Why am I making fun of Burners (including you, yes you, personally) and an issue you’re really passionate about?

The Joker (Ceasar Romero)This is a response to the feedback on my list “12 Shocking Revelations about ultra-rich Burning Man plug-and-play camps!

Before I answer the headline, let me clear three things up:

1)      I don’t speak for Burning Man, I’m not part of the Org, I’m not on their payroll, and they had no idea that this post was coming. They don’t edit my stuff and there’s no approval process, so: they found out I’d written this when you did. Nothing I say represents them, or is a statement of what they believe on any issue.

2)      Do I care about the problems caused by commodification camps? Absolutely. In fact, one of my first posts for this blog called for the creation of “Art Vikings” to stop plug-n-play camps. I wrote:

Camp Art Vikings will send our Viking scouts across the playa to find package tour camps and paid labor.  Then we will send our war parties, on Art Longboats, across the dust to Art Raid them.  We will take their meat and their women and their best alcohol, deliver them to a random camp, and celebrate together.

So I’m probably more radical on this issue than you are.


3)      Do I think the ORG should be more transparent. Yes. Stop. End quote.


So why am I making fun of terribly sincere burners with a legitimate grip whose issue I basically agree with?

Because people are demanding that the Org come up with an immediate solution to what is at heart an intractable societal problem: the gentrification caused by income inequality. 

The success of Burning Man meant it attracted rich assholes. Rich assholes came to Burning Man and acted like rich assholes. And because they’re very rich, they have a capacity to be assholes that exceeds the ordinary capacity of ordinary assholes. Now Burning Man is facing a gentrification crisis, where rich assholes who don’t care about our neighborhoods or history or culture are moving in and pushing other people out because they’ve decided that, thanks to our hard work (or rather: your hard work. You, the participants), this is now a desirable place to get a condo.

As a result, long-time residents are squeezed out; prices go up for everyone; the neighborhood is confronted with some non-contributing neighbors who build fences instead of community. It’s terrible. It’s awful. Everyone has a right to be angry.

But nobody has yet devised a real solution.

This isn’t just Burning Man: it’s New York, it’s San Francisco, it’s Boston, it’s D.C., it’s Seattle, it’s Atlanta …

Mayors with budgets that dwarf the size of Burning Man; think tanks; neighborhood activists across the country – all of them have been trying to find ways to stop gentrification, and no good solution has emerged.

Burning Man has capacities that other communities don’t: control over its ticket mechanism and placement mechanisms, for example. These are important things, and maybe will allow Burning Man to succeed where other communities have failed and are failing. Could be.

But at the moment a significant part of our community is demanding that the org solve gentrification and income inequality NOW NOW NOW! And that’s absurd.

And I reserve the right to make fun of anyone who thinks that Burning Man is taking too long to figure out a strategy to solve the crisis caused by the unequal distribution of income in the latter 20th and early 21st centuries.

I just do.

If I did it badly – if I wasn’t funny enough – well, for that I apologize. There is no excuse for a guy trying to be funny and failing, and if you didn’t laugh at my post, I am very sorry that you didn’t laugh. Humiliated, in fact.

But I reserve the right to try harder next time.

Because while I share your sense of urgency … this is an issue that must be addressed … I also know that anyone who thinks gentrification can be solved quickly, on the fly, without a lot of careful groundwork and outreach, is setting themselves up to look foolish sooner or later. As a matter of personal preference I would prefer that it be sooner, and that I be there to watch.

For those of you who are Burning Man volunteers who feel hurt – well, I’m still going to laugh at you if you think gentrification has a quick fix and that Burning Man already knows what it is and just isn’t doing anything about it. But you are also my heroes. I am in awe of everyone who helps build the city, run a camp, makes an art car, creates an art project … however much I laugh at you for saying something I think is ridiculous, I’m in awe of your gifts, and grateful beyond measure for your time. You’ve changed my life.

But, listen, seriously now: if you can’t make fun of what you love, Burning Man will break your heart.

It’s that kind of place.  That’s why we love it.

About the author: Caveat Magister

Caveat is Burning Man's Philosopher Laureate. A founding member of its Philosophical Center, he is the author of The Scene That Became Cities: what Burning Man philosophy can teach us about building better communities, and Turn Your Life Into Art: lessons in Psychologic from the San Francisco Underground. He has also written several books which have 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

137 Comments on “Why am I making fun of Burners (including you, yes you, personally) and an issue you’re really passionate about?

  • Sasquatch says:

    They could start by NOT personally profiting off of this “gentrification” by actually operating PnP camps or their vendors at a non-profit event which they serve on the board of. I think the legal term is “self dealing.”

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  • Dr. Yes says:

    “But nobody has yet devised a real solution.”

    This is yet more bullshit. If the org simply committed to not granting plug n’ play camps special privileges, most of us would be happy. You’re throwing up all sorts of red herrings to distract from that issue.

    I, for instance, don’t care a whit how rich people who attend Burning Man are. This has -nothing- to do with demand for tickets or scarcity.

    This has everything to do with the fact that the BMORG is giving special privileges to camps that give nothing back. There should be no EE passes, no placement, and no special ticket sales to camps that don’t qualify as theme camps and aren’t directly working to build the city.

    Let them run their turnkey camps, but let them do it without any consideration at all, because they don’t deserve it.

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    • terry king says:

      how come the people that are on the J R S list don’t get a crack at buringman first .we make it what they want to come and see we are the art of all facets shape and color we are the true burners not visitors

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  • Wilma says:

    It’s not about solving gentrification, it’s about the BOrg acting like a greedy little bitch and then hiding behind talking heads when they got caught.

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  • Seattle burner says:

    This is not about income inequality or gentrification. This is about: (I didn’t make this list)

    – Some leaked documents showing that these commodification camps were given special treatment, including the ability to buy large blocks of tickets right up to the date the gates opened. Suspicion is that these were somehow diverted from STEP, or otherwise done in a way that normal burners or theme camp organisers did not have access to.
    – The giant constructions on ‘Billionaires Row’ (K St) this year were very visible. Various people tried to enter and were told they didn’t have the correct wristbands.
    – paid ‘Sherpas’ blowing the whistle on how they were treated, and how much some people were paying to stay at one of these camps (up to $50k each)
    – Under normal theme camp placement rules these camps should have had strict requirements about interactivity and adhering to the 10 principles…. yet they seem to get all the benefits (placement, tickets, early-entry passes) without having to do anything at all.
    – Evidence has come to light that some members of the Burning Man board of directors were directly involved with the creation and running of these camps, and may have profited from them. BMorg is supposed to be a non-profit organisation.
    – Several of these camps left giant MOOP disasters behind.
    – Several art cars were at times restricting people who could enter based on wristbands.
    – Some of these camps were able to give their paying members ‘disabled’ approved golf-carts, which would have required cooperation from the BMOrg to allocate such passes, bypassing normal requirements for proving disability etc.
    – Every year literally thousands of real theme camps apply for placement. Many are rejected based on lack of space, or are told they simply aren’t interactive enough to justify placement. The fact that these camps with zero interactivity are given benefits that go even beyond normal placement is causing a lot of aggravation in the theme camp community.

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  • Seattle burner says:

    Also, you’re condescending.

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  • Corvus says:

    @Dr. Yes
    I’m looking for the like button on this thing, you’ve stated my position precisely.

    The city can absorb several thousand commodity camp denizens without noticing it. After all they’re pretty much like sparkle ponies or frat boys except they got more money. We can prank ’em or educate them as the mood strikes us. Just don’t make it easier for them to attend.

    “So you want half a block for 150 people and what was it you were doing for the event?”

    “Giving away about 1,500 popsicles. Oh, and we need a bunch of handicap stickers so we don’t have to decorate our golf carts.”

    “Uh, huh. Well, camp Lick ’em has ten people and requested 400 square feet to give away 2,000 popsicles, and they’ve got bicycles, not golf carts. No placement, no directed group sale tickets and sure as hell no DMV pass for you.”

    “But– but how am I gonna sell a $17,000 Burning Man experience?”

    “Don’t know; don’t care. Next!”

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  • Caveat Magister says:

    @Seattle Burner

    Actually I’m a condescending bastard. It’s a rich cultural heritage. My grandmother made fun of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s funeral train as it passed by.

    These all sound *exactly* like problems of gentrification to me. The whole problem with gentrification is that a sudden influx of excessive money corrupts; even well meaning systems and gatekeepers are not prepared to handle just how destabilizing it can be, and as a result neighborhoods warp and long-time residents start wondering where the fuck their equity went.

    That’s exactly what you’re describing. Isn’t it?

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  • A volunteer. says:

    I’m not sure it’s appropriate for you to write here anymore. Your last post was so ridiculously ill advised, it was akin to getting your dick out at Kidsville.

    Yeah, hilarious joke funny guy, now show some real humility and leave.

