report comment

  • Hardon says:

    This is such a difficult topic. For one thing, plug and play is not cool. It violates the Burning Man principles, and, if it continues, plug and play could turn Burning Man into something similar to EDC or Coachella. Yuck! I believe people SHOULD have to fend for themselves some at Burning Man. I don’t believe it is at all okay for a camp to hire servants.

    That said, I do love the sound camps. Actually, I love most of the camps. There are food camps, bar camps, yoga camps, workshop camps, etc… I love the wealth of diversity in camps at Burning Man. I realize there are those who don’t like the sound camps, the same as there are people who spend most of their time at sound camps. Either is OKAY. That’s the beauty of the Burn. People can do (pretty-well) whatever they please within the scope of the ten principles.

    What I don’t like is people forcing their ideas on me of what is fun, especially at Burning Man. This feels very much like being in the real world with people telling me I need to go to church and believe in god. Diversity is important. We are all different people. How about we stop forcing our ideas on other people?

    That said, I believe White Ocean does a GREAT job contributing to the sound camp atmosphere. Again, you don’t have to like sound camps. That is OKAY. Don’t participate in something you don’t like. That does not mean what you hate is bad. White Ocean has its faults, but it does a great job bringing sound to the Burn.

    So, I would ask that we focus on the faults with White Ocean, and not the fact that they are a sound camp. Also, vandalism is wrong. I’m sure there are people who don’t like how you Burn. Think how you would feel being vandalized for that. I’m not saying this is why White Ocean was vandalized, but a lot of people seem to want this to be the reason.

    Report comment

  • John M says:

    Been a while since I was at Burning Man. Have a kid now and everything! :)I hope when she is old enough one day she will be able to experience that same thing I did. A classless society there for music and camaraderie. Celebrating what Marley called “one love”. My friends still go every few years and I have heard about “white ocean”, although they didn’t use that term. They complained that “yuppies were taking over the show”. That saddens me. I fully understand why people would want to tell them that kind of segregation with guards and the like isn’t what Burning Man is about. From what I hear they let in Burners they find attractive. It isn’t the “everyone is welcome” party I remember. A little pea king never hurt anyone really. Violence is different, but irreverant property damage akin to Occupy or the BLM movement is the outlet people resort to when they have no other voice as MLK predicted. I hope Burning Man doesn’t respond with greater security and attempts to police the behavior of the people there to protect those who segregate themselves. Nobody likes to be hated, and maybe they will learn to adapt and share the wealth so everyone can have a good time. Maybe I am being idealistic, but isn’t that what the festival is about still?

    Report comment

  • John M says:

    *pea King* should be “pranking”. Sorry. Auto correct got me.

    Report comment

  • CalicoBirdDog says:

    I do not agree that this is vandalism. I think sabotage is a more appropriate word.

    Vandalism is a term that strips its actors, and the message inherent to their actions, of political legitimacy. It’s a term that wealthy politicians use to vilify poor street artists, along with ‘hooligan,’ ‘thug,’ and ‘hoodlum.’ It is the civic equivalent of ‘terrorist,’ shutting down all rational discussion, and swamping the intent of the actor in a morass of irrationality, stupidity and evil. While we might not embrace the severity or style of the action, the message of the action is not an unpopular one among burners. The message is Go-Away-Plug-and-Play. And this is true whether the sabotage was home-grown or ‘foreign’ to the camp.

    Sometimes the dust and the wind sabotage your burn, sometime people do it. Sometimes people from your own camp do it. Burning Man sucks, and it wouldn’t be Burning Man, if in addition to being off-the-charts-awesome, it didn’t also suck.

    Any camp that has door-men and bouncers year after year invites sabotage, (albeit, ideally more creative and practical joke laden sabotage rather than mean spirited attacks like this) for so thoroughly neglecting the principle of inclusion and rubbing everyone’s faces in ‘THEIR’ specialness. Note the all caps ‘OUR’ in White Ocean’s initial plea for support and assistance. They really don’t get it, the virtue of boundary dissolving experience.

    I certainly hope this act of sabotage does not get repeated, let alone become a trend, as the default media froths at their jowls for THE STORY that will destroy the Burn and feed the default world’s schadenfreude. But I also hope that all-inclusive plug-and-play camps get the clue that their interpretation of the 10 principles is disingenuous and in severe need of reform under threat of rejection. [Their music sucks badly enough to begin with, but I happily chalk this up to the need for Burning Man to suck to remain real.]