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  • Caveat Magister says:


    In general I think some system like the one you’re suggesting will be necessary – but I think that we want to be cautious about giving the Org too much explicit power over what makes one camp more valuable than another.

    They need some discretion on logistics (so that Hushville doesn’t end up next to a sound camp) and I’m generally for smart communities, but I think we want to be very cautious about saying that the Org should be able to decree that giving out popsicles is a thing that “good Burners” do in the first place, and that “more popsicles” equals “better contribution.” Suddenly every camp will say “Shit, we better start giving out popsicles …”

    To the extent that the problem already that the Org has too much discretion, that should be an issue on the table. Maybe more clearly defined, rule-based, randomness is a legitimate answer. I’m not sure. I’m just very cautious about creating more of a Burning Man orthodoxy than there already is, and fear the law of unintended consequences will easily push us in that direction.

    But maybe I’m being too cautious on this. I admit I could be wrong.

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  • Narcicero says:

    We aren’t asking for the Org to solve gentrification on the playa, at least not to the extent that it’s occurring beyond the reasonable reach of their authority; rich people have always brought their toys to the burn and there have always been issues with how much they’re sharing. I don’t share all my toys, either. Radical inclusion is what we want, but I don’t think we need to force it to occur.

    The real problem is that the aspect of gentrification that _is_ under the Org’s control is not being dealt with: the suspicion of ticket inequality. This can be solved by transparency regarding how the turnkeys get their tickets; if they’re getting them through the presale or through directed sale, that’s ok, as long as they’re getting directed sale tickets based on their staff needs (as opposed to client needs).

    Seriously, just tell us how the turnkeys are getting their tickets and the tone of this discussion will lighten up dramatically.

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  • Caveat Magister says:


    That sounds very reasonable to me. I can support that without reservation.

    But, if you’ll forgive me saying so, there is an aspect to this debate that’s gotten hysterical: there are Burners out there spinning fantastic stories about the ways Larry Harvey (in collusion with the Illuminati) conspired to put an RV at the corner of 6:15 and K in order to DESTROY BURNING MAN, which has been the plan all along.

    And yes, there are people essentially asking Burning Man to make income inequality not be a thing.

    That, like the Org itself, should not be immune from criticism.

    Thanks for the reasonable – if not unassailable – discussion.

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  • TMTATC says:

    Welcome to the discussion, I was beginning to wonder if you were going to weigh in.

    “we want to be cautious about giving the Org too much explicit power over what makes one cautious about giving the Org too much explicit power over what makes one camp more valuable than another.”
    “To the extent that the problem already that the Org has too much discretion, that should be an issue on the table.”

    I am having a hard time reconciling those two statements, just saying.

    Anyway, I got a good laugh from your story about your grandma and FDR’s funeral . My, what a crass woman she was. She probably would’ve made a great burner. BTW did she get Social Security benefits?

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  • TMTATC says:


    I vote for egalitarian and democratic. Bring on the billionaires, but they should have to compete on level ground for tickets, moop, pound rebar, build and break camp, and shit in the porta potties with the rest of us, and experience the hardship side of BRC life.
    Elitist exploitation profiteer camps will undermine Burning Man culture, just as mixing in a high percentage of virgins, and shutting out long timers will also undermine the culture.

    Your writings on this blog creates the frame in my mind that you are something of a philosopher (forgive me here I cannot think do a better term) hight priest of the culture.
    What are your serious view on these issues?

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  • TMTATC says:

    Computer problems here. If anyone can can delete the first two posts, I would feel a bit less embarrassed.

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  • Corvus says:

    But the Borg, through Placement, already has the power to decide which camp is more valuable than the next. Not every theme camp applicant that requested placement last year was placed, and not all of the placed camps got DGS tickets. Naked golf carts were, of course, right out.

    It’s not like a camp that was turned down is barred from entry all together, they just have to scramble for tickets and real estate like regular folks. I don’t have any particular kick in a camp taking up a block and not offering much* but let’s be sure Placement can do what it does without the Board jostling its elbow.

    If the Borg truly wants to facilitate having the movers and shakers attend to spread the Burner message throughout the world, let them be invited to First Camp. We’re well used to that.

    *Full disclosure: I >do< live in a theme camp that takes up a whole block for some 200 people, but we do more than hand out quiescently frozen confection.

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  • Tino says:

    Internet Hug accepted. Everything is fine now. Just handle it all with a bit of humor and lightheartedness, however awkward. It really doesn’t matter. The Simpsons episode has assured massive demand for the next 10 years. It really don’t matter at all if long-time burners bail out. Millions of would-be Burners have just been tapped.

    If I was on BMorg staff, I’d stay silent too and just let you complainers burn yourselves out. Your art isn’t that good anyway. And building a geo dome isn’t that hard. Your artcars are shit too, so is your sincerity. Just go away.

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  • Robyn says:

    Why are we upset? Because the delays by the board emphasize their extreme incompetence, or their guilt in the matter. And this whole PnP debacle exhibits their greed.

    The ship is sinking while the BMORG primps in the mirror to look good.

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  • Fuck You Caveat says:

    You are going to get what is coming to you asshole.

    As for BMorg, you want shit? You got it.

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  • dustin says:

    Jesus. How many time does it have to be said to sink in? Rich people are not the problem. Most of the art and camps at burning man would not exist if people didn’t have disposable income to create their gifts. The problem is when people start profiting off of the gifts and free labor of others (and I’m talking about both commodity camps and the BMorg itself). It creates severe ethical problems, both for the givers, and the profiteers. Larry talks extensively about the joys and positive dynamics of a gifting community, but when someone starts profiting on it on the sly, the gift turns rotten.

    People are pissed because we’ve seen many blog posts on weird tangential subjects, and not one investigating this issue, or instigating a serious conversation about it. Where should the ethical lines be drawn? Does someone generating a profit owe anything to the artists? Should they get a say in how those profits are generated and spent? Is financial transparency sufficient? What about the pricing of vital playa services (tickets, early entry, deliveries, access road, pre-positioning, etc)? Would equal access to these things be sufficient or should they be more tightly controlled?

    These are not new issues. I’ve seen financial issues poison many theme camps, artist groups, and regional events as they grew bigger. It would be nice to hear from burningman leadership how they have struggled with these issues over the years, and where they have chosen to draw the ethical lines, and perhaps where adjustments need to be made for the future.

    Instead, we get inane blog posts arguing against extremist straw men. That is a bit insulting, but mostly it’s just sad.

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  • yomo says:


    These glib posts on this blog IS the answer from BMorg. It’s a big middle finger – one big FUCK YOU to everyone. It’s not even masked. They are saying that they don’t need us assholes anymore. They’ve gone mainstream and they don’t need to pander to that counter-culture spirituality bullshit anymore. They are free from we, the burners.

    The really sad thing is that we think they are pathetic. It is we, the burners, who are the sad suckers. And even more sad, is that most of us are going to return next year because what else would we do with all that stuff covered in playa dust sitting in storage right now?

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  • Tanya Everwhere says:

    If you were going for sarcasm you failed. Sarcasm is generally steeped in satire AND humor and while the satire element was kind of in place the humor segment was obviously missing.

    Your writing is somewhat pedestrian and your grasp of financial transparency and the true issues behind the erosion of burner tennants and culture is lacking ten fold.

    This secondary “gentrification” and the division of wealth finger pointing “apology” truly shows how dumb you assume burners to be.

    Gentrification might be at play but usually gentrification happens when landlords start courting wealthier residents and start forcing out long term renters making superficial and minor repairs and upgrades and then up charging the newer tennants for way more than what was sunk into the units as capital improvements. So maybe it is a gentrification thing. Maybe as the “rent” (ticket prices and that stupid parking pass) goes up and the BM Org sinks minute capital into “improvements” they are still expecting long term residents to GTFO because the new “tenants” don’t like these poor neighbors who can’t afford to keep up with the joneses. It’s an oversimplification of the issue but perhaps it touches on what’s going on

    I’m sure if the event was heavily courting the wealthy as it obviously has been than the wealthy would have stuck to their long term notable destination location spots to kick back and relax. I mean in NYC we recently had a BM Org sponsored event at a nightclub known for the models and bottles crowd which had an exorbitant ticket price and just like a true BM Org sanctioned event offered 0 funding to cover costs or even God forbid offer a stipend to artists. Also they cut speakers from charitable groups ties to BM Org sanctioned causes to make room for more party information cause charity just doesn’t have the same cache as a warehouse party producer.

    Anywho maybe as someone who doesn’t work for the org as you claim you might want to think about why you’ve willingly thrown yourself in front of this bullet…

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  • Matt Conlon says:

    Dear Burning Man,
    How do I get carte blanche to post to your blog? Clearly, you are desperate for content. I believe that I may be of assistance. Please stop fucking up. We are embarrassed for you.


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  • Leo says:

    You say that the BMORG needs more time to come up with solutions?
    How long does it take to:
    1. Have the BMORG admit that they screwed up.
    2. Apologize.
    3. Dismiss JT from the board of directors.
    4. Eliminate the “Donation Sale”.
    5. Deny EA and placement for Safari camps that do not meet the same criteria as theme camps.

    It isn’t that complicated.

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  • Fofer says:

    The problem isn’t the “gentrification caused by income inequality.”

    The problem is that so many of the “turnkey wrongs” witnessed this year were at Caravancicle, the ritzy camp organized by Jim Tananbaum, now currently serving on the Board of Directors of The Burning Man Project.

    That camp (and others, with wealthy celebrities and people of interest with whom First Camp wanted to hobnob) enjoyed special perks, special access, special dispensation, special placement, and special treatment.

    We’re wanting this to be reconciled this for us. We understand that “cool things get popular” and that “rich people desperately want to do cool things” and that “radical inclusion is radical.” What we don’t understand and agree with, is the notion of BMorg-as-starfucker, actively inviting and encouraging this behavior, and trouncing on the remaining principles in the process. The problem is leaking from the very top, and that is the problem.

    It is also the crux of the conversation we WANT to be having…

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  • Randy Newman says:

    “So I’m probably more radical on this issue than you are.”

    Your apology doesn’t feel real sincere on this one. I bet the only reason this got written is that the BOrg made you write an half hearted apology piece.

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  • Gentry Phacation says:

    “[People expect] The Org come up with an immediate solution to what is at heart an intractable societal problem: the gentrification caused by income inequality. ”

    YOU MISS THE POINT. They are giving preferential tickets and placement to people, for money. Thats not society changing and rents slowly rising, thats not ethnic displacement – its directly profiting by selling $650 dollar tickets. Its asking people to “please not talk about this offering on social media.” And its profiting on the backs of volunteers and artists.

    Maybe read Halcyons post? Its much better than either of yours. http://blog.burningman.com/2014/11/tenprinciples/burning-cake-a-cautionary-tale/

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  • What I would do says:

    Prank the rich. There is no trespassing at BM unlike real cities. You get a ticket to the event and legally you are allowed to go anywhere other then into peoples tents or RV. The Borg does not recognize unofficial wrist bans. the Rangers will be called in and mediate the incident you leave, you come back , you leave and come back. Your actions will get noted.

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  • old time burner says:

    Caveat this isnt about gentrification it is about this
    1. the original founders didn’t have a pot to piss in but they created something that went viral and became something rich people want on their bucket list
    2. they reorganized the board and brought in insanely welatly people with no regard for those of us who created this thing and brought in shills like Bear Kittay and Steve Young whos noses are so far up the asses of those rich people to speak for the org
    3. The new board gave the original board a little pot to piss in by paying them off so they are all absent, spending their new money traveling the world to regionals and partying
    4. now Larry Harvey is busy writing a speech to further extract more money from more rich people to be given at the “Artumnal” this weekend at Bently reserve in SF. that is his only assinged task
    5. the new board members with money require special treatment like tickets, palcement and amenities no on else gets in order to give the org even more money so they can continue partying and having pots to piss in

    this isn’t San Francisco, this is Black Rock City. there have always been rules, but in this case those rules dont work because people who have never had anything have been thrown a bone by people who have everything. some are more equal than others. it doesn’t have to be like this, but our original board has been rewarded and the temptation of more money (granted also money for things like buying fly ranch) is greater than our values.

    they need to reply, not keep sending you bloggers up here to shill for them, to buy them more time. all the comments in the last 4-5 blogs are representative of waht a LOT of burners are thinking. this isn’t just burners.me being “mean”. this is not just a few digruntled burners.

    you say you care about burning man, why don’t you get someone over there to reply with the actual proclamation of their intent? then we who build this thing can decide if we want to come back or if you will be hiring a new DPW, paying a LOT more for art and art cars and basically losing most of the themecamps the return each year, and ending a chapter in the philisophical idea that burning man was something special and not just a big party.

    that reply is what the community needs right now, not snarky blogs or we’re working on it.

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  • Nice Strawman says:

    You start with some bullshit conspiracy theories that nobody is actually taking seriously, and then go here:

    “But nobody has yet devised a real solution.”

    Which is also bullshit.

    So. Fail in all directions. Well done.

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  • Sarge says:

    I did my best not to yell in all previous posts, but you’re flat out ignoring us now…



    I mean… seriously…. FUCK. What the hell is wrong with your eyes/ears that you keep going back to the idea that we’re just mad that someone has more money than we do?

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  • JV says:

    Excellent idea, Caveat, let’s make this issue about you, your (mis)understanding of it, and your “right” to satirize. This is a really good time to do that. For fuck’s sake. You know it helps to satirize the ACTUAL ISSUE, makes things funnier and mordant instead of tone-deaf.

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  • KellY says:

    So, nobody should get upset that you’re a condescending asshole, because you’re a condescending asshole? That seems to be the gist of your self-defense.

    Here’s a hint for you – successful satire is based on truth. Your bullshit essay had nothing to do with the truth – you grossly distorted people’s actual concerns just as much as Will Chase did when he foolishly tried to conflate the issue of “virgins” with for-profit camps.

    And as people have pointed out already, there HAVE been plenty of actual solutions proposed, not just complaining. They all revolve around not giving for-profit camps privileges that they have done nothing to earn. No reserved space, no tickets they can use to resell for profit or bring in servants, no private art cars that don’t follow the DMV rules, etc. And frankly if it is discovered that a camp is being run for-profit, as opposed to rich people getting together, then it and its organizers should be flat-out banned from he event.

    Any questions?

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  • Pranksters says:

    Prank the rich camps is the answer. Fuck their burn. Start saving rotten eggs months before hand. Get 100-200-500 people groups and swarm their camps at crazy hours, bring drums. Do art car sound drive arounds with blazing loud speakers. Swarm their camps with so many people it will be funny.

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  • JV says:

    Also, if you have to explain an attempt at comedy, it means it wasn’t funny in the first place. This second post defending your “right” to satirize is like the people who don’t understand the phrase “freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism.”

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  • JV says:

    Sorry, one more thought: I find it hard to believe there isn’t a single person with publishing rights on this blog who doesn’t fully understand the issue and has some of the same concerns about it as many of us commenting do. Halcyon already confirmed that there is no approval process to post to this blog, so where are the posts from supposedly independent bloggers addressing the actual issues and discussing concerns and possible solutions? Seriously. Either everyone with publishing rights on Burning Blog are totally fine with commodification camps and the issues related to that, or they don’t want risk their insider status by posting something that is actually critical of the BMORG on this issue. Kind of sad either way.

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  • BigBloo says:

    The answer is simple. One person, one ticket. All cities have major and minor problems, and the local government is always corrupt. How about this year’s theme be “Tent City”? No RV’S. P-Diddy ain’t hangin in a tent yo! Freedom and anarchy my dusty friends. One person, one ticket..and let the carnage begin!

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  • Sueno says:

    I agree with Pranksters! Swarm them!

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  • Peace says:

    I don’t have time to write all the fuck offs I need to, so please just fill them in yourself. Satire should be used to afflict the privileged, not insult those fighting to make things better. It should also be funny, so you missed on both accounts. There have been some who have put forth unjustified wild speculations about Larry and others and they have been policed by others trying to solve the problem. You are trying to get your rocks off or promote your ego by being a bully and laughing and making a joke at the expense of the abused wife.

    The org could deal with this issue tomorrow. All they have to do is announce that all camps that get placement have to go through the theme camp system, that members of the board and staff cannot profit from Burning Man beyond reasonable salaries and wages (which are the rules of non-profits anyway), and that wealth will not be an advantage in obtaining tickets. The rich are welcome like everyone else. They just have to play by the same rules. Your comparing this to solving the world gentrification problem is a giant red herring. All that is required is integrity. They can fill in the details and mechanics later, what we are looking for now is a commitment. As far as the unfair abuse some in the BMorg have received, that is primarily a response to the silence coming from the organization.

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  • Brian Miller says:

    The Bmorg gets the propagandist they pay for…………

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  • barbender says:

    Saying this is about “gentrification” is just a distraction. And maybe gentrification is your pet peeve because you can’t still afford an apartment in San Francisco any more. Boo hoo for you. Let’s deal with the facts. The ORG has control of how things work at TTITD. They can decide NO ONE can set up a paid camp for others, if they so wanted. BOOM, that would end your gentrification. They could decide no paid camp comes back next year if they leave behind moop, have no interactive events or exclude other burners, have “staff” that discourages their guests from really getting involved in the burn, etc. All of these things are expected of regular theme camps and would prevent these bullshit camps from gentrifying your neighborhood. There have been plenty of rich folks coming to TTITD for years and years. It’s not about money. It’s about having a clue what the values and principles of BM are.