    They have the money; they ought to start their own festival somewhere else or at some other time that allows them to celebrate the versatile adaptability of their wealth.* PN’P camp members clearly have no interest in self-reliance, let alone radical self-reliance.

    And their grasp on de-commodification is profoundly weak. They pull a slight of hand by commodifying their experience before they even embark on the journey, and then they stand behind their camp’s brand as a proxy for the burn itself, psychically buffered from leaving their kush bubble.

    To wit, admitting the hoi polloi into one’s mansion for a few banquets fails to engender that Prince-and-the-Pauper quality of default-world-transcendence, which Burning Man so thoroughly aspires across all categories.

    Let them sleep in tents out by the trash fences for a few years in groups no bigger than 20, without major infrastructure and without employed servants before BM corporate dreams of granting them beach-front real estate ever again. And for god’s sake, please don’t reward White Ocean next year in any way thereby incentivizing their new found public victim-hood.

    This recommendation goes for all of them. Radical inclusivity dictates that we can’t exclude each of their members from attending, and we wouldn’t want to; but the other principles dictate that they can’t attend in the manner they’ve become accustomed to, clotted as they are by the low viscosity of their default social stations.

    Ban the Camp, not the Burner.

    *I must acknowledge that each and every attendee of Burning Man is wealthy by 3rd world standards, of course. But reasonable upper limits for the self-reliance to wealth ratio on playa, while naturally flexible, have been well established by 2+ decades of precedent until recent memory, and it was always mitigated by community contribution in labor and personal effort. This proportional ratio is being significantly eroded (or skewed in favor of the 1%) by the plug-and-play trend.

    Louder bass does not a contribution make.

    PS. Does anyone know if Timut Sardarov is frienemies with Vladislav Surkov? This whole thing just vaguely smells of theater directed from the highest levels of Russian douchebaggary.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gak9xiU4cpA

    There’s really no story to this story, anyway, and I’m ashamed for feeding it. But I don’t think calling this shit vandalism benefits anybody but the plug and players.

    Report comment

  • CalicoBirdDog says:

    Thanks for your reply to my query via PeaceLove.

    In it you mention this:
    “White Ocean is the victim of a crime, and it seems appropriate that Burning Man not take it upon themselves to turn that into a spectacle,…”

    Is this intent to manage the message in default media related to rejection of my earlier comment in which I make a case for describing this White Ocean event as sabotage, rather than vandalism? Or was I just too long winded? Vandalism, to my mind, is what Safety Third does when they sticker the Port-o-Johns, not the cutting of power and the spillage of an entire camp reservoir of potable water.

    In any regards, thanks,
    &
    Keep Burning Man Censored,
    CBD

    Report comment

    • CalicoBirdDog says:

      This commenting platform is just not working for me. Now I see that my original comment is still “awaiting moderation.” Before it wasn’t showing up at all. Oh well, keep or delete these follow ups at will. I’m giving up.

      See you on Playa!

      Report comment

      • Caveat Magister says:

        @CalicoBirdDog – Occasionally our comment system flags things for reasons I don’t understand. (And I don’t get an automatic notification when a comment is held, only when it’s published, so I’m never on the ball with this.)

        Your comment was definitely in bounds, and in fact intelligently put. So I’ve put it through, with my apologies for whatever happened.

        Report comment

  • Marrvelous says:

    Pretty words from a man who tried to barter my hand in marriage to end a war HE (Caveat) started with Census. Let me know when you’re ready to lead a peace march thru BRC.

    Report comment

  • JV says:

    From the belly of the beast, a White Ocean camper and “Hollywood screenwriter” (I’m including the whole post because linking out I think isn’t allowed in comments here. You can find the post by Googling “In Re: Burning Man v. White Ocean” or clicking on my name in this comment):

    “Last week marked my second Burning Man experience. My second “Burn.” Four days the first time, seven days the second. Both of them were intense. Both of them were mind-blowing. Both of them were among the greatest experiences of my life. And neither of them would have been possible without White Ocean.

    So first, let’s explain what White Ocean is, and let’s dispel a few rumors. White Ocean was not a four-star hotel. No one ever cleaned out my trailer or made my bed. No one did my laundry. My trailer and all of my crap got just as dusty and filthy as everyone else’s. Here’s what it looked like after I tidied up.

    White Ocean had trailers and it had yurts, pretty much the same as the rest of Black Rock. My trailer, for the record, was so close to the soundstage that it shook and vibrated to the beat until 10am, rendering it effectively useless for sleep. I made it through the week on three hours of sleep per night, mostly 9am-noon. In terms of physical endurance, this was one of the roughest weeks of my life.

    White Ocean was not some hermetically sealed bubble, some cocoon that protected its denizens from the harsh realities of Black Rock City. We choked on the same dust as everyone else. When the wind blew on you, it blew on me.

    White Ocean was not some exclusive VIP room behind a velvet rope. Any burner could easily find us and walk right on in, just like any other camp. Well, it’s nicer than most camps. But that’s not the point. The point is you walk in, sit down, say hi. No one ever stopped anyone or asked anyone to leave.

    Is everyone at White Ocean rich? Definitely not. For one thing, I’m certainly not. At least not at the moment. I’ve been rich. I should be rich. I’ll be rich again soon. It costs a lot to stay at White Ocean. So a lot of us were guests of friends who could afford it. It’s good to have friends.

    But let’s be honest. All camps are not created equal. White Ocean is luxurious by Burning Man standards. I never had to build, never had to cook, and I never had assigned clean-up duties, although some guests did. We did clean up after ourselves in the dining area, and I did clean up my own trailer. But I didn’t have to worry about the water level in my tank or the sewage in my whatever-it-is. These things were handled for me, by people who knew what they were doing and were paid to be there. And as far as I know, when they had completed their tasks they were free to experience the burn, which is great. Anyone I spoke to who was there to work, said they were loving the experience and would do it again. Some had been for years. Were it not for these people, many of us would probably never have made it to Burning Man.

    Which brings us to the Ten Principles of Burning Man.
    From my experience, White Ocean doesn’t seem to be in conflict with nine of them. Inside the camp, I witnessed the same expressions of generosity, openness, creativity, immediacy and inclusion that I experienced on the playa. No one ever said, “You can’t sit with us.”

    I think it really comes down to the principle of Radical Self-Reliance. To be honest, we’re not perfect. The camp was assembled and disassembled by others. Our meals were cooked for us. And while we helped out to an extent, someone else did the dishes. But let’s not forget one thing: All of these “others” were still White Ocean Burners. They too came and felt the burn. And by the way, I didn’t help create any of the art on the Playa either. But I certainly did enjoy it.
    The moment I left the camp, I was no different than any other burner. I had my camelbak, my lip balm, my goggles and my scarf, my crappy bike, my boots, my tin cup, and whatever clothing best anticipated the conditions I might find for the next however many hours my outing lasted. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t. If I ran into trouble, I didn’t pull out my White Ocean passport and pay one of the locals to transport me back to safety like some Englishman traveling through Burma. I had to rely on myself, and the kindness of fellow burners. And that was a beautiful thing.

    Maybe it wasn’t radical. But it was certainly self-reliance. If the test requires 100% adherence to all ten principles, then perhaps we failed. But so would thousands of burners in plenty of camps. Frankly, I’d give us a 95/100. And that’s usually good enough.
    But you know what? The day that they decided to let planes land on the playa, all of this became inevitable. First off, no one can travel in and out with all of their own food and gear on a plane. It just doesn’t work that way. Second, it brings to Burning Man some folks, like myself, who simply wouldn’t be coming otherwise. Are we different than the OG burners who preceded us? In some ways, yes. Is that such a bad thing? I don’t think so. I think that one of the things that makes Burning Man great is that it brings people together from all walks of life, (well, frankly, white people) and gives them the chance to interact in ways that simply aren’t likely in the day-to-day world. That doesn’t happen if Burning Man attracts a completely homogenous group. Camps like White Ocean, Dragonfly, Cirque Gitane, Ibiza, and many others bring some diversity. And everyone benefits from that.

    Look through your pictures from the burn. See the ones where there’s some smoking hot girl posing in front of the “MAGIC” installation? She’s 5’11”, thin and sexy, wearing an Indian head-dress, black bikini, and eight-inch platform boots, and barely speaks English. She’s probably not sleeping in a tent and cooking beans over a sterno flame. Perhaps some guy flew her there with daddy’s money and put her in a nice RV in a plug and play camp. But you took a picture of her and posted it on Facebook. You want her to leave the Playa?

    Last week, eighty thousand people went to Burning Man, and I’m pretty sure that most of them had an amazing time. A few people got upset. That’s all that happened.

    If you’re a guy from two hours outside of Albuquerque, who works at a concrete mill, and you want to meet a Victoria’s Secret model, an international DJ, a Hollywood screenwriter (like moi, for instance), a software guru, or a Russian industrial baron, well then, White Ocean might just be the best chance that you are ever going to get. Just walk right into the so-called ‘VIP’ area behind the DJ. No one’s ever gonna stop you. Walk up to anyone and introduce yourself. You’ll get a hug, just like anywhere else on the Playa.