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  • BigBloo says:

    Is this the coffee line? I need 42 chai mocha lattes…oh sorry…Vegan poetry line? My bad.

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  • Patrick (Buff) says:

    Boy, when I came over here to read this from your last post… this was not at all what I was expecting to find. A little stunned…

    I mean, rarely is there a post with that kind of universal response from the community. NOBODY liked it. At all. So you continue with more absurdity? I don’t get it.

    Caveat, you wrote:

    “there are Burners out there spinning fantastic stories about the ways Larry Harvey (in collusion with the Illuminati) conspired to put an RV at the corner of 6:15 and K in order to DESTROY BURNING MAN, which has been the plan all along.”

    Yeah, because that’s REEEEEEEALLLY what people are saying here. That’s reaaaalllly what people here are concerned about. You can’t seriously believe that even a little bit, can you? Do you? Of course you don’t. Why do you even think that claim would pass muster?

    Caveat, I have enjoyed many of your posts in the past and believe that you love and care very much about Burning Man… but these last two posts? SMH. Definition of tone-deaf.

    Nobody is saying solve all of this NOW. TODAY. But we do deserve some real responses and action from the BMORG. That is clearly NOT happening.

    And why is JT not gone yet? That could be done now. Cut that fugger loose.

    A mantra of mine: A little acknowledgement goes a long, long way.

    Maybe you and the BMORG should think about that.


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  • Paul Carey says:

    Dear Mr. Magister,

    I’ll assume your comments come from a place as inauthentic as your name.

    There is only one reason for gentrification. Those who held the property took the money. Those without money, who increased the value of those holdings with their art, will find a new place to improve. So much for the playa.

    Greed, pure and simple.

    All the best,
    Paul Carey

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  • MadMaxine says:

    Caveat: Your past post, and this one, are simply more entries in the “Missing the Point” parade started by Halcyon (who redeemed himself by getting the point- maybe you should read his recent blog entry) and Will Chase.You are missing the point, completely. The issue is not virgins, it’s not “Plug n Play” or “Turnkey” and it’s not that there are rich assholes on the playa. There have always been rich and/or assholes on the playa.

    The point, and the issue, and the uproar, etc. is that there appears to be very (very very VERY) good evidence that the Burning Man organization, or people within the organization are actively facilitating a serious level of commodification which is a) promoting a new kind of exclusive Burning Man “experience”, and more importantly, b) allowing people (including people who sit on the board of the organization) to profit handsomely from that marketing and sales activity.

    The “insult to injury” part is actually a two-parter:

    First, the organization is actively allowing these people to end-run the routine hoops, shoots and ladders that the rest of the community has to go through in order to have their Burning Man experience. This includes very egregious, or at the very least, poorly thought through steps such as scalping their own tickets, directing tickets to these groups either for their “participants” (customers) or for their staff (“sherpas”) or both, setting up special processes for camp acceptance and placement, and apparently, being willing to provide even more tickets in bulk and upon demand when the “sold out” event started. This apparently has needed enough organizational support that it now has to be unwound, or at the very least discussed endlessly with the people involved. Other infractions in this category include designating these camps as “theme camps” (where the theme is “we hope they will participate), casting a blind eye to things like art cars and camps that require wristbands to access, and allowing them extra time to set up and clean up their camps. This is a heavy case of “some people are more equal than others,” and would be ironic if it weren’t so fucked up.

    The second part, which is actually worse than the first part, is USING the volunteer efforts of the PEOPLE (also Burning Man’s customers, but apparently, much less equal customers) who paint the canvas that the board sets up every year as the draw to make their own money from (while also restricting how the creators can use their own art to make their own money, which again would be ironic if it weren’t so fucked up).

    Does this break it down simply enough for you (and other people in the bubble?) to understood why people are thinking about making pitchforks instead of costumes this year?

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  • Sirus says:

    So you get caught getting bought out by oil companies and label the problem global warming. You justify egregious actions by labeling the problem as pre-existing societal problem while contributing to it. Non-apology non-accepted. Move on to your next PR move.

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  • Leo says:

    I warned you not to drink the Kool-Aid!

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  • Holly says:

    I am reminded of a quote….”One cannot solve problems with the same thinking that created it”.

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  • How's My Satire says:

    @ Caveat.

    Your an asshole, but I am too. Since I’m obviously more funny than you I had to think of some satire which would describe how me being an asshole is somehow different than you being a asshole. So here it goes…. I’m the kind of asshole that when I fart I still smell like the delicious food I had consumed. Your the kind of asshole that when you fart you smell like shit.

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  • Caveat Magister (Latin translation) “Let the teacher beware” Your name says it all. Also your post tells me that you are nothing more than a hired stooge. So clever hiding insults (and let’s be honest here cowardice, Mr. Latin anonymity) behind a dead language. How about a little transparency… or is idums afwaid? You’re a real douche and I hope I never meet you in the dust.

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  • Bobo says:

    BMORG has been talking to volunteers and regionals for years about the need to not squander social capital, then throws all of their social capital on the bonfire with these posts by Caveat. If one of the regionals or volunteer teams wrote a couple of jackass posts like these, the Project would be hurling down their throats.

    Caveat “doesn’t speak for BMORG” – then why does Caveat have an account on your blog? I don’t have one.

    BMORG come clean. Stop giving commercial camps preferential treatment. Apply the Ten Principles fairly to ALL. Send commercial camps that don’t support the community to the Lottery like everyone else, no placement and no early entry. While you’re at it, tell us where all the money is going.

    You’re spending too much time on conference junkets and not enough time with your people. You are losing touch. No, you *have* lost touch.

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  • Bobo says:

    Oh yeah – and fire JT.

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  • FUCK OFF, CAVEAT says:

    Hey! Caveat!

    GO AWAY.

    I’m not sure what needs to happen for you to do the right thing? Maybe another few hundred replies from people outraged and amazed you’re still allowed to be here after that little stunt.

    You’re never going to be respected here again, so take your smug smile and withering posts, and fuck the fuck off.

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  • I am me says:

    Quit bitching people. “These camps don’t adhere to our principles.” BLAH BLAH BLAH! You complain about commodification camps, but you turn a blind eye to the fact that the Burning Man branding is a commodification itself. If you want to avoid such, go to smaller regional burns.

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  • Metapony says:

    This burning blog posting mocking people and misrepresenting the issue reminds me of something…

    Oh yes, I remember! This is like the time there was a small protest across the street from the Burning Man office (during the spring regionals summit in 2007) and the BM Org sent a bunch of people out to make fun of them. It’s documented (FLV) here: https://archive.org/details/Johnp-WorkerProtestAtBurningManHeadQuarters427

    Discussed on the Eplaya here:

    So carry on that fine tradition of misrepresenting and mocking folks with real issues, CM. Good job.

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  • Mike says:

    Bullshit. San Francisco can’t say “You’re not doing enough to help the community or are violating our norms, we’re revoking your house”. Burning Man can.

    If burning man WANTED to, it could have a plug-and-play camp fall under the same rules as scalping: If we figure out you’re doing it, we void all your tickets. Would they get everyone? no.

    HOWEVER they would make creating a plug and play camp a very real risk. You MIGHT sink $100k+ into your camp, then have to refund everyone because your tickets got voided, leaving you in debt and with a lot of pissed off “clients”.

    By raising the risk of making a plug and play camp, they can stem the tide. But they’re not doing that.

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  • Metapony says:

    I’m not sure if my comment on the burning blog was deleted, or if it’s held up in their spam filter due to having links, but I’m going to repeat it here (sans links) in case they are censoring it.

    This burning blog posting mocking people and misrepresenting the issue reminds me of something…
    Oh yes, I remember! This is like the time there was a small protest across the street from the Burning Man office (during the spring regionals summit in 2007) and the BM Org sent a bunch of people out to make fun of them.

    (You can find it by googling “Worker Protest at Burning Man HeadQuarters” it’s on the Internet Archive. There’s also discussion on the eplaya from 2007 I linked to as well. )

    So carry on that fine tradition of misrepresenting and mocking folks with real issues, CM. Good job.

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  • Skyfox says:

    Hey Caveat,
    You DO actually speak for Burning Man. Right here on the official burning man blog, you’re speaking for them. Granted, you’re not the exclusive sole speaker for them, but this official blog is one of the ways that BM speaks to the wider community. If you don’t want to speak for BM, you should post your words in another place.

    IMHO the issue at hand is NOT gentrification. It’s special-treatment for money. Think bribes. Maybe they are related in some ways, but definitely not the same.

    I don’t expect a magical solution to jump up right away, but answers to the questions posted on this blog a few posts back would be an excellent start. If you want to make fun of shit, make some fun of the fact that those answers are un-answered. Nothing can really move forward until those answers land.