    After that, you’re on your own. Radical Self-Reliance. Done!”

    Pretty sure the guy is for real even though it reads like parody.

    Report comment

    • Suzanne Larsen says:

      Thank you. I appreciate you sharing your perspective. FTR, I am one of those middle-class burners, just less *rich* than you by degrees. I can, in the end, only be amused at the class-war raging on in our BRC bubble. When I first started coming to BM, the hate du jour was against anyone in an RV…PNP camps just upped the game a bit. Not a single one of us is radically self- reliant. Bold statement. But true. Beautiful burners, we are snubbing over degrees of how we fail the principles. My camp mates made me dinner a few times. Super sweet. I traded for those meals with other supplies and work. Just because my currency wasn’t cash…I’m righteous? No. I hope everyone gets a little closer to the principles everytime they come. I have walked into many PNP camps, never been stopped…but be sure, my hexayurt says “private residence” in sharpie marker on the door for a reason- I’ve been robbed and cased by undercover cops. Pretty sure if i went into anyone’s rv/tent/whatever and took or broke their stuff, it wouldn’t be ok. Please know it’s not ok with me. What reportedly happened at White Ocean was wrong. And sad. Leave your class hating-bs out in the default world please. If you don’t like who is coming to BM, feel free to stay home and hate from there. How about we focus on people truly endangering our burn? There were a crazy amounts of woman drugged and sexually assaulted on the playa this year…where is our community response to that? Where is our outrage?

      Report comment

  • JV says:

    White Ocean linked to this pathetic diatribe on their official Facebook account. I’m guessing they think it helps their case? How clueless can you get? Seriously, members of BMORG, this is what you’re enabling by coddling these luxury camps, who in turn coddle their CUSTOMERS, making it very difficult to acculturate them into BRC. And from what I’ve heard from people who attended the leadership meetings, this is the alleged reason for encouraging these kinds of camps. Even if this was happening at camps like White Ocean (it’s not), why should it be encouraged? The best way to acculturate someone into BRC is to have them jump in feet first. And you know, if someone isn’t willing to to that, then maybe Burning Man isn’t for them. That’s OK, you know. We don’t have to try to bring in everyone. Take a step back for a second, let the stink of money and celebrity dissipate from your nostrils, and look at what’s happening.

    Report comment

  • Helga says:

    I wasn’t there but read a lot about plug-&-play-camps here; and I wonder all the time why there is not the theme of self-responsibility in the discussion instead of aggressions full of envy. The “vandalism” or “sabotage” that happened has nothing to do with how some rich assholes act; it has something to do how some burners act. And I feel disrespected to be named as a burner with others who are willing to be violent just to show that they are – what? I just see envy and giving others the responisbility for the own bad feelings. You feel like a underdog slave in such a camp? Stop working/acting/being there. You feel disrespected by seeing them leaving a red map point on the LNT map? Show them how to do. You find them exclusive and not in contact? Go in and make contact.
    To make others guilty for my own feelings I think is childish and selfrespectedless. I can see this in all western contries: not willing to take part in communal politics, not willing to vote, but now hating “the rich and their privilegs” or the “politicians” and fighting against them (in Berlin some left-winged activist-idiots enjoy burning cars) or, if they are not reachable (like a group in a wite-ocean-camp), fighting against everyone who’s easy to be stereotyped (the muslims, the feminists, the immigrants,…).
    I don’t like plug-&-play-camps, for me they destroy the idea of community and self-responsibility, which are the most important principles for me. But I don’t believe in violence as a way to show people who are on another point of view what I mean is better. For showing the white-ocean-people that I do not agree with their way of acting putting gallons of water on the ground – seriously? Causing lots of trash by destroying electric stuff and glueing keyholes as a way to show that LNT is important for me – really?
    I think, being responsible for my own feelings and finding ways to discuss important stuff with others instead of acts of destroying every principle I argued that is important for me is a better way. Come on, is this the level of discussion we will run? I won’t.
    (hope my not mother tongue writing is clear enough).

    Report comment

    • Cool says:

      Hi Helga:

      All those things we Burners are supposed to do? We did them. last year. the year before, when Caravancicle was the PnP of the moment that was caught totally not giving a crap about Burning Man. So in response, BMORG created the art theme of “Bow Down to the Rich”. This year’s actions are not a thoughtless reaction – they are not unprovoked. They are the direct result of years of BMORG being in absolute lockstep with the non-contributing parasite class and their customers who fly in, shit all over our city, and fly out. Larry and his friends in San Francisco profit too much from the accommodating the Parasite Class to even pretend to stop them. Larry and his friends in their office spend significant time and effort ENCOURAGING this. Why? I suspect they get a cut from all the “vendors” that these camps utilize to serve their customers and the Default World Celebrity whose presence is their only reason for attending. So please spare us your tsk-tsking. I am responsible for my own feelings. you know what else I’m responsible for? My camp – building it, funding it, driving it there in my vehicle, setting it up, manning it, taking it down and sifting through dirt for sequins at the end of it all before I drive it all home. I also volunteer with greeters and this year, with Arctica. So although I don’t profit off the Parasite Class, I certainly pay for their luxury. And I’m tired of it. And so, apparently, were many, many other people. BMORG may, year after year, make pathetic excuses for them, but the citizens of BRC, the actual contributing citizens, have taken matters into their own hands. This was just the first of a new wave. And it has been a long time coming.

      Report comment

      • Blue Bike says:

        Holy cow Cool, it sounds like you might be better off staying home.

        I do the same as far as busting ass to make my burn happen, volunteering my time on and off playa to enhance other peoples burns, and picking up the sequins (which I didn’t bring to or leave on the playa) when the week is over, but I have never claimed (or felt) that I paid for the “luxury” of the “parasite class” (whatever the fuck that moniker means). Yea, so they don’t build their burn. Their loss. And every precious hour and hard earned dollar that I spend to participate comes back to me multi-fold in the quality and meaning of my experience there.

        I am blue collar to the bone, put myself through college, and have worked hard for the few material things I choose to possess. I understand that much in our world is fucked up and in need of radical change, and quickly. I am a fan of the ten principles as well as constructive and creative fuckery. And I dislike the notion of PNP camps in as far as they violate those principles. Yet, touting some sort of class war on the playa doesn’t seem to be the solution in our best interest. I have epic burns because I put myself out there and engage with as many people as possible, pushing the boundaries of my own comfort level whenever I can. I slept under the stars this year and loved it (except Saturday night was a little rough being so dusty). But instead of class envy when I see someone sparkly flying in for 48 hours of EDM or whatever, I feel a bit sorry that even if they are quite rich, my experience there is almost certainly far richer and more meaningful than theirs. I have spent time on the playa with wealthy douches in an attempt to show them a better way through example. Did it change anyone or anything for the better even a little? I don’t know, but the act of attempting in a civil manner to give someone a clue betters my burn. And I believe the repercussions of truly criminal behavior of this scale on the playa will likely be changes for the worse for most burners. If this is really a new wave as you state, it will sink our dear city faster than the PNP camps for the well-heeled.

        Call Larry and the BMORG what you will (btw, what movement have you started and shepherded that has so profoundly changed so many lives for the better?), but if it sucks so much knowing that a relative few people isolate themselves in comfort there (while missing the benefits of true participation and “radical self-reliance”), why do you return?

        Report comment

      • Helga says:

        Hi Cool, I also work hard (was one of the guild makers, not only on the playa,also the months before creating all the stuff), I know what participation is. And I can see when people don’t do it and just suck others energy and hate that, too. But to be responsible for my feelings don’t mean to act them out. Responsibility stops before acting out. Violence is not an affect of someone who was pressed to bad feelings, violence is an action (in contrast to affect emotions, and if someone with them is not acting in an extreme situation to defend his life it is normally caused by personality disorders) . The moment I can think about how to act is the moment of my decision. And it is my decision to say “I hate this stuff what can I do to change that with acting out in a constructive way” or “I hate that and don’t want that feeling and judge this guy is a parasit and its his fault that I feel this way and so it is my right to act it out against him by cutting his electricity and glueing his RV and then I feel better”. If I’m not able to make decisions for my own instead of giving others the responsibility for them than I have got the problem.
        I feel in many ways the same like you; my main feeling when I rode through the playa at night on my bike was “since led-wires are easy to buy every art drowns in lights which were not created just bought – fuck capitalism”. But when I stopped to adress my consume critic to others and just tried to be in the moment and didn’t look at the cheap and uncreative lights but go to the artworks and interact with whatever was possible my feelings changed completely and for that moment I was excited and could enjoy it and had amazing encounters. It was always my decision after a hard working day if I feel bad about others noncreativity and squandering everything on the monetary level, or if I let them do their stuff and do my own, enjoying art and community whenever I meet it on my way through the night. I have the idea that my tsk-tsk-decision made me happier than your frustration and rage.
        And at least: if everyone acts his anger out with destroying the ground of the desert then it might be difficult to impossible to get the next burn done. It is our commitment as a community to bring the land in a better state than we found it, so I learned and tried. On an escalation range such actions like flooding the ground with water are on the highest level, that self destruction seems to be reasonable if only the enemy is destructed. For me responsibility for my own feelings starts at the point that I go constructive for them instead of step by step on the conflict range to reach the destruction end level.
        I wonder if you ever had talk to someone of these people? What have they said about this? What would they need to understand the drama behind? (read this stuff from the guy “but I have participated my RV was messy and dusty like yours” and got the feeling that there was no idea behind that of the real problem). What do you think would be neccessary for understanding for “them” (instead of excluding)?