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  • steve says:

    i think i just broke my wrist…

    thanks caveat, for handing me a truckload of ammunition…

    i’ll be in my private plane spanking it with the other hand.


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  • Is it really that holy? says:

    Hey Caveat,

    Good for you. Take a step back from all the precious drama and blow a good raspberry up in the air.

    If we can’t joke about this, wth can we joke about?

    I don’t get why someone mocking the situation who also happens to have the ability to post on the official blog is some kind of new crisis.

    It looks like there’s at least 50 or so people just kinda waiting around, hoping to have something they can angrily post about.

    Anyhow, I hope you have a good day. Yeah, your post could have been funnier, but it sure did an A+ job of ruffling feathers and casting shadows on those things we’re not “allowed” to cast shadows on.

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  • Major Tom says:

    I’m just another person who thinks this post was a bad idea. I see that your ‘heroes’ are telling you that you’re wrong and you aren’t listening. Perhaps you’re listening. I believe in Burning Man and I believe in all of us. If we all stand together as a community, there’s nothing we can’t ruin. Or fix.

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  • Harry Crosby says:

    The Aristocrats!

    thank you, i’ll be here all week…

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  • Ranger says:

    Caveat: I have been reading your posts for many years now and have previously enjoyed them. These two posts are deeply disappointing. In these posts I feel like you show contempt for your fellow burners. They show that you have not been reading the pulse of the burner community. It tarnishes the high regard I have previously had for your blog posts. These posts are foul and disheartening. It blows my mind you felt like they were a good idea to post.

    ONCE again: this is not about newbies or rich people, or gentrification. THIS is about a Burning Man Board member profiting off the event, the abuse of labor and human rights at the camp he ran and profited from, the commercialization of the event and the special access to placement and tickets these Commodification Camps received. This is what we need answers to. This is what we have heard nothing but silence about for months. Your posts have done nothing but further erode the social capital Burning Man org has left with its community.

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  • Gargoyle says:

    The one thing that I’m really taking as a positive out of this post is that it has yet again reinforced the fact that 90% or so of the commenters Get It.

    They understand that this isn’t about money, or rich assholes, or even about turnkey camps.

    It’s about having a level playing field for ALL theme camps, treating people honestly and fairly, and about people profiting unfairly who really should know better.

    The other 10% are still the crazies, the RV-haters, the anarchists and the clueless but on the whole the overwhelming message that I’m reading out of all this is that most people are on the same page.

    Unfortunately so far it doesn’t seem like anyone who has posting rights on this blog (other than Halcyon eventually) quite understands this.

    Personally, I’m not surprised there has been silence from the BMorg for this long, and I’m certainly not surprised that it’s taking a while to make a statement. Ideally the smart ones on the BMorg board are currently negotiating the resignation of JT and potentially other board members. This may well involve lawyers, especially given there is likely some form of tax fraud involved (not only due to profiting from a non-profit but also that Nevada hotel tax is potentially payable as well).

    I’m happy to give the BMorg another week or so to come up with the right solution. We all know what that solution needs to be (see @Leo ‘s post), but these aren’t things that you can get a committee to rush into and agree on, especially when some of them are the assholes responsible and you’re trying to get rid of them.

    At least that’s what I want to believe.

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  • TMTATC says:

    The time for announcement of ticketing and pre-holiday extra expensive ticketing policies is drawing nigh.
    What has transpired so far may pale compared to the shit storm that follows after 2015 ticketing parameters are announced.

    I for one am feeling open to participating in mass pranks on the K-Streeters.
    Anarchy and irreverent pranks are at the root foundations upon which the event is built and evolved. WWPAD?

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  • TMTATC says:

    All of this said,those posters on here making nasty abusive personal attacks on Caveat need to cool their jets. Unless you know him personally, such language is just not justified.

    To my mind (I am actually of several minds on this), the fact that BMORG is so colossally inept at times actually endears them to me. I am often a colossal fuck up, so I identify with that.

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  • Leo says:

    I agree that the some of the attacks on Caveat have been nasty, but on the other hand what do you expect with a blog post that attempts to downplay and mock legitimate concerns that we have with the commodification of Burning Man?

    It seems like Answergirl, Will Chase, and Caveat have been the “sacrificial lambs” when it should have been one of the founders or board members with the balls (or ovaries) to face the crowd and answer the questions that have been ongoing since “Sheerpagate”. As much as the BMORG would wish, these questions and issues won’t go away. This discussion will not be “swept under the rug”.

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  • Peace says:

    When I lived back east I witnessed Don Henley of the Eagles fight to save Walden Pond from development. When asked why he chose that particular fight he said his dad had told him to “pick a fight that is small enough to win and big enough to matter”. That’s what this is. I can’t stop greed from ruining the default world, it’s gone too far, but I can join with my fellow Burners and stop greed from ruining Burning Man…and it matters.

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  • Caveat Magister says:

    Hey @TMTATC and @Leo

    I’ve stopped trying to respond to comments both because I can’t keep up and because I don’t really think there’s a demand for “more Caveat.”

    But I want to address what you’ve just brought up and say: I can’t speak for Answergirl or Will, but this one is all on me. No one set me up to be a “sacrificial lamb.” I’m the guy who said to himself “Hey, how about I write a funny list?” and then by God went all the way with it. I am wholly, and solely, responsible for whatever jackassery I write.

    And while it is damn uncomfortable to be in the middle of an internet shitstorm, I don’t think I have any room to ask people to make it less personal. Because I led with a joke. I made fun of something that a lot of people are truly passionate about, and the fact that I hoped it would go over better isn’t an excuse. I didn’t start with a well-reasoned, gentle, epistle: I opened with a joke, I laughed at a topic they take seriously, and of course that makes it personal. I don’t have to agree with a word of it (or think I “deserve” it) … but I believe firmly that if you’re going to prank, you have to take responsibility when the prank goes wrong. I fucked this up, so, okay: people get to tell me I’m a terrible human being in a variety of ways. It sucks, but they mean it to suck, and I started it.

    I really appreciate your consideration, though. Thank you.

    And for what it’s worth: many commenters here are right. I didn’t “get it.” I thought the issue was about gentrification – and actually I think it still is. But (it seems to me) what the people screaming at me are screaming at me about is *accountability.* I might be right that the underlying issue is one of gentrification – that’s my opinion, I mean it, and I’m entitled to it. But when they say “you’re not hearing our complaint, you’re not getting what we’re talking about,” they were right. I missed their point.

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  • forty_eight says:

    Gentrification might be a good metaphor.

    Saying that City Councils and the BMORG are trying to mitigate the effects of it would be where you might be stretching things.

    The BMORG didn’t try to deal with gentrification; they participated in it. Just like most City Councils do.

    If PnP had to conform to Theme Camp standards, I bet that would go a long way to re-flatten BRC.

    Tell all the PnP “Producers” that going forward they need to offer interactivity and all that.

    I just really don’t like the idea that people are making money off of hosting camps, though.

    That just seems unnecessary and something the BMORG would want to prevent given some of the who-hah laid out in the principles.

    And even though I think the hating rich people angle is played out and not explanatory – what a bunch of worthless pussies for not trying to figure it out themselves.

    It’s not hard. It’s camping. It’s literally child’s play.

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  • FUCKOFFAGAINCaveatMagister says:

    “”Why am I making fun of Burners (including you, yes you, personally) and an issue you’re really passionate about?””

    FUCK OFF Caveat Magister!!!

    You little pussies should think twice before posting this stupid shit.


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  • simon of the playa says:

    ok…serious face on…for once.

    here goes….skewer me if you will.


    can we just all step back for one second?




    there…..i think it’s clear we all love that fucking dust speck we call home for one week a year.

    we’re “here” now, spending time and energy and emotion on it.

    most of us think about it many times a day….admit it….if we are here, on this blog, we can’t get enough of the shit….we’re junkies.

    you are all my drug buddies.

    when we all hit the playa, we are a giant dysfunctional family..but we are family…

    .it’s hard out here in defaultia, i don’t like it anymore than you do, i really don’t…i hate it here, i wanna go back to BRC. i get cranky.

    i have thrown many hand grenades and word bombs since this whole thing has started, i have bitched and moaned

    i’ve spent countless hours making stupid fucking memes.

    all for some camping trip in the goddamn desert.

    what the fuck.

    what the fuck am i doing?

    why do i care?

    why have i been hurling myself across a continent for 2 decades to participate in a temporary idea come to life?

    i’ll tell you why.

    because when i smell that dust, when i get on to gate road, i suddenly feel comfortable in my own goddamn skin. it’s one of the only times, actually.

    thats why.

    because its a dysfunctional family reunion.

    yeah…we fight….we get too drunk….we sleep where we shouldnt….things break.

    you’re still my dyfuctional family.

    i hope this gets fixed real soon, i hope real changes come, something tells me that there are, as it has taken this long.

    thorough investigations take time, fairness, and accuracy is always a good thing…

    i do not defend the BMORG, i defend our city.

    i do not ask for people to change their convictions, but i ask you to remember why we go out there, why we are here, in virtual world, and why we should not get too ugly with each other, so that WE, the COMMUNITY can help to fix what is broken, and move on…

    who knows, maybe all of this will have a cause and effect, and be a moment that we will remember as a time we cleaned the lint from our own belly button.

    this is not necessarily a bad thing.


    in all sincerity, i can’t wait to see all of you fuckos in the dust again.

    be a little nicer to each other, i’ll try to do the same.

    serious face off…

    go ahead, snark away…

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  • Shpilkus says:

    Caveat, for the love of all that is holy, please stop posting. There is simply nothing you post or have to say is making anything in this world better.
    Find a hobby that has nothing to do with typing on the internet please.