        Report comment

      • Maggot says:

        You’re a douche troll hater and GREETERS doesn’t need douches. GATE does. Work for them

        Report comment

  • Dionisio Garcia says:

    White Ocean supplied great music and a top notch sound system all week. Not every camp is entitled to supply food to strangers in fact if they solely want to feed their camp then they have every right to do so. My camp solely fed those who camped there and paid dues. Music is a gift and the quality of music they supplied all week is a damn good gift. A lot of the artists they had are those that I rarely get to see unless I pay an obscene cover charge at a club. White Ocean was one the highlights of my burn and just because they are run by wealthy people doesn’t make them assholes. The crowds at White Ocean were great and some of the DJs danced on the dance floor and you can have a conversation with them and meet them. I never saw a member of White Ocean telling anyone to go piss off. The idea of vandalizing and attempting to ruin someone’s camp as an act of protest is simply criminal.

    Report comment

  • Boom Boom says:

    Dear Family, Please wake up. I arrived on the playa this year with no set camp or tribe to welcome me home. Radically self reliant, a solo woman, also a Shaman with significant protections and the ability to project naievity for the sake of tracking fellow burners who truly are the soul of the burn, I have to say…Yes…the light of the burn is dimming. My first evening on the playa certainly did not feel like home…finding a welcoming place to camp was not easy, many lines drawn in the sand. I spent my first 3 days shaking off predatory energy, I was told it was because my beautiful breasts were showing…when did this become an invitation at Burningman??? I felt unsafe journeying alone at night, I had to be on alert most Of my burn. I’m not a virgin. I’m not naive. I watched closely and felt everything. Walls and separation create isolation and violation….it’s not just happening at White Ocean, it’s happening all over the playa. Our HOME on the playa has been violated, our doors glued, our water gushing, wires cut, soul violated. Family, please WAKE UP.

    Report comment

  • Lindsey says:

    I’m inclined to agree that this was more about revenge and not some anarchist BM element. Seems to me if it were the latter they’d have made know their intent by now with some manifesto style statement. Those types of douchebags live for that brand of infamous notoriety.

    No, this was someone who held a bitter more personal grudge. Possibly an unpaid or poorly treated former employee or vender. That’s what my gut is telling me anyway. I’m still scratching my head as to how they pulled it off with not a single staff and security member seeing them? Inside job? Seriously, that’s some ninja shit, incredible luck, or someone in the know.

    All speculation of course. But whatever the circumstances, whoever did this, whatever reasons they had, it doesn’t excuse vandalism and destruction of someone else’s property. Doesn’t matter if it’s a drop in the financial bucket for these wealthy folks or if their closed camp elitist behavior inspired it, this is wrong on several levels as mentioned in the spot on article.

    I suppose if WO does return next year we can look forward to them balancing a more inclusive camp offset with numerous security cameras and extra muscle.

    Just want to throw this last point out there … Why blame WO for what BMorg takes money from and allows? =/

    Report comment

  • JV says:

    White Ocean never filed a police report:

    http://www.rgj.com/story/life/arts/burning-man/2016/09/29/sheriff-most-48-burning-man-arrests-were-drug-related/91173770/

    “Without an official report, which the camp leads never made, Allen could not investigate the criminal ransacking.”

    The entire thing didn’t happen, I’m betting.

    Report comment

  • JV says:

    White Ocean never filed a police report. Look up the Reno Gazette story:

    sheriff-most-48-burning-man-arrests-were-drug-related/91173770/

    “Without an official report, which the camp leads never made, Allen could not investigate the criminal ransacking.”

    The entire thing didn’t happen, I’m betting.

    Report comment

  • Comments are closed.