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  • TT120 says:

    Caveat: I guess we were just not in the mood for a joke right then. No biggie. Let’s see if we can get this fixed cause burners are a resourceful bunch.

    Simon: Excellent point my friend.

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  • Grey says:

    Caveat: Congratulations son. You just used Larry & Co “official” blog to laugh at a real problem that is getting a lot of mental and social airplay. To say your TWO responses were just 20 different shades of stupid would be an understatement.

    At one point I had high hopes of Larry The Hat coming on here and making sage noises, pontificating and waxing rhapsodic, and making us mere plebs realize we were being silly and that Daddy knew best. That hope vanished with the posting of your misguided idiocy. You should have been throttled, beaten to a literary pulp by the BMorg for using this channel for your own sick amusement. The fact they continue to trot you bastards out on a leash, let you spew your inane absurdities, and LAUGH IN OUR FACES makes one thing clear: Burningman is now competing with Disney for sheer arrogance and commercialization.

    Well done, moron.

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  • Randy Marsh says:


    Having admitted that you “didn’t get it” in your latest comment, you should add an addendum to your post stating the same. Readers will likely feel a little less heated reading that since it’s unlikely they’ll notice it ~60 comments down.

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  • Bob C says:

    “This isn’t just Burning Man: it’s New York, it’s San Francisco, it’s Boston, it’s D.C., it’s Seattle, it’s Atlanta …”

    And yet we all thought Burning Man was intended to be better than the default world, including New York. San Francisco, Boston, DC, Seattle, Atlanta…

    If it isn’t, then what is/was the point? To just be a place to party for a week? That would be a sad and stupid reason to exist.

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  • bradley day says:

    2 things :

    1) Tanya Everwhere – ironic that you would criticize another’s writing. (‘pedestrian’ – that’s funny… but not in a good way)

    2) BM has clearly jumped the shark. It’s all about the money. -end of discussion.

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  • Eyeball Jackson says:


    You didn’t lead off with a joke. You led off with an insult directed toward everyone who gives a damn.

    Gentrification? You’re making this sound like an inevitable natural phenomenon, when in fact, it is a co-ordinated effort within the org to get around their own Principles.

    Is any of this sinking in or are you going to blame the general public some more?

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  • Jason says:


    I saw your recent comment/reply. You STILL don’t get it. It’s NOT about gentrification.

    It’s about the BOrg giving placement to Commodification Camps that aren’t required to follow Theme Camp rules (no interactivity).

    It’s about non-interactive Commodification Camps commodifying the playa, making huge profits off advertising what we give away on the playa for free. Hell, artists can’t profit off their OWN work on the playa, but Commodification Camps CAN profit off that artist’s work?!?

    It’s about Commodification Camps having slave labor sherpas that can’t participate, and can’t even quit their horrible working conditions or they’re literally left without food, water, transportation home, or their real world job anymore.

    It’s about allowing Commodification Camps to have fake handicap golf carts and private art cars.

    It’s about selling unlimited tickets with no waiting to select people even after the event is sold out (at least make it “fair”…let EVERY rich person access to Pre Pre Sale tickets for a few thousand dollars)

    It’s about members of the board being behind this personally, and personally profiting.

    The BOrg has utter power to stop all of this, by enforcing current rules, or changing them, unlike gentrification in the real world.

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  • AleXander says:

    The problem is not the wealth of any participants but the fact that from all indications members of BMorg leadership have been involved in some serious manipulations in the service of wealth in ways that go deeply against many of the principles basic to the event – regarding tickets, art cars, placement, early entry, “disabled” golf cart stickers, etc etc.

    The rebuttals to the serious questioning of authority seem to offer nothing but red herrings – often fueled with that “it’s all good” braggadocio or lame “love it or leave it” rhetoric.

    The community should be united in demanding first and foremost: transparency (the lack of which over the years has led to this self-serving private power club) – which does have to include an admission of the obvious transgressions.
    A second step has to be a demand for real solutions which should come forward without the usual BMorg smoke and mirrors. I personally do believe a few heads on the board do have to roll. (Read about Chip Conley and Fest300 for one I’d suggest.)

    Larry Harvey speaks on the subject:

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  • EllyRilo says:

    I am coming to the conclusion that Larry is a moron who got lucky and actually has no idea how to handle anything of importance. It is too bad Larry is proving himself this stupid and untrustworthy. I t is sad that Larry is taking so much bad advice which is hurting the people who love burning man. I am tired of being mad about this nonsense and I am verging onto not caring. If Larry doesn’t care enough to speak up when so many are asking for some clarification, then why should I care?

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  • simon of the playa says:

    i think there is a problem here.

    Do You KNOW Larry? do you even know what the fuck you are talking about? probably not…

    here’s what i see, maybe i’m wrong, but those who know me know i’m have pretty clear vision.

    i see a pile on, goaded by an international internet troll of ill repute with his own website, and a personal vendetta, aided and abetted by an extroadinarily poorly written blog with the worst possible timing.

    i see a community, eager for resolution of a problem that exists.

    but i also see ugliness rearing it’s head.

    i see people who if they were face to face with larry, or any one else for that matter, would not say or act the way they are here. They have the anonymity and the distance to be “courageous” and talk tough…

    boy it sure is fun to vent your anger over the internet, doesnt it…

    i do it.

    it’s cool, it happens…..just like mistakes. we all make mistakes.

    yes, shit happens…every fucking day….and then you fix it.

    it sucks to fuck up. If you don’t know this, then you are a liar and an asshole.


    why don’t we wait and see what happens, huh?

    why don’t we let the process take its course before we condemn any results.

    why don’t we tone down the fucking name calling, violent threats and other “Bro” shit and start talking about constructive criticism.

    or is that too difficult?

    let’s be adults…..adults that relish the world of “Play”, but jesus, it’s our sandbox, and throwing sand in peoples face is just not nice.

    play nice.


    i mean it.

    let’s all do a big ripper, in gratitude to Croptober, Hannukah, Thanksgiving or Legalization in Oregon, whatever, i don’t judge…

    and then sit back, and see how this plays out, instead of being rabid dogs, frothing at the mouth, waiting to bite any hand that might feed.

    we are burners, we are all burners. and he who is without fuck ups, please, cast the first dust…

    and wait to pass judgment until the appropriate time.

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  • Mary Jane (Yes, that's my real name) says:

    “Gentrification” has come to the playa.

    If you got the green, you get to live by a different set of rules, with special privileges.

    If you ain’t got the green, you have to scramble and jump through hoops in the hopes of getting a ticket and spending tons of time, energy, and any green you can scrape together to get to BM and create the actual event.

    Looks like BM is now the default world.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    and to those people in glass houses?

    seriously dude, we can see you…

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  • Peace says:

    @ Simon…well said. I think the frustration at the silence is escalating the emotion on this beyond what is healthy.

    @Caveat…you made a mistake…I’ve been there…I’ll probably be there later today…I take back my “fuck offs”.

    @Everyone…keep up the pressure…keep it constructive.

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  • EllyRilo says:

    Fuck off Simon, Larry is not replying, that is fact. There are problems, that is fact. There are rules being broken, that is fact. Larry is showing his true colors. He is obviously a moron who has been breaking his own rules which he strictly enforces on others, which also makes him a hypocrite, cheat and probably a liar.

    Larry got lucky stumbling and bumbling into this phenomena and it has now grown beyond his skill set. He needs to go, so burning man can stay great. And you can drop all your imagining BS about how you think people would act if they met dumbass Larry face to face. I would love to tell him in person what I think of him and his non-leadership. So fuck off Simon, you know nothing of people who post here, but we know all about a Larry.

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  • Peace says:

    @EllyRilo Speak for yourself…

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  • simon of the playa says:


    i highly doubt you would say that to me face to face.


    and those who know me would probably highly doubt it too.

    you don’t me.

    Just Sayin’.

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  • Caveat Magister says:


    Thanks. All I can say is: it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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  • Shpilkus says:

    Elly, that was needless crude in every regard. I’m sorry that everyone can’t excel in everything like you do.

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  • Oh, Simon says:

    “here’s what i see, maybe i’m wrong, but those who know me know i’m have pretty clear vision.”

    Oh shut up, you utterly pretentious tit.

    “why don’t we wait and see what happens, huh?”

    People have waited and are waiting, and what they’re getting is Caveat.

    “why don’t we let the process take its course before we condemn any results”

    Because when the lottery failed, there is footage in the Spark movie of the story being spun, refusing to call it a lottery and instead calling it a “Ticket Distribution System”. People are sick of spin, they’re increasingly sick of the people spinning, and they’re demanding transparent honesty, now. No-one cares how many rich people get upset by Burning Man choosing to do the right thing, and they don’t care to wait quietly while more measures are put in place to hide the next shitty thing a board member wants to do to get rich.

    You’re not as smart as you present yourself to be and you’re sure as hell not a spokesman for the community, so stop presenting yourself as either and you’ll do everyone a favor.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    sure mr burners.mexxx, whatever you say…

    have fun with your vitriol.

    that shit tends to come back on you, you know what i mean?

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  • Jackalope says:

    Thanks for this post. It confirms that you are as out of touch as we all suspected. The crime isn’t that you aren’t funny, it’s that you get to post such asinine BS on this website. Why don’t you team up with the clowns at Burners.me?

    Try harder next time? Just do us all a favor and press delete instead.

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  • Jackalope says:

    It’s not just Larry. Everyone in upper management at the org is a complete fucking moron. We don’t need to know them, it’s evident in everything they do…

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  • Harinama says:

    The CITIZENS of BRC can solve this next year if they want to by staging all week anti pnp demonstrations/dance parties inside the richie rich camps and tearing down their walls. THAT would piss off the well to do’s that paid big money to be catered to like the little bitches they are, and they would want their $$ refunded. PNP camps cannot exist if no one pays their dues. Simple as that.

    Don’t take “NO” for an answer, how are they going to stop 1000’s of brc residents? If this causes a bigger rukus, that is the fault of the BMORG. Bring on the million bunny march, bring on the critical tits/dicks, bring on the other marches and run they right through their fucking camp.

    BRC Citizens decide what is acceptable in the city and what is not.

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  • burnersxxx says:

    Gee Simon, for someone calling for a truce and everyone to be nice… you sure sound pretty aggressive.

    What happened to the armed revolution and “it’s time to eat the rich”? Gone underground?

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  • Tired of the Troll says:

    I gave some credit to burners.me at the beginning. Since then, his incredibly sad attempt to troll this blog under about 20 different names shows the coward and lune he is. Anyone who’s following these comments with a single whit can see through the vitriol and trolling. Sad. Really sad.

    Go start your own event, or something, you sad fool. Or just go back under your bridge. We are all getting sick of it and your sad excuse for a ‘blog’.

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  • burnersxxx says:

    Nice try, but BurnersXXX is the only name I’ve ever posted here as

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  • Tired of the Troll says:

    Nice try, but the IP logs tell a different story. Next time you should consider using a different computer… or Tor. ;-)

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  • burnersxxx says:

    I use Comcast (Marin) and AT & T (I’m on my iphone now)

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  • simon of the playa says:

    whatevs, steve, whatevs.

    btw, caleb says “fuck you, asshole” from the grave.

    i talked to his partner today after reading your interpretation of past events.

    i went to the source. i asked her what went down, what was inside of calebs head, etc etc…

    should i print what she has to say about this, and you?

    it’s pretty brutal.

    come at me, bro, come at me…

    karma hates someone who uses other peoples misfortunes and woes to furthur their agenda.

    i won’t have to do a thing, except sit back, and watch you drown in your own hate.

    keep spewing, it’s your own bile you will eventually swallow.

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  • Liberty Belle says:

    Sigh. It’s not that the post “wasn’t funny enough.” It wasn’t funny at all. It was dismissive and condescendiing.

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  • burnersxxx says:

    Tired of the Troll, I’m back home now, so you should be able to see the other IP address. Unlike BMHQ, I don’t have a Static IP, it gets automatically assigned by my service provider.

    Just wondering, if you’re the admin here, why do you use “Tired of the Troll” as your handle? Have you always used that, or do you change it to take on different identities – like you’re falsely accusing me of doing?

    Please share the log files showing the “20 Different Names”, or just name the names: perhaps some of your readers who also use AT & T on their phones in San Francisco will step forward to explain that they’re not me.

    It makes no logical sense that I would come here to troll you guys, when I already have my own large audience at Burners.Me.

    I think I did ask my girlfriend to post here once, when I was testing to see if you were censoring me. She was on the same Wi-Fi network as me, so that would have shown as the same IP address. It was on Rosie’s post of Oct 3. I discovered that yes, you do censor me: if I type “burners.me” in your website field, my post doesn’t get published – so I don’t do that any more.

    This all smacks of misdirection. It’s November 19, when will BMOrg be answering the community’s questions – instead of making fun of us?

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  • sosad says:

    Hey look…a glow stick! Ok everything’s cool here, nuthin to see. Move along you lookie loos. Now that that’s all fixed, I can’t wait for my (free) push pop!

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  • sosad says:

    I do not condone ANYONE setting up a table full of colorful spray paint outside the RVesque Berlin walls with a sign saying please help decorate us -we suck at it! Because that will get us nowhere. Instead, think about some funny way NASA could get a campsite out in deep playa because it kinda looks like the moon, and that’s funny. Cause it’s NASA and they leave Chem trails and stuff. (ANYONE)

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  • I'm trolling sosad says:

    Sosad, that’s not funny! And I know funny. People that know me would probably agree that I know funny. A rich jew, a rich homosexual and a rich shirt cocker ride segues into a bar…

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  • I'm trolling I'm trolling sosad says:

    Everyone just needs to R E L A X! I’m sure if enough fun gets poked at this whole ass fucking eventually it will A L L be ok. Just be patient and take the blue pill. Or was it the red pill? I can never remember. OR just get an account on here like everybody else does and be UBBERWITTY!!!

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  • sosad says:

    In 10 years when it’s ALL P&Ps (I’m sorry, they prefer “turn key”) -don’t wanna offend, we should all come back and bring art and rebar and naked guys with shirts, thereby totally harshing their burn! Because that’s funny… -problem solved. Go have a smoke and chill now Larry. Throw your butt on the ground too. We’ll pick it up when we come back.

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  • GreyCoyote says:

    Simon: I loves ya like a brudder, but yeah, bring me Larry’s head and a tape recorder. We can test your theory.

    The BMORG needs to hear this. It seems to be the only way to get a point through their thickened, cash-infused skulls these days.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    GreyCoyote, you know i was up in arms back in september, when the sherpa story first broke.

    i made many memes expressing “displeasure” with just about every offense that has been mentioned, re-mentioned, flogged, whipped and beaten.

    i helped lead the charge.

    and now i am asking the angry horde to wait….wait and see.

    try not to listen to those who want revenge.

    listen instead to those that want to heal.

    i know, coming from me this sounds like i’ve been drugged, or maybe my dog is being held ransom, thats not the case.

    this is the truth. i am going to stop the attack on Larry™ & Co and wait to hear the official official response, not the attempts of others to smooth things over, or explain a position, or just interject their voice into the conversation I am going to wait until they come out and say what they are going to do about this shit.

    i also know that people should not be hung in the kangaroo courtroom of internet blogs and opinions.

    i suggest we all check ourselves, before we wreck ourselves.

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  • Joe says:

    You “made many memes expressing “displeasure” ”
    That is too funny. You must have been angry, making all those memes. LOL!!!!

    But then “something” soothed you? And now you are OK?

    Tell us sweet simon, what soothed you? money? tickets? acccess? BJs?

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  • Dr. Who says:

    knowledge is power.

    this year, finally, larry will give ME a blowjob.

    i hate wearing that wig, anyway.

    ps…one ply in the TARDIS only….thank you.

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  • dee houk says:

    Burning man has always been about money and for the rich and privileged. I have always gone to rainbow gatherings. Burners won’t because of the “undesirables”. Now they are becoming what they excluded on a different level. Have fun children..

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  • Joe says:

    Isn’t it is good idea to rotate the org that runs something like Burning Man anyway? Isnt that the only way to fight the corruption that was bound to happen and now has, and now we have corrupt morons running OUR burning man are fucking it up. It is time for Larry and the rest of the org’s NON leadership to go and allow other qualified people to take their place and run burning properly. Run BM as the true no money, no profit, gifting event it is meant to be.

    But that wont happen until there is a revolution and that is coming in 2015. The PnP and first camp will feel the burn, fuck their burn. The pranksters are growing in numbers and will have some fun next year. It was time for something new to do at BM anyway. Time for change will be BM’s 2015 theme, no matter what the lame duck org claims it might be.

    It is time for change to return BM to what it is meant to be.

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  • JV says:

    Oh good, the comments have devolved into petty bitching. For a second, I thought someone broke the internet.

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  • sosad says:

    Let’s regroup people! I’m gonna go to the east coast where I know of a little spit of beach by the George Washington bridge and burn a wooden effigy of a rich guy! Scratch that, a wooden effigy of a guy that paid someone else to build said wooden effigy! Everyone is welcome. The only rules are no snarky comments and nobody uses my porta potty. A bargain at $1500 per person. Rules subject to change -except the potty.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    Sosad…i live near Buffalo.

    currently, the east Coast is Closed.

    if you do come, bring a shovel.

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  • EWN says:

    HA! HA! Caveat Magister, I am totally calling your bluff. You are posting on an official BM Blog. They ABSOLUTELY knew what you were posting before you did it. They would never allow a post to anything on their website or officially associated with them without approval. I have PERSONALLY known many BM bloggers, JRS contributors, etc. over the last 15 years who have shared their frustrations with writing for them. The BMorg reviews and edits every last post for PR media machine control. Your pathetic post (nearly as bad as your last one) is just one more attempt at Spin Doctoring by the BMorg. Not falling for it, BMorg. No one else is either anymore. Come clean. We know what is going on.

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  • Scout says:

    In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.”
    — Ten Principles of Burning Man

    “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
    ― Joseph Goebbels

    Good luck getting the phrase “Commodification Camp” to go away.

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  • John Curley says:

    Hey Caveat, hang in there.

    Just from a writer’s standpoint, I really love this post. I can absolutely hear you talking, being sarcastic, being self-deprecating, and being brilliant. I’ve always thought a piece was successful if someone says they can hear my voice in it, and this one has yours.

    I’ve no desire to weigh in on the issue at this point. I’m waiting and watching like everyone else. And my commenting on your writing style is in no way meant to diminish or distract from the importance of the issues under discussion. So please, Burning Blog readers, please please please hold your fire.

    There are many great voices on this post, too, in the comments, has just as there has been as this issue has come to light and reached the blog. Just about all of the commenters are very smart, and clearly very passionate. And that’s a great thing.

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  • anonymousLamplightercoward says:

    Caveat: I haven’t read all the comments above me. But I did read the earlier post and was confused and a little put off. This post here not only clarified your position completely, but got me thinking in a meaningful way. Keep doing what you’re doing, man.

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  • roissy says:

    Caveat also hang in there, in reading the postings over the last few days most of them are coming off like the self entitled twits they are raving about. (I admit Larry’s Range Rover is looking pretty good)
    To the rest of you: If an organization is giving you this much grief it is time to walk away… It is not dependent on you, if you don’t show up, someone else will take your place and maybe it will morph into something different… Change happens everywhere all the time, hell I felt it went to shit when the drive by shooting gallery went away…

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  • sosad says:

    Hey Simon, I’m about 2 hours west of you so I know all about fluffy rain. I have every intention of giving out early arrival passes to to some beautiful people that can hire a bunch of shovelpas. (They’re gonna be gifting out dozens of hand warmers so there’s that too).

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  • simon of the playa says:

    Sosad, it is getting pretty freaky here in western new york.

    but i have a taste for inhospitable wastelands…

    it’s an acquired taste, but something about mother nature bitch slapping all of humanity turns me on…

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  • Toaster says:

    know when to just stop. Walk away from the keyboard and save this nonsense for the Facebook Group

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  • AleXander says:

    “I did not have commodification relations with those camps.” – L. Harvey

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  • Patrick (Buff) says:

    Oh gosh. Sigh. I’m can’t be the only one tired of seeing BMORG and the Burning Blog insisting on continuing to call “commodification camps” “turnkey camps”, can I?

    That’s such a tired, tone-deaf and ultimately rather insulting distraction technique. And it’s not working. Please stop.

    Most folks don’t appear to have a crushing issue with turnkey camps — as understood by most burners. On the other hand, most burners, it seems, do in fact see a clear difference and delineation between turnkey camps and commodification camps.

    It seems to me that people are particularly outraged — and rightfully so — by the whole JT thing. Why has he not been removed yet? This is such an infuriating betrayal of trust.

    It would be nice to see the BMORG (and this blog) realize that trying to ignore, distract and rename the issue that burners are concerned about is not doing them any favors.

    My suggestion is that the BMORG (and this blog) follow the lead of the community and at least speak the same language instead of insisting on tagging this issue as something that it isn’t.

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  • Patrick (Buff) says:

    Roissy Says:
    November 20th, 2014 at 1:04 am

    “Caveat also hang in there, in reading the postings over the last few days most of them are coming off like the self entitled twits they are raving about. (I admit Larry’s Range Rover is looking pretty good)

    To the rest of you: If an organization is giving you this much grief it is time to walk away… It is not dependent on you, if you don’t show up, someone else will take your place and maybe it will morph into something different… Change happens everywhere all the time, hell I felt it went to shit when the drive by shooting gallery went away…”

    Roissy, if you thought Burning Man all went to shit after the driveby shooting gallery went away (what was that over a decade now?) why are you still here?

    (also, thank gawd there are no longer guns on the playa)

    Additionally, the “to the rest of you” part of your comment is ridiculous. That’s like saying if you’re not happy with the US government, walk away.

    No way man. FIGHT for what you love. Your friends, your family, your planet, your country, your burn.

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  • roissy says:

    “That’s like saying if you’re not happy with the US government, walk away.”

    Not EVEN close… Burning Man is optional… The government has a way of weaving into everything…
    My problem is I have been around way too long, seen issues like this come up and go away… The event will evolve, maybe not into something we like, but it will evolve it always has…

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  • TomServo says:

    Whoever said this was about rich folks? This is about people wanting to get rich off rich folks, supported or not…by the ORG..flagrantly going against certain tenets, nurtured for decades, by our community…and setting a dangerous precedent for new and future burners..as well as the future of the event. Or..maybe that’s all part of the plan…Regionals are becoming just as much fun.

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  • Daniel says:

    I love the idea of what Burning Man represents in theory. But in reality, the Burning Man organization is full of shit . They are a bunch of intellectual cowards who don’t have the guts to stand up and truly live by what they say they represent.

    I wanted to go to Burning Man because I thought I belonged there, because of the philosophy of the their ten principles, which I truly embrace. Much like religions and political ideologies of the world that people espouse, but don’t really practice, the Burning Man fuckers typify the same hypocritical insincerity that exists elsewhere in the world.

    It seems that for a great concept to be realized, truly bold souls have to exemplify it by their courageous personification of it in how they live and act in reality. You know the true character of someone when they show what they really are in the face of adversity and powerful opposition.

    The notion of an alternative approach to how a human society can be, that is different from how societies are in the world, is fascinating to me. There are severe challenges to that notion, due to the fact that humans in this world are generally fucked up and evil by nature.

    The leaders of the Burning Man Project are susceptible to the pressures of the so called default world- which there is truly no escape from. They haven’t got the balls to withstand and resist those pressures, because they are a bunch of bitches. It takes a truly revolutionary spirit to stand tall in the face of the default world opposition and faithfully stay true to their stated principles.

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  • sosad says:

    DON’T eat new born puppies because it’s wrong. DON’T eat new born puppies because it’s wrong. DON’T eat new born puppies because it’s wrong. DON’T eat new born puppies because it’s wrong. DON’T eat new born puppies because it’s wrong………………………………………Unless they’re fresh and just opening their little blind eyes, slow roasted to succulent perfection, you have people willing to pay bank to dine with you and nobody outside the dinner party will see.

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  • sosad says:

    We understand some of you may have some concerns regarding last weeks brunch in Malibu. We want you to know we’re listening and taking your concerns seriously. In the mean time, I got a little joke for ya… What do ya get when ya put a kitten in a blender? ………………………………wait for it………………………………………………………………a hard on! Get it? A hard on!!!!! I know! I know!!! I’m fucking hillair E US!!! WEW!!

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  • sosad says:

    Hey FUCK OFF! I didn’t even work in the kitchen that morning and if you think you can make a better meal without puppy meat, then maybe you should go cook your own food asshole.

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  • trolling sosad says:

    Hey sosad, don’t let the fuckers get ya down. I for one loved the kitten joke! We all need to be patient until we hear from the people who actually cooked the puppy and ate the puppy before we go off half shirt cocked. Even if they did eat puppy, peoples tastes change. Who knows, maybe consuming fresh puppy will be a great change from stale old Belgian waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

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  • The Original Dustin says:

    Congrats Cavaet, you got everyone talking about a serious issue and your writing. What more can an artist ask for? Keep on posting your erudite irreverence. Is this many responses a record for this blog? Reminds me of the good old WELL.

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